This is a little late (I apologize, I don't have cable). The writers of HBO's police drama the Wire, which aired its final episode on March 9th, wrote an opinion piece in Time magazine recently extolling the virtues of jury nullification in cases involving illegal drugs. Specifically, the writers of the show state:
"If asked to serve on a jury deliberating a violation of state or federal drug laws, we will vote to acquit, regardless of the evidence presented."
The piece then goes on to explain that "[j]ury nullification is American dissent, as old and as heralded as the 1735 trial of John Peter Zenger."
Not surprisingly, this opinion piece drew the attention of several media outlets and blogs.
Law Blog - WSJ.com : Creators of "The Wire" Indict War on Drugs, Offer ...
Indefensible: The Wire and Jury Nullification...
What the opinion piece didn't mention is that unlike the jurors of Peter Zenger's time who had few options but to refuse to convict, modern day jurors can directly impact and change the laws by which they are governed. In fact, any citizen can.
Jury nullification should be reserved for those isolated instances where a guilty verdict, despite the evidence presented, is inappropriate for the facts of that specific case. Jury nullification should not be used as a way of overturning a policy created by democratically elected officials. That is the easy way out and if done too often will have a devastating impact on the entire jury process not to mention democratic values.
This country, as part of its so-called "War on Drugs," began in the mid-1980s a policy of passing laws mandating minimum/mandatory sentencing for minor drug crimes. These laws, as the opinion piece notes, have destroyed lives and done far more harm than good. However, they will not be changed or undermined by random acts of jury nullification, but instead must be addressed in the same fashion as in which they came about.