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.
Cannabis Discovered In Dramatic Drugs Raid
Drugs were found after a dramatic police raid on a home in White City. Acting on intelligence, officers swooped on the small semi-detached house in Broadway shortly after 7pm on Friday. The quiet mood of the secluded street was shattered as police forced entry to the house with battering rams. Neighbours stood on their doorsteps and peered from their windows as officers shouted "police" before running into the house.
PC Simon Crump explained the raid had been based on intelligence. He said “We've had 94 bits of intelligence on this.”Our intelligence suggests someone in there is dealing mainly crack cocaine." PC Crump said intelligence came from various different sources, which had not been revealed to the officers working the case. After checks to find out if the home was occupied, more than five cars and vans full of officers swooped on the quiet street after waiting until the right moment. The door was broken down and police stormed the house, followed by their trusty sniffer dogs. PC Crump said: "We've found some wraps of cannabis, which were surrendered as we expected.
"We are now going to carry out a more full and detailed search of the property." Neighbours looked on as handlers brought one dog out to search a car parked outside. In total 30 wraps of cannabis were found in the house, along with £500 in cash. Three people were arrested in connection with the raid and have been bailed to return to the police station. The news comes after a teenager was arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs after a raid in Stonehouse.
Prison Officer Arrested In Dublin
A prison officer was recently arrested on suspicion of drugs smuggling into the Mountjoy Prison in Dublin. The prison officer was stopped and searched at the gates of the prison and was found to be carrying cannabis, cocaine, prescription drugs and even heroine. He is being detained at Mountjoy Garda station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. He can be held for up to 24 hours.
The Irish Prison Service said it was standard procedure for all prison staff to be searched on the way into the state’s prisons. “The Irish Prison Service is determined to clamp down on all avenues of drug trafficking into the prison,” a spokesman said. The Prison Officers Association has not yet commented on the situation at hand but they did mention that any of its members involved with drug trafficking would not receive any help from the association.
“The actions of the few can bring disgrace and embarrassment to all of the hard working prison officers around the country, who would have no tolerance of or take part in any form of illegal activity,” a spokesman said. The Prison Officers Association said the drugs issue in prisons was extremely serious and a solution to tackle the problem must be top priority for all prison officials.
Can Jury Nullification End The War On Drugs?
Check out this remarkable story from Missoula, Montana:
A funny thing happened on the way to a trial in Missoula County District Court last week. Jurors – well, potential jurors – staged a revolt. They took the law into their own hands, as it were, and made it clear they weren’t about to convict anybody for having a couple of buds of marijuana. Never mind that the defendant in question also faced a felony charge of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs. The tiny amount of marijuana police found while searching Touray Cornell’s home on April 23 became a huge issue for some members of the jury panel. No, they said, one after the other. No way would they convict somebody for having a 16th of an ounce...
District Judge Dusty Deschamps took a quick poll as to who might agree. Of the 27 potential jurors before him, maybe five raised their hands. A couple of others had already been excused because of their philosophical objections. “I thought, ‘Geez, I don’t know if we can seat a jury,’ ” said Deschamps, who called a recess. And he didn’t. During the recess, Paul and defense attorney Martin Elison worked out a plea agreement.
Here's a quote from the plea memorandum that his attorney filed:
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.
Jason Kuznicki reacts at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen:
If more potential jurors start turning down nonviolent drug cases, our drug laws will change.
Cannabis Crop Found In Baulkham Hills Park
HILLS police are investigating the discovery of a small cannabis crop within a section of Excelsior Reserve near Willow Drive in Baulkham Hills. Hills Local Area Command crime manager Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Murray said a Hills Shire council bushland maintenance staff member discovered a crop of 28 very small cannabis plants at 2.30pm on December 8.
“It looks like the offenders have placed the plants on a bed of potting mix on the ground,” he said. “The crop looks to have been planted there about three weeks ago. “The find was reported to the maintenance staff’s supervisor who then reported it to police the following day.” All the plants have been seized by police and they are asking for anyone who knows the people responsible for the plants to come forward.
Ex-Con Arrested Whilst In Possession of $1.5M In Pot
An ex-con was arrested after cops in Queens stopped him running a red light in the early hours of the morning and found enough marijuana in his car to get half of St. Albans high. Cops said Clement Hunter had more than 500 pounds of pot worth more than $1.5 million packed into the back of a rented white 2010 Dodge Caravan when he was stopped. Hunter had been driving in St. Albans around 4 a.m. when a pair of uniformed officers on patrol in an unmarked car saw the minivan run a red light along Merrick Boulevard and make a right turn without signalling.
The cops made a U-turn to pull him over and Hunter made a break for it. With the cops in pursuit, Hunter sped along for several blocks before turning down a dead end at 178th Street near 132nd Avenue. But he still wasn't done, the bad driving dope deliverer jumped out of the minivan and tried to run away, the cops grabbed him as he tried to scale a fence. Police finally realised why he was trying so desperately to make his great escape when they searched his rented caravan. In the back of the caravan there was roughly 10 bales of marijuana nice placed on top of each other and each weighing roughly 50 pounds.
The pot was tightly wrapped in green plastic and stuffed in black trash bags so that it couldn't be sniffed out. "It was in plain view," a source said. "You can see what it was." Hunter, who lives in Jamaica, was arrested and faces a slew of charges, including 50 counts of felony criminal possession of marijuana in the first degree, reckless endangerment, and criminal possession of stolen property, officials said. Cops said Hunter had four prior arrests, all involving marijuana or other drugs, and two of which included weapons charges.
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