Judge Unable to Find Jurors to Convict Man of Marijuana Possession

This news report is a perfect example of the powers juries have:

For those who don’t want to watch the video a Montana judge was unable to convict a man of marijuana possession because he couldn’t actually create a jury. The reason for this is because nobody in the jury selection pool was even willing to sit in on the case. Many people don’t understand that being unable to create a jury results in a de factor innocent ruling because without a jury to judge no trial can take place.

I wish more people would have the guts to refuse sitting on a jury for a non-violent crime. In a way this is a form of jury nullification although slightly different than usual. Instead of nullifying the law by ruling innocence on grounds the violate law is unjust potential jurors simply refused to hear the case at all.

6 thoughts on “Judge Unable to Find Jurors to Convict Man of Marijuana Possession”

  1. Personally I couldn’t trust the other jurors to be willing to refuse to sit, so I would rather sit and if it is a victimless crime I will be finding not guilty.

  2. I’m with Jeffrey H on this one. A not guilty verdict is better than being unable to form a jury. The upside of the not guilty is twofold: First, double indemnity kicks in. Second, the “wasted” resources argument would hopefully lead to fewer dodgy prosecutions in the first place.

    However, there are also two downsides. First, those are ultimately taxpayer resources being wasted. And second, the defendant still has the expense and trouble of the whole bit.

    oh, there’s no rational reason to limit jury nullification to non-violent cases.

    1. @Jeff – I agree with you on that for the reason you stated. Yet not being able to sit a jury is a very powerful message that I wold love to see repeated time and time again for nn-violent offenses.

      @Bikerdad – There is no reason nullification is limited to non-violent trails, it’s a right of juries in general and thus is a potential for all crimes. The idea though is that citizens are the final judges in determining whether or not laws are just. As this is the case it’s unlikely juries would find somebody not guilty of murder because they don’t find the law just.

  3. I have never been selected for jury duty.

    It sounds like the jurors didn’t refuse, it sounds like the judge refused to use them because of how they answered questions.

  4. Chris,

    Examples of violent crimes, even “murder” that a jury may choose to nullify would be “hate” crimes and enhanced penalties for “crimes” against gubmint types. Oddly enough, this is one of those cases where the reprehensible practice of “charge stacking” can work to the public’s benefit. They could (potentially) nullify the egregious BS hate enhancement while still finding the perp guilty.

    1. Elimination of charge stacking was nothing something I had previously considered but you are entirely correct. In my eyes murder is murder and the severity of the punishment shouldn’t be based on whether the murder was a “hate crime” or just a regular old crime. Jury nullification would certainly work great for eliminating the egregious charge of an act being a hate crime while still justly punishing the act itself.

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