I just wanted to take a minute at the start of a new year to remind everyone about Jury Nullification. If you are ever on a jury, no court, judge, or even defense lawyer will ever tell you about your constitutional right to Just Say No.
That’s right. If you are a juror for someone who is accused of smoking marijuana, even if you are sure they are guilty you have the right to vote not guilty. Maybe because you think drug laws are stupid and that nobody should be thrown in jail and have their life ruined for smoking pot. That’s called jury nullification, because you are in effect nullifying the law.
The judge may even tell you that you have to vote purely on whether the defendant is guilty as charged. If so, the judge is lying, and he almost certainly knows he is lying.
What makes this an even more important issue is that there seems to be a campaign against jury nullification. Earlier this year a retired professor was charged with a crime for providing information about jury nullification outside a courthouse. If that is a crime, then I am probably breaking the same law by writing this post.