Comment: Mandatory Minimums and Jury Nullification

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Mandatory Minimums and Jury Nullification

Clearly, if a jury wants to bring about justice, they would have to consider the penalty being imposed. However, my boss, who is a lawyer, was on a jury where the judge concealed from the jury that there was a mandatory minimum. My boss feels that she participated in an injustice when she found out--sending a young husband and father to jail forever for a non-violent crime.

If you serve on a jury, listen to the charges. California enacted 3-strikes, so when I heard, "Attempted murder," and "being a felon in possession of a handgun" as charges, I heard "3-strikes" even though those words were never used. 3-strikes is both ex post facto, and double-jeopardy, and as such, unconstitutional. And, the penalty for manslaughter and even murder is less.

It's crazy to send stupid young men to jail for life, just because politicians campaigned on it. A judge and jury should be able to weigh the danger to society, the rehabilitiation of the perpetrator, and the circumstances to come up with something appropriate. A jury has no obligation to carry out some politician's campaign platform and neither should the judge when it violates the Constitution.

What do you think?