Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is the New York Times bestselling author of 11 books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and Meltdown (on the financial crisis). A senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Woods has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, FOX News, FOX Business, C-SPAN, Bloomberg Television, and hundreds of radio programs... (Read More)

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Revolt in Montana: Jury Nullification on a Grand Scale

22nd December 2010      by: Tom Woods     

This is fantastic: jurors in Missoula refused en masse to convict anyone of possessing trivial amounts of marijuana.  That’s a good start.  Now let’s start doing the same when it comes to lots of other issues.  Jury nullification is an essential tool of a free people, as a great many wise Americans realized more than 200 years ago.  (Incidentally, given that even Pat Robertson is wondering if the authorities should be going after kids for marijuana, the insanity of the policy is apparently obvious to just about everyone at this point.)

Thanks to the many people who sent me this item.

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  • shooter348

    It’s good, but it’s only a start and doesn’t really amount to jury nullification. This happened when the judge polled potential jurors from the jury pool only to find the majority wouldn’t convict someone for such a small amount of pot.
    The good thing is that so many people were willing to admit it was a frivolous charge and that the state was wasting the peoples money in pursuing it.
    The bad thing was that the judge was trying to prevent the chance of jury nullification by hand picking a jury that would admit their willingness to convict someone of the charge being brought. The way that judges choreograph trials handpicking juries, deciding what evidence juries will or will not be allowed to see, and then instructing juries in how they may come to their verdict prevents a fair trial.

  • HighlanderJuan

    Philosophically I don’t think it is a bad thing to lie to an enemy, a criminal, or someone wishing you or your neighbors harm. The question that has to be asked and answered before lying to a judge is whether he is upholding the laws of his state as he is sworn to do. If it appears the judge’s actions are prosecutorial or are unlawful or damaging to the people, the answer should be obvious.

  • Doug Holdridge

    The juries responsibility is to determine guilt or innocence and also whether or not the “law” being violated is legitimate. A responsibility usurped by judges and not understood by jurors.

  • Tom

    No Doug, the jury was also meant as a last ditch effort against laws that violate the rights of individuals. I suggest a read of the federalist papers which supports this view.

  • http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2011/01/10/the-montana-pot-rebellion-and-jury-nullification/ RustyShackleford

    I think it’s a bit distasteful to lie to a court to get onto a jury for the purpose of engaging in nullification, but police are allowed to lie to suspects to get confessions, so whatever.

  • Alex

    Jury nullification is a GREAT idea! It’s a legal way for jurors to protect fellow citizens from unjust government laws. See http://www.FIJA.org

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