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I read that our Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske, claimed in a recent interview that the Obama administration is going to go after growers and suppliers in Colorado and Washington. Apparently they think that the voters in these states were duped, or just joking, or Bqhatevwr.

link

Q: In the November elections, two states—Washington and Colorado—voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use. President Obama has said that the U.S. government has “bigger fish to fry” than to go after recreational users in states where it is legal. Where do things stand with regard to producers and distributors of marijuana, which is still illegal under federal law?

A: You’ll continue to see enforcement against distributors and large-scale growers as the Justice Department has outlined. They will use their limited resources on those groups and not on going after individual users.

But this doesn't have to mean that they will prevail in reversing legalization. It is all in the hands of we the people. The key to victory was demonstrated by a drug war hero last October in New Jersey. In his trial on charges of possession with intent to distribute, Edward Forchion, also known as NJWeedman, suggested the concept of jury nullification. The judge went apeshit, cleared the jury from the room, and threatened Forchion with contempt of court if he mentioned another word about it. But the seed had been planted - especially since he had also been distributing flyers on the topic around the courthouse. And despite the fact that he had been pulled over with a pound of pot in his trunk, he was found not guilty on the intent to distribute charge. It wasn't just a few rogue jurors who neglected the facts and the law. All 12 members of his jury voted for acquittal after just an hour and a half. Hot Damn!

Edward has since begun organizing and fundraising for his Jury Nullification Tour this spring.

“My life was saved by Jury Nullification and I want to give back to society by helping other marijuana defendants across the country. Enlightening the local public to a Constitutional tool for “WE THE PEOPLE” to win this war on drugs with legalization!”

He wants to take his “WEEDMOBIL” on the road, visiting towns and cities across the country lending support and Jury Nullification enlightenment to targeted Juries and communities nationally. Getting airtime on local radio and TV. Hitting pro marijuana festivals such as the Michigan/Ann Arbor Hash-Bash, Seattle Hemp Fest, National 420 Rally in Washington DC and Boston Freedom Rally. All the while video recording everything around and in the weedmobil, the center of his travels. – Vimeo link

Most importantly NJweedman wants to roll into towns a few weeks before a marijuana defendants trial begins with the goal of using himself and the weedmobil to generate news stories in local newspapers talking about Jury Nullification – reaching this individuals potential jurors. NJweedman wants to distribute massive amounts of fija fliers ( www.fija.org ), and pass out leaflets explaining Jury Nullification all round the courthouse preceding trial. he did this in his own trial - youtube link

Essentially, jury nullification is the process by which juries choose to ignore the law and find people not guilty regardless of the facts in the case. This is perfectly legal. It is the ultimate check and balance against laws deemed by society to be inappropriate. I believe that we have now reached that tipping point in many parts of the country where the laws against marijuana are widely considered inappropriate. The politicians refuse to act, so it is time we take matters into our own hands on this. And the beauty of it all is that it only takes one staunch "nullificator" to prevent a guilty verdict. They may not have a lot of outright acquittals, but if it becomes impossible for the government to get a conviction in a pot case then that is a sort of de facto legalization. They will still have the power to make people's lives miserable for a while, take their possessions, take their money, but they will lose the ability to imprison people over marijuana. And given their stated "limited resources" can they really afford to keep bringing cases to trial that they know they are going to lose?

As I commented in a diary recently, I think the next thing that should be done by the backers of the WA and CO legalization measures is to mount an ad campaign regarding jury nullification wrt the pot laws. Get the word out there. Stir things up. Make it clear to the government that they can't dictate terms in this battle. I would propose ads that say something along the lines of:

"This past November the citizens of Washington  [Colorado] voted to legalize the use of marijuana by adults. But now we are hearing that the federal government plans to nullify those results by going after those who our state has authorized to grow and distribute legal marijuana. That might be a boon to the black market growers and suppliers, but not to the majority of the citizens of our state.  It is time to send Washington DC a message and nullify THEIR laws. The process is simple, it's called jury nullification. If you find yourself on a jury in a marijuana case, simply refuse to vote guilty - regardless of the facts or the law. If you are arrested on marijuana charges, refuse to plea bargain and demand a jury trial. The good people of Washington [Colorado] VOTED to make marijuana legal, now we need to continue voting to keep it legal. Vote "Not Guilty". Jury nullification is perfectly legal and is our most effective means of standing up for our rights."

Jury Nullification - It is Legal. It is Moral. It is Time.

Originally posted to kbman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:46 AM PST.

Also republished by DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform.

Poll

Is jury nullification a valid strategy for ending the war against marijuana?

68%357 votes
1%8 votes
2%14 votes
20%108 votes
0%4 votes
0%3 votes
0%5 votes
1%9 votes
2%13 votes

| 521 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (159+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III, shaharazade, lurkyloo, Mr Robert, happymisanthropy, stevie avebury, bobsc, wilderness voice, Hammerhand, Carol in San Antonio, exterris, Sark Svemes, high uintas, jck, asterkitty, webranding, kathny, BigAlinWashSt, sebastianguy99, roses, S F Hippie, mookins, ER Doc, elwior, DerAmi, Bcre8ve, freerad, Observerinvancouver, zerelda, luckydog, palantir, Cedwyn, protectspice, Angie in WA State, DeminNewJ, isabelle hayes, notrouble, bleeding blue, leonard145b, Stephen Wolf, WI Deadhead, MasterfullyInept, Alumbrados, cotterperson, paz3, Crider, cosette, allensl, Brecht, Odysseus, Prospect Park, Orinoco, kingneil, GayHillbilly, Jim Domenico, prfb, carpunder, Thinking Fella, monkeybrainpolitics, Aureas2, sunny skies, letsgetreal, elziax, side pocket, CoolOnion, anodnhajo, praying manatheist, Minnesota Deb, One Pissed Off Liberal, nellgwen, PhilJD, bythesea, jhawklefty, Chaddiwicker, tofumagoo, ninkasi23, elkhunter, ruscle, number nine dream, Joieau, Miss Jones, reflectionsv37, commonmass, Notreadytobenice, fou, Shockwave, bsmechanic, Kamakhya, Ray Pensador, Tam in CA, JDWolverton, oldpotsmuggler, rmx2630, kevinpdx, Sam Sara, ca democrat, codairem, rodentrancher, TracieLynn, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, nirbama, The Wizard, flowerfarmer, bunsk, sea note, chimene, bgblcklab1, Executive Odor, fromer, DvCM, petulans, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, marina, Troubadour, dotsright, Showman, fixxit, cynndara, Paper Cup, BusyinCA, old wobbly, OMwordTHRUdaFOG, jerseycorn, AZ Sphinx Moth, mrkvica, claude, No one gets out alive, bfbenn, splashy, psnyder, Miggles, gnostradamus, Late Again, jadt65, thewhitelist, Ironic Chef, Liberal Thinking, roystah, wu ming, KenBee, ivote2004, Jeff Y, mofembot, alguien, gerrilea, WheninRome, xxdr zombiexx, nswalls, rapala, 2thanks, skohayes, Tinfoil Hat, democracy inaction, Wino, Calamity Jean, MrJayTee, Larsstephens, Skaje, rocksout

    Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

    by kbman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:46:36 AM PST

    •  It's partly how prohibition ended.... (44+ / 0-)

      ...laws don't mean anything if the people don't believe in them and continually vote in the jury box to ignore the law. It's one of those dirty little secrets that most court rooms don't want you to know about, because democracy or something.

      Regulated capital serves the people, unregulated capital serves itself.

      by Alumbrados on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:01:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They keep it quiet because... (15+ / 0-)

        ... because it derails the foundation of their rigged legal system.

        The government, and the set of written laws that have piled up, require our acceptance in order to have weight.

        Most folks understand that paper dollars have value because we all agree that they have value, and it's a rare case where money has no bearing on a transaction.

        Now take that understanding and apply it to laws. The scribbles of ink inside a bunch of books have control over us because we all agree that those scribbles have power.

        Jury nullification is one of those instances where The People recall their raw power of being the creators of government and law, and that scares the folks who exist inside that structure.

        Jury Nullification is like the monopoly pieces suddenly understanding that they exist inside a game, and that the rules on the box only limit them if they accept it. To the cop in the corner square of the game board, Nullification threatens his very existence on the game.

        That is why the courts don't want the people to know about it.

        It's safe to trust a sane person with the keys to nuclear weapons, but it's not safe to trust an insane person with the cleaners under the kitchen sink. The answer is not more gun control, it's people care.

        by JayFromPA on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 04:57:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not everywhere... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kbman, gerrilea

          when I got paneled for a jury in my county court years ago, we were specifically informed about jury nullification. Of course, it was to inform us that it is not appropriate, shouldn't be done etc., but wink wink not illegal. I just sorta implied the winks, because they had no reason to even mention it... thought it odd, still do, but all potential jurors are informed about nullification in the pre-selection briefing here.

          The federal district court I served later on didn't mention it though.

          •  were you asked by prosecution attys? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kbman, gerrilea

            before being on the jury...out loud where all potential jurors could hear it?

            This machine kills Fascists.

            by KenBee on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:13:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Didn't get that far. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kbman, gerrilea, KenBee

              It was during the pre-selection briefing, before we were assigned out to a case. The way the county does it is to call up a big pool of potential jurors all at once, issue a generic questionnaire to everyone and brief everyone together on how the system works, whats expected of jurors etc. Then the big pool is divided up into individual cases. It was before we were assigned to any given case that we were informed about nullification and how bad it is. The case I got assigned to was a civil case that got settled before individual questioning even began, so it never came to that.

        •  one of the few thinks rightwingnuts get right (6+ / 0-)

          the government passing an absolute shitload of laws is not good for democracy.  
          It means you will always guilty of something which is a great way to throw people in jail whenever they are being "troublemakers".

          for example they can throw you in jail for 50 years because you download scientific journal articles.

          big badda boom : GRB 090423

          by squarewheel on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:58:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  also the fugitive slave act, in the north (7+ / 0-)

        in the run up to the civil war.

    •  It's also a double-edged sword (28+ / 0-)

      It's also why lynching and similar Jim Crow era practices could never be tamped down -- juries would not vote to convict.

      IMO, it seems that the "criminal justice" system is about social order, and "justice" has very little to do with it. On the other hand, it seems that finding justice when the law is unjust is the jury's ultimate duty. Many of our founding fathers felt this way as well.

      •  I agree with you... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kbman, TerribleTom

        Jury nullification is unconstitutional because federal law is the supreme law of the land.  President Obama has the authority to decriminalize marijuana with an executive order but has thus far been unwilling to do so.  It should not be a schedule 1 narcotic, in no way, shape or form but it is a slippery slope to encourage people to ignore laws they do not agree with (civil war and all).  

        We would be up in arms if jury nullification was used to nullify the affordable care act.

        "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

        by Buckeye Nut Schell on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:00:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You may wish to reread that comment (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gerrilea, eyesoars

          It doesn't say what you seem to believe it says. This part particularly ...

          On the other hand, it seems that finding justice when the law is unjust is the jury's ultimate duty. Many of our founding fathers felt this way as well.
          How you get to jury nullification being unconstitutional from there is a mystery.

          Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

          by kbman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:31:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was agreeing that it is a double edged sword. (0+ / 0-)

            My point that it is unconstitutional for juries to ignore federal law if they choose to is directly related to your comment on Jim Crow laws.  I disagree with the marijuana laws but many in the south in the middle of the last century disagreed that black people should have equal rights.  It is wrong for juries to decide what the law should be as opposed to what it actually is.

            When I have served on Juries, one of the questions always asked during the voir dire assessment is "Are you willing to base your decision on the law regardless whether you agree with the law or not."  The constitution clearly states that federal law "shall be the supreme Law of the Land".  Allowing juries to pick and choose which law they feel is just would obviously nullify the federal government's supremacy.

            I was agreeing with your initial comment and didn't read into it that you felt nullification was in fact, a legitimate solution.  I agree whole heartedly that the purpose of a jury is to find justice but it must do so within the scope of the law.  I do not believe that it is meant to rewrite or nullify existing law; that is for the legislative branch of government.  

            "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

            by Buckeye Nut Schell on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 06:16:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  First, it was not my comment (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              KenBee, eyesoars

              Second, you throw around the term "unconstitutional" in a similar way to how the Tea Party uses it - you claim this is against the constitution because you feel like it should be. Jury nullification is not unconstitutional. There is not a single word in the constitution that claims that juries must find in accordance with the law in all cases. Juries exist for the purpose of protecting citizens from arbitrary and capricious prosecution by the government. In a case where society has moved ahead faster than the laws, it is perfectly ethical, moral, and constitutional for juries to refuse to convict. Furthermore, if JN actually were unconstitutional, how could a state like New Hampshire have a law that explicitly informs jurors of their choice in the matter?

              Your claims about federal law supremacy are also irrelevant to the discussion. JN can be used to fight local ordinances, state laws, and federal laws. Just because federal law trumps state law does not make it any different in terms of the constitutionality of JN. No laws trump the considered decision of a jury in the absence of explicit misbehavior on the part of the jurors. Voting their conscience is NOT misbehavior.

              Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

              by kbman on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 10:02:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I disagree with you... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kbman

              Jury nullification is unquestionably constitutional.

              There are a lot of cases on point, and they paint a strange and messy picture.

              Judges do not like nullification. Most will not permit nullification to be mentioned or discussed in trial. Jury members do not have any right to be informed of their rights as jury members to ignore the law and vote their conscience on justice.

              Judges try very hard to weed out jurors who believe in jury nullification, and I believe will usually dismiss jurors who do know their rights there: certainly the questions I was asked made it clear enough to me what the judge was after (that he was the authority on the law, period, and that I would decide based on that alone, plus my belief of guilt/innocence) that I got suspicious and looked up jury nullification and FIJA (the fully informed jury association).

              Equally clearly, our founding fathers believed in jurors as a last resort against tyrannical laws.

              Unconstitutional, forsooth.

              •  I stand corrected... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                eyesoars

                After doing a little research on the google, I find that not only was I wrong but you are correct in your response and it was given in a very civil manner.  Thank you.

                I took my jury instruction and inferred something inaccurate.  My apologies.

                "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

                by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 02:16:05 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  The US is required by treaty to keep cannabis (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kbman

          in the "most controlled" category of drugs. I honestly don't think that POTUS can change that by EO.

          •  The US browbeat most of the other (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kbman, KenBee, Skaje, eyesoars
            The US is required by treaty to keep cannabis in the "most controlled" category of drugs.
            signatory nations into signing those treaties.  Most of the other nations would be happy to be let off if the US wasn't so gung ho about it.

            Renewable energy brings national global security.     

            by Calamity Jean on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 09:09:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  It's been around since pre-revolutionary days (27+ / 0-)

      I've studied it a little. It has a proud history.

       In 1670, a grand jury refused to convict William Penn of unlawful assembly in Bushel's Case. The judge attempted to find the jury in contempt of court; this was ruled inappropriate by the Court of Common Pleas.

        In the United States, jury nullification first appeared in the pre-Civil War era when juries sometimes refused to convict for violations of the Fugitive Slave Act. Later, during Prohibition, juries often nullified alcohol control laws,[23] possibly as often as 60% of the time.

      ¡Cállate o despertarás la izquierda! - protest sign in Spain

      by gjohnsit on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:07:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds good but.... (46+ / 0-)

    Every time I have been called for jury duty I have been 'weeded' out of the pool by the lawyers involved. I used to get called up pretty regularly when we lived in 'liberal' SF.  I was a free lancer and able to work around the time involved. I answered honestly to the questions put to me and apparently my liberalism or non-punitive attitude knocked me off  Juries these days are chock full of law and order grumpy get off my lawn types, conservatives I would say.  The prosecutor of a case against a pot dealer or user would most likely weed out any one who feels that marijuana prosecutions are inappropriate and that the federal laws here are null.          

    •  When over half the voters in a state approve (44+ / 0-)

      of legalized pot, it becomes hard to weed out all the sympathizers - especially since the jury pool is chosen from registered voters. Prosecutors only get a certain number of opportunities to strike jurors.  And again, it only takes 1 Not Guilty vote to generate a mistrial.

      There is also the fact that a lot of the "law-and-order" types are also leery of the federal government's encroachment on state law. While they may not have voted for legalization, they will still be resentful towards the feds for trying to override the will of the voters.

      And while I'm not advocating that people lie during voir dire, I would say that anyone holding this belief should avoid volunteering that information. And if directly asked if you will strictly follow the law and the facts in the case, I would suggest making some kind of ambiguous statement about seeking justice.

      Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

      by kbman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:22:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yep, me too (21+ / 0-)

      A jury by one's peers is pure fiction. I once told a judge that I believe in jury nullification; he glared at me, scribbled something in his notes and dismissed me much to the disappointment of the defense attorney. I've never been called duty since in 10 years. Maybe it's just a coincidence.

      Bottom line is that telling one's truth is not always conducive to "justice".

      The art of listening is the ability to pay attention to that which is most difficult to hear

      by dRefractor on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:37:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  ... (12+ / 0-)

        That's my experience also.

        I was called for duty for a complicated case involving a family rape and assault with a deadly weapon. We were all given questionnaires as part of the selection process, and I was one of the first called up for voir dire after they'd all been processed.

        The judge asked me some questions, which seemed reasonable, then the defense attorney, who seemed very interested in me, then the prosecuting attorney, who asked me a few casual questions to keep up appearances and then exercised a peremptory challenge.

        After thinking about it a bit, it was clear that the judge was ensuring that I would vote the law on the jury, and not exercise any sense of justice. I googled things and promptly turned up jury nullification and read quite a bit on it.

        Since then, I've only been called once, and asked questions by the judge, and that's been it. I strongly doubt I'll ever be seated on a jury.

        •  The case that (20+ / 0-)

          really weirded me out regarding the justice system and twisty lawyers was a civil case. A bike messenger was suing for compensation for a hit and run by a speeding car accident that had put him out of work and squashed his bike. Neither side liked my answers the car divers attorney's question all seemed to be trying to establish my bias for bike messengers and riders, sympathy towards the 'scummy' bike messenger.

          He asked me where I worked which was smack dab in Union Square (retail land) for a retail ad agency. Then he asked if I worked with bike messengers. Since the messengers were how as a production artist I got copy, type, photo's, corrections, approvals from clients, anything or everything from our art department's vendors and clientèle daily. I really liked them (just like I like most potheads I know) they were a great diversion in my corporate day turned me on to great music and delivered like Mercury. I too had no car but biked to work or bused it to work.

          He then asked if I was friends with any bike messengers.  My next door neighbor and friend was a bike messenger. Did I think they were reckless/feckless in city traffic. Well no, cars in downtown SF were actually more reckless and dangerous as it's a pedestrian/bike traffic dense area with a multitude of public transportation . So I was prejudiced in favor of scary bike messengers who rode like maniac's and were pierced, punk,  dare devil lunatics with spiky hair and no respect for the bankster's in the financial district. A who ruled the streets argument?

          The bike riders attorney's question that I think knocked me out was, do you believe in or agree with punitive punishment? No, I'm not at all a believer in punitive punishment. Doesn't seem like the point of our court's to administer punitive punishment over and above what ever damage was done. Fair compensation for time money for now and future consequences financial, physical, emotional or psychological damage yes. Financial punishment above the damage done just for the sake of punishment, (a deterrent ?) is to me a gray area, especially in civil cases.

          Anyway, both sides had problems with my answers. Winks,  nods and shrugs were exchanged between the judicial pro's and I was thanked and dismissed. I bused it home, smoked some pot, went back to working on my Perche No! Gelato account  and thought when I'm done with this brochure I'm calling a bike messenger. Hope he doesn't get hit.

          What I'm saying with this long winded comment is that it's really hard in our legal system to do the right thing. They don't seem to do nuanced and prefer people who are not going to think too much about authority or right and wrong or even the nature of the laws. Seeking justice? Hope this does take hold as justice surely needs some help these days.

          I think jury nullification is a good counter to bad laws and the misuse of our justice systems locally and federally. . I'm glad this guy won in an unjust prosecution which is absurd given that states are voting for medical marijuana and more will follow suite.          
                 

        •  I have just been called for jury duty next month (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kbman, shaharazade

          so this has been much on my mind.  As I approach my 70th birthday, I find I have less and less respect for the law and for the courts than I did even back in the 1960's.

          I have half a mind (some would take that literally!) to ask the judge why the statue of Justice is blindfolded, when she should be holding her nose.

          I never have liked the idea of jury nullification, but I do not think I could vote for conviction on a simple drug possession charge, or one related to technicalities in the case of undocumented aliens.

          Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

          by triplepoint on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 04:47:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Prosecutors in (12+ / 0-)

      murder cases routinely dismiss jurors who do not approve of capital punishment.

      "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

      by happy camper on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:43:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I never get to be on juries either (6+ / 0-)

      I'm available but I can't drive because of an eye condition. I always tell them I'm more than willing but must be able to arrange transportation and that's that. I wish I would get picked or at least get a chance to be rejected for any other reason.

      "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

      by high uintas on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:48:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Only time I was ever called (8+ / 0-)

      to jury duty was very shortly after we'd registered to vote in this state (relocated here from FL). At the time, I was half the show at a theme park a couple of counties over, 6 shows a day, 7 days a week, 26 weeks a year. So it cost us for me to show up for the $5 a day jury pool.

      The Big Deal case was a woman charged with child abuse and contributing for letting her boyfriend pimp out her underaged daughter (plus other ugly stuff). Being a children's entertainer, I answered questions honestly and really thought they'd nix me from the jury and send me back to my day job. Nope, picked me anyway, even though I said clearly if the perp struck me guilty, I'd throw the book.

      By noon there was a plea bargain. So maybe they wanted me there to highlight what the 'community' thinks about these things, I don't know. Everybody else on the jury knew all about the case, had already made up their minds - guilty. I was a little shocked by that, maintained during sequestration that I hadn't yet heard a bit of testimony and wouldn't make up my mind until I did. The boyfriend was already in prison, so I figure in the end (when I left the courthouse after doing my 3-hour duty) if the woman pled out, she was probably guilty.

      •  Plea bargaining (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassandra Waites, gerrilea, Joieau

        is another thing I have reservations about in our so called justice system. I don't think it really has much to do with guilt, some who plead out are guilty some maybe not. How many people are caught in the system and take a plea bargain for the best deal offered or have been coerced by the state. Are these people who plea bargain all guilty I doubt it. Maybe they with good reason just figure okay I'll take the deal as how good are my chances without a big money lawyer or no definite proof I can muster up in my position.

        Lot's of people caught in the justice system do not have the means financially or are not in any position to counter the charges leveled at them for many reasons. Not being a twisty lawyer being #1. Who knows whether the woman you did not get to judge was guilty or not. Our system is supposed to consider a person innocent until proven else wise. Plea bargaining seems like a go around of our judicial basis. You never know until you hear what has been charged and what really has gone down. 12 people at this point in time seem more likely to met out justice then our corrupt judicial system with it bargains and pleas.        

        •  I hear you, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kbman, shaharazade, KenBee

          and agree that plea bargaining short-circuits 'justice', as lacking as that concept is in the hands of humans. I was ready to hear the evidence and testimony, would have held out and hung the jury if I came out believing she was a victim like her daughter. But since I never got the chance, it's a hope that she got the least she deserved by pleading guilty.

          Which is another problem with our system's desire to do end-runs around even our lackluster justice system. In that there are some really nasty people out there - cold blooded killers even - who don't get what they deserve or society should demand due to pleading to 'lesser' charges. That's how we end up with pot smokers crowding our prisons and killers on the loose.

          The whole thing is pretty much a mess, doesn't even try very hard to epitomize our conceptions of justice.

          •  Yes, I blame it on the structure of the system (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau, shaharazade, KenBee

            All of the incentive is for convictions, not finding fact and achieving justice. Prosecutors have far too much discretion in terms of who they choose to prosecute and how they operate. It should be illegal for them to trump up additional false charges against someone to try to frighten them into taking a plea bargain. But yet it is done routinely. Political ambition is part of the problem as well. It is no wonder that people have a low opinion of our criminal justice system.

            Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

            by kbman on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 10:15:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder about the reasoning behind (15+ / 0-)

    those who voted for number 4 in your poll. With state after state voting to change pot laws and the feds seemingly incapable of moving, what choices do the people have?

    "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

    by high uintas on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:09:53 AM PST

  •  My son just took a plea agreement last Friday, (38+ / 0-)

    rather than risk going to trial.  He's a med MJ patient in WA and had crossed over into Oregon with medical MJ when he was pulled over. The OR cop found it and he was charged with a felony.   I hired a Portland MJ attorney but the case was in Moro, OR, about 120 miles from Portland in Central OR, a small town of about 300 where the Tri=country courthouse is.  We couldn't risk going to a trial, still way too many people who have fallen for the propaganda, particularly east of the Cascades in OR and WA.
    So it sounds like a good idea, but you gotta do what you gotta do when faced with a felony, which is more than one ounce in OR.

    "The Global War OF Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:11:03 AM PST

  •  If Put On A Ballot My State (11+ / 0-)

    IL would vote for medical marijuana yesterday.

    Heck to a large extent you can get busted with a joint and we don't procuste you.  I am not saying you can get around with a small about of pot in your pocket, but alas our Governor told law enforcement to get over it.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:19:42 AM PST

  •  Jury nullification has a long history under common (25+ / 0-)

    law. Judges are quite adamant about forbidding attorneys from mentioning it as a possibility, though, and usually the judge's instructions to the jury state very specifically that the jury is required to follow "the law" as he/she presents it to them. The only way nullification gets into the jury room is if a juror already knows about it.
          It also has a rather ugly taint in the US, as well: jury nullification is a major part of the reason that it used to be virtually impossible to convict a white man of a crime against a black person. Regardless of the facts presented at trial, juries wouldn't convict.

    -7.25, -6.26

    We are men of action; lies do not become us.

    by ER Doc on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:39:04 AM PST

  •  What about (12+ / 0-)

    To get around this, prosecutors, bastards that they are, will place egregious charges in order to get the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge and avoid a trial.  This happens all the time.  While I'm all for jury nullification and heartily endorse it, prosecutors still have the deck stacked in their favor.  

    •  A Few Years Ago I Made A Mistake (9+ / 0-)

      I got a DUI. Totally wrong. My bad.

      But I am a rich white dude. I actually went to court. Oh my god I never had any idea, as a hippie liberal, how FUBAR things were.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:07:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That can backfire on them if the person goes to (4+ / 0-)

      trial. If the defendant is charged with a bunch of things that can't be proven it weakens their overall case on the core drug charges. The defense attorney can then point to that in closing arguments to gain sympathy for their client - making it appear that there was overreach by the prosecutor.

      Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

      by kbman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:24:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I just finished reading The New Jim Crow... (8+ / 0-)

      a couple of weeks ago. The things that prosecuters do, particularly to minorities in minor drug cases is outrageous. They will leave them sitting in jail on trumped up charges, because they can't afford bail, and wait until they are finally ready to plead guilty to some of the charges. It's disgusting and it happens every day in this country.

      I highly recommend the book for those interested in the drug war and how we ended up with over 2 million people in our for profit prisons. Most of whom are black and latino.

      Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

      by reflectionsv37 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 02:51:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It Is Sad (5+ / 0-)

        I mentioned in another comment here I got a DUI years ago. Dumb thing. Terrible thing. But you know I was actually guilty. Before this I'd never even really had a parking ticket. I don't break the law.

        I made this huge mistake, that as a citizen the criminal justice system just worked for you or me. That I was guilty and I would say that.

        I did. Wrong ansewer.

        They screwed me.

        I had to go to court a few times. What I often saw were lower income people, often black, that got into the system and they couldn't get out of it.

        It was painful to watch ....

        When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

        by webranding on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 03:03:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Been there, done that! (6+ / 0-)

          I pleaded no contest. The result was the same. That was 25 years ago and that misstep cost me about $10K by the time all the fines, classes and  insurance premium increases were factored in.

          It's virtually impossible for a lower income person to get a fair and just trial. They can't afford an attorney on their own and appointed attorneys are only interested in getting you to plead guilty to something, anything to finish your case. Once you have that conviction, it goes downhill from there. There really are 2 sets of laws in this country. One for the wealthy and well connected, another set for the rest of us.

          Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

          by reflectionsv37 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 03:15:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Jury nullification can work. Kinda like the ant (12+ / 0-)

    in the song "High Hopes".

    FYI, in Canada, criminal law is enacted by the
    Federal Government and enforced by Provincial governments.

    Back in the '70s the government of Quebec was persecuting Henry Morgentaler, a doctor who provided abortions.  Abortions were illegal in Canada then and Morgentaler was charged three separate times .  The jury acquitted each time.   The first acquittal was overturned by the Quebec Court of Appeal which substituted a conviction.  Outrage ensued across the country.  The Parliament of Canada passed a law that Courts of Appeal could no longer substitute a conviction for an acquittal (although they could overturn an acquittal and order a new trial).  

    After an election in Quebec won by the Parti Québécois, the government stopped charging Dr. Morgentaler.  After the issue went to it several times, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that the existing law was too vague and gave the Federal Government a year or so (?), to pass a new law, failing which the old law would be overturned.  In about 1984, the government of Brian Mulroney passed a new law in the House of Commons.  It needed to get a majority in the Senate as well but the vote was tied and the new law was dead.  (How that happened is a great story in itself.)

    We still do not have legislation in Canada criminalizing abortion even though some of Stephen Harper's troglodytes would like to change that .  Harper knows that kill his political future and that of his party.  IMO not gonna happen.

    We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

    by Observerinvancouver on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:09:21 PM PST

  •  bad, rightwing idea (9+ / 0-)

    The idea has been popular on the far right -- such as tax protesters and theocratic antiabortion activists for a long time.  (I wrote about this in my 1997 book Eternal Hostility:  The Struggle between Theocracy and Democracy.)   The Tea Party folks would love being able to set aside whatever laws they don't like.

    As much as reform of marijuana laws is long overdue, jury nullification is a false hope for a get out of jail free card. It won't work.  It was was briefly adopted by the anti-nuclear movement. It never withstood the courts.

    •  Howard Zinn promoted Jury Nullification.... (13+ / 0-)

      ....it's a tactic for an outcome; not the whole enchilada

      This space for rent -- Cheap!

      by jds1978 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:23:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just because wingers use it doesn't make it bad (10+ / 0-)

      A person's domain over their own conscious is an inherent right. People will get high, regardless of those ridiculous contraband laws from the early 1900s.

      Nullification is an important safety valve when dealing with the Iron Law of drug war Institutions.

      "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

      by Crider on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:43:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The idea is not right wing (12+ / 0-)

      It has been employed by some on the right to try to achieve various ends, but that does not make the tactic itself right wing. It only works in cases where there is broad public rejection of the laws in question. It hasn't been successful for anti-abortionists or tax protestors because they are minority positions considered to be somewhat fringe.

      Just five years ago I would have agreed that support for pot legalization was a minority position and somewhat fringe. I no longer believe that. And I also fail to see how this can be overturned by the courts. We are guaranteed the right to a trial by a jury of our peers. Those juries are the ones who get to decide, not the judges, not the prosecutors, not the court system. There are also laws against double-jeopardy. Once the jury acquits, that's the end of the case.

      (BTW - I rec'd your comment because I generally rec comments in my diaries, not because I agree with you.)

      Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

      by kbman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:48:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The idea is rightwing (0+ / 0-)

        where it enjoys far greater currency than in any precinct of the left. Particularly among the farthest elements of the right. Do your homework. This is a very bad idea, and one that I will work to oppose should it gain any traction.

        •  You need to think more about what you are saying (17+ / 0-)

          Jury nullification has been around for centuries. It is not some new idea cooked up by the right wing. You might just as well be claiming that ballot initiatives are right wing ideas because they are a tactic which has been used by those on the right.

          I'd suggest that you do YOUR homework and stop being so arrogant regarding your opinions. I respect much of what you have written regarding the religious whackos in this country, but on this topic you are simply wrong.  Was it a right wing idea in the 1850's when juries in the north refused to convict people for assiting runaway slaves? Was it a right wing idea in the 1760's when American colonists refused to convict people for violating the King's edicts?

          You are confusing tactics with ideology. Ideology can be right wing, left wing, or otherwise. Tactics are just means of achieving an end, and can be used by people regardless of their ideology. I strongly oppose the idea of rejecting a tactic simply because bad people have also used it. We might as well reject using the internet for organizing - after all, Stormfront.

          Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

          by kbman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 02:45:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have to agree with kbman (10+ / 0-)

            tho' I have great respect for Frederick. I believe that FC is confusing tactics with ideology in this case.

            "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

            by high uintas on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 02:48:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Good argument. However ... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            reflectionsv37, kbman, ER Doc, gerrilea

            isn't an effort to overturn federal law a better strategy? I agree with your argument that jury nullification is not inherently right-wing; however, it is a double-edged sword.

            I also agree with your view that pot legalization is not a fringe position any longer. If that's the case though, then a national education campaign should emphasize changing federal law rather than jury nullification, no?

            Interesting post.  Tipped and rec'd.

            •  Many of us have been trying... (7+ / 0-)

              for 40 years or more to change the law. I'm now optimistic that it will happen before I die. I didn't feel that way a few years ago.

              Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

              by reflectionsv37 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 03:02:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'd be interested in learning about the (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kbman, reflectionsv37

                historical justification for making weed illegal to begin with. I'm admittedly completely ignorant about the history of marijuana legislation in this country. Perhaps if people knew more about why it's illegal, maybe they'd feel the reasons are anachronistic.

                •  You might appreciate reading Jack Herer's (5+ / 0-)

                  The Emperor Wears No Clothes. You can download a free PDF copy from this site.

                  Very, very condensed version ...

                  Vested interests with money faced competition from hemp. By use of propaganda and a fear-based campaign - the movie Reefer Madness was a part of it - they were able to get the government to make it illegal.

                  Biggest bad guys - William Randolf Hearst who owned forests and pulp mills to make the paper for his newspapers, and DuPont chemical company who had just developed synthetic fibers - polyester, etc. In both cases, their products were not able to compete with hemp. Hemp was cheaper to grow and process into fibers than synthetic, petroleum-based fibers were to manufacture. And with new technology that had been developed, hemp was about to take over the newsprint industry. Most legislators had no idea that they were banning hemp, just some drug that blacks and Mexicans used. (Yes, there was a great deal of racism involved in the smearing of cannabis as well.) Doctors were also taken by surprise when they discovered that the evul marijuana was actually the cannabis that they had used for a variety of illnesses.

                  Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

                  by kbman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:10:02 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Those efforts are ongoing, as they are at the (8+ / 0-)

              state level. The effect of using JN to fight back is to give incentive to the legislators to get off their asses and do the right thing. Alcohol prohibition ended largely because it wasn't supported by the majority of the people and engendered a broader disrespect for the law. We are now in that situation regarding pot. Unfortunately, there are many special interests who are vested in the status quo and who have been freely spending to keep things the way they are. Congress has shown repeatedly that they only will do the right thing if there's money in it for them, and will often do the wrong thing for the same reason.

              Another effect of using JN to fight back is that it immediately restores justice for those unfortunate enough to get caught up in the legal system over drugs. This is especially important in the legalization states. For the legalization mechanisms to work, there must be a legal, taxable source of supply. And if the feds can successfully shut them down, they can force people who want pot to deal in the black market - making them criminals at the state level once again.

              Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

              by kbman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 03:17:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  its an ideological matter (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marina, KenBee, Remembering Jello

            not a tactical one. And it has everything to do with the rule of law and nothing to do with the internet.

            Open that rightwing populist door, and there will be many unintended consequences.

            I have, in fact, done my homework.  In light of your belligerence, I will withdraw from further, conversation, but I invite you to consider that the leading organization promoting jury nullification is the Fully Informed Jury Association, which the Southern Poverty Law Center reports is funded by a very, very  far right figure named James McCrink (who has bankrolled neo-Nazi groups as well as contemporary secular and religious right organizations like the American Family Association).

            On the front page of FIJA's web site is an article promoting a book by Christian Reconstructionist Edwin Vieira, excerpted from a review on at "AmmoLand.com" (and in turn, was reprinted from the far right outfit Oathkeepeers.)  Vieira's book promotes the Christian Reconstructionist notions of state militias. (Those have been around since the Revolution too.)

            It only took me a few minutes to find (based on my own considerable prior research in this area) these things so I could show you that this is happening in a context. And the promotion of jury nullification has serious implications which  I hope you and others who happen on this comment will consider.

            P.S.  Google is your friend.

            •  You are still talking in the same circles you've (7+ / 0-)

              been talking in the whole time. You claim that it is ideological because of the ideology of those who are currently using it. You ignore the history of its use in fighting against truly unjust laws, and focus solely on the folks with whom you are in ideological battle.

              I assure you that those on the right will be promoting this for their causes, regardless of what is done by those of us who have been fighting against the unjust drug laws for the past 3 decades or more. I assure you this is the case because it is what they do. Promoting the use of this tactic to fight back against the drug war does not significantly strengthen their position. It introduces the concept to a different population, one which is not all that likely to sign on to racial superiority, anti-homosexuality, or other right wing authoritarian memes. AND this is a key point. By and large, right wingers are authoritarian followers. Their use of JN is not so much to reject authority as it is to reject authority aimed at promoting what they perceive to be liberal ideas. The use of JN in the legalization context is one which rejects authoritarianism in general. Those willing to use JN in a pot case are not likely to justify its use in service of right wing causes - with the exception of the hard-core libertarians who are mostly really just Republicans who smoke pot.

              Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

              by kbman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 03:42:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Promoting this (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                marina

                only legitimizes the tactic, and those who want to do a lot of things with it you have not even considered. You do not operate in a vacuum.

                I might add that the Wikipedia article mentioned elsewhere in this thread is flagged up to as disputed, and is sourced largely to the Fully Informed Jury Association.

                I am dealing in facts. You are just, well, blowing smoke.

                •  The tactic IS legitimate. (6+ / 0-)

                  Otherwise there would just be judges determining guilt or innocence. And if the Reconstructionists were to ever take power you can bet that jury trials will be a thing of the past. They may try to fool people by providing the appearance of a jury trial, but the results will be determined by those in charge, not the jury.

                  This gets to a major point that you are missing here.  Right wingers, and especially religious right wingers, are almost always authoritarian followers - it is their mindset. They support Jury Nullification only to the degree that it helps them win their ideological battles. You call this a right wing idea, but in its essence it is the opposite. It is civil disobedience in the tradition of Thoreau - opposing the power of the state to impose unjust laws and punishments. Much of recorded history is about the struggle between those who wish to impose rule from above and those who chafe under said rule. It is VERY LIBERAL to oppose arbitrary authoritarian decrees. At the core of democracy is the very liberal idea that we should have the freedom to choose the rules of our society, not be dictated to by religious or secular figures of power. And as society evolves over time, the rules we choose also evolve.

                  Not so long ago it was legal to punish gays simply for acting on their personal desires. Do you feel it was inappropriate for jury members in that era to ignore the laws and presented facts to find defendants not guilty? This is another case where society is ahead of legislators. The drug laws in general are very unjust and have, in and of themselves, engendered a disrespect for the rule of law. They have turned US LEO's into the enemies of much of the population - because their job is to enforce unpopular and unjust laws. The laws need to change. And in the meantime, people need to stop being fed into the prison-industrial-complex.

                  And while these people you mention may have many things they wish to do with JN, that doesn't mean that they have the broad-based support needed to make it work. Regardless of what they want, they still can't go out and kill an abortion provider and expect to get off because of jury nullification. There may be a small segment of the population who would never convict them, but not a large enough number that they can't easily be screened out during voir dire.

                  Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

                  by kbman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:06:39 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  like I said (0+ / 0-)

                    You are operating in a blissfully fact free zone.  

                    I would guess that you are relying on FIJA propaganda and don't even know it.  Jury nullification is a non-starter to help reform marijuana laws and protect people against unjust prosecutions.  IMO -- this effort will only support the far, very far, right.

                    •  Nice argument ... (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Liberal Thinking, gerrilea

                      This is what I meant about your arrogance. You seem to believe that just because you proclaim something to be so, that it is. You have not offered a single argument to refute what I have written - especially in regards to how jury nullification relates to authoritarianism. You have simply proclaimed and re-proclaimed your opinion while claiming that I am the one who knows nothing and you are the all-wise authority on the subject. In this sense, you are as much an authoritarian as those you battle on the right. You just want a different group of authorities in control. Heaven forbid someone should QUESTION that authority ... or CHALLENGE it. For that is exactly what jury nullification is about.

                      Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

                      by kbman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:17:46 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  the authoritarian, is you (0+ / 0-)

                        And a violator of the rules of logic to boot. Your facts are by assertion, yours and yours alone.

                        I am saying that the main source of interest in and beneficiary of the promotion of jury nullification is the far right, something I do know something about and have done research on this very point. I even provided you with some relevant links.  Clearly, you have not done any of this kind of research or you would have some facts other than an irrelevant speech about authoritarianism. Like the Tea Party, you can say its all about freedom and challenging tyranny or authority, but you have no facts in support of your view -- and get angry and call people names when they point it out.  

                        I am sorry to say that you epitomize part of my concern about all this. You appear to be becoming what you say that you oppose.  I hope you can think your way out of this box. There is nothing progressive or freedom loving about this pointless effort. You are playing into the hands of some pretty fearsome reactionaries. Best of luck to you, and to us all.

                        •  This is just more of the same Frederick (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Liberal Thinking, gerrilea

                          You claim to be an authority by virtue of your research and expect that alone to be enough to "prove" you are right. Furthermore, your inability to understand how this relates to authoritarianism and authoritarian followers does not make what I wrote irrelevant. Read "The Authoritarians." Read "Conservatives Without Conscience." Read some of Riane Eisler's work on authoritarianism - I recommend "Sacred Pleasure."

                          You early on referred to my belligerence. You may wish to look back at how you entered this diary. You came in proclaiming the truth and telling us to straighten up and fly right - VERY AUTHORITARIAN. I don't claim to have truth, I have arguments in support of how I view this topic, but I don't presume to hold absolute truth. You do. Every one of your comments is dripping with the certainty of the true-believer. You know what is right and I'm just too fucking dumb to get it. Got it!

                          Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

                          by kbman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:49:32 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I just have a few facts (0+ / 0-)

                            that you clearly know nothing about, and it makes you uncomfortable. I hope you will consider what I have shown you when you get over your cognitive dissonance.   I hope you will reconsider your "tactic" in light of what I have shown you.  A little more research will certainly turn up much more that I think might give you pause.

                             

                          •  The facts you have presented do not prove what (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            gerrilea

                            you claim. On an ontological level you are confusing a process with a belief system. You also continue to make assertions regarding me for which you have no basis other than conjecture ... It makes me uncomfortable, it makes me angry, etc. I'm not at all uncomfortable in this conversation. I DO feel that you have been rather dickish in how you've chosen to interact in my diary - rather arrogant and condescending, but that is my personal opinion and I recognize that.

                            I understand what you are saying, I just disagree that it even rises to the level of being an argument. I have rejected your claims of guilt by association by which you attempt to smear JN. It is simply not a logical argument, yet it seems to be all you have. If you DID have a good grasp of authoritarianism you might have a chance to understand my perspective, but it is clear that you do not.

                            We are not in any danger of right wingers achieving their goals via JN because they simply do not have the numbers to pull it off. How many of the no-tax crowd have succeeded in using JN? How many in the anti-abortion crowd? They may WANT to use this tactic, but if the great majority of the public support the laws that they are targeting then they have no chance of success. In the case of the war against marijuana, a majority of the public DO believe these laws are unjust and unsupportable by logic or conscience. They have friends and relatives who are pot smokers. They know that it is not a horrible, evil drug that needs to be kept out of the hands of everyone.

                            Meanwhile, you came in proclaiming that this was all right wing ideology, and that it can never work. Pure assertions with nothing behind them other than your false guilt-by-association argument and claims of having written about it in a book 15 years ago. Tell me, in those 15 years, have the righties actually been able to pull off any victories over the criminal justice system by using JN? Or is it just possible that your concerns, while valid in theory, have been perhaps a bit overstated? On the marijuana front there actually HAVE been successes using JN, yet you claim it is a false hope, etc. I think it might do you well to reconsider your opinions on this topic given the actual facts.

                            Something else that your analysis apparently ignores is the fact that right wingers tend to be very attached to law and order and adherence to the rule of law - much more than liberals. They will support bad laws because they are the law. They will commit atrocities if they are assured by those in sufficient levels of authority that their actions are sanctioned by the powers that be. And because of this character trait of righties, it is far more of a chore for their leaders to even get them to consider something like JN. Yes, their leaders my be all gung ho for it, but that doesn't mean that they have a chance at succeeding.

                            Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

                            by kbman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:57:14 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I offered the facts (0+ / 0-)

                            and I provided the links. Use them as you will.  Maybe when, after a few days you think about it again, you will take the time to take a look at what I have provided and follow the leads. Seems like the least you could do if you care about the values you state more than an egotistical attachment to a certain idea.  There are plenty of good ideas out there. All we have to do is find them.

                            As you know, I believe going ahead with your project will play right into the hands of the far right, including the theocrats I have studied and who are at least as enthusiastic as you are about JN. And yes, I do know a lot about the far right. But you can check in with others. They are not hard to find.

                            I am pretty sure you do not want to become what you oppose, or unwittingly provide opportunities for the far right to advance its agenda. So I would guess that like other any reasonable person, you will check it out. But of course, I have been wrong before.

                          •  You're a broken record Frederick (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            gerrilea

                            arguing with you is just like arguing with the fundies. You have your beliefs and, by GOD, they're the RIGHT beliefs!

                            Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

                            by kbman on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 12:12:55 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You offered "guilty by association"...n/t (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            kbman

                            -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                            by gerrilea on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 12:59:38 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And that is pretty much all he offered over and (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            gerrilea

                            over ... with extra links too! But I'm the one who had a logic fail ... Perhaps if I think this all over I will finally stop being so fucking stupid.

                            Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

                            by kbman on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 10:19:19 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ahem ... logical fallacies (0+ / 0-)
                            A logical fallacy is a false or incorrect logical principle. An argument that is based upon a logical fallacy is therefore not valid.

                            ...

                            "Even when all of the premises of an argument are reliably true, the argument may still be invalid if the logic employed is not legitimate – a so-called logical fallacy. The human brain is a marvelous machine with capabilities that, in some ways, still outperform the most powerful of super computers. Our brains, however, do not appear to have evolved specifically for precise logic. There are many common logical pitfalls that our minds tend to fall into, unless we are consciously aware of these pitfalls and make efforts to avoid them. "

                            Argument from authority

                            The basic structure of such arguments is as follows: Professor X believes A, Professor X speaks from authority, therefore A is true. Often this argument is implied by emphasizing the many years of experience, or the formal degrees held by the individual making a specific claim. The converse of this argument is sometimes used, that someone does not possess authority, and therefore their claims must be false. (This may also be considered an ad-hominen logical fallacy – see below.)

                            In practice this can be a complex logical fallacy to deal with. It is legitimate to consider the training and experience of an individual when examining their assessment of a particular claim. Also, a consensus of scientific opinion does carry some legitimate authority. But it is still possible for highly educated individuals, and a broad consensus to be wrong – speaking from authority does not make a claim true.

                            The fallacy of guilt by association
                            The typical structure of an argument that incorporates the guilt-by-association fallacy is something along the lines of:

                                Person X supports idea I.
                                Person X is bad (or believes bad things).
                                Therefore, idea I is bad.

                            A more real world example of this might be:

                                Social security is a state funded old age pension.
                                Nazis supported state funded old age pensions.
                                Therefore, social security is bad.

                            As noted previously, you have yet to offer any argument that is valid. The weakness of your position has been pointed out to you by several persons in the comments, as has the invalidity of your "arguments" ...  And you have the gall to claim that I am the one with faulty logic.

                            Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

                            by kbman on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 12:15:31 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

        •  I don't see how you have any chance... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kbman, codairem, ER Doc, Liberal Thinking

          of "fighting" this. Information is power and if people know this is an option many will choose to do so. I know I would never vote to convict someone on a marijuana charge, but I've known about jury nullification for a long time.

          Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

          by reflectionsv37 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 02:55:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  What do you mean "it never withstood the courts"? (7+ / 0-)

      I read Eternal Hostility, and I'm sorry to say I don't remember your argument there against jury nullification.  To me calling it a "right-wing idea" is like calling freedom of religion a right-wing idea.  Just because the right wing squawks loudest about some thing doesn't make it a bad idea.

      •  Its in there (0+ / 0-)

        I happen to have my book right here and spent three pages (157-159) discussing how Christian Reconstructionists planned to use jury nullification to, to quote Gary North,"to nullify the ability of civil government to impose God defying laws on our fellow citizens."   And there were active efforts to use jury nullification as part of the wider attack on abortion rights, going on at the time.  

        One can make an argument, as the diarist has, that such "tactics" might work in marijuana cases. But what I am hearing is an utter failure to consider the obvious risks of severe unintended consequences, and maybe winning a few battles only to lose the war.  

        In another comment, I offered several relevant links that I would urge you to check out regarding the far right's involvement in and I daresay leadership on this matter.  Or just check out the web site of the Fully Informed Jury Association. Couldn't hurt to look into it a bit now would it?

        •  Thanks for the reference. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kbman

          But I still don't know what you mean by "[JN] never withstood the courts".  Also it looks like the Christian Reconstructionists' plans didn't work out.

            The bottom line is, JN is the law of the land. Using it to win a few battles strikes me as quite a good idea. If the enemy could use it to win the war, they would have done so already.

          •  and you know this, how? (0+ / 0-)

            The war is long and the opposition is strong and resourceful.  The ethos of this diarist is willful ignorance and a certain yahooism. You are the only person who has even expressed an interest in what I am talking about here.  I maintain actual knowledge of the formidable opposition is not only worthwhile, but necessary.

            This diarist epitomizes a lot of what goes wrong in our public life. People who fancy themselves to be "strategists" have no idea who and what they are up against, and shout down anyone who does.  I've seen it happen too often, and not just to me.

            There is nothing I can do or say here that will make any difference. Fortunately, I have other fish to fry.

            •  If you want knowledge of the opposition then I (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              codairem

              strongly recommend that you read up on Dr. Altemeyer's work on authoritarianism. Considering your interest in the extreme religious right, to not have a solid understanding of the nature of authoritarian followers strikes me as the epitome of willful ignorance. The information is out there, available for free, it is directly relevant to the topic, yet you remain blissfully in the dark.

              Meanwhile, you continue to insult me and call me names. Yahooism? Really? I'm a brutish, crass, stupid person? Wow. Your arrogance is well beyond what I had previously thought. I have lost any and all respect I may have had for you Frederick. You have either ignored what I have written, or are exceedingly obtuse. I'm not sure which. I really don't care at this point.

              BTW - I lived in Maryland during the Michael Bray trial. I know full well the people of whom you speak and the ways they attempted to subvert justice. What you fail to see, and have consistently failed to see throughout these comments, is that the use of JN by us on the left will have minimal impact on these efforts by those on the right - for the same reason that the "defenders of defenders of life" failed. Their ideas are too fringe to have enough support for JN to have any hope of working, and their followers are hardwired to defer to authority figures like judges.

              The right wing radical fringe believes that JN is a workable strategy only because they have a false impression of the popularity of their ideas - after all everyone they talk to agrees with them. You fear it may be a workable strategy because you have an insufficient understanding of the obedient nature of their followers.  You are both wrong. And considering the 30+ years that I have been fighting the moralists on the marijuana front, I'm not about to reject this approach simply because of your irrational fears or their irrational hopes.

              Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

              by kbman on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 12:50:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Also, you still haven't responded to the OP ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              codairem
              But I still don't know what you mean by "[JN] never withstood the courts".  Also it looks like the Christian Reconstructionists' plans didn't work out.
              Just because you assert it doesn't make it so. Tell us, how exactly did JN not withstand the courts? And speaking of logical fails, if JN actually didn't withstand the courts then what are you so damned worried about? If it's such a sucky tactic that it will never work for marijuana legalization - something that has roughly 50% support nationwide - then how in the hell is it going to work for the Reconstructionists with their whopping couple of percent of the population? Seriously. Your entire argument in this diary has been a poorly thought out knee-jerk reaction which has made little sense, but has made up for its lack of intellectual rigor by its amount of arrogance and condescension.

              Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

              by kbman on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 01:42:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  it was used against the fugitive slave act (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kbman

      and prohibition too. i wouldn't consider it right wing so much as anti-state. both left and right politics have moments when they oppose the state, or some aspect of the established legal establishment. the difference lies not in the attitude towards establishments so much as the specific issues that one tends to oppose the state on.

  •  New Hampshire leads the way (19+ / 0-)

    NH recently legalized informing jurors of their right to nullify unjust laws.  

    When the solution is simple, God is answering. Albert Einstein

    by Carol in San Antonio on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:13:02 PM PST

  •  Thanks for getting the word here, kbman. (11+ / 0-)

    Some of us could need it any day! I think that approach would even work in Arkansas, because medical marijuana was only defeated by two percent in November. Earlier, a prison reform bill had lowered sentencing recommendations for up to four ounces from a felony to misdemeanor.

    Jury nullification. Jury nullification. Jury nullification. Jury nullification. Jury nullification.

    Must remember!

    PS

    Do you know if the jury has to be unanimous?

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:13:36 PM PST

  •  I would love to see more Americans have legal (10+ / 0-)

    access to a variety of medical marijuana products that help alleviate the symptoms of a variety of conditions and diseases.

    I just want to bang my head against something when I think of all the poor people out there, needlessly hooked on nasty, synthetic opioids, that can damage their livers and kidneys and cause all sorts of other problems including addiction.

    Why do we put people through that? So many strains of MJ now have low THC content but with other active chemical constituents that can help with chronic pain, anxiety and even seizures.

    WTF is wrong with this culture?

  •  Not sure this is a good idea (4+ / 0-)

    because up until this diary, the only people I've heard mention the words Jury Nullification have been Tenthers. They promote the technique as a way of "liberating" the states from "Federal Oppression" AKA Obamacare and the AWB (if it passes). They even invoke it to claim the State's "right" to criminalize gay people.
    And they are pushing JN bills in several states.
    Is that something that we want to endorse?
    It MIGHT work for us in cases like this but it WILL be used against us, if it becomes accepted.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:21:06 PM PST

    •  I suspect it already HAS been used against us. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kbman, lurkyloo, marina

      "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

      by pengiep on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:32:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Jury nullification only works if the public is (10+ / 0-)

      decidedly against the law in question. If a position is held by a relatively small minority, they can be identified through voir dire and removed from a jury pool. The fact that it is being promoted as a tactic among those on the right does not mean that it should be rejected as a tactic by those on the left.

      There is an extremely long history of JN in the USA, going back to before we even were the USA. To the degree that people believe laws to be just, they support them. Many people no longer believe that our criminal justice system is just. And in cases such as the drug war in which the politicians are reluctant to enact the will of the people, this is one of the time-tested means for the people to respond. I believe there is fairly widespread support for the ACA and AWB. These are also not situations which would typically involve criminal charges against private individuals.

      Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

      by kbman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:43:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Along with JN we should also push for (12+ / 0-)

    simply taking marijuana off the list of schedule 1 narcotics list. It doesn't belong there.

    "Too much. There's too much fucking perspective now." David St. Hubbins

    by nellgwen on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:53:23 PM PST

  •  Wikipedia has an article on Jury nullification: (10+ / 0-)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Something to keep in mind if you're ever on a jury.  Just don't brag about knowing about it.

    This is a legitimate power that jurors have. Of course, it is not relevant in most trials.  Marijuana cases are an exception.

  •  This what needs to happen across the... (7+ / 0-)

    entire country. It only takes one individual out of 12 to stand up and take that stand. I know for certain that I would never, ever vote to convict someone of a marijuana charge.

    I hope this diary gets to the top of the rec list and stays there for a couple days. If enough people see this, the justice department may never get another conviction.

    This is a tool that truly puts justice in the hands of the people and it's time we start using it.

    If the justice department loses enough of these cases, who knows, they might actually try using their "limited resources" to go after real criminals like bankers.

    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    by reflectionsv37 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 02:35:59 PM PST

  •  Coming soon to a courtroom near you: (0+ / 0-)

    OK, well, this will be coming to a courtroom near me:

     - Jury nullification of Possession Of An Unregistered Firearm.

     - Jury nullification of Possession Of A High Capacity Magazine.

  •  I remember in the 1980s a big movement to make (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kbman, Liberal Thinking, KenBee

    jury nullification better know, and even pass an amendment requiring judges to inform jurors about it (Fully Informed Jury Amendment, FIJA).  Under Clinton and especially after 9/11 the forces of conformity took the upper hand, and, in my subjective observation at least, jury nullification became taboo -- judges would hold in contempt of court jurors who informed their peers about it, and so on.

    I sure hope the tide will turn.  Jury nullification is how the US became independent of England: if it weren't for that, the dissidents (aka patriots) to whom we owe independence would have been killed or received long sentences for their acts of civil disobedience and for their "treason".

  •  Sloppy comment there by the Drug Czar. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, kbman, Liberal Thinking

    Within a year, the state of Washington is going to be a major producer and distributor of marijuana, it was explicitly written into the law that was voted on in the referendum. What is he going to do? Prosecute them?

    Repeal the 2nd amendment.

    by Calouste on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 04:02:16 PM PST

  •  Not arguing with the concept (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kbman

    ..but there may be some martyrs in jail before sanity finally wins.

    Plead not guilty and go to trial and get found guilty anyway and judges are prone to throwing the book at you.

  •  Jury nullification requires two parts to work. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kbman, Liberal Thinking

    1.  People who are arrested and charged with marijuana-related "crimes" have to be convinced to have enough faith in their fellow citizens to take it to trial rather than accepting plea deals.

    2.  Awareness of jury nullification as it pertains to marijuana must be widespread enough in a given jurisdiction that there's a good chance of at least one juror nullifying a verdict.

    The first part is trickier, because people would be risking heftier financial penalties, probation sentences, or even jail time if they go for it and fail.  If pleading guilty would result in small penalties, most people wouldn't see a compelling cost/benefit case to fight it.  

    So I would recommend that activists seek out people who have been charged with marijuana possession - even at the lowest levels - and ask them to fight it even if they're clearly guilty of the "crime."  Nullification would be most effective at this level rather than at the level of large-scale trials over production and distribution, since it's harder to relate to the business side of the issue.

    What unregulated markets really do: Make you justify your existence to the rich.

    by Troubadour on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 05:55:45 PM PST

    •  Except that in states where voters have chosen (7+ / 0-)

      legalization, there should be a great deal of sympathy for those who the state has authorized to grow and distribute as part of the laws they enacted. It would seem like a no-brainer convincing jurors in these circumstances to vote Not Guilty.

      "The state authorized me to grow pot to supply the legal market agreed upon by you, the citizens of this state. Now the federal government is trying to take away my freedom for doing what I was authorized by YOU to do. It is now up to YOU to make this right by not allowing them to take my freedom."

      A few years back there was a high profile case against a grower in California who was found guilty by a jury. When jurors later discovered that he was growing for patients and was compliant with state law, they were livid that the information was withheld from them. A number of them stated that had they known all the facts they would never have voted for a guilty verdict.

      link

      Ed Rosenthal was convicted of growing marijuana in a San Francisco federal courthouse in January of 2003. Ed was a large grower of marijuana for the medical marijuana dispensaries in California. The trial court judge, Charles Breyer, refused to allow the defense to make any mention of the fact that Ed was growing marijuana for medical use. This, in spite of the fact that Ed was licensed under State law, and deputized by the city of Oakland, to do exactly what he was doing.

      ...

      What happened following the conviction was virtually unprecedented. At least half the jurors (and both alternates) held a press conference on the steps of the federal courthouse the week following their verdict, proclaiming that if they had known that Ed's was a medical marijuana case, they would not have convicted him.

      The jurors appeared on televised news shows. The juror's rebellion was fodder for TV and radio talk shows, news reports, print articles, and, of course, the internet. Why were they so angry? If the jurors had been informed that this was a medical marijuana case, they would not have convicted. The foreman of the jury, Charles Sackett, said that "I think jury nullification is going to be part of the answer regarding states' rights in future cases."

      "What happened was a travesty and it's unbelievable, unbelievable that this man was convicted. I am just devastated," said juror Marney Craig.

      Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

      by kbman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:42:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do federal trials use jurors from all over the US? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kbman

        If they only use jurors from those states, then yeah, it could be unenforceable to go after anyone.  But if they can use juries from anywhere, that would be a problem.

        How can it be a "free" market if you're forced to work for it?

        by Troubadour on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:01:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, federal jury pools are drawn from the regions (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Troubadour, gerrilea, KenBee

          from uscourts.gov

          Were you summoned to federal jury service?

          Each district court summons eligible citizens within the local area. You must contact your local district court website to fill out a Juror Qualifications Questionnaire online or contact your local district court for questions about jury service.

          Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

          by kbman on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 12:10:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ah, then it should be unenforceable. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kbman

            No way they get convictions against marijuana growers and distributors in states that have legalized marijuana.  No way they get a jury without single nullification holdout.  And if it goes mistrial, same thing with the next jury.  They'll get tired of losing cases at some point.

            How can it be a "free" market if you're forced to work for it?

            by Troubadour on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 12:24:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  feds going after zip tie program registry (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kbman

            in Mendocino county, county reaching money limit on defense lawyer budget, expected to fold.

            this could be a perfect test case should feds raid those on that list..and they will do a couple of high profile raids, as they have to show the flag as it were....

            the problem is that there are no simple possession charges filed by locals da's it seems all are 'intent to sell' and 'possession of a gun in commission of a crime' ( often a shotgun only..) and cash confiscated. pleas are usually/often probation and loss of cash...but usually those aren't for a joint or two, but a small house grow over the well publicized 'limit' that the da will charge for. lesson: no cash, no guns, no turkey baster bags, no scale, small grow, don't be a dick so as to get neighbors annoyed...even then it happens by some self righteous asshole complainant...motivated by whatever motivates complainers in this environment.

            feds however, when they do anything, it's a big deal, many charges...so hard to find a simple possession case...altho as someone said here, help[s the lea position to have JN protestors marching in front of the jury pool house/courtroom, and activists putting ads in local papers.

            would like to see this idea followed up with real cases here in norcal.

            good work, keep it up!

            This machine kills Fascists.

            by KenBee on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 10:36:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I'm a big fan of nullification (5+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately, espousing knowledge of jury nullification out loud will tend to ensure you're never picked to be on any criminal trial jury.

    The courts absolutely hate the concept, and regardless of the solid legal precedents and moral imperatives, judges will subtly and not-so-subtly try to intimidate jurors by falsely claiming otherwise.

  •  I used... (7+ / 0-)

    jury nullification once in a high profile federal court case... The trick is to be as neutral as possible during voir dire... Use ambiguous answers... Don't let them pin you down... Speak in general terms... It worked for me... And I was the only person on the jury panel who nullified a conspiracy charge against the defendant... And do you know what?... The judge later complimented us on 'our' choice... Case closed...

  •  Stop Prohibition, Start Harm Reduction (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kbman

    Harm reduction is an approach to drug addiction where the addict is considered sick, not criminal.  

    As to marijuana, it is less harmful to society than tobacco or alcohol according to most studies.  There are consequences to using marijuana though, both short and long term.  Short term example:  I saw a guy pass out briefly one time from smoking strong weed at a concert (only time I've ever seen that though).  Long term:  fighting against a corrupt depraved system can be costly legally and personally for anti-drug war freedom fighters....

    Stop Prohibition, Start Harm Reduction

    by gnostradamus on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:41:27 PM PST

  •  I was talking with a judge recently... (9+ / 0-)

    I'm a lawyer, so I end up talking with judges sometimes in social situations.

    This judge was presiding over a pot case in Georgia. Pretty routine; seemed to have the guy dead to rights. Lousy defense. Not clear why the defendant bothered to take it to trial; might have been up against a "three strikes" law or something, so desperate.

    The prosecutor did a competent job--no screwups.

    The jury found him not guilty. The judge was amazed.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 09:16:47 PM PST

  •  I don't support this approach. (0+ / 0-)

    It seems that if you are arguing for a change in the law, then to use the tactic of refusing to apply the law undermines that argument, because it suggests that you don't really care about the law, and that the ends justify the means.

    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 10:17:34 PM PST

    •  I would suggest a different interpretation (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego, gerrilea, KenBee

      Given the history of pot prohibition in the US and the various power centers who are arrayed against legalization attempts, it has become clear that the traditional mechanisms of legislation are not up to the task of righting this wrong - at least on the federal level. The advances we've made in the past couple of decades have  been through a combination of direct citizen action via statewide ballot initiatives, and more recently, state legislatures. This has now brought about medical marijuana laws in 18 states plus the District of Columbia. Eight more states are currently considering medical marijuana in their legislatures. This is over half the states in the US which are home to well over half our population.  And yet,

      from procon.org

      Several states with legal medical marijuana have received letters from their respective United States Attorney's offices explaining that marijuana is a Schedule I substance and that the federal government considers growing, distribution, or possession of marijuana to be a federal crime regardless of the state laws. These letters have caused some states to delay or alter implementation of their medical marijuana programs.
       
      And now they're talking about messing with WA and CO for passing full legalization. Now, I think it is clear from all of the legal work that has been done since 1996 that those of us in the legalization movement care very much about the law. We want it changed and have worked towards that end. The only place we could affect change was in the states, and so that is what we did. You might as well say that the voters in CO and WA have no respect for the law because they voted to legalize something that the federal government says is illegal. And there is certainly some validity to THAT point of view. I'd say that those voters showed respect for the concept of law while also showing contempt for the federal laws.

      So what now? The feds are trying to cut legalization off at the knees by attacking the supply structures approved by state voters. Should those citizens simply take it? Should they defer to federal law and give up their stance on marijuana? Should they simply allow those who take on the responsibilities for growing and distribution as sanctioned by the state to simultaneously take on the risk of federal felony convictions for doing so? Is that an honorable path? Is it fair? Is it appropriate? If the feds choose to prosecute, what choice do they have? Jury nullification may be a poor substitute for legalization, but it can certainly help right some potential wrongs while also increasing pressure on the federal government to give up their whole disingenuous anti-marijuana facade, reschedule it or deschedule it, and let the states decide how to regulate its use.

      Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

      by kbman on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:57:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  again: Mendocino county zip tie medical mj grower (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kbman

        registry being subpoenaed by norcal us atty, the Fed.

        county resisting, holding out for how long?

        haven't checked recently, google it, but this is exactly what you are describing in your excellent comment here.

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 10:55:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  New Hampshire recently passed a law that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kbman, gerrilea, KenBee

    allows the defense council to inform the jury of the right of nullification. The Alaska house had such a law in committee in 2009, but that's as far as it went. The right to nullification is also known, disparagingly, as runaway jury. In my state instructions to jury are framed in such a way as to imply nullification is in fact illegal, or will lead to mistrial.

    •  Yes, intimidate people into compliance (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gerrilea, KenBee

      That seems to be all the rage in the so-called justice system.

      Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

      by kbman on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 12:04:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  so..back to the original guy: his posters (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kbman

        and visible campaign for JN was ok and he didn't get arrested for jury tampering or whatever heinous bs they can think of?

        have to read it again, but conclusion here is that this is what it will take: to poster, place ads, campaign visibly, invite arrest for informing the public of JN for the MJ possession charges....yet what about the problem growers, the ones who are a problem and gett ratted out by the community for being bad and or disruptive neighbors?

        what about the fools who fill rental housing with dangerous grows, ruining the house, have butane to make hash with (explosive) and the like...those with several hundred or even thousand plants grown on stolen or public land?

        the local ma and pa growers sometimes get swept up herte, this may help them, but it becomes a community tool in this form...maybe.
        hmmm.

           I think this JN may work best outside of areas with lots of growers, in areas where police are still stopping people for DWB and finding an ounce and the like, but they charge them..because they can, because they are 'supposed to' to keep control etc.

        maybe a follow up diary sometime? I think I am noticing a lack of much comment from actual lawyers here, both sides...dkos seems to have some :>

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 10:51:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Problem growers are a result of the legal status (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KenBee

          of pot. As long as it remains illegal there will be black market growers. I agree that there are problem cases, but overall, I'd rather let a bad grower get off than put a good grower in jail.

          And having looked into the current status of NJWeedman, things aren't all that favorable for him to be doing this project. He screwed the pooch on his probation terms and ended up getting locked up in NJ, may end up having to serve an 18 month term for simple possession - a conviction he had planned to appeal. And in answer to your initial question, no he did not get in any trouble for jury tampering. He was threatened with contempt of court and chose to STFU about JN at that point.

          If I had the funds for the project I'd take it on myself. Legalization is something about which I care passionately and have fought for off and on for 30 years or more, and the JN approach seems to be our best shot at bringing about change more rapidly.

          I'm curious as to how the feds would/will respond when they recognize that they can't get a pot conviction on the west coast. If they're already having problems in Georgia of all places, they are in trouble.

          Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

          by kbman on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 01:10:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  spouse was called for jury duty (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kbman, KenBee

    ... And it turned out to be a marijuana case. Boy, they really didn't like him. First of all, they don't like research scientists on jury cases. Then when they asked him if he realized that marijuana possession was a crime, he said "Not if it's medical marijuana" (legal in Michigan, sure I know it's still not legal federally). He eventually was turned down as a juror on a peremptory  challenge. Were we ever NOT surprised. But they had to call dozens of people even to make up a jury in our little rural county. (Some of y'all who read the Daily Bucket may know him as Dr. Arcadia.)

  •  5 reasons the feds won't mess with Washington (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kbman

    1. Boeing
    2. Microsoft
    3. Amazon.com
    4. CostCo
    5. Starbuck's

    These corporations wield a lot of economic and political power from Washington state on the federal government, and I don't think the clowns who run the specific federal departments that would do the work of the prosecution would be politically allowed to do anything to upset the applecart. Bluster, threaten, brag and hint, fine that's free, no harm no foul.  But action? No.

    For Colorado? Dunno,  I think they have a few mining companies and big cattle producers ... don't know how much flak they could throw up against the feds strong arming them.

    Ash-sha'b yurid isqat an-nizzam!

    by fourthcornerman on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 03:43:11 AM PST

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