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 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Good. I hate our criminal/legal system….I really do. There are so many good change that could be made to improve it, yet the “law and order” ghouls just wont go for them.

  2. #2 |  B | 

    USA USA!!!

    Well, at least the people anyway. Way to go American public.

  3. #3 |  SJE | 

    Wow, that is awesome. Its also a change from the usual downer fix I get over here.

  4. #4 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Something weird and wonderful is brewing when disregard for the law
    is seen a positive trend…

  5. #5 |  Dante | 

    Jury Nullification. Like taking your bat and ball and going home, thus ending the ball game.

    It’s how We The People can shut down one of the many “Wars on Everything” that our government created just to empower itself.

  6. #6 |  J | 

    +1 to Dante, I have made it my personal goal to inform as many people as I can about jury nullification if I can somehow fit it in the conversation, it’s a shame most people have no idea what it means or that they can do it. This post made my day.

  7. #7 |  (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | 

    I have this recurring dream about being called as a juror and asked if I would vote to convict someone accused of a non-violent drug possession offense. My answer would be “no”. But the prosecutor would ask “why?” and I would ask the judge if I could tell her, bluntly “why”. And I would calmly say, “because f— you, that’s why.” And my image and words (along with my large sack and accompanying swagger) are later immortalized with a bronze statue at the entrance to the courthouse.

  8. #8 |  Pi Guy | 

    Woo f#*&ing Hoo! *emphatically flips bird w/ both hands, thumbs nose w/ other in Big Gov’s general direction*

    And I can’t believe that the cops, prosecutor, & judge had to drive to the court house for this BS either. Not to mention arrest and PD processing. Hopefully this will make some LEOs & DAs use some discretion wasting our tax dollars allocating their, uh…limited resources.

  9. #9 |  Thom | 

    I would lie to try and get on the jury, so I could do my civic duty and get the victim acquitted.

  10. #10 |  Zargon | 

    Looks like we need to ratchet up the threats some more that we send at these people to coerce them into taking plea bargains. For the children.

  11. #11 |  el coronado | 

    A great sign, to be sure. But…compare & contrast this small victory for common sense and ‘it ain’t nobody’s business’ with the spate pf recent posts here on how cops are not only continuing their puppy-killing and militarization, but are in fact ramping ‘em up faster.

    One reasonable, sensible jury in Texas vs. every little bumfuck Egypt-burg PD having APC’s and .50 cals – and presumably working on getting claymores and RPG’s, as well. That means WE gotta win ‘em ALL…..and the roided-up ninja wannabe cops only have to win 1 every now & then.

  12. #12 |  Chicagojon | 

    Makes me wonder what would happen if every jury selection started with a statement about the alleged crime, the law as written, and the question ‘would you convict if it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt’. I’m guessing there’d be a large number of no or not necessarily answers. 10%? 25%? 33%?

  13. #13 |  SJE | 

    The look on the DA’s face is priceless: “But the law is clear!” they plead.
    Of course, the fact that huge numbers would refuse to convict is also very clear that the people don’t think much of the law and the prosecutor agreeing to try people under that law.

  14. #14 |  Deoxy | 

    One of the biggest problems I have with the war on drugs is the tiny amounts of stuff involved, simply because it’s so ridiculous trying to prove knowledge and possession of something so small (reasonably – legally, it’s pretty easy, but that’s a joke).

    Well, and also because it makes it SO SO SO SO SO SO SO easy to frame someone for a crime, either as a cop or even as a third party.

    Ever leave something in someone’s car or house and have neither of you notice? A hat, a purse, a backpack, etc… and all of those things are orders of magnitude larger than what it takes to spend large amounts of time in prison. Imagine how easy it would be plant a HUGE amount of cocaine! (Like, say, 5 whole grams – what’s the prison time for that?!?)

    Yeah, that’s crazy.

  15. #15 |  Matt D | 

    Wait a second, there’s cocaine in sweet n’ low packets? :)

  16. #16 |  BamBam | 

    http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2012/06/southern_oregon_dog_survives_e.html

    money quote: Rogue River Police Chief Ken Lewis describes the shooting as “execution-style,” with the gun muzzle stuck in the dog’s mouth.

    He notes that people have a right to defend themselves if animals turn vicious and charge. He says it’s a felony count if the shooting was without provocation.

    Does this mean we’ll be seeing scores of police across the country being charged with felonies, considering their Puppycide attempts are just about 100% unprovoked?

  17. #17 |  Delta | 

    #9: “I would lie to try and get on the jury, so I could do my civic duty and get the victim acquitted.”

    I know someone who did that, perfectly honorable. Keep in mind that in a very small number of cases a juror’s been prosecuted for contempt of court when something like that came out.

    My current strategy is to make a loud and clear statement about nullification. “I believe it is the responsibility of the jury to judge both the facts AND the law. If the law or the punishment is unethical, then I would want anyone to vote not guilty. This is a key part of the checks & balances in our government, as explained by the first Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay.*”

    This has the advantage of (a) educating all the other jury members listening, (b) hopefully contaminating the rest of the jury pool with a quality idea, and (c) reducing time and effort by getting yourself immediately kicked off. Efficiency level++.

    (* Bonus points if you say this last part in Brooklyn, NY where the street & courthouse is named after him.)

    The level of abject ignorance of the legal process by typical jury members is jaw-dropping. Any little amount of education you can do radically tips the scales on the prosecutors.

  18. #18 |  Mike T | 

    If punishments actually tended to fit the crime, maybe more people would actually be comfortable with convicting. Of course, if the punishment fit the “crime” here, it would have been handled like a point-free traffic ticket.

  19. #19 |  Bob | 

    #15 Matt D

    Wait a second, there’s cocaine in sweet n’ low packets? :)

    No, I think that’s just bullshit! I’ve snorted 10 of those packets so far after reading that, and I’m not feeling anything! There’s no coke in there at all!

  20. #20 |  len (not the one you hate) | 

    #19 Bob

    You fell for that?!

  21. #21 |  StrangeOne | 

    “It’s against the law”

    Oh please, Ms. ADA you know damn well that nearly anything is against the law. That’s your job.

    When you have a justice system based not on catching those who wronged others but instead run on punishing only those who were caught violating the arbitrary whims of bureaucratic decree, don’t be surprised when a not-insignificant portion of the country is unwilling to buy into your “It’s against the law” excuse.

  22. #22 |  Robert | 

    @ #17. The judge would probably never allow you to get past the first sentence in your statement. They would interrupt you, and if you continued speaking, arrest you for contempt.

    The whole case reminds me of the Richard Pryor comedy routine about Leon Spinks getting a 1/4 gram of coke from his dealer. “Put it in your hat!”

  23. #23 |  KevinM | 

    battle won, momentum lost.

    Pat Lykos is the Harris County DA who brought a number of commonsense reforms to her office. Well, she is until January, because the police and sherriffs and other members of the legal establishment ran hard behind her primary opponent, who won.

  24. #24 |  Whim | 

    Charged with possession of less than ONE gram of cocaine?

    Folks, there are 28 grams in an ounce.

    So, one gram is a tiny, tiny amount of anything.

    1/28th of an ounce.

    If I was asked that same question by a prosecutor, I would answer “YES”, then never, never convinct for such a miniscule amount of contraband.

    Could someone even get high on one gram of coke??

  25. #25 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    What I would like to know is; can less than a gram of any substance be reliably tested to determine its composition. Not from a legal stabndpoint; we know perfectly well that from a legal standpoint they can find some lab to swear that a grain of sand sized sample tested positive for cocaine, PSP, and God alone knows what else. From a scientific standpoint; as if the tester was going to include the data in a paper he expected to defend during his tenure hearing.

  26. #26 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “Could someone even get high on one gram of coke??”

    Oh, yeah. Problem is, most street coke is about 25% pure.
    Could someone get high off .25 grams? Not really.
    That’s an undiscussed problem with the Drug War…people
    ingest some really freaky shit.

  27. #27 |  Mark Z. | 

    What I would like to know is; can less than a gram of any substance be reliably tested to determine its composition.

    To determine if it contains cocaine? Absolutely. Antibody binding assays can detect micrograms, no problem. GC/MS is even better if you have the money. Most labs use an antibody assay for initial screening, and then confirm positive results with GC/MS.

    Of course none of this stops a cop from testifying that “we found a gram of what appeared to be cocaine” and just not mentioning the lab test that said it was sugar.

  28. #28 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Mark Z.,

    What I was heading for was a “You can’t prove beyond rerasonable doubt that that tiny amount of white powder is/was cocaine” defense. Probably just a dream, I know.

  29. #29 |  KPRyan | 

    Jury nulification is really one of the only (probably THE only) tool we citizens have left to toss a monkeywrench into the morass that is the ‘Criminal Justice Corporation’.

    There are good reasons why DA’s around the country are intent on getting men and women (and children) to Plead out rather than going to trial. First, there are too many cases with all the frivolous laws in place. Second, DA’s and their associates get depressed by having too many cases that turn into Not Guilty returns by the jurors.

    Maybe it really is time that more people charged with no-victim crimes demand a jury trial. I know damn well I’d have a difficult time returning a guilty verdict in ANY case. (I wonder why, at 40 years of age, I’ve never received a jury summons)….

  30. #30 |  SJE | 

    Yizmo: therapeutic doses of cocaine are measured in milligrams (I just checked). So, a gram is quite a bit. None of this justifies ruining a life for such a small amount.

  31. #31 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    SJE: I think you’re referring to the anaesthetic effect (Na+ channel blockage) completely independent of the recreational effect (SSRI-like).

  32. #32 |  marie | 

    Jury nullification rocks, indeed. This is a happy story.

    A sad story: Listened to a man tell about sitting on a jury where a felon was caught with a gun in his possession. The man said that he knew the felon was just unlucky, that going to prison was probably an unfair punishment…but he voted to convict anyway because “the law was clear.” This guy had no idea that the jury could decide differently. So, J #6…yes. Let’s educate the public about jury nullification.

    The judge is not allowed (as I understand it) to tell the jury that a conviction will result in a mandatory minimum sentence, so we must also educate the public about mandatory minimums, too.

  33. #33 |  EBL | 

    Meanwhile, talking about over charging…

    An elderly vet fires his gun at the ground to scare off some teenagers. The judge refuses to impose a mandatory minimum and gives him three years, Angela Corey appeals and gets him a life sentence of twenty years. She is an evil woman.

  34. #34 |  EBL | 

    A lot more evil than me!

  35. #35 |  The Late Andy Rooney | 

    @Marie

    Thanks for sharing that story, but I’m not certain it’s a matter of educating the public.

    I’m just not that impressed when people who have served on juries give the “we felt we had no choice” excuse in order to rationalize putting someone in jail for a dime bag (or some other victimless crime). They’ve been asked to decide the defendant’s fate; they have agency, and can vote either “Guilty” or “Not Guilty.” I give no quarter to people who make a choice, then claim they weren’t really making one.

  36. #36 |  marie | 

    Late Andy, when the judge tells you one thing and the defense attorney isn’t allowed to tell you something else to let you know it’s okay to vote Not Guilty even if the facts show otherwise…it is easy to think you have no choice. Only someone educated in what a jury CAN do will understand that they have a choice. The defense can only hint at jury nullification, plus, the court does not WANT the jury to know what the sentence will be. When the defense is accused of something laughable, the jury will often assume that the sentence will be proportionate. It will not.

    When more people are affected with family members suffering under onerous mandatory minimums, more and more jurors will speak up and educate the rest of the jury.

    The whole system is designed to put people in prison. It is not designed to decide guilt, it is not designed to be just, it is not designed so that the accused has a chance in front of a jury. The vast majority of cases are settled with a “deal” that the defendant cannot refuse. My husband was given a deal: plead to possession of child porn and avoid the 5-year mandatory minimum…and still get four years. You might think that the chance of a jury deciding ‘not guilty’ would make it worth going to trial but you’d be wrong. If he had gone to trial and lost, he would have certainly been given more than the five years as a thank you for going to trial…extra time would be tacked on because he hadn’t “accepted responsibility” for his crime.

    The system is rigged. They like it that way. Justice has nothing to do with it.

  37. #37 |  belle waring | 

    I’ve heard from, like, these friends of friends of friends of mine, that you can totally get high off of a gram of coke bought on the street. An 8-ball is, unsurprisingly, 8 grams, and is enough for 4-6 people to party all night long off when they are also drinking and taking other downers. An 8-ball and 5 dime bags of heroin are often sold together in NYC to promote the ‘city that never sleeps’ fun one associates with New York. Also, the ‘puking up blood,’ ‘we’re ditching your ass at the ER entrance and driving off’ fun less associated with the city. A dime bag has a tenth of a gram nominally, but rarely makes weight, which used to promote insouciance until NYC heroin started to be upwards of 90% pure in the 90s and everyone was dropping dead all over the place. It’s stayed that way ever since, though thick and thin, in a heartwarming triumph of US foreign policy. Thanks, Afghanistan!

  38. #38 |  Fascist Nation | 

    What is disgusting is that this question gets to be asked: “50 out of 130 jurors said no, they would not convict someone even if it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    So much for jury of your peers when 40% of your peers are screened out because they won’t obey.

  39. #39 |  MacGregory | 

    I too have never understood this arbitrary amount between “for personal use” and what makes one a “dealer.” Who decides this shit? It’s just as stupid as the .08 DUI law. Trust me, I could be well over that and other than the odor on my breath, you wouldn’t know the difference. Rulz is rulz, I guess. Common sense has no place in this society anymore.

  40. #40 |  Brian | 

    An 8-ball is, unsurprisingly, 8 grams

    Heh, that would be quite surprising since an 8-ball is actually 1/8 oz or 3.5 grams.

  41. #41 |  Brian | 

    Keep in mind that in a very small number of cases a juror’s been prosecuted for contempt of court when something like that came out.

    @#17 Nonsense. Link or it didn’t happen. No juror is ever going to be held in contempt for voting to acquit. Absent the juror stupidly admitting that he lied how would it ever come out? Just say you’ll convict if you’re convinced beyond a “reasonable doubt” to get on the jury, then vote to acquit because you are simply not convinced beyond a “reasonable doubt”. Easy. No one can get inside your head to know just how “reasonable” your doubt is.

  42. #42 |  supercat | 

    #7 | (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | “But the prosecutor would ask “why?”…”

    I’d offer a different answer. I would say that if a jury of twelve people, who have determined which factual claims are true and which are false, would find on that basis that imposing a particular sentence would be cruel and unusual punishment for the particular acts of the defendant, then such a sentence would be expressly forbidden by the Supreme Law of the Land. A jury that refused to sentence someone under such conditions would be UPHOLDING the law. Judges or prosecutors who seek to prevent a jury from knowing the sentence associated with a crime are SUBVERTING the law.

  43. #43 |  Delta | 

    #22: “The judge would probably never allow you to get past the first sentence in your statement. They would interrupt you, and if you continued speaking, arrest you for contempt.”

    I agree that you’re right, it needs to be short. In my experience in the courtroom and as a public speaker, that’s about what I could get out before the judge interrupts. Yet the statement is designed that if it gets cut off in the 2nd or 3rd sentence it’s still acceptable. The critical part is “AND the law” which takes less than a second.

  44. #44 |  Delta | 

    #41: “Nonsense. Link or it didn’t happen. No juror is ever going to be held in contempt for voting to acquit. Absent the juror stupidly admitting that he lied how would it ever come out? ”

    I agree that in general you’re right. However:

    http://www.ndsn.org/marapr97/kriho.html

    “On February 10, Laura Kriho was found guilty of contempt of court for obstruction of justice while serving as a juror in a May 13, 1996 drug case in Colorado that ended in mistrial. Gilpin County Judge Henry Nieto… stated, “Ms. Kriho deliberately and willfully withheld and concealed information which was relevant and important to selecting a fair and impartial jury, and that Ms. Kriho did so with the intent of serving on the jury for the purpose of obstructing justice.” (Becky O’Guin, “Laura Kriho Found Guilty of Contempt,” Colorado Daily (Boulder), February 12, 1997; Katie Kerwin, “Judge: Juror impeded justice,” Rocky Mountain News (Denver), February 12, 1997). After the mistrial was ordered last May (People v. Michelle Brannon, Gilpin County District Court, Case No. 95 CR 74), the trial judge asked the prosecutors to investigate the jurors…”

    And this was overturned after about a year of appeals and legal defense expenses.

  45. #45 |  Brian | 

    @ Delta: Ok, I think I was contemplating a different approach. I will admit that if your plan is to lie to get on the jury and then to, in essence, admit to the other jurors what you did in attempting to get them to join you, then you may be putting yourself at some risk.

    However my interpretation of the original idea was that one would claim to be willing to convict to get on the jury and then during deliberations simply claim to be insufficiently convinced regardless of the evidence in order to at least prevent conviction.

    Since the original post that you responded to referenced helping get the defendant “acquitted” I can see that could well imply trying to get other jurors to join you which would warrant your warning, so I apologize for my intemperate response. Having said that, I think as long as you are satisfied with keeping quiet and simply hanging the jury to prevent a conviction then my approach is fairly risk-free.

  46. #46 |  Delta | 

    Brian: Yes, fairly risk-free, I totally agree. But I think some people might underestimate how hard or stressful it could be to fully keep a secret like that if, say, you get in a position where 11 other people are berating you for days or weeks on end to explain yourself.

  47. #47 |  belle waring | 

    Oh, shit, yeah. That thing Brian said. Don’t tell me a dime bag of heroin isn’t a tenth of a gram, though, or I’m going to start to feel very confused about life. I mean, this other life that my friend had this one time. (I guess maybe it’s only a dime because it’s $10; that’s what a dime bag of weed is. I have weighed them out before so. Hm. 2 oz was the Rockefeller screwed for life limit but it used to be the case that a bundle (10 dime bags) was the “assumed dealer” limit at which the cops would really start fucking with you. I heard. From this other dude.) Nonetheless, Brian’s correctness merely reinforces the extent to which a person could, indeed, get wasted on less than a gram of coke.

    Separately, I’m sure I am not alone in being the only reader who is charmed by Radley’s totally straight-edge commitment to drug reform. It’s as if there were a Navy SeAL guy standing at the “Legalize Hemp” stand in Berkeley with a bunch of dumbass dreamcatchers in front of him and four tie-die wearing, lovable stoners at his side. Doesn’t everyone kind of want to light him up some killer Northern California hydro sometime that will make him proud of the USA? Being a heroin addict is a bad idea, but he’s hardly the type to keep on with it, or with cocaine or what have you, so what would be the harm in a one time experiment? Let’s stipulate that it’s outside the US, never discovered, and never has an impact on his upstanding white guy status. I say this as a disinterested, entirely clean and sober person. Radley’s doing all this out of an interest in everyone’s right to do what they want, and he doesn’t want anything but expensive bourbon in return! Well, bourbon and heroin are certainly equally intoxicating, and more or less equally dangerous, so I suppose we’ll have to be satisfied with that.

  48. #48 |  a_random_guy | 

    “So much for jury of your peers when 40% of your peers are screened out because they won’t obey.”

    Of course, one wants to eliminate people who have their minds made up before even hearing the evidence – that is probably what was happening here. However, actually revealing the details of this specific case like this to potential jurors? That seems improper at the very least.

  49. #49 |  IonOtter | 

    Ahh, jury nullification! A wonderful tool!

    However, like any tool, it can be abused. Think back to the civil rights days, and how jury nullification was used to get KKK members off the hook for lynching? The jury was all white, and most of them were probably KKK members themselves. And they didn’t think that lynching a black man who talked back to a white person was a crime.

    Use it wisely, people.

  50. #50 |  Stephen | 

    Heh, you made the front page of reddit.

  51. #51 |  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.

  52. #52 |  Dave Lewis | 

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

  53. #53 |  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… [...]

  54. #54 |  Mark | 

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

  55. #55 |  Juice | 

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

  56. #56 |  Juice | 

    Georgia v. Brailsford (1794)

  57. #57 |  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.

  58. #58 |  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.

  59. #59 |  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.”

  60. #60 |  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.

  61. #61 |  perlhaqr | 

    Oh, and fuck your mother, Mark.

  62. #62 |  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.

  63. #63 |  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.

  64. #64 |  LibertyTreeBud | 

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

  65. #65 |  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.

  66. #66 |  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.

  67. #67 |  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.

  68. #68 |  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…

  69. #69 |  What | 

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

  70. #70 |  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.

  71. #71 |  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.)

  72. #72 |  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.

  73. #73 |  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.

  74. #74 |  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. [...]

  75. #75 |  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.

  76. #76 |  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.

  77. #77 |  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.

  78. #78 |  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.

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