The role of the jury is to apply the law as the judge has instructed. In this case, the defendant was charged with possession of marijuana, based on a search of his car following a traffic stop for speeding. The police did not charge him with the speeding, but only possession of marijuana. The jury was instructed accordingly. During their deliberations, the jurors discussed their anger at the police and prosecutors for using the speeding just to stop the defendant’s car and search it and decided that they wanted to send a message to police and prosecutors that they should be focusing on “real” crimes and leave people in possession of marijuana alone, even though it was still illegal in their state. Their belief was that voting “not guilty” would be a message to prosecutors and the police.
Review the materials provided, and discuss the following:
- Did the jury in this instance act outside of its scope?
- Is there any remedy for the jury’s actions?