Remembering Laura Kriho, Who Used A Rare Tool To Challenge The Jury System

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Photo: Empty jury box stock image

Juries have a rarely used power called jury nullification. Essentially, it's when they don't agree with the law at the center of the case, and declare a defendant not guilty even if it's clear the person did what prosecutors allege. One of the most infamous instances happened in Colorado, led by a woman named Laura Kriho, who died in January.

Kriho was a juror on a drug case where a woman was pulled over and found to have methamphetamine. But Kriho thought it might not have belonged to her, and had other doubts about the case. Kriho and jury nullification were the subjects of a recent RadioLab episode, called Null and Void, co-produced by Tracie Hunte.

Hunte tells Colorado Matters that in interviewing Kriho she saw a woman who was concerned about the way drug crimes are prosecuted in the U.S., and that the case gave her a chance to live her values. Kriho was also a dedicated advocate for hemp and marijuana legalization and worked to make hemp legal nationwide in the 1990s.