Jurors Rights Education Campaign

icon_jurors2There are currently between two and three dozen medical cannabis patients and caregivers facing defenseless federal trials in California alone. Prosecutors fight hard to keep any information about medical cannabis out of courtrooms to make sure that they get their conviction.

If the same Californian voters who supported Proposition 215 knew that they may be unwittingly convicting a medical cannabis provider and knew their rights as a juror, there would be a greater chance of a jury issuing a NOT GUILTY verdict.

I. Juror’s Rights Information

Jurors have the Power: The trial jury protected under our Constitution is a judicial body with more power than Congress, the President, or even the Supreme Court. Judges say the “issue of law” is for them to determine, and instruct the jury to rule only on the fact of whether or not a defendant broke the law. Actually, a jury has the power to decide the issues of law under which the defendant is charged, as well as the facts. In our system of checks and balances, the jury is our final arbiter for justice.

Jurors have the right to acquit: This power is referred to as jury “discretion.” Just as police use discretion on whether to enforce the law; and prosecutors use discretion when charging someone with a violation of the law; and judges use discretion in deciding whether to dismiss those charges; jurors also have the power to use discretion in applying the law.

Jurors can question the Law: In an American courtroom there are in a sense twelve judges in attendance, not just one. As the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Maryland ruled, “If the jury feels that the law under which the defendant is accused, is unjust, or that exigent circumstances justified the actions of the accused, or for any reason which appeals to their logic of passion, the jury has the power to acquit, and the courts must abide by that decision.” (US vs Moylan, 417 F 2d 1002, 1006 (1969).

Jurors “Know your Rights”: You must know your rights because, once selected for jury duty, nobody will inform you of your power to judge both law and fact. The judge’s instructions to the jury may be to the contrary. YOU, as a juror armed with the knowledge of your real rights, powers, and duties, can with your single vote of not guilty “hang” a jury. Although it won’t be an acquittal, at least the defendant will not be convicted of violating an unjust or unconstitutional law. This is how the average citizen can help keep in check the power of government and bring to a halt the enforcement of faulty acts of the legislature.

II. Ways to Educate Potential Jurors:

* Letters to the editor: LTEs are great ways to spread the word. Consider writing letters during a key trial, and make sure to highlight the fact that federal medical cannabis defendants cannot invoke a medical defense.
* Educate your friends and family: Any citizen could be a juror at some point so bring up jurors’ rights whenever you discuss your advocacy work.
* Hold public forums: Utilize an already organized population, such as a church or university, to hold public forums on jurors’ rights.
* Leaflet court houses: Do juror education outside courthouses often. Remember the tips below. . .

III. The Dos and Don’ts of Juror Education near Courthouses

WARNING: The courts see a very fine line between Jury Education and Jury Tampering. Use the guidelines below to keep on the right side of the law!

While Doing Juror Education, Don’t:

* Give out information on a specific defendant.
* Ask people if they are jurors.
* Target only specific trials.
* Enter the courtroom and see the jury.

While Doing Juror Education, Do:

* Keep medical cannabis subject matter and jury education separate.
* Educate everyone.
* Keep a consistent schedule at courthouses.

Download this Flier and Get Started Now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.