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Even if a jury believes that a criminal defendant committed the offense alleged, a jury can still return a verdict of “Not Guilty” if the jury does not believe the law which is alleged to have been violated is just. This is known as a Jury Nullification. When a jury nullifies by returning a “Not Guilty” verdict on the grounds that it does not agree with the law at issue, that verdict cannot be questioned by any court and is prohibited from issuing a retrial on the same charge due to the “double jeopardy” clause of the Constitution. Typically, a jury is the trier of facts, but nothing can stop a juror from disagreeing with the law at issue and thereby returning a not guilty verdict.
Utah Can Learn Something from Montana
Something akin to jury nullification recently took place in Montana in a case concerning the possession of marijuana. Judge Dusty Deschamps was unable to seat a jury because the jurors all supported nullifying the state’s marijuana laws. The majority of the jurors did not agree with the states law’s concerning the possession of marijuana. If these jurors would have been seated on the case then no conviction would have been obtained. Because Deschamps found it impossible to seat a jury, working out a plea bargain for the defendant was Deschamps only plausible choice. The attorneys on the case were able to work out a plea agreement and the defendant walked away without having to plead guilty.
Jury Nullification or Not, We Can Help
Regardless of whether a jury nullifies a marijuana law, a marijuana possession charge is very serious and it is important to get an experienced attorney who can help diminish or dismiss consequences that come with a possession charge. The criminal defense lawyers at Utah Defenders know what it takes to help protect your rights within criminal cases. Let Utah Defenders be the ones to protect you. If you would like to speak with one of our criminal defense attorney’s or schedule a free consultation, call 801.618.1334 today and learn what a Utah Defenders Attorney can do for you.