Jury nullification — when a jury disagrees with the law and acquits a defendant they believe to be guilty — has a long history in the United States of serving as a bellwether for social change on unpopular laws. There are numerous historical examples of juries nullifying laws that would later change due to vast public opposition. More recently, legal professionals have identified jury nullification verdicts in marijuana cases. This should not be surprising given society’s rapidly changing view of marijuana — support for legalization now polls at 58 percent nationally, and in Texas it polls equally well. In this installment of Baker Institute Viewpoints, experts discuss the question, “What does jury nullification of marijuana cases in Texas indicate about the possibility of marijuana legalization?”
Jury nullification: Local option by William Martin, Ph.D., the Harry and Hazel Chavanne Senior Fellow in Religion and Public Policy at the Baker Institute, the Chavanne Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Rice University and the director of the institute’s Drug Policy Program
Ceasefire in the war on marijuana in Texas? Trial by jury and jury nullification by Gilbert G. Garcia, a board certified criminal lawyer and a member of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
Prioritizing public safety over applying outdated drug policy by Rehman Bhalesha, a law student and research assistant at South Texas College of Law
Feb. 19, 2014, 11:49 a.m.