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United States News
See other United States News Articles

Title: Jury Nullifies Georgia Weed Law, Finds Man Not Guilty Despite Admittedly Growing Marijuana
Source: Blacklisted News/FTP
URL Source: https://www.blacklistednews.com/art ... espite-admittedly-growing.html
Published: Jul 15, 2018
Author: John Vibes
Post Date: 2018-07-15 11:32:45 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 149
Comments: 3

Laurens County, GA – Javonnie Mondrea McCoy is a medical marijuana patient in a state where the plant is still illegal and was recently in court facing charges of possession and manufacturing. McCoy grew cannabis for his own personal consumption to treat severe headaches and other pain that he has suffered since he spent two weeks in a coma in 2003 after being severely beaten.

Instead of attempting to fight the case on the grounds that the evidence against him was wrong, McCoy instead argued that the laws were wrong. He was honest about his experience and his medical use of cannabis during the trial, and the jury acquitted his case, despite the evidence against him.

McCoy’s lawyer, Catherine Bernard, said that McCoy is not the type of person who belongs behind bars.

The jury appreciated his honesty throughout the case—including testimony at trial and statements to police—and recognized that a good, hardworking man living a quiet life and not bothering anyone didn’t deserve a felony conviction for his actions,” Bernard said.

This is just the most recent case of a jury nullification victory for cannabis users, but this strategy is becoming increasingly popular.

For those who do not know, jury nullification is basically the right for any juror to not only judge the facts of the case but to also actually judge the validity of the law itself. This means that if a jury feels that a defendant is facing an unjust charge, they actually have the right to rule in the defendant’s favor, even if they are technically guilty under the court’s standards.

Considering the fact that most of the nonviolent offenses on the books today are extremely unpopular for a variety of reasons, you would think that jury nullification would be household knowledge, or even taught in schools. However, this is a very well guarded secret, with many judges actually preventing the defense from informing juries of their right to nullify laws that they feel are unjust.

In fact, in 2016, New Hampshire House became the first state in the nation to consider a bill that would require courts to inform juries of their right to vote not guilty when the verdict would produce an unjust result.

Attorney Catherine Bernard could not be immediately reached for comment, but posts on her Facebook page suggest that the judge attempted to block her from discussing jury nullification in court.


“Today, I quoted Article 1, Section 1, Paragraph XI of the Georgia Constitution to the jury. The judge interrupted and told them it was ‘not a correct statement of the law.’ The judge took an oath to uphold that Constitution. What’s going on here?” Bernard wrote.

It is sadly common for judges to prevent talk of jury nullification in their courtrooms, as cannabis activist Ed Forchion, aka “NJ Weedman,” learned during one of his jury nullification victories.

Forchion was passionate in the closing arguments of his 2012 trial, wearing a shirt that said “Marijuana … It’s OK. It’s Just Illegal,” and telling the jury that he had been munching on edibles throughout the whole trial. Then at one point, he was nearly held in contempt of court for trying to advance his jury nullification argument.

In the years since Forcion has faced constant harassment from the authorities and has been arrested on numerous occasions. Luckily, he was still able to win over the jury earlier this year when he was found not guilty after spending over 400 days in jail on trumped-up witness tampering charges, which were related to a prior marijuana case.

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#1. To: Deckard (#0)

and recognized that a good, hardworking man living a quiet life and not bothering anyone

"Forchion was passionate in the closing arguments of his 2012 trial ... he had been munching on edibles throughout the whole trial ... he was nearly held in contempt of court ... In the years since Forcion has faced constant harassment from the authorities and has been arrested on numerous occasions ... spending over 400 days in jail on trumped-up witness tampering charges, which were related to a prior marijuana case."

So this is the author's definition of a "good, hardworking man living a quiet life and not bothering anyone"?

misterwhite  posted on  2018-07-15   13:08:17 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#2. To: Deckard (#0)

We'll likely see more cases of juries nullifying pot laws across the country, even in Red states.

Tooconservative  posted on  2018-07-15   13:52:55 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#3. To: Deckard (#0)

Javonnie Mondrea McCoy is a medical marijuana patient....

He is being treated for a chronic case of medical marijuana.


Page 10

Date booked: 7/5/2014
Date arrested: 7/5/2014
Age: 41

Charges: Aggrav. Assault

VGCSA Marij. Poss/MFG/Dist

VGCSA Cocaine-Int. Distribu

Poss. Firearms During

Poss. Tools Com. Crim (16-7-20)


Date booked: 3/23/2015
Date Released: 3/23/2015
Age: 41
Charges: Contempt-Superior (15-6-8)(5)

- - - - - - - - - -

For those who do not know, jury nullification is basically the right for any juror to not only judge the facts of the case but to also actually judge the validity of the law itself.

This, of course, is FALSE. It is a legal WRONG, an ABUSE OF POWER, that they can get away with.

D.C. Bar, Ethics Opinion 320, Jury Nullification Arguments by Criminal Defense Counsel

A lawyer defending a criminal case may zealously advocate for the acquittal of his client using any evidentiary argument for which he has a reasonable good faith basis. Current legal standards strongly disfavor jury nullification and prohibit express exhortations that a jury nullify the law. Accordingly, a lawyer may not, consistent with the rules of professional conduct, expressly urge a jury to disregard the law. Nor may a lawyer disregard a ruling of the tribunal limiting the scope of permissible argument.


In these early periods of American history, the power of the jury to nullify the law was explicit and affirmatively approved. With the turn of the 20th century, however, the law has developed a more strict separation between the domain of the court (to say what the law is) and the domain of the jury (to determine the facts). Jurors today are routinely instructed that they must accept the law as given to them by the court in its instructions. E.g., Sparf & Hanson v. United States, 156 U.S. 51 (1895).[1] Thus, under contemporary substantive legal standards, a suggestion by a lawyer to a jury that it should ignore the law as stated by the judge may be tantamount to an explicit invitation to the jury to ignore the judge’s instructions.


Thus, at a minimum defense counsel must necessarily conform their conduct to the substantive law of the jurisdiction in which the lawyer is appearing. See D.C. Rule 8.5(a); see also Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers § 105 (2000) (“a lawyer must comply with applicable law, including rules of procedure and evidence and specific tribunal rulings”). In this jurisdiction, such substantive law appears to preclude express advocacy of the jury nullification power.

The District of Columbia has no rule or statute authorizing jury nullification. Both the local courts and the federal courts have rejected assertions that juries are entitled to an instruction apprising them of their “right” to nullify the law. See United States v. Washington, 705 F.2d 489 (D.C. Cir. 1983) (fact that juries can abuse their power and return verdicts contrary to the law does not mean that courts must give such instruction); Reale v. United States, 573 A.2d 13 (D.C. 1990) (trial court not required to instruct jurors about their power of jury nullification).


Moreover, the standard jury instruction given in District of Columbia courts contains this express admonition to the jury: “You may not ignore any instruction, or question the wisdom of any rule of law.” Criminal Jury Instructions for the District of Columbia, Instr. 2.01 (Bar Assn. of D.C. 4th ed. 1993). Within this jurisdiction express exhortations to ignore the law are, therefore, likely to be deemed prohibited by law and may, therefore, result in violations of the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct by lawyers who advocate such a course. See D.C. Rule 8.4.


1. Two states, Indiana and Maryland, retain state constitutional provisions that enshrine a jury’s authority to determine the law as well as the facts. See Ind. Const. art. I, § 19; Md. Decl. of Rights, art. 23. But even in those states the jury instructions typically admonish the jury not to arbitrarily and willfully disregard the law or substitute their own judgment for what they think the law should be in a particular case. See. e.g.. Indiana Jury Instruction (quoted in Kourlis, “Not Jury Nullification; Not a Call for Ethical Reform; But Rather a Case for Judicial Control,” 67 U. Colo. L. Rev. 1109, 1111 (1996)).

nolu chan  posted on  2018-07-15   15:21:07 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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