Fully Informed Jury Association

Are you fully informed about jury nullification?

Jury Nullification | 30 Sep 2013

-Push Back Against Drug War Profiteering with Jury Nullification


Cannabis Training University / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Cannabis Training University / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Morgan Walker reports on MSNBC.com on the sheer failure that is the United States’ 40-year war on drugs. The numbers document an incredible waste:
-more than $1 trillion of taxpayer earnings wasted
-37 million people incarcerated (and many more innocents’ lives destroyed because of that) for nonviolent drug offenses
-rate of drug use by high school students is virtually unchanged in 40 years and drug overdose rates are actually increased

So why, especially in this unstable economy where many are barely or not making ends meet, does government confiscate so much of our hard-earned income to pour into this black hole of ineffective and devastating drug policy? Walker explains the perverse incentive:
How profits help drive the war on drugs

During the Reagan administration, the government started incentivizing drug arrests by handing out grants to police departments fighting drug crimes. An arrest in a state like Wisconsin could bank a city or county an extra $153.

In 34 years in the Seattle Police Department, Norm Stamper learned about those incentives first hand, and he believes they are “corrupting the system.”

“What we have seen with this drug war are insane numbers of Americans being arrested for nonviolent, very low level drug offenses, in the tens of millions of numbers, and what do we have to show for it?” he asked on Tuesday’s PoliticsNation. He said drugs are more readily available than when Nixon “first declared war against them.”

Not only do government agents profit from harming our communities in this way, but so does an increasingly corporatized prison industry that abuses incarcerated individuals for cheap labor to pad corporate pocketbooks.

But all this can come to a halt if we start doing one thing consistently:

Vote Not Guilty.

Refuse to be complicit in an abusive system which decimates our quality of life and destroys our communities by pitting neighbor against neighbor over victimless offenses for government and corporate benefit at our expense.

Your conscientious acquittal by Not Guilty vote on all victimless charges not only protects the individual whose life is in your hands, but its social effects ripple out beyond that. As future victims of the state see more peaceful individuals protected by conscientious acquittal, they will feel more confident in exercising their right to trial by jury and be less likely to crumble in the face of prosecutorial bullying and accept plea deals. As prosecutors see fewer and fewer convictions, they will be publicly embarrassed by their professional failures and forced to justify under public scrutiny their wasteful activities. And as it becomes apparent that criminalization of victimless drug offenses simply cannot be enforced without jurors’ cooperation, the focus of law enforcement will be taken off these non-crimes and legislation against them will be more and more laughable, eventually trailing off and being repealed as was alcohol prohibition.

When you have a chance to serve as an independent juror, please:
Show up and get on the jury.
Shut up about jury nullification during voir dire and deliberations or you could be excluded or removed from the jury, leaving the defendant with no fully informed juror who will acquit.
Stand up for what is right and exercise your right to nullify when a just verdict requires it.