The Daily Parker

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Why we have juries

The good citizens of Missoula, Montana, exercised their 6th Amemendment rights to tell the state they believe minor marijuana possession is not a crime:

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.

District Judge Dusty Deschamps took a quick poll as to who might agree. Of the 27 potential jurors before him, maybe five raised their hands. A couple of others had already been excused because of their philosophical objections.

In the U.S., the right of every citizen to have a jury trial in criminal cases means American juries have the power of nullification. This means juries can refuse to convict someone for a crime on principle, regardless of the law. In this case the Missoula jury pool thought 1.7 g of marijuana shouldn't be criminal.

Excellent. Maybe a few dozen more juries like this will encourage Congress to end the destructive and wasteful war on drugs and allocate resources instead to treatment and prevention.

And maybe the Cubs will win the World Series.


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