Thursday, March 06, 2008

A little Mass Dissent Anyone?

There is an excellent piece posted over at TIME Magazine written by the writer's of HBO's 'The Wire'. I don't have HBO and have never watched the show but they have hit the drug war between the eyes with this piece.

They say from here on out if they are asked to serve on the jury of a non-violent drug offender they will practice Jury Nullification. I am a big fan of such dissent tactics. It is extremely unlikely that I will ever be picked to serve on the jury in a non-violent drug case....but if I were picked I would employ jury nullification.

If you are picked to serve on the jury of a non-violent drug case I would ask that you do the same. If you are on trial then have people stand outside the courthouse on jury picking day and HAND OUT JURY NULLIFICATION INFORMATION to prospective jurors. It's legal and it is your right!

Here is just a snippet

Yet this war grinds on, flooding our prisons, devouring resources, turning city neighborhoods into free-fire zones. To what end? State and federal prisons are packed with victims of the drug conflict. A new report by the Pew Center shows that 1 of every 100 adults in the U.S. — and 1 in 15 black men over 18 — is currently incarcerated. That's the world's highest rate of imprisonment.

The drug war has ravaged law enforcement too. In cities where police agencies commit the most resources to arresting their way out of their drug problems, the arrest rates for violent crime — murder, rape, aggravated assault — have declined. In Baltimore, where we set The Wire, drug arrests have skyrocketed over the past three decades, yet in that same span, arrest rates for murder have gone from 80% and 90% to half that. Lost in an unwinnable drug war, a new generation of law officers is no longer capable of investigating crime properly, having learned only to make court pay by grabbing cheap, meaningless drug arrests off the nearest corner.

If asked to serve on a jury deliberating a violation of state or federal drug laws, we will vote to acquit, regardless of the evidence presented. Save for a prosecution in which acts of violence or intended violence are alleged, we will — to borrow Justice Harry Blackmun's manifesto against the death penalty — no longer tinker with the machinery of the drug war. No longer can we collaborate with a government that uses nonviolent drug offenses to fill prisons with its poorest, most damaged and most desperate citizens.


Also visit Fully Informed Jury Association and educate yourself on this most noble form of dissent!

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