US v. Lynch

Operator of a marijuana dispensary in California—where marijuana is legal—faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison for violating federal marijuana law. Should the jury have known about the sentence or their power to acquit even if they think there’s enough evidence to convict? No, says the Ninth Circuit, but all hope is not lost. If the defendant can convince the court that he was in strict compliance with state law, he may qualify for relief under a 2015 law that prohibits the feds from spending money on the prosecution. Dissent: There may be no need to inform jurors they can acquit (if there is ample evidence of guilt, but they believe the law unjust), but here the court went further and implied they could be punished for jury nullification. Which violates the Sixth Amendment.

Tags: 2018, Mandatory Minimum, Ninth Circuit, Sixth Amendment, Tenth Amendment

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