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Wed May 22, 2013, 02:43 PM

San Diego Mayor Urges Jury Nullification for MJ Dispensary Case

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Filner-Urges-Jury-Nullification-In-Medical-Pot-Dispensary-Case-208246501.html

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has injected himself into a federal criminal case against the operator of a medical marijuana dispensary, intensifying his standoff with federal prosecutors on cannabis enforcement issues.

Filner's urging jurors who'll be chosen for the trial to reject federal law in favor of state statutes under a centuries-old legal concept known as “jury nullification"-- whereby jurors can refuse to convict people under laws they believe should not be applied.

"This is way overdoing it when local laws, state laws allow compassionate use of medical marijuana,” Filner told reporters at the downtown U.S. District Court complex Monday. “Someone should not be going through this stage of prosecution for trying to help people to have access to medical marijuana."

Filner spoke after attending a pretrial hearing for Ronnie Chang, a San Marcos man busted along with more than a dozen marijuana collective and dispensary operators countywide in late 2009.


If you are called for jury duty on a marijuana case, you can choose not to enforce federal law. You can inform your fellow jurors of the possibility of jury nullification and refuse to convict based upon corrupt, outdated, racist-inspired law.

The more this happens, the sooner we will be rid of current federal prohibition.

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Reply San Diego Mayor Urges Jury Nullification for MJ Dispensary Case (Original post)
RainDog May 2013 OP
Dawson Leery May 2013 #1
Comrade Grumpy May 2013 #2
TampaAnimusVortex May 2013 #44
nadinbrzezinski May 2013 #3
FreeState May 2013 #21
nadinbrzezinski May 2013 #22
RainDog May 2013 #4
randome May 2013 #5
RainDog May 2013 #9
RainDog May 2013 #6
rhett o rick May 2013 #7
RainDog May 2013 #10
rhett o rick May 2013 #11
RainDog May 2013 #19
rhett o rick May 2013 #32
RainDog May 2013 #34
rhett o rick May 2013 #43
RainDog May 2013 #47
MindPilot May 2013 #12
rhett o rick May 2013 #13
MindPilot May 2013 #16
AnotherMcIntosh May 2013 #20
rhett o rick May 2013 #33
AnotherMcIntosh May 2013 #35
rhett o rick May 2013 #37
AnotherMcIntosh May 2013 #39
rhett o rick May 2013 #40
AnotherMcIntosh May 2013 #41
rhett o rick May 2013 #42
RainDog May 2013 #48
rhett o rick May 2013 #50
AnotherMcIntosh May 2013 #52
AnotherMcIntosh May 2013 #49
RainDog May 2013 #56
rhett o rick May 2013 #59
RainDog May 2013 #63
nikto May 2013 #27
progressoid May 2013 #60
former9thward May 2013 #45
rhett o rick May 2013 #61
former9thward May 2013 #62
rhett o rick May 2013 #79
former9thward May 2013 #80
AnotherMcIntosh May 2013 #77
Poll_Blind May 2013 #8
RainDog May 2013 #14
truedelphi May 2013 #15
MindPilot May 2013 #17
truedelphi May 2013 #29
RainDog May 2013 #31
AnotherMcIntosh May 2013 #18
byeya May 2013 #23
RainDog May 2013 #28
byeya May 2013 #30
AnotherMcIntosh May 2013 #53
RainDog May 2013 #24
Nye Bevan May 2013 #25
frylock May 2013 #26
RainDog May 2013 #36
byeya May 2013 #38
RainDog May 2013 #46
gopiscrap May 2013 #51
AnotherMcIntosh May 2013 #54
RainDog May 2013 #55
Donald Ian Rankin May 2013 #57
RainDog May 2013 #58
CBGLuthier May 2013 #66
Donald Ian Rankin May 2013 #67
RainDog May 2013 #68
Donald Ian Rankin May 2013 #70
RainDog May 2013 #72
Donald Ian Rankin May 2013 #73
RainDog May 2013 #75
AnotherMcIntosh May 2013 #76
CBGLuthier May 2013 #69
Donald Ian Rankin May 2013 #71
Comrade Grumpy May 2013 #74
AnotherMcIntosh May 2013 #78
Savannahmann May 2013 #64
RainDog May 2013 #65

Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 02:45 PM

1. Certainly!

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 02:46 PM

2. Speak it, Brother Filner! Let's nullify marijuana prohibition.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #2)

Wed May 22, 2013, 08:17 PM

44. And thats why the Fully Informed Jury Association exists! www.fija.org

Great organization. They have been trying to get the word out for a long time...

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 02:48 PM

3. this is not SD proper

The fight with the city attorney is about to heat up

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #3)

Wed May 22, 2013, 03:40 PM

21. Jan Goldsmith is an ASS

Cant figure out how we got him - oh thats right Mike Aguirre ran against him. Lets hope next time we can field a viable candidate.

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Response to FreeState (Reply #21)

Wed May 22, 2013, 03:58 PM

22. He is an ass, but I like Mike

He was too honest for San Diego politics

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 02:51 PM

4. New Hampshire - 2012

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/item/12892-new-hampshire-jury-nullifies-major-felony-marijuana-case

Following the adoption of a new state law on jury nullification in June, a New Hampshire jury nullified its first major felony marijuana case on September 14 when jurors decided to free Doug Darrell, a 59-year-old father of four grown children who was growing illegal plants in his backyard. Activists hailed the decision as a significant victory for the jury nullification movement, which aims to revive awareness about the power inherent in juries to protect citizens from overzealous prosecutors and bad laws by nullifying cases.

Darrell, a Rastafarian piano tuner and woodworker who has been married for almost four decades, was arrested after a National Guard helicopter spotted some marijuana plants on his property in Barnstead. State prosecutors charged him with cultivation, a felony that could have carried up to seven years in prison.

It was clear that he had been growing the marijuana — nobody disputed that. Eventually Darrell was offered a deal that would have allowed him to avoid jail time and fines in exchange for a misdemeanor guilty plea. He refused, however, citing his religion and its view that marijuana is a sacrament. So the case went to trial.

Jurors, led by liberty-minded activist Cathleen Converse of the Free State Project, decided Darrell should be set free. “Mr. Darrell is a peaceful man, he never deals with the darker elements of society and he grows for his own personal religious and medicinal use,” Converse said during an exclusive interview with Free Talk Live, a freedom-oriented talk-radio program. “I knew that my community would be poorer rather than better off had he been convicted.”

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 02:56 PM

5. What are the charges against Chang?

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2011/Oct/07/region-feds-target-pot-shops-across-the-state/?#article-copy

Apparently he was operating 3 shops and I see that money laundering is one of the charges but I can't find a list of the others.



Stop looking for heroes. BE one.


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Response to randome (Reply #5)

Wed May 22, 2013, 03:04 PM

9. don't know all the charges

anyone who operates a dispensary is guilty of money laundering in the eyes of the feds.

oops- edit to add - unless you're a large bank, in which case AG Holder makes a deal that's the equivalent of a slap on the hand.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 03:00 PM

6. Montana - 2010

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/jury-nullification-in-action-montana-jury-pool-refuses-to-convict-for-marijuana-possession/

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.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 03:01 PM

7. If you believe that the law is unjust, you wouldnt get on the jury. The prosecutor will ask you

if you could convict if presented proof that the law was broken. If you say yes then later change to jury nullification, my guess is you would be held for contempt of court.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #7)

Wed May 22, 2013, 03:08 PM

10. Looking forward to the day

when the feds can't find enough people to sit on juries for such cases.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #10)

Wed May 22, 2013, 03:11 PM

11. Let's try to convince our Democratic President to back off. nm

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #11)

Wed May 22, 2013, 03:36 PM

19. Petitions to back off marijuana prohibition

...have been the petitions for the "We the People" White House site with the most signators.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/09/marijuana-legalization_n_2440352.html

"From 'legalization is not in my vocabulary and it's not in the president's,' as Gil Kerlikowske often used to say, to 'it is clear that we're in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana' is a pretty stark shift," he said. "Of course, what really matters is to what extent the administration actually shifts enforcement priorities and budgets, but I sure do like hearing the U.S. drug czar acknowledge the fact that marijuana legalization is a mainstream discussion that is happening whether he likes it or not."


Iow, it appears that legalization has been added to the vocabulary, but not the table of contents for the current President.

Democratic Party platforms in states as varied as Texas and Washington state included legalization in their platforms.

In 2012 - the legalization votes in CO and WA.

In 2011, Colorado, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington requested federal rescheduling - and got nothing in reply.

In an historic request - 42 members of the Washington State legislature requested cannabis rescheduling in 2012. Nothing.

- after threat of a lawsuit, the DEA finally acknowledges a 9-year old request to look at rescheduling - by refusing to look at rescheduling. iow, nothing.

Obama knows from his own experience that marijuana is not a dangerous drug. His hypocrisy on this issue is truly creepy - because current law targets African-Americans more than any other group in this nation.

And, of course, we now have at least three pieces of legislation to remove cannabis from the drug schedules - two for "marijuana" - i.e. recreational cannabis, and two for hemp - i.e. industrial, non-psychotropic cannabis.

So, Obama KNOWS which way the wind is blowing on this issue - and it's not going to change direction because the prohibitionists are dying.

He is choosing to be behind the time.

If he thinks the right wing will use this against him - let them. Since 3/4s of the nation favors legal medical mj and half the nation favors full legalization - let Republicans try to use this as something to gain votes... they don't even have the support of people in their own party for this.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #19)

Wed May 22, 2013, 04:32 PM

32. He doesnt have to make a big issue out of it, just tell Holder to back off. I doubt it would be

noticed.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #32)

Wed May 22, 2013, 05:20 PM

34. Better yet

agree with the medical and scientific evidence presented by Nixon's DEA counsel and do as Young advised - decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and let states work out their laws.

We've been living with lies from the administrative branch for 40 years.

It's kinda sorta tiresome.

But, as we see with David Frum and Patrick Kennedy - there's money to be made off those lies.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #34)

Wed May 22, 2013, 08:11 PM

43. Sorry my point wasnt better presented. If Pres Obama was in favor of letting the states

decide, he could simply tell Holder to back off. He obviously wont go as far as decriminalizing. So my conclusion is that Pres Obama wants to harass medical marijuana users. Now why? One reason might be that he is carrying water for Big Pharma. Another reason is that he wants to distract us from other things he is doing. Like cutting SS and Medicare or selling the TVA. A third possibility is that it is distracting us from his inability or lack of desire of holding Wall Street accountable.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #43)

Wed May 22, 2013, 08:42 PM

47. The "culture war" issues are where Democrats usually support liberal policy

While, since Clinton, Democrats have willingly done the bidding of the wealthy who finance election campaigns. However, Clinton, like Obama, came down on the side of the reactionaries on this issue.

So this is nothing new for a Democrat.

When Clinton was in office, CA passed the first laws to legalize medical use of marijuana. Clinton was against this. Again, the hypocrisy is...creepy. The passage of this law came after years of use of cannabis for people with HIV/AIDS and cancers associated with. The DEA killed a man, Peter McWilliams, who had the nerve to use cannabis to stay alive.

Clinton's actions, however, just as now, did not take people's attention off of other issues, such as welfare reform or trade agreements and other neo-liberal economic policies that were the result of his time in office.

Democrats at the federal level have lagged behind the wishes of the majority of the American people on issue after issue - they just don't lag as far behind as most Republicans.

This is the first time, afaik, that a DEMOCRATIC president has put SS cuts on the table - but I don't think the stance on cannabis is an attempted distraction from this. At this time, Holder has not issued any guidance/clarification to the states that have legalized, tho they have requested the same. It's still "under advisement." Personally, I think the feds are trying to find a way to negotiate a truce because they've lost this war.

But the view in the beltway remains obstructed by drug warriors.

This, however, is not a small issue, nor one that is separate from economic issues, or major civil rights concerns. In fact, the for-profit prison industry is driving legislation in this nation by demanding fill rates for their beds from legislators in return for building prisons.

This is corporate slavery.

This is asking legislators and LEO to enforce law in such a way that humans in the United States are held without rights in order for a corporation to profit from the same.

If that isn't important - I don't know what is.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #7)

Wed May 22, 2013, 03:12 PM

12. I once saw a judge do exactly that

Asked everyone who "had a problem with drug laws or how they were enforced" to raise their hands.

"everybody with a hand in the air, you're dismissed from the jury pool and thank you for your service".

ETA: I was one of those jurors.

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Response to MindPilot (Reply #12)

Wed May 22, 2013, 03:16 PM

13. I guarantee that will happen in this case. But it's not necessary. The prosecutor will always

ask if you are presented with evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt, can you find the defendant guilty?

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #13)

Wed May 22, 2013, 03:30 PM

16. True, and you can always answer that in the affirmative.

but, you can always also say "I still have reasonable doubt; not guilty". No-one can prove otherwise.

And in cases like this where they start to go though entire jury pools, it could conceivably result in a mistrial since the prosecution would essentially be unable seat a jury without appearing to manipulate the jury.

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Response to MindPilot (Reply #16)

Wed May 22, 2013, 03:38 PM

20. Agreed.

 

No matter what questions the judge or prosecutor asks during the jury selection, and no matter what answers are given, the prosecutor still has to prove the case "beyond a reasonable doubt."

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #20)

Wed May 22, 2013, 04:34 PM

33. I agree but the discussion was about "jury nullification". I dont think that's an option. Sure you

could try to lie your way onto a jury and then hold out for acquittal.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #33)

Wed May 22, 2013, 05:40 PM

35. That's a distinction that I don't understand.

 

Try "to lie your way onto a jury"? No. Just answer the questions. What's there to lie about?

Ask any question that you think might be asked. Here's a sample. "If the evidence shows beyond any reasonable doubt that ..., could you convict the defendant of ..." Yes, I could. But who's reasonable doubt? Holder's? Or mine? If it is mine, then I get to choose. If it is Holder's, why even have a jury trial?

In England, in 1670, a jury refused to convict William Penn. Ultimately, the Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas held that a jury could not be punished on account of the verdict it returned and overturned a lower judge's ruling to the contrary. The Bushel's case is the precedent that would be relied upon in opposition to any effort to hold a juror in contempt.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #35)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:23 PM

37. If you believe the law is unjust, then you would be lying if you said you could convict.

You dont get to choose what reasonable means. At the end of the trial the judge will give instructions to the jury that the jury must obey. He will say that if the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt you must find for guilty. Now if you are saying that you would hold out claiming that your definition of "reasonable" is beyond all others, then you are not being honest. Remember you went into the trial believing the law was unjust.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #37)

Wed May 22, 2013, 07:07 PM

39. "You dont get to choose what reasonable means." Says who?

 

The Sixth Amendment provides:
"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense."


Unless I'm mistaken, I believe that you agree with the concept that an accused is not entitled to an impartial jury but must be one that is predisposed in favor of a conviction.

Also, unless I'm mistaken, no court since the Bushel's case since the 1670's has ever sought to hold a jury or a juror in contempt for failing to convict an accused. Operating a kangaroo court in this country, with a kangaroo jury, is contrary to due process of law.

Why even have a jury? Why not just have a prosecutor go before a judge and say, "This is the law"?

You say that "At the end of the trial the judge will give instructions to the jury." That is true. But we don't have a system where a judge can mandate a conviction by saying at the end of a trial, "This is the law. You must convict."

If someone previously said that to you, they have misrepresented our system of law. If that was how our system works, they could simply do away with the jury system. It would be a prosecutor's dream.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #39)

Wed May 22, 2013, 07:45 PM

40. What the judge will say is that if the prosecutor proved that the defendant was

operating a medical marijuana dispensary, then you MUST find the defendant guilty. If you try to tell the judge that you still have doubt when you dont have doubt, that is dishonest. Remember we are discussing the case where the defendant is guilty but you want to let them off because you think the law is unjust. I am saying it's harder than you think.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #40)

Wed May 22, 2013, 07:59 PM

41. So, in your opinion, the crime has one and only one element? That's not how it works.

 

If you find the statute under which the accused is being prosecuted, we can talk some more about it.

I don't think that you are going to find a Federal criminal statute that involves only one element.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #41)

Wed May 22, 2013, 08:05 PM

42. "So, in your opinion..." What? Are you telling me what my opinion is? We are way off the original

discussion. Jury nullification. I said I dont believe it's possible.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #42)

Wed May 22, 2013, 09:10 PM

48. And yet there are posts on this thread

that indicate previous cases that were dismissed because of jury nullification.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #48)

Wed May 22, 2013, 10:53 PM

50. I would certainly be interested in the specifics. nm

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Response to RainDog (Reply #48)

Wed May 22, 2013, 11:04 PM

52. Jury nullification has a long history in this country, including helping to defeat the Fugitive

 

Slave Laws.

It started back in England when a jury refused to convict William Penn in 1670.

During Prohibition that started in the 1920's, there's one story of a San Francisco attorney who got a client off although the client had the appearance of a long-time drinker. The client was charged with selling alcohol. Reportedly, when the case was set to go to the jury and the attorneys were making their arguments, the defense attorney asked the jury to look at his client.

He reportedly said something along the lines of
"Just look at him, ladies and gentlemen. If he had any whiskey, do you think that he would sell it?"

The jury came back 12-0, not guilty.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #42)

Wed May 22, 2013, 10:47 PM

49. There is a question mark after the sentence because a question is being asked. I'm asking for your

 

opinion.

By asking a question, I am clearly not stating what your opinion is nor my perception of your opinion.

And, no to your statement "We are way off the original discussion." The topic is still jury nullification.

You are obviously entitled to your opinion, whatever it is.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #37)

Thu May 23, 2013, 12:57 AM

56. Part of a judge's instructions may also include jury nullification

In fact, the reality that too many jurors don't know they have another option is a perversion of the justice system - the only answers are not whether the prosecutor has proved someone possessed something, etc.

The answer can also be this: we the jury find the law unjust and therefore refuse to convict. So, not guilty.

This has been a part of American law as long as we've had a nation.

It has been used for good and for ill.

It has been used in the past to refuse to enforce bad law.

When juries do this, they send a message to the judiciary system that the law is not working. If people had no means to express their refusal to uphold bad law, we would be another totalitarian system.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #56)

Thu May 23, 2013, 11:38 AM

59. That sounds wonderful, however, explain how jurors with that in mind get past

a prosecutor's and judge's questions aimed at preventing that outcome.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #59)

Thu May 23, 2013, 02:59 PM

63. I haven't been on such a jury

so I couldn't tell you how the jurors decided to nullify in those cases here, in the recent past, when they have.

but I can say that at least one juror was aware of the possibility of jury nullification, since it happened. It has happened on cases related to raw milk, a to a paraplegic veteran who had a concealed carry permit, and to marijuana possession charges.

someone can agree that they would convict when evidence indicates and then decide the evidence doesn't indicate conviction.

Judges and prosecutors aren't mind readers. Someone can change his or her mind.

Would the judges or prosecutors like to discuss the issue of jury nullification during voir dire - and thus inform all potential jurors of the possibility? I doubt it. So, they have to base their jury selection on information potential jurors give them.

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Response to MindPilot (Reply #16)

Wed May 22, 2013, 04:15 PM

27. Reminds me of Juror #8...

In "12 Angry Men"

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Response to MindPilot (Reply #12)

Thu May 23, 2013, 12:06 PM

60. Yep. I saw that happen too.

I was in the next round of potential jurors and watched a bunch in the first round dismissed because of that.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #7)

Wed May 22, 2013, 08:17 PM

45. You guess is wrong.

The court does not question why a juror voted the way they did. The OJ jury engaged in jury nullification and no one had a problem with it in the legal system. A defense attorney is prohibited from telling the jury they can act to nullify the law but there is no penalty for jurors to engage in it.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #45)

Thu May 23, 2013, 01:32 PM

61. Explain how someone gets seated on a jury if they believe the law is unjust. The prosecutor will ask

if you believe the law is unjust. If you say yes, bingo-bango your not seated. The judge might ask if you believe the law is unjust. If you lie and get seated only to later try for jury nullification, the judge would find that you lied when asked and you'd be held in contempt of court.

This sums up what I believe in the OJ case:

"Jury nullification" means that a jury finds a defendant innocent because the law itself is unjust, or is unjust in a particular application, and so should not be applied. Since no O.J. jurors expressed or implied opposition to the laws against murder, their verdict was certainly not an example of nullification in that sense. Nor did any jurors admit that they were persuaded of O.J.'s guilt but that they thought it was OK for him to have committed the murders anyway. Instead, jurors simply said that they accepted the defense argument that police carelessness and possible misconduct, motivated by racism, introduced an element of reasonable doubt against the prosecution's case. Since Judge Ito allowed the defense to make that argument (judges typically do not allow defense lawyers to make pleas for nullification), it certainly doesn't look like a nullification case. The jury may have been more suspicious of the police than was reasonable, but that was the luck of the draw in the jury pool -- a jury in Santa Monica later found O.J. liable for the murder, under the less rigorous standard of "preponderance of the evidence," rather than "beyond a reasonable doubt," in the civil case against him. "

from - http://www.friesian.com/nullif.htm

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #61)

Thu May 23, 2013, 01:36 PM

62. Jurors are not questioned by judges about their verdicts.

They just aren't. No one goes to jail for practicing nullification. The only one that can be found in contempt is the defense attorney if he tells the jury about the concept of nullification despite be warned not to.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #62)

Fri May 24, 2013, 04:13 PM

79. Again, what would a prospective juror (that thinks the law is unjust) say when asked

if he/she could render a guilty verdict it the evidence proves the law was broken beyond a reasonable doubt? If the juror says that he/she can, then IMO they cant change their minds. And what would they say if asked if they think the law is just?

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #79)

Fri May 24, 2013, 04:36 PM

80. Prosecutors don't ask jurors if they think a law is just.

They just don't. Even if they did the juror can say it wasn't proven beyond a reasonable doubt. That is subjective not objective and can only be measured in the mind of the juror. You don't believe me and that is fine but I am you could find one example on the internet where a juror was found in contempt for nullification. You will not.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #61)

Fri May 24, 2013, 03:11 PM

77. At the federal level, the judges commonly ask the questions of prospective jurors, not prosecutors.

 

The common practice is for the prosecuting Assistant Attorney General and the lead defense attorney to submit written questions to the judge.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 03:03 PM

8. Oh snap! nt

PB

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 03:16 PM

14. Colorado - 2012

http://gazette.com/article/140056

An El Paso County jury on Monday acquitted a corporate trainer turned-medical marijuana grower on drug cultivation charges, ending a weeklong trial that brought daily demonstrations by medical marijuana advocates.

Elisa Kappelmann, 52, embraced attorney Rob Corry of Denver after the jury's verdict was read in court. Her supporters rocked in their seats, shouted "thank you" to the departing jurors and in some cases wept.

The 11-woman, 1-man jury deliberated for about 6 hours over two days.

Kappelmann, who left her job at Hewlett Packard in Colorado Springs to open a medical marijuana dispensary, had faced up to 12 years in prison on two felonies in connection with a May 2010 raid on a Colorado Springs warehouse where she leased an 800-square-foot suite as a temporary grow house.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 03:25 PM

15. When will Bob Filner understand how in

This New America of the Fourth Reich, there is only the law made by the Big Corporations? And that Big Pharma and Big Privatized Prison Industry both need to keep Med Marijuana illegal.

Who does Filner think he is - having the nerve and gall to side with the mere citizenry of the state of California!

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Response to truedelphi (Reply #15)

Wed May 22, 2013, 03:35 PM

17. And damnation to we lesser proles for electing him!

Actually, he was not my first choice for mayor, but I voted for him anyway and I'm glad I did!

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Response to MindPilot (Reply #17)

Wed May 22, 2013, 04:23 PM

29. I am very glad to hear about him.

Ever so often, a person willing to be a servant to the people is found residing in the ranks of the politicians.

We need a whole lot more Bob Filners.

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Response to truedelphi (Reply #29)

Wed May 22, 2013, 04:26 PM

31. Cannabis legalization is a winning issue

as far as the people of this nation are concerned.

If you only care about the profits of various industries and bureaucracies, then you find a reason to continue to support the war on cannabis.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 03:35 PM

18. Because I'm a fair and open minded person, I would like to volunteer for jury duty.

 

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 04:01 PM

23. Southerners have engaged in jury nullification on and off for years. Failing to convict a white

 

person for harming or killing a black person.

Jury nullification has a long history and the late Alex Cockburn wrote about it several times. I think it's appropriate in the case at hand.

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Response to byeya (Reply #23)

Wed May 22, 2013, 04:16 PM

28. Yes. The issue of "state's rights"

is getting a new pov, as well, as Republicans continue to gerrymander districts to give them seats in the legislature when the majority of the population in the U.S. is more liberal than their party.

so we have places that are liberalizing their laws in spite of federal prohibition.

when Frank and Paul had a decriminalization bill in the house last session, Lamar Smith, of Texas, refused to let the bill out of his chambers and it died there.

He has since moved on from the judiciary committee to the Science Committee where he now advocates for politicians to weigh in on scientific research and joins the global climate change deniers.

Our govt. is corrupt and people have to fight against this corruption by whatever means are at their disposal.

During the civil rights era, the federal govt. made it possible to lay a foundation for justice for African-Americans. Now the federal govt. attempts to retain racist law as embodied in the long war on drugs (which has always been a war on minorities.)



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Response to RainDog (Reply #28)

Wed May 22, 2013, 04:25 PM

30. + + - You tied it together nicely.

 

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Response to byeya (Reply #23)

Wed May 22, 2013, 11:16 PM

53. Jury nullification began much earlier in the North when juries refused to convict under the Fugitive

 

Slave Laws.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 04:03 PM

24. Ed Burns, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, Richard Price, David Simon and William F. Zorzi Jr

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1720240,00.html

As The Wire series wound down, writers for the series called for the American people to engage in jury nullification to fight the war on the war on drugs.

...Yet this war grinds on, flooding our prisons, devouring resources, turning city neighborhoods into free-fire zones. To what end? State and federal prisons are packed with victims of the drug conflict. A new report by the Pew Center shows that 1 of every 100 adults in the U.S. — and 1 in 15 black men over 18 — is currently incarcerated. That's the world's highest rate of imprisonment.

Our leaders? There aren't any politicians — Democrat or Republican — willing to speak truth on this. Instead, politicians compete to prove themselves more draconian than thou, to embrace America's most profound and enduring policy failure.

"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right," wrote Thomas Paine when he called for civil disobedience against monarchy — the flawed national policy of his day. In a similar spirit, we offer a small idea that is, perhaps, no small idea. It will not solve the drug problem, nor will it heal all civic wounds. It does not yet address questions of how the resources spent warring with our poor over drug use might be better spent on treatment or education or job training, or anything else that might begin to restore those places in America where the only economic engine remaining is the illegal drug economy. It doesn't resolve the myriad complexities that a retreat from war to sanity will require. All it does is open a range of intricate, paradoxical issues. But this is what we can do — and what we will do.

If asked to serve on a jury deliberating a violation of state or federal drug laws, we will vote to acquit, regardless of the evidence presented. Save for a prosecution in which acts of violence or intended violence are alleged, we will — to borrow Justice Harry Blackmun's manifesto against the death penalty — no longer tinker with the machinery of the drug war. No longer can we collaborate with a government that uses nonviolent drug offenses to fill prisons with its poorest, most damaged and most desperate citizens.

Jury nullification is American dissent.


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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 04:04 PM

25. I would nullify in a heartbeat. (nt)

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 04:13 PM

26. best vote i've ever cast in my lifetime

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 05:59 PM

36. NYTimes: Jurors Can Say No

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/21/opinion/jurors-can-say-no.html?_r=3&src=tp&smid=fb-share&

by Paul Butler, a former federal prosecutor and current professor of law at George Washington University

IF you are ever on a jury in a marijuana case, I recommend that you vote “not guilty” — even if you think the defendant actually smoked pot, or sold it to another consenting adult. As a juror, you have this power under the Bill of Rights; if you exercise it, you become part of a proud tradition of American jurors who helped make our laws fairer.

The information I have just provided — about a constitutional doctrine called “jury nullification” — is absolutely true. But if federal prosecutors in New York get their way, telling the truth to potential jurors could result in a six-month prison sentence.

Earlier this year, prosecutors charged Julian P. Heicklen, a retired chemistry professor, with jury tampering because he stood outside the federal courthouse in Manhattan providing information about jury nullification to passers-by. Given that I have been recommending nullification for nonviolent drug cases since 1995 — in such forums as The Yale Law Journal, “60 Minutes” and YouTube — I guess I, too, have committed a crime.

The prosecutors who charged Mr. Heicklen said that “advocacy of jury nullification, directed as it is to jurors, would be both criminal and without constitutional protections no matter where it occurred.” The prosecutors in this case are wrong. The First Amendment exists to protect speech like this — honest information that the government prefers citizens not know.


This article was written in response to this: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/26/nyregion/26jury.html

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:41 PM

38. So smoking a little weed warrants trashing the first amendment. I wonder what Geo.Washington

 

would say since he grew the stuff(I understand)

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Response to byeya (Reply #38)

Wed May 22, 2013, 08:20 PM

46. The War on Drugs was the precursor of the War on Terror

endless war and so dangerous that Americans need to give up their rights in order to...keep them?

The War on Drugs hates the 4th amendment, too.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


Asset Forfeiture laws made sure of that.

In 1997, Gringrich the Newt expressed a desire for the death penalty for marijuana possession over 2 ounces.

Yet his view of his own possession of marijuana goes like this: “That was a sign we were alive and in graduate school in that era”

http://www.marijuana.org/post/16097283854/newt-gingrich-on-marijuana-from-pothead-to-death

So, people actually took a person seriously as a political spokesperson who would suggest such a dumb fuckistan, totalitarian law? Good thing he wasn't in a position to see through such a brilliant, brilliant idea. Oops. Actually, he was.

(Gingrich) introduced H.R. 4170 (Drug Importer Death Penalty Act of 1996) to the House of Representatives, which sought to “provide a sentence of death for certain importations of significant quantities of controlled substances”. Under Gingrich’s proposed law, you could be put to death for possession of as little as 200 joints (close to four ounces), which is equal in volume to a carton of cigarettes.

Is it any wonder our federal system is so fucked up when this idiot was given a seat in the legislature?

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 10:54 PM

51. Good for him!

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 11:26 PM

54. The DOJ guidelines for the discretionary enforcement of the law can be found here:

 

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #54)

Thu May 23, 2013, 12:47 AM

55. thanks for the link

the Ogden Memo doesn't really state anything other than providing a "resource allocation" out in regard to federal law enforcement.

it's simply not enough.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 03:31 AM

57. That prospect terrifies me. Juries should always apply the law.

"Jury nullification" isn't a legal concept, it's an anti-legal one.

If you think the law is bad, vote to change it. But if you're not willing to obey it, you have a moral obligation to make that clear before a trial and not sit on the jury.

It's very tempting when it's a law like cannabis prohibition, that really ought to be ignored. But what happens when a juror decides that they don't think spousal rape, or wife-beating, or beating up abortionists, ought to be illegal? The only answer is that juries should apply the consensus of society as to what its conscience is, rather than their own consciences.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #57)

Thu May 23, 2013, 11:12 AM

58. It is part of our judicial system's practices

And its early application was during the time of slavery when juries refused to convict people who helped slaves to escape.

Slavery was the law.

It's not so simple to change the law and, in the case of slavery, a war was necessary to do so.

In the meantime, juries could choose not to enforce bad law - immoral law. That, imo, was their moral duty.

Since we have a long history of the legality of spousal rape, wife beating, etc. etc. - your question is a little ironic. If only, back in the day, women had some hope that jurors would refuse to apply the law that was considered right and moral.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #57)

Thu May 23, 2013, 05:05 PM

66. They did vote to change it. We don't get to vote on what the feds do

Colorado, voted to change it. Washington too. Let's see how well that goes. If the feds start raiding them will you say anything about voting to change it?

At the federal level there is far too much corruption for any momentum on voting to change it and Americans do not get to vote on laws directly.

Nullification is a valid legal concept and I would be happy to lie about the drug laws if that is the only way to get on the jury.

Vote to change it is a crock of shit since they do not recognize our votes.

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Response to CBGLuthier (Reply #66)

Thu May 23, 2013, 05:09 PM

67. Nullification is a bug, not a feature.

There's nothing that can be done about it, but it should be made clear to all juries that it is their duty to uphold the law, and any jury where it becomes apparent that that is not their intent should be instantly discharged.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #67)

Thu May 23, 2013, 06:06 PM

68. So you think people should've been convicted for harboring runaway slaves?

really?

what an interesting perspective.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #68)

Fri May 24, 2013, 02:50 AM

70. I think that it should have been made legal to do so. N.T.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #70)

Fri May 24, 2013, 10:40 AM

72. But it wasn't. That's the point

Jury nullification provides a "conscience clause" in a system when laws are more heinous than the crime.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #72)

Fri May 24, 2013, 01:29 PM

73. It also lets criminals walk free, and sends innocent people to jail.

Remember that ignoring the law cuts in both directions.

"Are there situations in which enforcing the law will not be the justest outcome?" is the wrong question, because it presupposes the ability to micromanage.

The right question is "which will result in the justest option *more often*: always enforcing the law, or sometimes enforcing the law and sometimes letting juries use their own consciences". I think that the answer is the former - yes, there will some unjust outcomes where bad laws are respected, but fewer than will result from juries ignoring good ones.

I'd far rather take my chances of a bad law than of a bad jury, as either victim or accused.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #73)

Fri May 24, 2013, 01:39 PM

75. Adhering to current law also lets criminals walk free and sends innocent people to jail

People are executed in this nation on flimsy evidence, as well.

Since jury nullification is used so rarely and is most often used in situations in which people object to the law itself as unjust, I'm not inclined to place too much fear in the idea that jury nullification exists.

Since the U.S. has draconian drug sentencing laws (three strikes, mandatory minimums, etc.) - the law itself is the problem and if jurors choose to refuse to uphold bad law, the onus is upon legislators to correct their errors.

When legislators are subject to the same level of distrust, I guess I could see this fear of juries as valid. But since the law in this nation is so corrupt as it exists (in the same way that slavery laws were unjust) I have no problem with any of the actual jury nullification cases I've read about.

We obviously have different views about deference to authority.

This is often the case when people have had experiences that would lead them to doubt the goodness of the laws of the land when they are applied in racist manners and have been for centuries. I've only had the experience of seeing such things, not personal experience, but that has been enough to dispel the notion that authority deserves respect simply because of its existence.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #73)

Fri May 24, 2013, 03:05 PM

76. Jury nullification never "sends innocent people to jail."

 

In a jury case, if a judge determines that an accused is innocent, the judge can dismiss the case at any time.

There is no way that a judge can determine that someone is innocent and have a jury act contrary to that determination.

If a politically-appointed judge determines that a strict reading of a criminal statute will result in a conviction of a accused, a jury which rejects that view engages in jury nullification when they do so.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #67)

Thu May 23, 2013, 07:31 PM

69. rather a bit of a strident viewpoint for a progressive board

Are you sure this is the place for you?

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Response to CBGLuthier (Reply #69)

Fri May 24, 2013, 02:52 AM

71. What, that juries should uphold the law? I'm sorry you think that's "strident".

I think "self-evident" would be a better descriptor, myself. There's certainly nothing illiberal or unprogressive about it.

If anyone ever commits a crime against me, I want to be confident that they won't be acquitted just because the jury don't mind what was done to me, even thought it was illegal.

If I ever come before a court, not having broken the law, I want to be confident that I won't be convicted just because the jury disapprove of what I've done, even though it wasn't illegal.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #71)

Fri May 24, 2013, 01:37 PM

74. Sometimes laws deserve not to be upheld.

Especially when the political system is unresponsive or, in this case, downright hostile to the will of the majority.

Medical marijuana is legal in California.

Medical marijuana is broadly popular in California.

Even full marijuana legalization has majority support.

If bonehead prosecutors don't get it, maybe a few nullifying juries will help them understand.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #71)

Fri May 24, 2013, 03:21 PM

78. Please see #76.

 

Although factually innocent are sometimes convicted, no jury has ever nullified a judge's determination that an innocent person has been prosecuted.

The risk that you seem to be describing is not a risk of jury nullification.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 03:14 PM

64. WE get the Jury Trial from Magna Carta England

That was to take the power of conviction from the King. The Crown could charge you, try you, but could not convict you. The principles of Jury Nullification go back to St. Augustine, who taught that an unjust law, is no law. So Juries have always had the power to say Not Guilty if they thought a law was unjust, or unjustly applied. However, the Legal System always tells the Juror's that they must convict if they believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did the act. Jurors tend to convict, because they are ill educated about the history of the jury, and the power they alone hold.

I've long hoped that the Juries would be educated about this history, and given an ideal of what kind of power they hold. Because there are several times when convictions were unjust, and I would like to believe that the jury had they known their rights, would have found the Defendant not guilty for an unjust law, or one that is unjustly applied.

One comes to mind now. I am not a fan of guns, in any way, shape, or form. Yet there was a case a year or two ago. The owner of a rifle loaned it to a friend. The rifle was old, and unbeknown to the owner, dangerously worn. The rifle malfunctioned, and emptied the magazine in a runaway manner. The ATF and Justice Department decided the owner of the firearm had illegally transferred a machine gun and got the conviction. Again, I am no fan of guns. However, A malfunction, a warn part, is not the intent needed. Despite the fact I do not believe in private ownership of guns, I think I would have stood firm on not guilty. Because the intent of the law was to prevent someone from knowingly transferring a machine gun. At a minimum, it would have been a mistrial with my obstinate possibly obdurate refusal to consider Guilty.

It was in my mind, akin to a tire blowing out on your car due to debris on a roadway. It happens at speed, without warning. You swerve uncontrollably because the car has left what can be considered reasonable driver control. You collide with a van, and a child dies. An accident, absolutely. Tragic, certainly. Manslaughter, vehicular or otherwise, absolutely not. I don't understand the prevalence of prosecutions that seem to want to make a Federal Case out of every person jaywalking across a bloody street.

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Response to Savannahmann (Reply #64)

Thu May 23, 2013, 04:54 PM

65. There are times

when it may seem fitting to strike at the machinery of power that enables unjust law.

When we have judges selling kids to private prisons for profit, it's hard to make a case for a judicial system that allows for such actions.

Prohibition is institutionalized selling of people to prisons for profit.

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