Fully Informed Jury Association

Are you fully informed about jury nullification?

FIJA in the News & Jury Nullification | 02 Oct 2012

Top Secret: You Can Nullify The Drug War


The following article, by Abel Tomlinson, was published in The Free Weekly in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on 27 September 2012. One note: jury nullification is explicitly acknowledged the Constitutions of 24 states, with the Constitutions of Georgia (Article I, Section 1), Indiana (Article 1, Section 19), Maryland (Declaration of Rights, Article 23, and Oregon (Article 1, Section 16) specifically guaranteeing the right to jury nullification in all criminal cases.

More information on state language on jury nullification can be found in our online Library. See the document entitled Current State Constitutional Authority for Jury Veto.

Top Secret: You Can Nullify The Drug War

Arkansas judges intentionally keep you ignorant through carefully crafted “jury instructions.” In an Arkansas jury trial, the judge will tell you the following:

“I instruct you on the law to be applied … You would deny the parties their right to a fair trial if you based your decision on something other than the law and evidence presented … or on some legal rule other than the ones I give you…So the basic principle is this: You are to decide this case fairly, based only on the evidence I allow to be presented in this courtroom and the law as instructed by me. You are not to consider information from any other source (Ark. Model Jury Instr. (November 2011).”

This jury instruction is very misleading, and it too deserves to be nullified as unjust. There is not one mention whatsoever about the very long history of jury nullification that traces beyond our nation’s founding. Furthermore, this instruction is a fear tactic of the highest degree to scare jurors into groveling at the feet of authority, as if the judge was King George.

Just as nullification helped end prohibition, it is now necessary for potential jurors everywhere to become informed and end the tyranny of the Drug War. Not only are we locking thousands upon thousands of peaceful humans in cages for victimless crime, but federal and state governments are now spending over $50 billion annually on a war that experts conclude has been a complete failure. The 2011 report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy explicitly finds: “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world …”

A 2011 Gallup poll found that 50 percent of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized. A recent National Law Journal poll also found 75 percent of Americans would act on their own beliefs of morality regardless of a judge’s jury instruction. Hence, it is now time to act. Paul Butler, a former federal prosecutor and law professor at George Washington University wrote in the New York Times:

“If you are ever on a jury in a marijuana case, I recommend that you vote “not guilty” — even if you think the defendant actually smoked pot, or sold it to another consenting adult. As a juror, you have this power under the Bill of Rights; if you exercise it, you become part of a proud tradition of American jurors who helped make our laws fairer.”

Click through for the entire article.