Story Archive

Jury Nullification

The scene: Missoula (Mont.) County District Court. The charge: criminal distribution of dangerous drugs — a felony. The drug: 1/16th of an ounce of marijuana police found in Touray Cornell’s house. When potential jurors heard what the case was about, they staged a “revolt,” District Judge Dusty Deschamps said. Juror after juror being considered for the case said they would refuse to convict anyone over such a small amount of pot. Deschamps polled the remaining 27 juror prospects, and 22 of them said they would not issue a guilty verdict in the case, saying that even holding a trial for such a “crime” was a waste of taxpayer money. “A mutiny,” declared Deputy County Attorney Andrew Paul. Cornell agreed to a plea bargain in exchange for a year in prison, to be served concurrently to a year’s sentence on a theft charge. (RC/Missoulian) ...A citizen revolt on this issue isn’t a surprise. That it happened in a courtroom is.
Original Publication Date: 16 January 2011
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 17.

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