More, Please

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

This is a good sign.

Israel Rangel was charged with possession of less than a gram of cocaine. Cops said he had half as much coke as there is Sweet’N Low in a single packet.

When citizens showed up in court to pick a jury, it started the way all cases do.

“The prosecutor asked a question to the first 65 people,” Dupont said.

“The jurors if they believed beyond a reasonable doubt that the offense was committed, would they convict?” Walker said.

“I was surprised, first of all, of the bluntness of the question,” juror Lou Ellen Wheeler said.

But Wheeler – who was eventually picked for the jury – was even more surprised by the answers. She said yes, but 50 out of 130 jurors said no, they would not convict someone even if it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

“I was surprised it was that many,” Walker said.

One juror was more blunt than the others.

“She said, ‘I can’t believe I had to get in my car and come down here for this,'” Dupont said.

“It says there is a segment of the population that doesn’t think small possession cases should be punished as severely as the law call for them to be,” Assistant District Attorney Julian Ramirez said.

This isn’t a so-called trace case, the DA says she won’t prosecute. A trace is equal to single grain of equal; this was 40 times that. The law is clear.

“It’s against the law,” Ramirez said.

But Rangel’s defense lawyer says something else is clear too.

“They said they weren’t going to make somebody a felon and ruin their lives over less than a gram of cocaine,” Dupont said.

The defendant was acquitted.


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78 Responses to “More, Please”

  1. #1 |  dbk | 

    Before you lot get too excited remember that most of that lot said that because they knew it’d mean them not getting selected, and possibly getting to go back to work. Avoiding jury duty is America’s fourth favorite sport.

  2. #2 |  Dave Lewis | 

    The other 80 were the were the wackos that usually screw up stuff for the rest of use.

  3. #3 |  Freedoms Almanac » Blog Archive » News Pile, News given away by the gallon. | 

    […] We need a new jury nullification process. If you can’t find 12 people that would convict if th… […]

  4. #4 |  Mark | 

    I hope this person takes the “zombie” drug next and eats the face off of one of you de-criminalize drugs people!

  5. #5 |  Juice | 

    This is why more defendants should feel safe demanding a jury trial instead of pleading guilty.

  6. #6 |  Juice | 

    Georgia v. Brailsford (1794)

  7. #7 |  groaker | 

    My answer would have been to “No, I would prosecute the prosecutor for bringing this case, and the Judge for not dismissing it.” And I do not use any currently illegal drugs.

  8. #8 |  Fran A | 

    I was once going through the jury seating process. It was civil case,(3 weeks long, lung cancer, shipyard etc) and when the judge asked if anyone had any questions, I asked if the jury could question witnesses. The surprising answer was yes. There were some restrictions, like the question had to be written down. The non surprising outcome was how fast both sides scrambled to get rid of me.

    So if you want or need to get out of jury duty, ask that. If you get seated and want to have some fun, see if you can question witnesses also.

  9. #9 |  perlhaqr | 

    I’m hoping to someday get called to jury duty, and get evicted in voir dire on a case like this, and ruin as much of the jury pool as possible with something like, “No, I would not, because the law is unconstitutional. It required an amendment — the 18th — to prohibit alcohol, and there has been no such amendment passed to ban other drugs.”

  10. #10 |  Joshua Grigonis | 

    Legalize all drugs. Quit wasting time prosecuting this bullshit. We could afford some pretty nice treatment centers for the amount of money we literally throw away in the war on drugs.

    At a minimum decriminalize a large segment of not very harmful drugs. But I say, go all the way.

  11. #11 |  perlhaqr | 

    Oh, and fuck your mother, Mark.

  12. #12 |  ellie | 

    I have been called several times, but never served. The prosecutor always tells what the case is about. The last time I was called, he asked prospective jurors if they would convict on a charge of child molestation if the only witness was a 7 year old. He didn’t ask me the question because I was at the end of a long line. Later I read that the defendant had been sentenced to 99 years.

  13. #13 |  Militia for a Free State- Jefferson | 

    Just remember when you think of cocaine you should remember that the govt. has been fighting to keep its supply constantly pressed through DEA/CIA fraud (Iran/Contra, others). Prohibition never truly ended so long as a parasite would attempt to siphon from it. It’s time to quit eroding our civil liberties over a profiteering scheme of several industries.

  14. #14 |  LibertyTreeBud | 

    Yes! Nullify the stupid, unfair, wasteful and crappy laws.
    Jury Nullification is our right.
    Resist
    Do Not Comply
    Ignore
    Nullify

  15. #15 |  Medicine Man | 

    A good example of how overly punitive laws work to de-legitimize the entire system. Even if I am in favor of policing/regulating certain drugs, I balk at ruining some poor bastard’s life because he had a couple of grams of blow. Often enough, it seems that people who are in favor of this outcome are more interested in expressing their feelings through legislation rather than actually working towards some end (public welfare, presumably).

    Slap a felony on him? May as well brand him with the Mark of Kain.

  16. #16 |  Joe Blow | 

    40 times the amount of a trace is 40 grains of equal….that’s NOTHING! Go catch a real criminal!

    This is the same BS system that we apply taxes to. Screw the bottom man with the least amount of money and power.

  17. #17 |  anthony | 

    I like how they get all severe over prosecuting for small amounts of drugs.
    The law got broken:
    “This isn’t a so-called trace case,
    the DA says she won’t prosecute.
    A trace is equal to single grain of equal;
    this was 40 times that. The law is clear.”

    Fuck your law.

    Why don’t you go after the corrupt bankers,
    lobbyist’s, politicians with your ‘law’.

    Fuck off.

  18. #18 |  Jimmy Cracks Capricorns | 

    Was this a part of a movie script oir did this really happen somewhere in America? Everybody likes to party a little bit now and again. Half the country is on Rx drugs of some kind. No, really….over 50% of Americans are on some kind of Rx drug. We force feed our children ADD drugs…then tell them not to snort some coke or smoke a joint because it might adjust their attitude, or, gasp, make them “high”? Whatever the fuck that means…

  19. #19 |  What | 

    “Of course I would convict! The Defendant is a Negro, is he not?”

  20. #20 |  Jeremy Lynes | 

    There is an organization that promotes fully informed juries of their right to nullify… FIJA.org They have lots of info and material for activists who want to help spread knowledge of this judicial tool that is an essential part of a fair trial. They also work to pass state constitutional amendments that will require judges to inform juries, prior to deliberation, of their right to nullify.

  21. #21 |  marie | 

    Thanks, Jeremy. I didn’t know about FIJA.org. I wonder if reading their “if you are facing charges” info would have affected whether my husband took the deal or not.

    It is easy to recommend that every defendant go to jury but very difficult to make that decision when you really are facing the prison time. (I’m not quoting you or FIJA on that.)

  22. #22 |  James Woroble Jr | 

    Don’t fall for the feigned righteous indignation of prosecutors about ‘It’s the law!’

    These hypocritical SOB ‘drama queens’ de facto practice virtual ‘nullification’ all the time when they simply and deliberately avoid bringing charges against the financial elites who have blatantly embezzled and defrauded Americans to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, as in the case of MF Global and former NJ Governor Corzine. The only real substantive difference being the prosecutors accomplish it in the very infancy of the legal process, whereas jurors do so at its end.

  23. #23 |  Mr. Cowell | 

    Just follow the money. Big business, be it polititions or Drug Companies, do not want products in the system they cannot patent and make money from.
    I don’t agree with legalization of basement produced drugs which are unsafe- The decriminalization of pot would be in order. fiber for rope, medicine, clothing. I do not and will not vote for herion, coca products or any off shore ‘natural’ drug. I agree morphine, dememoral have their place. It has been proven beyond doubt, to me and a mojority of others, that pot is safer than most pharmacuticals and does many other benficial side effects.
    Putting people in jail for ticking off bussiness or religious zealots is not good for the economy. Starting a more natural based (less chemicals) would be more profitable for some and would start legit businesses for those they now thow in jail, for small amounts of anything. Sure, throuw the bigs illegal producers in jail if they grow other than pot or hemp. Using local and STATE laws. But the throwing in jail, of people that harm a STATES citizens should include ‘Big’ business that lobbies the congress to allow the daily poisoning of STATES citizens. Remember, most prisons are owned by big business, they make money if the cells are full. So the justice system pressured bu the lobby to throw even the 18 year old in jail for a pitence of pot is rediculous….but the issue of coke, I will need more time to think on that. But the jury speaks well of what the STATES citizens want. I use STATES in caps because it is the States that need to make decisions , based on what the citizens of that State vote on. Not the adjenda od the ‘Rep’ they vote in.
    My opinion only.
    Glad to add a thought and Thank-you.
    Mr. Cowell.
    Southwest Canada.

  24. #24 |  Articles of interest June 22, 2012 « underournoses | 

    […] 30% of one jury pool state they will not convict on small amounts of possession.  Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

  25. #25 |  Other Sean | 

    Mr. Cowell,

    All drugs are unnatural. The only “natural” things for humanity are fear, hunger, exposure, sickness, pain, violence, and death.

    I think what you mean to say is: “I’m kinda/sorta in favor of drug legalization, but not so much that I’m willing to weird anybody out or lose any friends by taking a logically consistent position on the issue. So I’ll just say weed is okay for now.”

    Don’t feel bad. We all started out that way. The trick is to keep going. And you’ve got a long way to go.

  26. #26 |  Mr. Cowell | 

    This has been my stand for many years. What I do not understand – I will investigate more.
    However, I Live outside of you country and cannot base my knowledge on what is not made available via media. I on the otherhand am on gov’t provided medical pot, for my injury/conditions. Our prime minister is a G.W. wannabe. But has not the balls to do what is right. The U.S. gov. makes threats to our gov’t and it ofcourse yields like a beaten dog.

  27. #27 |  Italics Mine | 

    Lysander Spooner advocated Jury Nullification way back in the 1860s as a way for the People to rule their own best destiny. And, as a lawyer, he expressed his reasoning well albeit with more words than necessary.

  28. #28 |  Goliath | 

    Disgusting FOR PROFIT prison industrial complex. Must keep that money flowing to the lawyers, judges and prisons. Keep the poor suckers locked up for NON VIOLENT offense that HURT NO ONE, while letting the REAL CRIMINALS who steal taxpayer money(banks, Wall St.) get away.

    Anytime a politician talks about “tough on crime” or “tough on drugs” this person is a LYING, BRIBED sleazebag who is PAID to keep everything illegal by the very people who profit from it. The drug cartels and prison companies.