As a prospective juror, the judge will instruct you to make your decision on the
basis of the evidence. Sometimes, however, a juror must do the right thing and
judge the law. If the law is misguided, misapplied or just plain wrong, the
juror has the power to veto the law by acquitting the defendant.
This idea of 'jury nullification' of a law, the final veto of unjust laws by the citizen jury, has a long and distinguished history. Following the infamous Dred Scott decision, many people were tried under the fugitive slave laws. They were almost always acquitted - in most juries, there was at least one person courageous enough to vote against slavery.
Today, juries in Washington DC have used jury nullification. Enough people have the courage to veto the brutal drug prohibition laws which are inevitably enforced in a viciously racist manner. E.g. the poor black's rock cocaine gets hard prison time, whereas an equal amount of a white executive's powdered cocaine get's a slap on the wrist. It's the exact same chemical substance, treated differently by law.
It should be no surprise. Drug prohibition has always been racially motivated. The earliest American drug laws outlawed the smoking of opium by Chinese in California. Never mind that it was perfectly legal for white folks to buy injectable morphine or drink numerous remedies and tonics based on opium. Cocaine was first made illegal due to yellow journalistic scares about "cocaine-crazed niggers" that bullets wouldn't stop. The campaign to demonize the fiber crop and natural drug (known as hemp to the farmers and cannabis to the doctors) was made possible by borrowing the then-unknown Spanish slang term 'marijuana' and catering to anti-Mexican bigotry.
Prohibition was born in racism, and it lives on in brutality and oppression. The United States has a larger percentage of its population in prison than any other country. Let me repeat that. The US puts more of its own citizens in prison than any other country on earth! More than Singapore, who beats people for minor vandalism and arrests people for chewing gum. The US puts more of her own citizens in prison than China, the regime which effectively obliterated the Tibetan religion by means mass arrest. The US imprisons a larger percentage of its citizens than South Africa did, even at the height of apartheid.
I urge those readers with computers to check out www.november.org, the web page of the November Coalition. There you can see the faces of the victims of the barbaric war on drug-users. Instead of the evil druggies portrayed by the prohibitionists, you see the faces of your brothers and sisters and neighbors and friends. You can read their first-hand stories of how drug prohibition, the barbaric "imprison them all" strategy, devastates the lives of real people, their families, and particularly their children. Make no mistake about it, the drug nazi's War on Americans leaves thousands of war orphans every year.
Prohibition, conceived in racism, perpetrated with barbarity against peaceful people, subsidizing organized crime, and all for what? The folks at the Drug Enforcement Agency would tell you : to stamp out drugs. Anyone with half a brain knows that the drug biz will never be completely stamped out. No matter how hard you try. Wanting to feel good is a basic human drive. If someone suggested that we could win the war on sex-entertainment by 2001 and live in a world with no illicit sex, they would laughed off as severely retarded in matters of human nature. Yet this is exactly what the drug nazis are saying about drugs. Fact: You could put a policeman on every street corner, you can put surveillance cameras in every home like in '1984', you could force every American to piss in a bottle every morning for a magistrate: but people will still do drugs. Meanwhile you have lost every shread of your individual rights and human dignity.
The drug nazi's solution is simply barbaric; it reeks of the ignorant brutality of the dark ages, when mentally ill people were chained to walls in dungeons. 'Imprison them all!' is their bloody solution. Never mind that these people have assulted no other person, invaded no one else's property, and are injuring (at worst) only themselves. To the drug nazi, they are an insult to his brute-force power and must be crushed like those uppity women of bygone days, who were burned as witches for learning to read.
The futile but brutal 'imprison them all' strategy simply cannot work. Prohibition has never worked. For a rational social policy, the first step is to state our goal in a less hysterical manner. A more realistic goal is: Reduce the harm that drugs cause. The basic choice of strategy is either harm-reduction or imprison-them-all. The moral choice - respecting human rights, and the practical choice - that which will make a better society, is obvious. Do you want free trade and voluntary choice, where an individual has ownership of his/her own body? Or do you want the State to override personal choices in the pursuit of happiness. Do individuals have the right to pursue their own vision of the good life? Or are rights a sham and the state perfectly entitled to mold the characters of its subjects?
Our politicians have failed us - the current prohibition laws have ruined the lives of countless Americans. The judiciary's hands are bound by mandatory sentencing laws. The last refuge of justice is the citizen juror. You must make the final stand for morality and human rights. If you are chosen to serve as a juror on a drug case you have the power to judge the law. Please nullify drug prohibition laws. Please vote 'NOT GUILTY' on any drug case, regardless of evidence. If you have any concept at all of liberty, please acquit the accused. The law is wrong.