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State v. Ragland

Supreme Court of New Jersey
519 A.2d 1361 (1986)


Facts

Ragland (defendant) was charged with armed robbery and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. At the end of the trial, the judge instructed the jury that it “must” find Ragland guilty of the offense if the jury found Ragland was carrying a weapon at the time of the robbery. The jury found that Ragland did indeed possess a weapon during the robbery and convicted him. On appeal, Ragland argued that the use of the word “must” was inconsistent with the jury’s nullification power. He also argued the instructions should inform the jury of its nullification powers, namely its power to acquit Ragland even if the State (plaintiff) had proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Wilentz, C.J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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