Angry Jurors Refuse to Convict in Marijuana Case

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As Americans grow increasingly disgusted by the waste and injustice of the War on Drugs, it seems inevitable that we'll reach a point at which the public no longer accepts the embarrassing excesses of prohibition. That's exactly what just happened in Montana, and it's a story that ought to terrify the drug war establishment.

A funny thing happened on the way to a trial in Missoula County District Court last week.

Jurors – well, potential jurors – staged a revolt.

They took the law into their own hands, as it were, and made it clear they weren’t about to convict anybody for having a couple of buds of marijuana. Never mind that the defendant in question also faced a felony charge of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs.

The tiny amount of marijuana police found while searching Touray Cornell’s home on April 23 became a huge issue for some members of the jury panel.

No, they said, one after the other. No way would they convict somebody for having a 16th of an ounce.

In fact, one juror wondered why the county was wasting time and money prosecuting the case at all, said a flummoxed Deputy Missoula County Attorney Andrew Paul. [Missoulian]

Whether we like it or not, the War on Drugs belongs to us all. We pay for it with our tax dollars and many of us contribute portions of our paycheck to the "enemy" as well. We live with the consequences when drug trade violence erupts in our communities, when our friends and family are placed behind bars, when our rights are violated, our institutions are corrupted, and the truth is held hostage lest we might question the continued sacrifices this war demands from us day after day.

Rarely is the burden of all this more palpable than the moment when we're called upon to stand in judgment of our peers and enforce laws that many among us consider reprehensible. What happened in Montana is significant not only for the pleasantly surprised defendant and his family, but also because it shows that the conscience of a community can literally stop the drug war juggernaut dead in its tracks. This madness can't and won't continue without the cooperation of the American people, and that support is fading before our eyes.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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not mutiny

The point of having juries is so that the people can nullify bad laws, render corrupt judges ineffective, and generally preserve liberty. If you sitting on a jury find someone guilty of a 'crime' when there was no injured party you could be the one going to jail next.

Animal

You wrote:

If you sitting on a jury find someone guilty of a 'crime' when there was no injured party you could be the one going to jail next.

That is actually a VERY good point.  Government will keep doing more of what it finds it can get away with, and if citizens (particularly voters) enable these abuses by cheering atrocities like wars and Gitmo and assassinations, orvoting to convict someone of a non-crime while serving on a jury, or meekly submitting to outrageous requests for permits and scans and pat downs and searches, then we will all be slaves to bureaucrats in the near future (too many of us are already).  We absolutely have to put our collective foot down and scream "NO MORE!" and then stand firm when they try to scare us into complying with their demands.  It all begins with the word "no".

That's NOT a mutiny

It's pre-trial nullification.  And more people ought to be doing it.  Every person who is chosen for jury duty should be exercising their right of nullification when they are in the jury pool called for a case based on an unconstitutional law.  The drug laws are just one kind of unconstitutional law, but they are the most recognized, the most obviously unconstitutional set of laws.  Get informed on jury nullification, visit fija.org

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