A jury is responsible for reaching a verdict the case, but it is also responsible for reaching a verdict on the law itself. As a juror, you have a responsibility to veto laws you find unjust.
Technically, Alvin was guilty of breaking the laws in question, even though the laws are totally ridiculous and unjust. Luckily this jury was informed about the process of jury nullification, and their legal right to rule in favor of the accused for breaking unjust laws.
According to Iloilo Jones, director of the Fully Informed Jury Association “Minnesota has long had highly visible FIJA Activists volunteering their time and efforts to educate every potential juror in Minnesota about the right of the people to veto bad laws through the use of the Juror Veto, or, as it is commonly called, Jury Nullification. As laws become more and more invasive, punitive, and draconian, prison populations become more and more peopled by harmless, productive people, who have harmed no other person. Jurors can stop the enforcement of bad laws. Jurors have stopped bad laws since freedom of religion was defended by jurors, and by later jurors who refused to enforce slavery. We, the owners of all government, retain the peaceful, lawful right to refuse to enforce bad laws made by some judge or politician. Courageous jurors have always stood firm--for the human rights of their families and neighbors--by refusing to sanction bad laws. The right of the People to drink the milk of their choice, and to feed their children healthy foods, is a human right.”
This news comes just weeks after a jury in New Hampshire dropped felony marijuana cultivation charges against a Rastafarian man because they believed that punishing him for the offense would be unjust. Hopefully what we are seeing is a trend, and as more people become informed about jury nullification there will be less nonviolent people put in cages for breaking unjust laws.