NJWeedman’s Self-Defense Toolkit – A Guide to Jury Nullification
Please watch the below video & then read text.
Every year in the US an estimated 900,000 people are prosecuted for proximity to a plant that until a couple generations ago had been humanities richest vegetable resource. The cannabis tree for millennia has provided humans with protein, nutrients, fiber for the paper of our most important historic documents, ropes, sails, even and the original Levi jeans were made of it. Now increasingly, as medical professionals rediscover the myriad of health benefits bestowed by the herb known as the “Healing of the Nation”, we are beginning to understand the rightful role this miraculous plant has to play on the planet and in human life.
Precisely because the plant has such great potential to provide for the planet’s needs, it presented a threat to those who would have an economy dependent on unsustainable resources, rapaciously exploited for maximum, short-term financial gain.
In 1937 the US Congress passed the Marijuana Taxation Act which wasn’t really a tax but the first national prohibition of this scared herb. Then in 1970 Congress passed the Controlled Substance Act which classified substances into schedules. Marijuana was misdefined, wrongly classified as a schedule 1 drug. Schedule 1 drugs are substances that have:
· The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
· The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
· There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision
This false scheduling was deliberate and a cruel hoax on the American people, that has resulted in the imprisonment of over 30 million Americans since.
The problem with allowing people access to this healing herb is the pharmaceutical companies’ addiction to drug money – siphoned off from the sick and sometimes desperate, forced to adopt expensive, dangerous and often lethal treatments. The range of conditions cannabis can alleviate and heal truly presents a sizable threat to the profits of pharmaceutical companies. Now the cannabis cat is out of the bag, Big Pharma is privately petrified by the possibility of losing revenue to a competitor product that a) trumps their offerings and b) offers no patent opportunity for the corporations to monopolize the medicine.
Other reasons: the Legal Profession and the Prisons Industrial Complex who have turned the current prohibitionist Cannabis Laws into their cash cow, and Chattel catcher of private prisons. Lawyers use these laws to gain clients and investments in private prisons and drug rehab programs. While police agencies, prosecutors and prisons depend on the constant capture of cannabis consuming citizens for "asset forfeiture", fines and as the chattel of the new age concrete plantation systems (PRISONS). None of these entities are in a rush to end this commodity.
Against this background, cannabis campaigners have won legal victories in securing legalization at the State level securing access for medical use in 22 States, and the district of Columbia. The mass of medical evidence for the efficacy of herb in treating myriad conditions suggests the creator gave the gift of this healing plant for mankind as is written in Biblical Law. Suppression of this ancient knowledge can continue no longer, and now the tables are turning on pot prohibition. It is increasingly evident that the ‘war on drugs’ is a racist policy directed at perpetuating slavery through the victimization of (mainly) black men and women, profiting from their incarceration and criminalization.
Now the world understands the truth of cannabis herb, those accused of crimes can consider themselves heroes. Bravely defending their right to use this natural medicine to heal and balance mind, body and spirit, cannabis patriots get-up, stand-up!
So you’ve been busted for herb, or just want to educate yourself in case you do – this guide is designed to equip you with a self-defense toolkit to neutralize any harassment by the state for cannabis.
The first thing to know is that even if you are technically guilty of this victim less, so-called crime, jurors need not return a guilty verdict if they belief the law itself to be unjust. Jurors have the right to judge the law itself, or to render a verdict reflective of their conscience. Most Americans now agree that cannabis should be legalized for medical use, when these Americans appear as jurors on a cannabis case they have the right to reject the law or use their conscience to say “not guilty”.
The defense works through the power of the jury to nullify the law. The United States has a proud history of conscientious citizen’s exercising their compassion and sense of right and nullifying cases against persecuted persons.
During the dying days of slavery, citizen’s could be arrested and charged for assisting escaped slaves. Humanity decided it would not punish people for compassion and bravely providing refuge and assistance for the weak and weary. Jurors on slavery case’s refused to convict. During this countries Alcohol Prohibition era citizen jurors again refused to convict in record numbers.
Once again jury nullification is providing an outlet for the conscience of the nation. Several high profile cases have demonstrated that juries will not convict people when the law is bad.
In this how-to guide you’ll learn how to utilize the Jury Nullification Defense, and prepare to free yourself and the herb. Good luck Ganja Warrior. May all pot political prisoners be set free!
7 STEPS TO A JN VICTORY AND FREEDOM
1. DEMAND THE RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL
The job of the prosecutor is to force a plea deal, a settlement with the accused, rewarding compliancy with the system with apparent leniency in sentencing. This usually means, plead guilty and take the wrap. For jury nullification we don’t accept that a crime has been committed, irrespective of the facts of the case. Therefore, one’s only recourse is to a trial by jury, you must insist upon this constitutional right.
2. DEMAND - SELF REPRESENTATION
The jury nullification defense requires that you represent yourself in court, at least giving your own opening statement. This is essential so that you have the opportunity to connect with the jury as a human being; as a person not a criminal. You must appear in charge of your case defense, you must ask the Jury the vior questions and then answer them yourself so your jurors who know who you are. This is critical in having the jurors recognize you as a human being and a victim of a wrong law. Instead of a evil law breaker as the prosecution will present you.
REMEMBER: Self-representation does not mean without legal counsel, but that you will tell your own story. The 6th & 7th Amendments guarantee your right to “assistance of counsel for his defense”.
You have a right to represent yourself as well as a right to choose your own defense, and the tactics and strategy you want as a defendant.
While you may find some lawyers sympathetic to the jury nullification defense, lawyers risk getting de-barred for recommending this strategy to their clients or mentioning this recourse to clemency available to jurors.
(A) - At the first available opportunity, and certainly at your first arraignment you should Inform your legal representative and the court of your intention to represent yourself. NEVER GIVE UP YOUR RIGHT TO REPRESENT YOURSELF with the ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL FOR HIS DEFENSE.
Lawyers and the court are generally unlikely to embrace the defendant requests for self-representation. This can easily be overcome by citing the precedent set by the California vs Faretta 1974 case demanding self-representation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faretta_v._California
· (Additionally the US Supreme Court held: “In short, the Amendment constitutionalizes the right in an adversary criminal trial to make a defense as we know it. See California v. Green, 399 U.S. 149, 176 (Harlan, J., concurring). [422 U.S. 806, 819]
· In Price v. Johnston, 334 U.S. 266 , the Court held that, it was a "recognized privilege of conducting his own defense at the trial." Id., at 285.) -- forcing a lawyer upon an unwilling defendant is contrary to his basic right to defend himself if he truly wants to do so. [422 U.S. 806, 818]
· The FARRETTA Court held that: Although not stated in the 6th Amendment in so many words, the right to self-representation - to make one's own defense personally - is thus necessarily implied by the structure of the Amendment. The right to defend [422 U.S. 806, 820] is given directly to the accused; for it is he who suffers the consequences if the defense fails.
(B) - The motion should include a ‘no-plea bargain’ clause. The prosecution will want to have you accept a plea bargain to secure a conviction. You are guilt of no crime, so hold your course and never give in to their fear and intimidation tactics designed to have you accept a wrap for supposed lenience in exchange for your compliance. Don’t accept the bribe of leniency, don’t testify against yourself. (Protected by 5th amend)
3. DEMAND ANCILLARY SERVICES
As part of your constitutional right to a fair trial by a jury of your peers, the State is obliged to provide ancillary services so that you may mount an appropriate legal defense. In your case this may mean calling expert medical witnesses to testify to the effectiveness of cannabis in treating your condition. In the case of religious use, witness statement could come from oneself with an oath sworn to the creator.
Courts will generally try to object to requests that increase financial cost to the State. It is precisely this exercise of democratic rights that will ultimately force governments to repeal the marijuana laws and free the herb. This is because the more difficult cannabis cases become to process, the less inclined prosecutors will be to clog-up the courts with cases they’re unable to convict.
Points 1, 2 & 3 can be covered by a simple motion submitted to the court stating that you invoke the 6th & 7th Amendment Rights to assistance of counsel and the Right to choose one’s own defense.
You can download a template here ---> GENERIC / PRE-TRIAL MOTION.
For less serious charges heard before a Judge in Municipal Court, you can use NJWeedman’s tried and tested challenge to the classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance with no medical benefit. This challenge brief can be modified to your state.
In many cases, simply by submitting the challenge to the prosecutor, the case will be thrown out. The last thing court prosecutors want is extra work and hassle with cases clogging up the court. There is no way for the court to debunk the medical evidence, and they have not the will for the fight.
4. KNOW YOUR ENEMY - ( The Prosecutor & the Judge )
The Prosecutor is your enemy, he wants to put you in a cage and will fight tooth and nail to prevent you from telling or showing the jury of their POWER to NULLIFY. The Judge is supposed to be a neutral arbitrator of the law, but he/she will side with the Prosecution on many of your tactics to utilize a JURY Nullification Defense. The most powerful entity in the courtroom is the Jury, and you want to make them your friends.
If at all possible, don’t leave it to the day of your trial to experience the machinations of court for the first time. Take the time to go to watch a couple case's at your local courthouse. See the stages through jury selection, opening and closing statements. The life you'd be saving is your own! No one else cares about your life in the court system, but you can get a few jurors to care if you set out to do that (Remember you only need 1).
The system is designed to intimidate defendants using a display of state power and omnipotence. Getting used to the process by seeing it first-hand will better prepare the defendant to stand firm and know you are guilty of no crime. This truth will cloak you in the cause of righteousness, protecting and strengthening your resolve and capacity for freedom.
The Judge will be obliged to conceal from the court the option juries have to evaluate the law as well as the fact. Don’t let this deter and undermine your resolve to this route. You will be in a fine tradition of conscientious citizens exercising the natural right to participate In the democratic decisions of their community.
Don't let any of this lead you to forget the fine tradition of justice you uphold for the nation by reaching the conscience and compassion of a fully inform jury.
5. INFORMING THE JURY
A key challenge to overcome in successfully beating the criminal laws is to inform the jury of their option to nullify. Many Jurors would NULLIFY non-violent charges and set the defendant free if they knew they had this power. ( Defendant could just get on his/her knee's and beg for forgiveness as well.) - A jurors is empowered to utilize his/her conscience when rendering a verdict. If you jury can be convinced you've been punished enough, they could simply say "NOT GUILTY".
Speaking this plainly in court can cause trouble. Notifying jurors from outside the courthouse is an effective way for supporters to communicate the message. Awareness of jury nullification is rising on a national scale, and you only need one juror to vote ‘not guilty’ and the case is won. You, your family & friends should organize JURY AWARENESS demonstrations outside the courthouse a few weeks before your case and the week of your trial start. Find out which days are JURY POOL, days. This varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. And be sure to present a flyer campaign outside the court, and if there is a parking lot where the jurors park - attempt to have someone put (FIJA) JURY NULLIFICATION fliers on all the cars before they leave to go home.
(Hopefully they will read them, and hopefully the prosecution doesn't thrwart this by having the court sheriffs remove them.)
Local news and media can be a good platform to promote jury nullification, as are online forums and social media.
Uniting with local chapters of jury nullification groups and cannabis campaigners can be a good way of raising awareness of cases, and of rallying supporters.
6. JURY SELECTION
This is where its important for you to go to court prior to your trial and see how your court does JURY VIOR QUESTIONS. This becomes your first opportunity to present yourself to the JURY. Be pleasant when the Jury pool enters the courtroom, be sure to take the lead in picking your jurors. Make sure your jurors see that it is you that is picking the jurors or rejecting them. You must speak well, show no anger and smile a lot - This is important you must HUMANIZE yourself. You ask the jurors questions, if your Judge allows both you and the "assist" to ask questions so be it - but if the Judge only allows one of you. YOU DO IT.
Be sure to have the VIOR QUESTIONS on a Poster Board, easily read by the jurors.
READ MY JURY SELECTION - MAY 1, 2012
( - TRANSCRIPT May 1, 2012 -)
READ MY OPENING STATEMENTS FROM TRIAL MAY 3rd, 2012
A Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual
Notes and Links
Example Opening Statement (by Ed Forchion, AKA NJ Weedman) Download
History of Jury Nullification
Some famous laws that were ignored by juries include:
Freedom of religion, speech, and assembly - William Penn (London, 1670).
Freedom from witch hunts - 50 acquittals in a row stopped witch trials (Salem, 1693)
Freedom from slavery - fugitive slave laws (America, 1850s).
Freedom to strike - anti-strike laws (late 1800s), which caused business interests to pressure judges to stop informing juries of their power.
Freedom to drink alcohol - Prohibition (1930s). Convictions became rare even without instruction.
Noah Webster, whose purpose in publishing a dictionary was to preserve the meaning of the language used in the Constitution, in his first Dictionary of the English Language (1828), included the following in his definition of "jury": "Petty juries, consisting usually of twelve men, attend courts to try matters of fact in civil causes, and to decide both the law and the fact in criminal prosecution.