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Jury Nullification | 16 Apr 2011

Jury nullifies felony pot charge, reduces to misdemeanor

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FIJA Activist Rich Angell reports from New Hampshire on the recent trial of Bob Constantine:

Jury nullifies felony pot charge, reduces to misdemeanor

There was little question about whether Robert ‘Bob’ Constantine actually grew marijuana on his property in rural Grafton, but the jurors failed to reach a verdict on the felony charge of manufacturing a ‘controlled substance’.

They opted instead for a lesser misdemeanor conviction. A full acquittal would have been best, of course, but considering the possible outcome, Bob and his friends consider it more of a lesser victory than a lesser defeat.

Bob represented himself, with a public defender at his side, appealing directly to the jurors, always forthright in his communication, always even keeled, and speaking from the heart.

His closing argument included a detailed explanation of the rights and responsibilities of jurors, such as:

1. Jurors are free to vote based on their conscience, and are the conscience of the community; they can vote not guilty if they feel the law is unjust, unfair, oppressive, or otherwise unacceptable;
2. Jurors do not have to come to a unanimous decision; any number of jurors who have reached a firm decision do not have to go with the majority, rather, they can hang the jury for retrial, or
3. Jurors can choose to convict for a lesser offence and/or a lesser punishment.

In Bob’s case, all three of the above saved him from a felony conviction. Instead, he will be serving 60 days in jail, paying a $1000 fine, and be subjected to probation.

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