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Thread: Jury pool mutiny (we need a LOT more of THIS)!!!

  1. #1

    Thumbs up Jury pool mutiny (we need a LOT more of THIS)!!!

    Missoula District Court: Jury pool in marijuana case stages ‘mutiny’

    http://missoulian.com/news/local/art...cc4c03286.html

    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.

    In fact, one juror wondered why the county was wasting time and money prosecuting the case at all, said a flummoxed Deputy Missoula County Attorney Andrew Paul.

    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. That was on Thursday.

    On Friday, Cornell entered an Alford plea, in which he didn’t admit guilt. He briefly held his infant daughter in his manacled hands, and walked smiling out of the courtroom.

    “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,” according to the plea memorandum filed by his attorney.

    “A mutiny,” said Paul.

    “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.

    *****

    “I think that’s outstanding,” John Masterson, who heads Montana NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), said when told of the incident. “The American populace over the last 10 years or so has begun to believe in a majority that assigning criminal penalties for the personal possession of marijuana is an unjust and a stupid use of government resources.”

    Masterson is hardly an unbiased source.

    On the other hand, prosecutor, defense attorney and judge all took note that some of the potential jurors expressed that same opinion.

    “I think it’s going to become increasingly difficult to seat a jury in marijuana cases, at least the ones involving a small amount,” Deschamps said.

    The attorneys and the judge all noted Missoula County’s approval in 2006 of Initiative 2, which required law enforcement to treat marijuana crimes as their lowest priority – and also of the 2004 approval of a statewide medical marijuana ballot initiative.

    And all three noticed the age of the members of the jury pool who objected. A couple looked to be in their 20s. A couple in their 40s. But one of the most vocal was in her 60s.

    “It’s kind of a reflection of society as a whole on the issue,” said Deschamps.

    Which begs a question, he said.

    Given the fact that marijuana use became widespread in the 1960s, most of those early users are now in late middle age and fast approaching elderly.

    Is it fair, Deschamps wondered, in such cases to insist upon impaneling a jury of “hardliners” who object to all drug use, including marijuana?

    “I think that poses a real challenge in proceeding,” he said. “Are we really seating a jury of their peers if we just leave people on who are militant on the subject?”

    Although the potential jurors in the Cornell case quickly focused on the small amount of marijuana involved, the original allegations were more serious – that Cornell was dealing; hence, a felony charge of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs.

    Because the case never went to trial, members of the jury pool didn’t know that Cornell’s neighbors had complained to police that he was dealing from his South 10th Street West four-plex, according to an affidavit in the case. After one neighbor reported witnessing an alleged transaction between Cornell and two people in a vehicle, marijuana was found in the vehicle in question.

    The driver and passenger said they’d bought it from Cornell, the affidavit said. A subsequent search of his home turned up some burnt marijuana cigarettes, a pipe and some residue, as well as a shoulder holster for a handgun and 9mm ammunition. As a convicted felon, Cornell was prohibited from having firearms, the affidavit noted.

    Cornell admitted distributing small amounts of marijuana and “referred to himself as a person who connected other dealers with customers,” it said. “He claimed his payment for arranging deals was usually a small amount of marijuana for himself.”

    Potential jurors also couldn’t know about Cornell’s criminal history, which included eight felonies, most of them in and around Chicago several years ago. According to papers filed in connection with the plea agreement, Cornell said he moved to Missoula to “escape the criminal lifestyle he was leading,” but he’s had a number of brushes with the law here.

    Those include misdemeanor convictions for driving while under the influence and driving with a suspended license, and a felony conviction in August of conspiracy to commit theft, involving an alleged plot last year to stage a theft at a business where a friend worked, the papers said. He was out on bail in that case when the drug charges were filed.

    In sentencing him Friday, Deschamps referred to him as “an eight-time loser” and said, “I’m not convinced in any way that you don’t present an ongoing threat to the community.”

    Deschamps also pronounced himself “appalled” at Cornell’s personal life, saying: “You’ve got no education, you’ve got no skills. Your life’s work seems to be going out and impregnating women and not supporting your children.”

    The mother of one of those children, a 3-month-old named Joy who slept through Friday’s sentencing, was in the courtroom for Friday’s sentencing. Cornell sought and received permission to hug his daughter before heading back to jail.

    Deschamps sentenced Cornell to 20 years, with 19 suspended, under Department of Corrections supervision, to run concurrently with his sentence in the theft case. He’ll get credit for the 200 days he’s already served. The judge also ordered Cornell to get a GED degree upon his release.

    “Instead of being a lazy bum, you need to get an education so you can get a decent law-abiding job and start supporting your family,” he said.

    Normally, Paul said after the sentencing, a case involving such a small amount of marijuana wouldn’t have gone this far through the court system except for the felony charge involved.

    But the small detail in this case may end up being a big game-changer in future cases.

    The reaction of potential jurors in this case, Paul said, “is going to be something we’re going to have to consider.”
    "Truly, whoever can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire



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  3. #2
    a felony conviction in August of conspiracy to commit theft
    What the hell is this? How can we call ourselves a free country when we can give people felonies for something they haven't done?

    The judge also ordered Cornell to get a GED degree upon his release.
    I'd like to tell that judge where to stick that GED and how far to shove it.

    “Are we really seating a jury of their peers if we just leave people on who are militant on the subject?”
    The biggest redeeming feature of this $#@! is that he seems to realize what a jury is for - as opposed to simply suffering their presence and dictating to them what the outcome is going to be.

    Everyone hates lawyers, and everyone hates politicians - and a judge is only a lawyer who has political connections.
    There are no crimes against people.
    There are only crimes against the state.
    And the state will never, ever choose to hold accountable its agents, because a thing can not commit a crime against itself.

  4. #3
    Jury nullification is still alive? Who knew?
    I compiled a "brief" history of events since October 2008 that are defining the global currency war and the role that gold is playing:

    Tin Foil Hats, Economic Reality and the Total Perspective Vortex

    Also, have you contacted your Congressional Rep and asked them co-sponsor Ron Paul's Rep. Paul Broun Jr.'s HR 1098 77: Free Competition in Currencies Act?

  5. #4
    I was in court last year, and a guy who was about 20 told me how he was on probation for awhile and always saw the same judge. He had been convicted for marijuana possession. One day he saw a different judge, who asked him to clarify the fact that he was in front of him because of pot. He did, and the judge then scolded the DA enraged that he had this young man in front of him. He ordered his probation terminated and basically said he would not prosecute people for marijuana possession
    This was in southern California.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by fisharmor View Post
    What the hell is this? How can we call ourselves a free country when we can give people felonies for something they haven't done? [...]
    Yeah, the move towards prosecuting pre-crime in this country is really disturbing to me. Muslims are given non-explosives by the FBI, who then try to detonate them and fail, and spend their life in jail as a result? I mean, wtf? Sounds like they're trying to create a terrorist threat more than protect us from one.

    Really, all this stuff reminds me of Minority Report.. I don't understand how thinking about something can be such a horrible crime.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by CUnknown View Post
    Yeah, the move towards prosecuting pre-crime in this country is really disturbing to me. Muslims are given non-explosives by the FBI, who then try to detonate them and fail, and spend their life in jail as a result? I mean, wtf? Sounds like they're trying to create a terrorist threat more than protect us from one.

    Really, all this stuff reminds me of Minority Report.. I don't understand how thinking about something can be such a horrible crime.
    But don't you want them to protect you from yourself???
    /sarcasm

  8. #7
    You have the right to a trial by jury of your peers.*

    Just so long as we have the power to screen that jury so as to ensure that everyone selected will do and think exactly like us and arrive at a guilty verdict no matter the evidence (or lack thereof).

    Great read here:

    "They've Ironed the Wrinkle out of the Jury."
    "All jurors in federal courts, according to the jury handbook I was given, take "an oath to decide the case ‘upon the law and the evidence.'" The handbook then describes: "The law is what the judge declares the law to be." I found out later that — even if the judges don't take the Constitution literally — they take this last part literally."

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/eddlem/eddlem20.html
    Last edited by nobody's_hero; 12-23-2010 at 04:51 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by timosman View Post
    This is getting silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    It started silly.
    T.S. Eliot's The Hollow Men

    "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." - Plato

    We Are Running Out of Time - Mini Me

  9. #8
    The should have just agreed to be on the jury and found the guy 'bot guilty.'



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by nobody's_hero View Post
    You have the right to a trial by jury of your peers.*

    Just so long as we have the power to screen that jury so as to ensure that everyone selected will do and think exactly like us and arrive at a guilty verdict no matter the evidence (or lack thereof).

    Great read here:

    "They've Ironed the Wrinkle out of the Jury."
    "All jurors in federal courts, according to the jury handbook I was given, take "an oath to decide the case ‘upon the law and the evidence.'" The handbook then describes: "The law is what the judge declares the law to be." I found out later that — even if the judges don't take the Constitution literally — they take this last part literally."

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/eddlem/eddlem20.html

    "Voir Dire - French for jury tampering." - Vin Suprynowicz
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by fisharmor View Post
    What the hell is this? How can we call ourselves a free country when we can give people felonies for something they haven't done?


    I'd like to tell that judge where to stick that GED and how far to shove it.


    The biggest redeeming feature of this $#@! is that he seems to realize what a jury is for - as opposed to simply suffering their presence and dictating to them what the outcome is going to be.

    Everyone hates lawyers, and everyone hates politicians - and a judge is only a lawyer who has political connections.
    Conspiracy to commit theft ? Who can explain that to me please ?

  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by fisharmor View Post

    Everyone hates lawyers, and everyone hates politicians - and a judge is only a lawyer who has political connections.
    +1

    I refer to judges as glorified lawyers.
    Don't taze me bro. Don't touch my junk. Don't tread on me.

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  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by RideTheDirt View Post
    I was in court last year, and a guy who was about 20 told me how he was on probation for awhile and always saw the same judge. He had been convicted for marijuana possession. One day he saw a different judge, who asked him to clarify the fact that he was in front of him because of pot. He did, and the judge then scolded the DA enraged that he had this young man in front of him. He ordered his probation terminated and basically said he would not prosecute people for marijuana possession
    This was in southern California.
    I've got a story. Junior year of HS in Biz Law class we went to the local courts to see a case. We climb in, listen to the defense attorney ramble like an idiot for quite some time, then listen as the defendant is sentenced to 7 years for possession of crack within 1000 feet of school.

    edit: Almost forgot...he lived within the 1000 feet of the school.

    I have about this much || sympathy for people who do crack, but that's absolutely ridiculous.
    Last edited by Jordan; 12-23-2010 at 05:48 PM.

  15. #13
    Notice that he is going to jail at the end because he agreed to a plea deal.


    "All jurors in federal courts, according to the jury handbook I was given, take "an oath to decide the case ‘upon the law and the evidence.'" The handbook then describes: "The law is what the judge declares the law to be." I found out later that — even if the judges don't take the Constitution literally — they take this last part literally."
    This is bull$#@! though. I'd probably just say yes, and then vote not guilty and refuse to give my reasons other than lack of evidence....sorry

    This mountain of evidence seems faulty to me.
    Last edited by Agorism; 12-23-2010 at 05:49 PM.

  16. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Agorism View Post
    Notice that he is going to jail at the end because he agreed to a plea deal.




    This is bull$#@! though. I'd probably just say yes, and then vote not guilty and refuse to give my reasons other than lack of evidence....sorry

    This mountain of evidence seems faulty to me.
    Good point . Unless the jury gets to try the weed , to be sure , there is not enough evidence .

  17. #15
    If I ever am on a jury I sure will judge the merits of the law as well. If there is no victim there is no crime in my book.



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