Hogeye Bill has released a “press release” on Facebook, in which he discusses his intent to challenge Arkansas marijuana laws through jury nullification.
Since Bill is a fairly well-known libertarian in Northwest Arkansas, (relatively speaking, since libertarians, in general, don’t seem to be well known to many,) and since he is a member of our own community, I thought that it would be appropriate to republish his press release here on our blog.
Press Release 9/13/17:
Bill Orton, the Arkansas chess champion, is challenging the Arkansas pot laws. He was busted with a pipe in Johnson Arkansas, and intends to demolish Arkansas pot laws through jury nullification. Jury nullification is when a jury votes “not guility” due to an unjust law. A jury of Ozark people, Bill’s peers, are unlikely to convict someone of such backward, ignorant, and unjust laws such as those against possession and paraphernalia. Ozark people know that outlawing the twine and rope plant is unjust, and have seen the devastating effects of these laws on family and friends. Trial by jury is the people versus the government. Jury nullification has a long and distinguished history, and has been used successfully against the Fugitive Slave Laws, in battered spouse cases, as well as marijuana cases.
The preliminary trial (without a jury) is at Johnson Court House at 11am on
Wed. Sept. 20th. It will be interesting to see if Bill will continue to be free on his own recognizance, or if the judge will punish him for demanding a jury trial by incarcerating him until that trial.
There have been jury nullifications of pot laws in several states already.
Ed Forchion aka NJ Weedman, New Jersey http://fija.org/2012/11/01/jury-nullification-and-the-ed-forchion-case/
Doug Darrell, New Hampshire http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/17/doug-darrell-marijuana-jury-nullification_n_1890824.html
“Even if you find that the State has proven each and every element of the offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt, you may still find the defendant not guilty if you have a conscientious feeling that a not guilty verdict would be a fair result in this case.” – James O’Neill (read aloud to the jury)
“Twenty-two states — including Mississippi, North Carolina, and Missouri — have decriminalized or legalized marijuana. … In 2012, there were at least 5,718 marijuana arrests in Arkansas. Of those arrests, over 90% were for marijuana possession. During the same year, 91% of all reported burglaries, including home invasions, and over 90% of all motor vehicle thefts went unsolved. Law enforcement should stop wasting time on marijuana-related offenses and use its resources to stop real crime.” – https://www.mpp.org/states/arkansas/
I hope things go well for Bill, and for other victims of the State who have been attacked for possession of marijuana or for other victimless crimes.
I also want to say that I fully support Bill’s idea of relying on jury nullification, in his situation. I’d like to see more people becoming knowledgeable about jury nullification, and using it to prevent government from doing harm in other ways. We’ve talked about this a little bit in our forum, and in our monthly get-togethers.
In addition to the references Bill provided, I wanted to add an excellent video by an excellent youtuber that introduces the idea quite well.