Sharon Letts of The Arcata Eye gives her readers a lesson on jury nullification this week in an article on the local cannabis industry in Humboldt County, California.
So, what to do when supply and demand is high, the people are healing, the state says A-OK, but the feds say no-go?
The concept of jurors judging the law, as well as the facts, is called jury nullification, and is an important part of American jurisprudence and its history.
The best example of this occurred during the time of slavery, when those who aided in escape were tried under federal law for violation of the “Fugitive Slave Act.”
But when Northern jurors opposed to the law sat in judgment of these “criminals,” they would often acquit, even when defendants admitted guilt. Legal historians credit these cases with advancing the cause of abolition of slavery.
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