Saturday, June 25, 2011

Just a Reminder

Even as the security state ramps up, there's still much for citizens to do. The Economist reminds us...

Juries do not only decide guilt or innocence; they can also serve as checks on unjust laws. Judges will not tell you about your right to nullify—to vote not guilty regardless of whether the prosecution has proven its case if you believe the law at issue is unjust. They may tell you that you may only judge the facts of the case put to you and not the law. They may strike you from a jury if do not agree under oath to do so, but  the right to nullify exists. There is reason to be concerned about this power: nobody wants courtroom anarchy. But there is also reason to wield it, especially today: if you believe that nonviolent drug offenders should not go to prison, vote not guilty. The creators of the television show "The Wire" vowed to do that a few years back ("we longer tinker with the machinery of the drug war," wrote Ed Burns, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, Richard Price and David Simon). And the illustrator of the  children's book that has every author banging his head against his desk and every parent cackling just wrote a sweet if somewhat simple  guide to nullification. The Fully Informed Jury Association has more. Happy Friday evening.

Please remember that in the event you're asked to send someone to prison for not hurting anyone. 

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