Fully Informed Jury Association

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FIJA in the News & Function of Juries & Jurors Doing Justice & Jury Nullification | 30 Dec 2010

Marijuana: The power of jurors

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Marijuana: The power of jurors

When a handful of potential jurors in Missoula County District Court recently expressed their unwillingness to convict Touray Cornell for possessing a small amount of marijuana, County Attorney Andrew Paul called it a “mutiny.”

But Iloilo Marguerite Jones wouldn’t use that word.

Jones serves as director of the Helena-based Fully Informed Jury Association, whose mission is to educate Americans about their rights, powers and responsibilities when serving as trial jurors. She believes the term “mutiny” suggests unlawfulness, when in fact the Missoula jurors were expressing, as Jones puts it, their “inherent birthright” to “refuse to enforce bad laws.”

“Since the Magna Carta, the primary purpose of juries has been to restrain the government from predatory, venal and vindictive actions against private individuals,” Jones says. “That authority of the jury has waxed and waned since the Magna Carta because there is always a conflict between human rights and governments’ attempts to gather more power to itself.”

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