William Norman Grigg writes about the careless reaction of Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden when Grigg asked him at a public meeting about his attempt to put a 66-year-old woman in prison for 14 years for conscientiously acting as an independent, fully informed juror. Carol Asher was seated as a juror in a case in which .15 grams of meth were found in a company vehicle driven by the defendant. Asher and 3 other jurors voted to acquit, resulting in a hung jury. Afterward, a vindictive jury foreman reported her to the prosecutor who subsequently filed perjury charges against Asher. The charge was hastily dismissed by a judge after an evidentiary hearing, but not before costing Asher thousands of dollars to defend herself against a frivolous prosecution.
“Hi, my name is Larry Wasden,” explained the short, stocky man, flashing a politician’s practiced smile and extending a hand. “I’m the Attorney General.”
“Mr. Wasden, my name is Will Grigg,” I replied, shaking his hand. “Several years ago you tried to put a 66-year-old retired nun named Carol Asher in prison for fourteen years because she acted as a conscientious juror. Have you ever apologized to her for that abuse of discretion?”
This is an excellent article. Please click through to read it in its entirety.
While we do not dispense legal advice, we observe that jurors are not required to justify the reason for their votes when seated on a jury. There is no need to bring up the idea of jury nullification during deliberations, especially if others in the room seem hostile to the idea of independent jurors. If a juror is reported to the judge to be discussing nullification, she or he may be removed from the jury, depriving the defendant of a fully informed juror. Beyond that, she or he may be targeted for harassment and bullying from the government as in the case of Carol Asher. On the other hand, courts have ruled that a juror may not be removed for expressing doubt about the defendant’s guilt.