Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Good News: Jury Nullification is Interfering With Marijuana Convictions

Lily Dane
The Daily Sheeple
July 15th, 2014
Reader Views: 6,461

jury

Courts around the country are having more trouble prosecuting marijuana cases because of increasing awareness of a constitutional doctrine called jury nullification.

Under the Bill of Rights, jurors have the power to find a defendant not guilty if they find the law in question is flawed – even if the person being accused actually did smoke pot (or commit another victimless crime).

In his NY Times piece titled Jurors Need to Know That They Can Say No, Paul Butler explained the history and purpose of nullification:

The doctrine is premised on the idea that ordinary citizens, not government officials, should have the final say as to whether a person should be punished. As Adams put it, it is each juror’s “duty” to vote based on his or her “own best understanding, judgment and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.”

Unfortunately, though, jurors are not always informed about the option, Butler goes on to explain:

In 1895, the Supreme Court ruled that jurors had no right, during trials, to be told about nullification. The court did not say that jurors didn’t have the power, or that they couldn’t be told about it, but only that judges were not required to instruct them on it during a trial.

About three years ago, a judge in Montana threw out a man’s criminal marijuana possession charge because he could not find a jury that would convict the man for simple possession of marijuana:

Ed Forchion is also known as NJ Weedman. He’s a medical marijuana patient who was diagnosed with bone cancer 13 years ago. A New Jersey state trooper pulled Forchion over for a minor traffic violation in 2010. That stop escalated into a search of his vehicle, during which police found more than a pound of marijuana and a large amount of cash.

Forchion faced up to 10 years in prison for “possession with intent to distribute”, but he took a unique approach to his jury trial: he represented himself in court, and argued not only for his innocence but also against the morality of the law itself.

“The only reason I’m standing here is because I happened to know about jury nullification. And I used it.”

Here, he shares his story with Reason TV:

In 2012, 59-year-old New Hampshire resident Doug Darrell was arrested after a National Guard helicopter flying over his home found he was growing 15 marijuana plants in his backyard. At Darrell’s trial, jurors nullified the case against him. His case was unusual – during the trial, the judge, per request from defense attorney Mark Sisti, notified the jury of their nullification power by reading them the following:

“Even if you find that the State has proven each and every element of the offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt, you may still find the defendant not guilty if you have a conscientious feeling that a not guilty verdict would be a fair result in this case.”

Last June, New Hampshire passed a bill that explicitly allows defense attorneys to tell jurors about jury nullification.

But many courts still do not inform juries of the right to nullify, and some say prosecutors will weed out potential jurors who reveal that they are aware of that right, per the Informed Jury Association:

I believe the reason why prosecutors don’t want a juror to know about jury nullification are because they know that if people were to be aware of this that they would lose. The big bad tiger called government does not like losing. They will intentionally screen out potential jurors who they think will impose jury nullification, or are aware of it. If you contest a cannabis charge, they feel impelled to stack the deck against you to use the jurors to support their weak law.

Jury nullification works, and it’s exactly why the prohibition of alcohol was overturned years ago.

It is up to us, as Americans, to ensure that our fellow citizens don’t become a victim of the senseless – and astronomically expensive – “drug war”.

If you are summoned for jury duty and would like to know how to jury nullification works, Steve Silverman of Flex Your Rights explains the process here.

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple


Contributed by Lily Dane of The Daily Sheeple.

Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”

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  • crazy2medic

    Jury nullification should also be used to support gun rights, I would never convict a person for carrying a gun for self defense!

    • René Martin

      All too many people that buy a gun for ‘self-defense’ end up killing someone else with it. Cannabis never killed anyone. Do you understand the difference?

      • crazy2medic

        That statement has absolutely no basis in fact! Americans have a constitutional right to arms, they do not have a constitutional right to pot! Do you understand the difference?

        • George_Costanza

          There is no such thing as ‘constitutional right’, nor is the framework of the country setup so that you only have rights enumerated by the Constitution, nor are those right ‘given’ to you by government.
          You do have a right to ‘pot’, see the 9th Amendment.
          You also have a right to arms, see the 2nd Amendment.

          • http://www.whyisthesubsinking.com Tim Brown

            get a toupee george, and duct tape your mouth. Jerry has had it with your idiocy, and even Cosmo pukes upon seeing your bald pate and mindless, deer in the headlights look.
            Steinbrenner fired your dumb arse due to your amentia , Elaine plans on castrating you, again. This time the left one goes along with Mr.Ed

          • Justsomeguy151

            So you admit you don’t know what yr talking about?

          • Chad

            Correct. All powers not delegated to the federal government via the constitution are reserved by the people…or the states (10th amendment), which means, the feds have no power to prosecute drug crimes.

            The 2nd was just codified to make it more explicit, however, it’s inalienable. It was not granted, it was always there.

          • Chad

            No there is not but there is Supreme Court justices from our past that ruled that “if there is no victim, there is no crime”

        • Rick E.

          Neither you or I have any right to tell anyone else to not ingest marijuana. Prohibition didn’t work for the drug alcohol either. Alcohol kills over 75,000 people a year from accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, etc.
          The drugs in tobacco kill over 450,000 folks a year in the USA from lung cancer, emphysema, and cardiac-related maladies.
          Should THESE drugs be illegal since they actually DO kill people? NO they shouldn’t, as NO ONE has any right to tell anyone else what to put in their bodies. Not me, not you, and certainly not a government.

          • Ken, Megapolis

            Hi all. I am not against herbal pot or anything else no matter how ugly it smells LOL. Alcohol may be worse but perhaps only for the reason that more people drink it, especially in summertime parties and barbeques.
            My major ‘addiction’ is Facebook LOL and that can find you lose your job just for posting “I am unhappy at work LOL” whereas a drunk or stoned employee stating the same thing would just be laughed or LOL’d at in a place like a pub in central London.
            Peace.

        • Justsomeguy151

          Wrong. First the Constitution does NOT give us our rights, God does. The Constitution simply guarantees them. Also, being able to use cannabis freely falls under LIFE LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. Now do YOU understand the difference?

          • crazy2medic

            Yes I am completely aware of that! And I know the difference way more than you do, personally I think if you want to do drugs you should be allowed to in your own home, those that do heroin should be allowed to die if they overdose, actions have consequences!

          • Rick E.

            I have to agree with you there! If one decides to do stuff like that, they must be prepared to deal with the consequences. WITHOUT being a parasite or a problem to society or others in general.

          • Witchwindy

            If there were no prohibition of heroin, no one would ever die from an overdose. ODs are caused by inconsistent purity (or someone who went off the drug for a time long enough to go back to noob levels, then uses again at the same dosage they used before — as was the case with the latest celeb death from heroin OD), if it were legal the purity would be consistent due to regulation and users would be more informed about dosage after being “clean for a time”.

          • Justsomeguy151

            Well, yr initial response was wrong so NO, you don’t understand that way more than me.

          • crazy2medic

            No your wrong, the constitution enumerates rights that exists before government, the only part of the constitution that guarantees our rights is the 2nd! It permits the citizens of this country to fight back against a tyrannical government! You cannot subjugate an armed populace!

          • Justsomeguy151

            Yr wrong AGAIN. NOTHING in yr latest post has anything to do w. yr initial wrong post. AGAIN, the Constitution GUARANTEES our rights. If the 2nd actually DID guarantee our 2nd Amen. rights, there would be no need for “gun licenses” or “conceal carry PERMITS”, as if we needed permission from our hopelessly corrupt govt.

            As far as cannabis goes, the govt NEVER EVER had authority to ban it. If you are doing something that harms NO NONE, not even yrself, how the fuck can the govt claim any kind of arbitrary law to control you or the use of the plant??? Dude, pick yr battles. Why you chose to be repeatedly wrong about this is beyond me.

          • crazy2medic

            As far as the gun issue is concerned I believe we are arguing the same point from two different directions, as a Paramedic for the last 14yrs I have personally seen the human cost of drug use whether it is “cannabis” heroin, meth, cocaine, crack, and other drugs used for “recreation” so you could never convince me of the no harm bullshit, but I will fall back on the saying never argue with an idiot they’ll simply drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience! So this is my last reply to you!

          • Justsomeguy151

            Then you basically admitted that you are a bald faced LIAR. No one has EVER died from using cannabis. As far as those other drugs, let people use them, if they die, its their own choices that led to them dying, just like smoking or drinking. A free man/woman NEVER has to ask the STATE for permission to whatever they want into their OWN body, fascist. Fuck YOU, lying idiot.

        • Witchwindy

          Actually the government has no legitimate power to prohibit the growing, possession, use, selling or buying of cannabis or any other drug. It would require a Constitutional Amendment to grant the gov that power and none has even been proposed let alone passed and ratified. Even the general welfare clause does not allow it:
          “They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare…. [G]iving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.”
          – Thomas Jefferson
          “Our tenet ever was that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated, and that, as it was never meant that they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money. ”
          – Thomas Jefferson letter to Albert Gallatin, 1817

          • Sam Fox

            W Windy, great post.

            T Jefferson said to make the most of the Indian hemp seed and sow it every where.

            SamFox

      • http://dogecoinshoplv.com/ DOGECOIN SHOP

        gee ,please google your comment and get some facts like 82% of gun crimes are with stolen or illegaly obtained Firearms .Only Legal guns killing most people are those held by POLICE

      • Justsomeguy151

        Its not the same thing but people have been convicted simply of discharging a firearm IN THEIR DEFENSE, and been sentenced to prison. THAT is a crime against ALL of us.

      • Jas

        @Renee….”end up killing someone else with it” That kind of, is the point…..Them, not me. Although, most times just having one means nothing happens, not “killing people” Man you guys sure know how to Ham it up.

  • Tony

    Of course, it would depend on the case.
    If the defendant was charged with shooting kids at a playground with multiple witnesses………

    • http://dogecoinshoplv.com/ DOGECOIN SHOP

      they would plead guilty its the innocent ,the hopeless, and the rich who go to trial

  • George_Costanza

    Seems like that judge needs to be thrown out.

    • Justsomeguy151

      Then hung for treason.

  • http://dogecoinshoplv.com/ DOGECOIN SHOP

    i Love a true american ,I served and It was great.

  • http://www.whyisthesubsinking.com Tim Brown

    Nullify the judge, prosecutor, STATE and FEDS ,,,,live FREE

  • http://www.whyisthesubsinking.com Tim Brown

    it’s a nightmare, but if u realize the prosecutor and judge are connected in the rear end and plan on screwing the defendant, you can bring some truth into the matter and nullify their nefarious foaming at the mouth plans

  • Barn Cat

    Great. You have idiots who don’t understand the Constitution deciding which laws are unconstitutional. Drugs are for losers. The founding fathers would agree.

    • Sam Fox

      Barn Cat, you might want to find out what the US Founders had to say about Indian Hemp. You are 180′ wrong on this one. :-)

      SamFox

      • Sam Fox

        Barn Cat, also there is much more going on than just marijuana. MJ prohibition gave way to the war on some drugs. This war was lost, is lost & will continue to be lost as long as there are human beings who insist on using substances for what ever reason.

        We are now at a place where the WOSD is far more dangerous than the prohibited substances.

        Militarized police agencies should give ya a clue. Look up how the WOSD, because of prohibition, is far more life threatening than the illegal drugs. Look for,

        Drug War Rant
        Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
        The Emperor Has No Clothes, by Jack Herer

        Look up how many innocents are killed by “OOOOOPS! We got the wrong address!” drug raids by SWAT teams.

        How many deaths in Mexico, internationally & here because of prohibition & the drug war.

        The blood of all the innocents killed because of prohibition & the lost, overly expensive & very deadly drug war is on the hands of the prohibs & those that support controlling other people’s lives via any kind of prohibition.

        The drug war is lost. Time to change tactics.

        SamFox

    • Truth

      Like the Beatles , Steve Jobs, Richard Branigan, Michael Phelps, Morgan Freeman-on and on. Continue to argue for prohibition and continue to be the idiot.

    • NotJesus

      And sorry but George Washington smoked cannabis. Don’t believe me…google it!

    • Sam Fox

      Are all those who have been prescribed Rx drugs also losers? I agree that some stuff IS dangerous; meth, heroin, crack, cocaine, ext & many Rx drugs.

      Rx drugs are far more dangerous than most prohibited substances. Rx kills more peeps every year as well .

      ‘Legal’ does NOT default to safe, even when directions are followed. Ever see Rx drug ads? “Whose side affects may include…”?

      What many don’t understand is that cannabis is NOT in the same category as Rx drugs & other prohibited drugs. Cannabis is in a class of it’s own. No other substance is as safe. After thousands of years of use, cannabis has been tested & tried by countless millions & pot’s very long history confirms what I say is true.

      SamFox

  • Sam Fox

    Robert, way to go! Glad to know there are other brave souls out there who stand up to big control freak pig bro.

    You helped set a modern day JN precedent .

    I echo anonoman!!

    SamFox

  • Sam Fox

    Roscoe, You are right about stacked juries.

    These days it’s about putting another win in the books rather than about finding out what the truth is. Our ‘justice’ system is falling apart, but with jury nullification I see a ray of light.

    SamFox

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