If you’re confused over the term ‘jury nullification’, a prime example of such emerged from a courtroom in Boulder, Colorado last week. Many legal and sociology experts recognize a significant change in society by whether or not juries, made up of one’s local peers, will continue to enforce what many in a society have come to believe are bad and/or antiquated laws.
Throughout America’s relatively short history, when elected policymakers and bureaucrats are not responsive to the will of the citizens or pass laws not supported by society, citizens sitting on a jury have an absolute right to vote their conscious, which also means in effect nullifying the law by not voting for conviction.
The effect of this becomes abundantly clear when jurors consistently refuse to convict so-called ‘criminal offenders’, and numerous examples abound from prior civil rights movements in America: Abolitionists, Women’s Sufferage, Minority Rights and Access To The Vote and Gay/Lesbian.
In time, and NORML is observing this right now around the country in ever-increasing amounts, prosecutors are having an increasingly harder time winning criminal convictions for ‘crimes’ a majority of the citizens do not in fact believe is a crime.
Want to know more about the awesome power each of us possess as jurors to stop ‘bad’ laws from their continued enforcement? Check out FIJA!
I want to personally thank ‘D. Walters, Erie, CO’ for both voting their conscious while sitting in judgment of a fellow cannabis consumer, and for letting their fellow citizens in the Boulder area know via a letter-to-the-editor what a waste of time and valuable social resources cannabis prohibition enforcement is for the criminal justice system.
I was a member of the jury on the medical marijuana case and beg to differ with Mr. Garnett’s assessment as presented in this Open Forum on Tuesday.
This case was both a waste of taxpayer money and a travesty of justice that the charges against this man were ever brought in the first place. First of all, Mr. Garnett’s assertion that the jury found “that the amount of marijuana in Mr. Lauve’s home was medically necessary” is an inaccurate statement. The job of the prosecution was to prove that the amount in possession was NOT medically necessary and that Mr. Lauve was aware that he was in violation of the law. The prosecution presented absolutely NO EVIDENCE regarding either point of law. They brought no witnesses to show that the amount was not medically necessary. They did not even assert that the amount was not medically necessary. In fact, they prevented the defense from offering evidence regarding medical necessity. The prosecution did not even attempt to assert that Mr. Lauve knew the amount was excessive or suggest that he was doing anything inappropriate with the ‘excess’.
This jury admired Jason Lauve for standing up to an unfair prosecution. The physical, emotional and legal costs to Jason Lauve of defending himself do not seem to be of concern of Mr. Garnett.
And the cost to taxpayers? 4 full days spent by a judge, two prosecutors, a bailiff, a clerk, a detective, assorted police officers and 12 jurors! Plus laboratory time and expense to prove that it was ‘real’ marijuana. All of us could have spent these 4 days doing something that actually involved prosecuting a crime.