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Public ahead of Prosecuters re marijuana law

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Jurors are not idiots, they know that 1/16th of an ounce (less than 2 grams, the size of medium spider, for instance) of a plant is not going to destroy civilization. Too bad the law makers haven’t the courage to change these ridiculous laws that are filling up our prisons with non-violent offenders.

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.

(click to continue reading Missoula District Court: Jury pool in marijuana case stages ‘mutiny’.)

This particular trial ended in a plea agreement, but the judge sentenced Cornell to 20 years (with 19 suspended).

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.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 27th, 2010 at 8:55 am

Posted in government

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