Fully Informed Juries

Here's something amazing: We can end the War on Drugs right now, without waiting for our elected officials to develop a spine and do something to help this country, rather than wage war against its citizens. And we don't even need to persuade a majority of voters that pot isn't the monster they've been fearing, and vote to repeal the laws. All we need is Fully Informed Juries.

Trial by Jury is the most important and underrated freedom we have in this country. Jury duty is generally considered a pain in the ass, something to be avoided, weaseled out of, squirmed away from... but this is our last line of defense against tyranny. The thing is, few people realize it.

In a courtroom, the judge will tell you that you must decide whether the person accused is guilty of breaking the law, or not. He'll tell you that you must make this decision based solely upon the evidence presented, without bringing any prejudices of your own into the matter. What he won't tell you is that you can vote not guilty in spite of the evidence if you feel the law is unjust.

Judges, of course, don't want you to know this. Before the trial, when the jurors are being selected, you can easily get bumped by indicating that you'll vote not guilty if you disagree with the law. Judges want jurors that will turn in a verdict, not jurors who will start debates in the jury room over whether or not the law makes any sense. So you have to be silent about your convictions until you get into that back room to discuss the case.

But at that point, you are free to vote your conscience. If the case involves marijuana, vote not guilty, no matter how compelling the evidence. Stick to your guns and you'll hang the jury, and that conviction won't go through. (Of course, they'll retry the case, and that's just one case among thousands.)

There are 12 people on a jury, and only 1 is needed to create a deadlock. That's just 8.3%.

So, to end the war on drugs, all we need is 10%. First, we need to get 10% of the population to realize that the war on drugs, or at least on marijuana, is misguided and destructive. I think we've already got that, and if we don't, we're close. Then all we'll need to do is get those 10% to get into jury rooms and refuse to convict people on drug charges. The system will clog and the impractical drug war will become impossible.

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