On the Great Montana Marijuana Mutiny
This has to be the most extreme example of jury nullification we’ve ever heard of. More like not-yet-a-jury nullification.
Let us explain.
Last week, prosecutors in Missoula, Mont., attempted to seat a jury for a criminal trial involving a man who was caught with a small amount of marijuana.
But the jury wouldn’t, well, sit. According to this story in the Missoulian, juror after jury made it clear they wouldn’t convict someone over a “couple buds” of pot.
“No, they said, one after the other,” wrote Missoulian reporter Gwen Florio. “No way would they convict somebody for having a 16th of an ounce.”
District Judge Dusty Deschamps surveyed the jury pool and concluded that a jury might be hard to seat.
So he called a recess, during which time the prosecutor and defense attorney worked out a deal.
The defendant, Touray Cornell, wound up entering an Alford plea, in which he didn’t admit guilt.
The plea memorandum filed by his attorney states: “Public opinion, as revealed by the reaction of a substantial portion of the members of the jury called to try the charges on Dec. 16, 2010, is not supportive of the state’s marijuana law and appeared to prevent any conviction from being obtained simply because an unbiased jury did not appear available under any circumstances.”
“Bizarre,” the defense attorney called it.
In his nearly 30 years as a prosecutor and judge, Deschamps said he’s never seen anything like it.
15 Arrested In Christchurch Drug Raids
Police have closed down a "tinnie" house, arrested 15 people and searched 77 houses in northern Christchurch today as part of a mass crack-down on the drug trade. The operation, targeting cannabis dealers, began at 8am with 55 police including the armed offenders squad and dog teams taking part. Police said they found four houses where cannabis was being grown, one with video cameras and barricaded doors. "I believe we have sent a significant message to the criminal fraternity in this area that their continued involvement in illegal activities will not go unchecked," Senior Sergeant Roy Appley said.
"At one address a bank book revealed about $35,000 in an account - which seemed at odds with the person's known lifestyle." Police also visited houses where they believed there to be a risk of family violence, and drink driving was also targeted. A man was stopped and found to have a breath alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit, while driving his family to the river for a swim. He had three previous drink driving convictions. The offending was disturbing to communities and was often linked to more serious criminal activity, Mr Appley said. Further arrests were likely over the coming weeks as a result of today's inquiries.
More trouble for accused marijuana doctor
Oakland Suspends Pot Farm Plans
Under fire from the U.S. Department of Justice over its marijuana cultivation plans, the Oakland City Council voted just a moment ago to suspend the process for permitting four enormous marijuana-growing operations. Oakland City Attorney John Russo had warned the City Council repeatedly that federal law enforcement officials were skeptical of the city’s plans because they appeared to be in violation of state and federal laws. Reporting from a closed-door meeting with the city attorney, the council announced that it would put plans for permitting the growing operations as well as four more medical pot dispensaries on hold while fixes were made to bring it in line with state law.
It seemed clear that the city was worried about moving forward when it was revealed Monday in response to a public records request by The Bay Citizen that no applications had been submitted by Oakland’s many pot entrepreneurs just two days before they were supposed to be due on Dec. 22. The City Council will come back to the issue on Feb. 1 after changes have been made. More details later.
Men break into 50 Cent's mansion
Police have arrested two men after they broke into 50 Cent’s Connecticut mansion.
The burglars, Alexander Hernandez and Santos Padilla, were both carrying marijuana when police found them, according to reports.
A security guard alerted police about the break-in around 6am on Tuesday morning.
Hernandez, who had been found in a closet drinking wine, was handed over to New Britain police after his $50,000 (£32,368) bond was posted. It was discovered that he had outstanding warrants.
Padilla was also held at $50,000 bond.
The rapper purchased the mansion in 2003 for $4.1m (£2.6m). Mike Tyson was the home's previous owner.
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