Nov 272015
 November 27, 2015

There is a weapon against marijuana prohibition that many American citizens don’t know that they have at their disposal. It can be used in states that have not reformed their marijuana laws, and don’t have medical or recreational marijuana legalization on the books. It’s like kryptonite. That weapon is jury nullification.

Jury nullification occurs when a jury refuses to convict someone of something because they consider the law that was broken to be an unjust law. That’s what recently happened in Montana, where a court couldn’t even put a jury together for a marijuana possession case because so many potential jurors stated in advance that they would never support convicting someone of personal marijuana possession. See the video below. Imagine if every juror in a marijuana case did this?

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  16 Responses to “Montana Jury Candidates Refuse To Convict Anyone For Marijuana Possession”

  1.  

    Jailing people for drug use is stupid

  2.  

    Unfortunately, in most states the possession of cannabis is not an offense significant enough to warrant a trial by Jury, so jury nullification as a way of thwarting unjust cannabis laws is simply not viable.
    I say “unfortunately,” because I believe it is unfortunate indeed that there exists any case or classification of criminal or civil infraction for which a citizen cannot have a jury of peers decide the issue.
    Obviously, the US Supreme Court chose expedience over justice when declaring that any civil infraction or criminal violation that has less than a six month potential term of confinement could be tried by a judge alone, and that “the accused” has no intrinsic right to a jury trial in such matters.
    The net effect of those decisions (there have been several) has been that the accused are automatically guilty, and while they can argue with the judge in a bench trial, they have no recourse to a jury trial, or even to the presumption of innocence.
    I can’t know specifically what justices Stone and Marshall were thinking when they ruled on the matter, but my guess would be that they didn’t want to see the entire US court system clogged up with jury trials for every petty crime or infraction.
    Contrary to this, I believe that anything whatsoever which compels a person to go to a courthouse should come with the automatic and inviolable right to a jury trial, and further, that the jury itself should be able to set aside code if they unanimously agree that the law itself is unjust, or even that they simply “like” the defendant and want to find them not guilty, without having to do so via subterfuge.
    Got a parking ticket? You should have the right to a jury trial.
    And that jury should, in turn, have the authority to say “screw you, cop, city, county,” whatever “not guilty,” just because we say so, just because we wouldn’t want to pay the fine either, if we were in the same situation.
    No doubt such a scenario occurred to the SCOTUS when taking away the right to jury trials in certain cases.
    Thus, we have a stacked deck, where the court has much more power than the citizenry, which is the opposite of any notion of true freedom.
    The courts, and the law, should be subject to the will of the people, not the other way around.
    End of rant.

    •  

      Wow this coment should be headlined in every news source. We might just improve our way of life. If only the people had a voice, these black market profiteers would be in the private prisons they love so much.

    •  

      Wow. I was not aware of this, so I looked it up and you appear to be correct (U.S. v. Nachtigal, 507 U.S. 1 (1993); Blanton v. City of N. Las Vegas, 489 U.S. 538 (1989)). Perversely, then, in a way it is advantageous to a defendant to have marijuana possession classified as a gross misdemeanor or a felony rather than a simple misdemeanor!

  3.  

    Fight Prohibition with Jury Nullification!

    Juries, and their authority to nullify bad laws, exist as a last safeguard against tyrannical governments and their oppressive laws—those that are imposed by cowardly and corrupt politicians against the will of the population.

    When called for jury duty on a case concerning a drug violation with no overt act of violence, do not convict! If the offender is non-violent, do not send them to prison! Another person in a federal or state prison for drugs is not going to make society any better or our families any safer, in fact, it WILL do the exact opposite.

    * It only takes one juror to prevent a guilty verdict.

    * You are not lawfully required to disclose your voting intention, ether before or after taking your seat on a jury.

    * You are also not required to give a reason to your fellow jurors on your position when voting—simply state that you find the accused not guilty.

    * Jurors must understand that it is their opinion, their vote. It is of no consequence If the Judge or the other jurors disapprove; there is no punishment for having a dissenting opinion.

    “The jury has the right to determine both the law and the facts.”

    —SAMUEL CHASE, 1804

    “It is not only his right, but his duty…to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.”

    —John Adams, 2nd US President

    We must create what we can no longer afford to wait for: Please Vote To Acquit!

  4.  

    It does work. I have done it. All it takes is one to hang a jury.

  5.  

    Jesus said to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. None of us would want our kids put in jail over a little marijuana. None of us would want the police to confiscate and sell our parents’ home because they grew a couple of plants to help with the aches and pains of growing older. Let’s start treating other people the way we would want to be treated.

    We are American citizens! We can contact our representatives at:

    Congresswomen and Congressmen: http://www.house.gov/representatives/

    Senators: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

    Polite + Friendly + Responsible = Success!

  6.  

    There’s some smart people in Montana. A lot smarter than those that rule, that’s for sure…

  7.  

    Even though they are required to apply the law as the judge describes it to them in his/her instructions (regardless of whether or not they agree with the law), the jury’s deliberations are “secret” so they cannot be questioned as to how they ultimately reach their verdict. Unfortunately it is considered unethical (and the basis for a mistrial) for attorneys to explain this, or to otherwise suggest to the jury that they nullify. So thanks for getting the word out, educating potential jurors about this fantastic loophole in the legal system! In a democracy, it is everyday men and women (at least in theory) who wield the power. Jury nullification is a quintessential example of democracy in action! It is one of the primary reasons that the constitutional right to a trial by jury of one’s peers exists.

  8.  

    Even though jury duty is a bitch, it is also a privilege. If I had the chance to tell a prosecutor that I morally object to the charge as well as the taxpayers $ being wasted-you bet I would and would have a few more choice words and phrases to throw their way as well. Although, misdemeanors are usually handled by a judge’s ruling in my state so it would be a rare thing to see. So, to ppl in Montana-“feel lucky but not too safe”. Seems like this case skated but how many more will be so lucky?

  9.  

    this is from 2011

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