Fully Informed Jury Association

Are you fully informed about jury nullification?

Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 13 Jan 2014

-Sentenced To Life In Prison For Selling Marijuana


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

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

Life in prison in the harshest sentence possible short of the death penalty in our criminal legal system. In every one of these cases, where a life sentence was passed on someone who had harmed nobody, a single juror in each trial could have prevented that sentence from being imposed with a Not Guilty vote, protecting the defendants from egregiously disproportionate punishment for the actions they engaged in, preventing the waves of social destruction from their conviction from rippling out through their families and communities, and saving tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in needless costs associated with wasteful prosecutions, incarcerations, etc.

Sentenced To Life In Prison For Selling Marijuana

Even as pot shops rake in millions in Colorado, and the possibility grows of the drug becoming legal in as many as a dozen other states, a handful of Americans are serving life sentences for selling marijuana.

At least 25 people have been condemned to live out their days behind bars because they were involved in the marijuana trade, according to The Human Solution, a pot advocacy group. Some played relatively small roles in larger distribution rings and got life sentences in part because they refused to plead guilty and testify against associates. Others held positions of power in major trafficking organizations.

James Romans, a divorced 42-year-old father of three from Indiana, says he belongs in the former category. But last year, a federal judge ruled differently, sentencing him to life based on evidence suggesting that he helped run a multimillion dollar operation.

Whatever his role, the case raises questions about the fairness of punishing marijuana offenders with the criminal justice system’s harshest penalty short of death.