Jury Nullification

December 23, 2011

I recently saw a video that I want to share with you all about a case in Montana that is raising some eyebrows.  A young man was arrested for possession of 1//16th an ounce of marijuana.  For those that don't know, the speaker in the video says that is "barely enough to roll a joint."  Nonetheless, the police arrested him and he demanded his right to trial by jury.  But, that's where the story gets interesting.

When the judge began questioning the potential jury members - a process called voir dire - he could not find a single person willing to convict this young man of the charges.  None of them said they would be able to convict him based on the small amount of marijuana he allegedly possessed.  The jury was stunned and took a break to sort out with the lawyers what to do next.

Eventually, the judge rightfully found that he could not impanel an impartial jury, so he suspended the proceedings.  The prosecutor and defense lawyer reached a plea agreement that let the young man plead guilty to something that was not a conviction - probably a diversion of some sort.  And, the young man was allowed to go on with his life without a serious conviction on his record.

The case is interesting because I think this is a trend you are going to start seeing more frequently across the nation.  People realize that the war on drugs is a failed campaign that really should have been labled "A War on Us."  Citizens are tired of government lies and misinformation, and the more the citizenry distrust the government, the less likely they will be to convict fellow citizens based on failed governmental policies and laws.

Unless our leaders get their finger back on the pulse of what is happening with society today, they risk jeopardizing the foundation of our legal system - the jury - because jurors are comprised of citizens.  Having conflicting state and federal laws on marijuana possession - even for medical purposes - is setting up citizens for legal trouble.  The federal government needs to step back and rethink their policies and tactics when it comes to marijuana dispensaries and possession laws.  Otherwise, you are likely to see more cases like the one seen in Montana. 

Watch the video here!