Jury Nullification Outreach & Conversations With Drug War Victims – Dover (1/5/16)

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Rights Brigade returned to the Strafford County Courthouse on Tuesday, January 5th to conduct jury nullification outreach. While it was a relatively quiet day as far as jurors were concerned (just ten flyers handed out in total), it was a good opportunity to connect with some of the very people that jury nullification outreach is intended to help.

You see, Strafford County Courthouse also happens to hold mandatory meetings for those who have been convicted of drug related crimes. On this day, 3 individuals stood outside of the courthouse waiting for a ride, and I went over to say hello. We got to talking, and I explained what jury nullification is and our purpose for coming to the courthouse every other Tuesday.

I spoke at length with a young woman who shared how devastating the drug war has been in her life. She and her fiance have both been imprisoned for victimless drug related crimes, and she shared a heartbreaking tale of how frequent trips in and out of jail have made it extremely difficult for them to pick themselves up out of the throes of heroin addiction.

Why jail?” she asked. “Treatment, sure. Meetings, okay. But jail? There were more drugs in jail that outside. We never hurt nobody. We have a disease. At least that’s what they tell us. You don’t see cancer patients getting locked up for getting their chemo, so why are we locked up for treating ourselves?

Why, indeed? The good news is, the young woman (who elected to be anonymous) and her fiance have now been clean and sober for 10 months. They’re still struggling to make ends meet, thanks to their rap sheet. It begs the question – whom exactly is being helped when people like her are sent to jail? She said she’s been particularly burdened by the $2,500 in fines she’s paid as a result of getting arrested. If the state’s goal is rehabilitation, why undermine those efforts by crippling people financially? It really makes you wonder.

If there was one happy aspect to the story, it’s that the young woman said she was saved by the administration of Narcan & shots of adrenaline. In case you haven’t been following, NH liberty activist and state representative Amanda Bouldin sponsored a bill to make Narcan available over the counter in the state of New Hampshire.

Still, there are still hundreds (thousands?) who are affected by the drug war every year. And Rights Brigade will continue to reach out to jurors and let them know – there’s no reason to further ruin the lives of people who are struggling. Where there’s no victim, there’s no crime.