Pot Patriotism Plus Jury Nullification Equals US vs. Heicklen

George Washington University law professor and longtime jury nullification proponent Paul Butler pens a noteworthy op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times.
Notable not only because of the important subject matter vis-à-vis the first example proffered by Professor Butler, but also too because of the defendant in the case at bar cited.
Professor Julian Heicklen has been protesting Cannabis Prohibition laws since the mid 1990s, mainly around the Penn State campus where he was a longtime Chemistry professor, principally by causing a ruckus around jury nullification and protesting without permits.
Here is a related story NORML featured about Prof. Heicklen in 1998.
Well, to his ever-loving credit, in his retirement, this 79-year-old freedom loving activist is still–through his own pain and suffering–working hard to inform the public and potential jurors that they (better said, we) all have the right to vote our conscience when in judgment of our fellow citizens in a criminal court of law.
I too join Professors Heicklen and Butler in what some prosecutors deem a ‘crime’ and that is to educate as many citizens as possible that they don’t have to keep upholding bad laws like Cannabis Prohibition by voting to punish citizens for non-violent cannabis-related criminal offenses.
American citizens when acting as jurors have the right and responsibility to “Just Say No” to enforcing the country’s failed and expensive Cannabis Prohibition laws.
Many thanks to John Peter Zenger, Julian Heicklen, Paul Butler and all citizens who fully exercise their rights to nullify bad laws.

35 thoughts

  1. As much as I am a proponent of the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, I say that that is only for repelling interpersonal criminal aggression, rather than functioning any more as a check on government. Rather, now, it is Jury Nullification which is the citizens’ optimum weapon of resistance against unconscionable government action. The autonomy of the jury must remain sacrosanct — and judges who try to repress or contravene jury nullification should be impeached.

  2. Pharma is running the World and Government .It doesn’t matter what anyone says .The Corporations / industries control the government who control you the people .

  3. Problem cant send or mabey receive e-mail. But anybody that knows me at all, I will say give um hell i know I will be working for legal pot in any form this 69 year old man can. Peace and FREEDOM is norml.

  4. I recently spoke with an attorney regarding this subject and he informed me that often, during the jury selection process, a prosecutor has the right to dismiss a potential juror who indicates that he/she will not hold up the law (read willing to nullify). My question is how can a cannabis legalization proponent find himself before a jury of his peers if the “peers” in question have been hand-picked by the prosecution to disregard their constitutional duty and only adhere to the law as it is written, not as it should be?

  5. Yeah, they screen you out of the jury pool.
    Diane F. behind this story? Hi Diane!
    I’d like to see Barney Frank open up a cannabis club or, better yet, a cannabis coffeeshop in Massachusetts, let’s say Martha’s Vineyard and/or Boston. Barney as The Consigliere! Outspoken advocate for cannabis, and against senseless anti-cannabis laws. If the GBLT community wants a cash cow, Whoomp There It Is!

  6. what the mayors can do
    smokingspirit | 21 December, 2011 20:29
    Occupy what the mayors can do
    #1. Put a tax on Vacant property that doubles each year
    2. Stop all foreclosures in the city- banks must adjust to current times no mortgage should exceed ¼ income to mortgage ratio
    3 Strengthen squatters rights vacant property over two years are eligible if the new occupant makes continued improvements for over 1 year
    4. Vacant lots – port-a- potties and hot showers for the campers
    5. Eminate domain- vacant sky scrapers new low income 1& 2 bedroom units
    (Creates jobs)
    · What built the economy in the 1950s- that only one person in the house had to work?
    · Bars, night clubs open more and make sure the patrons are not harassed ( creates jobs for plumbers, electricians, coffee and other machines)
    · More weed dispensers Amsterdam style coffee shops
    · More Home grown organic tobacco shops- break the monopoly of the one brand issue
    · Dedicate a park for campers in the city
    · Release all prisoners who are non violent end the drug war -every arrest equals a failure more peace officers not police.
    · City/ nation wide tax .01% tax on all financial transactions paid directly to all the people to supplement their income.
    · Encourage more alternative vehicles – Hemp fuel production- engine modifications in the city I.e. Like Vancouver
    Written by Smoking Spirit @ http://www.smokingspirit123.com
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    Occupy Definition:
    smokingspirit | 08 December, 2011 15:17
    Occupy Definition: the act of occupying or the taking of a public place as a peaceful act of protest- a demonstration to petition the powers that be against corporate and political corruption – the loss of personal freedom – financial deprivation of its citizens and other basic natural rights- Parks. Vacant lots and vacant buildings taken by banks belong to the public – and the citizens are entitled to the use of public lands as the judge declared in Tennessee none has a right to put a curfew on public land.
    An occupier is: the 99% people who are fed up with corruption- greed- propaganda and the f financial deprivation of all people.
    An occupier is: part of the community they must agree to be peaceful, self-responsible and use self-enforcement
    An occupier is: someone who in participates in someway to benefit the community- their body during marches, attending General Assemblies or working groups – making signs or giving donations, cleaning or just general promoting of peaceful resistance against corruption, financial inequities and the loss of personal freedom this police state is trying to create
    An occupier is: ready to peacefully defend the American deceleration of independence, the environment the world and our natural human rights against corporate greed and corruption.
    General | Permalink | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
    we are the 99% fighting for the middle class
    smokingspirit | 11 November, 2011 20:24
    We are the 99% fighting for the middle class A whole population is denied the right to participate in the free market enterprise system, a whole population regardless of how hard they work- whether they play by the rules or not, they are denied a win. They can use economic warfare against the undesirables; “Disaster Economics” (Harper’s magazine) this applies to a good group of people; they work hard play by the rules and are forced to work just above slave labor. The more they squeeze the middle class the more the corporations can profit, the more people drop off the edge for the middle class has been under attack for decades as more and more of them are squeezed into poverty keep falling off the edge. The working poor are one or two paychecks away from being homeless and broke. Unemployed trying to seek welfare or a job, becoming homeless and then criminalized, loitering- vagrancy- tickets- all the while health care denied- and the right to self-determination, self-enforcement and self-responsibility demonized, demonized for having a smoke or a beer as the pharmaceutical companies flood the streets with their chemicals. Sleeping on the streets begging for change until they steal, and then feed the prison empire where the state will torture and convert them, after they break their spirit. It is the people of the 99% that are working not only to help the homeless, that some of them already are; but the 99% is working toward truth liberty justice individual freedom ,economic justice, and an end to corruption not just for the poor but for the middle class too, whether or not you want to accept it, it is the protestors who are working to help the middle class, for when you end the suffering for others you can end the suffering for yourself. It was the unions that brought America the weekend now it’s time for them to bring us a 30 hour work week with no loss in pay read more in the book( ABOUT CHRISTIANS AND FREEDOM) @ Amazon.com Or (AN OPENING FOR THE LIVING) ALSO @ Amazon.com http://www.Smokingspirit123.comOccupy2012@hotmail.com

  7. Read all about jury nullifications at http://www.fija.org. This is truly how we can most easily overturn prohibition. If prosecutors start seeing a pattern of nullifications it will serve to discourage them from continuing to prosecute cannabis related crimes. And remember, it doesn’t have to be a unanimous not-guilty verdict. A hung jury is often all that is needed. All of us need to try our best to serve as a juror when offered a chance to do so. PLEASE do not try to evade jury duty when called. http://www.fija.org has advice on how to make it past the jury selection process. If just ONE of us is present and voting not-guilty on every mj-related charge it will effectively end cannabis prohibition.

  8. Easy solution. When you get called for jury duty, start networking with the other potential jurors and tell them that if they get called on a pot case, that it is AUTOMATIC, you will all vote to nullify.

  9. When I served as a juror, the case was the state vs a 16 year old for possession of less than an oz.
    After the juror vetting process the judge asked the chosen jurors if they believed cannabis should be legal to raise their hands.
    Those who did were excused.
    So like Sinistry said, how can that be trail by peer?

  10. To Sinistry and Jim. . .
    Unfortunately, one must lie in order to get on a jury. . . because the prosecutor/judge will eliminate anyone who shows even a basic understanding of our Constitutional Rights. . .
    Play the ignorant, racist redneck if you want a spot on a jury.

  11. I was removed from a jury also when myself and another member answered a question about whether we thought marijuana should be legal. I think it is a major flaw in our justice system that your “peers” are weeded out if they don’t believe a certain way! In this case, a young black man was accused of selling a very small amount of cannabis to a friend of his. That was about 15 years ago and I don’t know what became of that case. I’ve never been called back up for jury duty since that time even though I vote regularly and would be willing to be part of a jury.
    It’s just so wrong!

  12. In a society of liars, it’s best to lie with the best of them. Say whatever one needs to in order to be on the jury, then when in the jury room, tell the other jurors your POV and see if you can get any of them on your side.
    All’s fair in love and war. Like I say when it comes to that, if you find yourself in a fair fight, it means you screwed up…LOL!

  13. Yes Jim! That’s exactly my point! The judge may as well had asked if there was anyone there who wouldn’t find the defendant guilty, then excused them. That’s not a jury of peers and should be considered tampering. Hand picking a jury that will rule in favor of the prosecution is not how trial by jury is supposed to work and in fact doesn’t work as intended by the constitution. Why isn’t there a law against that?!?

  14. Yeah, we gotta start throwing the lies they tell us back in their face .I made a commitment to myself that i would never lie and i have done pretty good at that by never lying but now i am getting tired of all their lies .
    It’s time to get even with the Devil .

  15. I’m delighted to see an occupy presence in this discussion. We’re certainly allies. It would be a wonderful boon for those of us with interests regarding cannabis normalization to piggyback with the 99%. Everyone would support us if they knew what a public health threat prohibition is.

  16. I’m being oppressed by the United States government, but I have to get a message to everyone: Drug tests INCREASE drug abuse, mainly because children can’t smoke pot because it can be detected in their system far longer than any other illicit or legal drug. I’ve seen young people go down the drain of drug abuse, using prescription drugs, simply because they’re being drug tested for pot. YOUR CHILDREN ARE DYING BECAUSE OF THE GOVERNMENT. THIS NEEDS TO BE STOPPED!

  17. So in the US, it is legal to sell products made of hemp. But you can’t legally grow the hemp yourself. Think about how transparently corrupt and stupid such policies are.
    Think about how pot is grouped in with “drugs” which is supposed to be in the category of those bad things that will mess up your life–according to the propaganda and government misinformation that is force-socialized on the citizenry from their youth.
    Prohibition is transparent corruption. Newly elected officials just wilt and ignore the topic because the Cannabis prohibition, even though absurdly unjust and corrupt, is so pervasively supported by special interests such that the subject is nearly taboo among elected officials. That is BS
    It’s time to stop electing people who are not openly opposed to ending the inane and failed Cannabis prohibition. Vote for those eager to end the party for the drug dealers and the cops and the industries that benefit from banning the most versatile and useful plant.
    It’s a war on *some* drugs. It’s gone on for over 40 years, a stupid waste of effort and money that alienates our own citizenry, creates black market prices (which drug dealers love) and creates drug-related violence a la organized crime. It creates confusion by making a non-crime into a serious legal violation when people can tell in their heart that the prohibition is unjust, creating animosity toward “law” enforcement as custodians of inane policies.
    And the drug war does nothing to prevent or stop consumption. Because you cannot control people’s behavior, by fabricating a paternalistic, unjust law–even if the penalties are ridiculously harsh when compared to those of even violent crimes–even if kids can get weed more easily than regulated alcohol.
    Cannabis prohibition. Unjust law. An unjust law is no law at all. And so…that’s why people ignore it…even though they pay taxes and a proportion is used to alienate and terrorize the citizenry.
    The prohibition could only have been the result of an evil legislation. The war on drugs is damaging this country and all to serve special interests. Think about it, imagine the auto industry and the gasoline industry are in business together (involved in mutual benefit schemes). Imagine that hospitals and insurance companies are in business together. Imagine the American military and private corporations, weapons dealers and contractors are in business together. Imagine all the people who benefit from Cannabis prohibition, and the DEA are in business together.
    After watching this past administration turn their noses up, to not even take the issue seriously without parroting the same govt sponsored lies/excuses/inability to admit a stupid stupid failure.

  18. I worry at how facist our country has become with cops beating and/or torturing citizens, judges allowing oppression which originated for political purposes, and jails filled with peaceable stoners. We could be and do so much better.

  19. Remember, when you sit down for jury duty and the judge tells you, “You don’t have to agree with the law, you just have to follow it. And hold the defendant to the same principals.”, he or she is lying to you. You do not have to agree with the law. You’re not there to rubber stamp whatever the police say. You’re there to make sure justice is served; not evaded by following crooked laws.

  20. easy to get picked. said i don’t believe it should be legalised. Which was true. once picked, i had to joy of saying how it should be decriminalized like tobacco and alcohol. Which is not legislation. Nullification was next, they pissed and cryed but, I was smarter than them. That’s just one of several ways to legally not perjor yourself, while mind fucking them. my whole family is lawers and DA’s. I know they are there, to pick sure bets, for their win. So just play on legal definitions of words, they use, to easily by pass, not getting picked.
    funny I used to use that knowledge, to get most, out of jury duty. So on that note don’t act like you know constitutional law. They want low intellect for juries. They are easily swaded.

  21. Like most lifes lessons, it’s usuaully too late to learn. But if we do what we know is right, it might just be easier like legalization of cannabis to keep man happy on what God already has given . This can be solved on an individual basis only. The rest is interference in an area best left alone.

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