Jury duty is a powerful thing, it's sad that most of us try to escape it.
I want to inspire potential jurors by explaining a largely-unknown legal power. I'm writing, illustrating, and publishing a booklet about Jury Nullification that I will distribute next month, for free, outside the Brooklyn Division of Jurors.
A jury system protects society from lawbreakers, but it also can protect society from bad law. A jury can nullify a law it believes unjust in a process called Jury Nullification–it's our power to judge the law, and not just evidence. And when might this special power be used? It could be applied to all drug-related charges decided by a jury.
In 2008, creators of HBO's The Wire wrote, "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. We will no longer tinker with the machinery of the drug war."
Finding a defendant guilty must be by unanimous jury vote. One vote of not guilty destroys a drug war trial.
In many jurisdictions it is forbidden for attorneys to advise juries of their power to nullify–jurors must learn of it through extra-legal sources. This project is for development of such a source. I've received sponsorship from the Brooklyn Arts Council and the NY Department of Cultural Affairs to illustrate the story. With your support, I plan to print 3000 booklets to give away to potential jurors; your pledge will only be taken if the full fundraising goal is reached.
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