Jury nullification is an example of common law, according to StreetInsider.com. Jury veto power occurs when a jury has the right to acquit an accused person regardless of guilt under the law.Continue Reading
Wikipedia claims that jury nullification took root in the common law courts of England during the Middle Ages. Jury veto power was more firmly established in the Magna Carta of 1215, which declared that a jury comprising of a defendant's peers must issue a verdict. Even though early jurors faced imprisonment or fines for delivering a wrong verdict, there are cases in which juries acquitted a person regardless of the law or court instruction.
StreetInsider.com notes the most notable jury veto case occurred over 300 years ago, when jurors refused to convict William Penn for preaching Quakerism. The jurors disregarded the law and ignored instructions from the judge to deliver a guilty verdict. The jurors were punished, but they addressed their grievances to another court. Their punishments were overturned, and Chief Justice John Vaughan ruled that jurors had every right to vote according to their convictions, which also set the stage for the freedoms of assembly, speech and religion. The founding fathers of the United States adopted these principles, including the English common law notion of jury nullification. Under the American legal system, jurors also cannot be punished for any verdicts handed down to a defendant, and they are not obligated to provide an explanation for their verdict.Learn more about Law
State-recognized common law wives and husbands have the same rights that spouses in traditional marriages have, including the right to collect Social Security benefits and inherit property, reports Nolo. Common law couples can also file joint tax returns, adds About.com. They must dissolve their marriages by divorce or annulment, and state laws of child custody and child support apply to the union.Full Answer >
Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas and Montana recognize common law marriages as do Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and the District of Columbia, according to FindLaw. Georgia, Idaho, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Ohio and Pennsylvania ban common law marriages but generally recognize them if formed before the ban date.Full Answer >
To be considered a common law relationship in Ontario a couple must have been cohabiting for 3 years, according to Haber Lawyer. A court can declare a couple to be common law spouses after 3 years, with a few exceptions.Full Answer >
The state of Pennsylvania stopped allowing new common law marriages as of Jan. 2, 2005, notes the Erie County Bar Association. The state does recognize valid common law marriages established before that date, if the parties can prove they met the requirements before the cutoff date.Full Answer >