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Regarding Setsuko Kamiya’s Dec. 29 article, “Mansfield Center eyes lay judge debut“: Although a U.S. jury receives instructions from the presiding trial judge, it is free to render a verdict by its members’ own conscience — even to the point of disregarding evidence. Jury verdicts must be unanimous.

A verdict of “not guilty” is not subject to review or justification and may not be questioned ever again by any government official. And the crime charged may never be charged again. This leads to the “jury nullification” phenomenon; judges and lawyers don’t like it, but the U.S. Constitution stays their hand.

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