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August 2010
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Judge assigns pot homework

This is just unbelievable…

NV judge orders drug offender write report on pot

A Nevada judge has issued a homework assignment in the form of an unusual sentence for a 25-year-old Sacramento man who sold marijuana to a police informant in a casino parking lot at Lake Tahoe.

District Judge Dave Gamble ordered Matthew Palazzolo to write a report on what the judge called the “nonsensical character” of California’s medical marijuana law.

Gamble gave Palazzolo 90 days to complete the paper discussing his self-admitted realization that marijuana was a gateway drug that led him to use more powerful narcotics.

The judge clearly has some strong views about marijuana.

Palazzolo, who works for a law firm in Sacramento, admitted he grew it after obtaining a medical marijuana card. […]

“So you decided to grow your own?” Gamble asked. “If this isn’t testimony to the absolute asininity of medical marijuana laws in California and the path Nevada is choosing.”

OK. I really, really, really want that report. 90 days will make it somewhere around Thanksgiving, unless he gets it done earlier.

I’m hoping it’ll be made public, or one of my readers will have access and get it to me. Seriously.

I plan on grading it.

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24 comments to Judge assigns pot homework

  • Benjamin

    I got pot homework in Family Life at my old middle school. In the schools, they have these 20-year old textbooks, and the marijuana section is incredibly flawed, lies about addiction, carcinogens, all of that.

  • kant

    How is this sentencing possibly legal?

  • the hairy ape

    Gateway schmateway. People who can’t get off on weed need to stop smoking the downtown brown and get some indica or kush.

  • kant

    I should clarify my last comment. It would seem that either palazzolo writes about something thing the judge disagrees with and charges him with contempt of court which would be arguably a violation of both his 1st and 5th amendment rights OR palazzolo caves writes about why “drugs are bad mm’kay” and that would arguably be political coercion and i’m pretty sure there are laws against that.

    That or it doesn’t matter what palazzolo writes, in which case the sentencing is frivolous and the judge should be fire for incompetence. (or charged with attempted political coercion)

    • I think it could be challenged, kant, it’s just that nobody with standing wants to challenge it. The defendant is looking at writing a report instead of doing some time, so he’s going to be happy to be compliant (with his attorney’s urging as well).

      And firing judges doesn’t happen that easily in most cases.

      I’m not saying it’s right, just that it’s sadly unlikely to be a liability to the judge’s job.

  • Nick

    Screw grading it.
    Let’s help him write it.
    I wish I had ninety days to offer a rebuttal.

  • Windy

    Pete, I understand your comment on kant’s post, but I sort of disagree. We have got to start calling this kind of thing into question, publicly. Even to point of calling for the resignation of any judge who does something similar, or who attempts to limit the defense’s defense by barring certain kinds of testimony/evidence (such as barring a defense where the defendant’s federal “crime” is legal under the state’s laws — 10th Amendment, you know).

    We need to make this argument each and every time someone is put on trial for a “drug crime”. We also need to start making it clear, every time we speak out on this subject, that vices are not crimes, a crime requires a complaining victim, indulging a vice violates no one else’s unalienable rights. We need to be using the individual Liberty argument, too. The more we make these arguments publicly, the more people we will find who are going to agree with us.

  • primus

    I agree; let’s help him write it, then help it go viral on the ‘net. Screw the judge, if he doesn’t like the facts or a different opinion. A judge with a closed mind is unsuited for the job, so if he harshes the essay he can be shown to be incompetent. Win Win Win.

  • primus

    Also, if the judge is shown incompetent, and the world laughs at him and the system, might another judge hesitate before airing his biases?

  • ezrydn

    Why don’t we ALL write our reports and send them to the judge, return receipt requested? That way, maybe the turdbucket would learn a thing or two. Rather than help the defendant write his (which isn’t a problem as he works in a law firm), we just submit our own reports within the allotted time limit. Cover the judge with Truth and Education, something he noticably lacks.

  • ezrydn

    Anyone in Nevada–can you get your hands on a court reporter transcript of this fiasco? If so, we need it posted or available for downloading.

    Let’s inundate this Mo-Fo with some enlightenment. If he want’s a report, let’s give him a few. Need to check where he’s located and post his mailing address, not email address.

  • Forcing people to write papers is an age-old compliance technique. In Communist China there was a rash of pupil’s assignments whenever some political hot topic needed dousing. Lots of the kids probably didn’t even know why they had to write a paper on “What is wrong with the USA” or “Why is Shang Kai Chek an enemy of the state”.

    Makes the writer accept a role saying “I’m the kind of person who argues against pot”. Sometimes it’s actually effective. Stuff on it in Robert B. Cialdini’s “Influence: science and practice”.

  • strayan

    I work with parole officers. They often tell parolees to stop using cannabis. They also urine test them ‘for their own good’ and occasionally send them back to gaol if they don’t stop using.

    Are you a doctor I ask? What authority do you have to tell people what drug they should/should not be taking? Who are you to conduct urine analysis of non-consenting adults?

    Needless to say, I’m not very popular in the office.

  • claygooding

    Well,if he writes a report,he should write it on hemp paper.

  • Duncan

    You know, Prop 215 and SB420 really are totally asinine laws. I doubt that the judge and I have reached that opinion for the same reasons. I also doubt that the judge agrees with me that the way Prop 215 was written was absolutely necessary in order to get needed medicine to the sick and suffering because of the intransigence and short sighted vision of the Federal government but that doesn’t mean that I think the law makes sense

    One of my favorites is in SB420, which say in a couple of places that ‘this law does not authorize making a profit’ and somehow it’s gotten carved in stone that SB420 forbids making a profit. Yeah, Jerry Brown helped that a lot by issuing his opinion as California Attorney General and including in it that profits aren’t allowed. OK, I admit I’m not a lawyer but I thought there was a presumption in our country that something is legal unless it’s specifically forbidden. Where are the laws authorizing people to make a profit on groceries, on gasoline, for running a drug rehab center? Where is there a law that specifically forbids one to make a profit on cannabis? Distribution is forbidden in the code but making a profit is not a needed element to convict someone of distribution. As a matter of fact payment isn’t even a required element to run afoul of the laws forbidding the distribution of cannabis. But to the best of my knowledge there are no laws in California forbidding making a profit on cannabis.

    The phrase “does not authorize” is not synonymous with the phrase “does not allow,” at least that it was not defined that way when I was a wee schoolboy. Perhaps we really are behind the looking glass and the meaning of the words have been changed.
    ———————————————————————————————————————
    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    ———————————————————————————————————————

    The whole ball of wax is asinine. Medicine should be prescribed by doctors that are actually practicing medicine for a living, not collecting fees for making a ‘recommendation’ which they won’t deny unless you don’t have the cash. Prop 215 basically required patients to grow their own medicine as there was no distribution chain authorized. SB420 changed that in 2004, but it authorizes ‘collectives’. Well guess what? There is no legal definition in CA for a collective. It also authorizes co-ops. A cooperative is defined under CA law and can be either for profit or a pass through which distributes profits to patients

    There’s just so much about the medical cannabis laws in CA and in all the States that have legalized it that is just wrong. How about DC and NJ, both have allegedly legalized medical cannabis. But there is not a single gram of medicine that is legal today in either DC or NJ, and it looks like it will be sometime in 2011 before the 16 patients that qualify in DC and the 97 that will qualify in NJ are able to obtain any legal medicine. There are people who qualify for and would benefit from medical cannabis that will be dead before these places start getting medicine to the sick and suffering. New Mexico is doing a little better, but are still significant shortages of medicine in the distribution chain. These 3 places do demonstrate to me that California law was well written if the intent is to get medicine to the sick and suffering.

    Perhaps someone might sit down and write a report from the above point of view about how asinine the medical cannabis laws really are, and mail it to the judge or publish it on a webpage.

    Speaking of asinine medical cannabis laws, Nevada has a couple of lulus in their law. First of all no one with a drug felony can be a legal medical cannabis patient in NV. Also they put your status as a patient on your driver’s license. HIPAA? Patient confidentiality? WTF is that?

    As an aside, I looked up the word lulu to make sure I spelled it correctly. I found that one of the definitions is mildly amusing.
    “lu·lu

    a fixed allowance paid to a legislator in lieu of reimbursement for actual expenses.”

  • Duncan

    Judges frequently tack on probation limits that would not pass muster if applied to someone who is not a convict. Lots of States authorize searches of probatees and their private spaces on the whimsy of the authority who wants to search. Those 12 step programs that they order drug users to attend are a blatant violation of the Establishment clause. Forbidding association with other criminals violates the right to freedom of assembly. There was that guy in Colorado who was forbidden to make any public statements concerning his opinion about the cannabis laws. To me he seems like just the kind of a guy who would take it up the appellate ladder if he thought he had a chance of winning.

  • Tony Aroma

    I wonder if the judge will reject the report if it is accurate and truthful. Clearly there are no facts to support the judge’s position.

  • truthtechnician

    Thank you Duncan for breaking the group-think. I completely agree. The Medical Marijuana laws (at least in my state California), regardless of whether or not they serve patients with real needs, are completely asinine and ridiculous.

    It harms the reform movement every time we act like the MMJ laws aren’t a complete joke.

  • claygooding

    I would have to write an essay on the nonsensical scheduling of marijuana as a class 1 narcotic.

    Fourteen states and our nation’s capitol with dubious m/m
    laws and hundreds of doctors writing recommendations for thousands of patients and our government refuses to reschedule marijuana.

    That is even more nonsensical than the efforts by DC,NJ and NM to enact the “perfect” system for m/m.

    And I would write it on hemp paper.

  • Duncan

    It is a difficult balancing act to express the thought that medical cannabis laws are asinine but that medical cannabis is not in any way, shape or form a joke or a ‘stalking’ horse for legalization especially with so many railing on about the shortfalls of these laws that agree with the general premise but think that the punchline is that it’s because people just want to get high. But that very well may be changing as well. I still can’t get over the Iowa Board of Pharmacy examining the evidence and voting unanimously that cannabis should be moved to schedule 2. Simply unbelievable since they poo-pooed the idea and had to be ordered to do the study by order of the Court. It seems residents of Iowa can force their state government to do certain things just by requesting it, and reevaluating a a drug’s scheduling is one. Is it unreasonable to infer from this that the evidence in favor of cannabis medicines is overwhelming in the extreme? I was expecting the unanimous decision but as a rubber stamp to comply with the court order and find against the idea.

    Outside of private or semi-private settings I’m scared that saying that because it could backfire and be a set back the time to reach the goal of cannabis becoming a mainstream medicine.
    Probably that idea originated in my limbic system because one of my dearest friends died of leukemia in 2002, being sick for 2 full years and suffering all of the horrid side effects from the treatments used to combat his illness. That experience really brought home the realization that cannabis is a useful medicine. Crap I really wish my bone marrow had been a match for his. Oh no we can’t have people buying and selling body parts, that would be unethical. Oh sure, it’s much more ethical to leave my friend die than to let him buy the rare blood type bone marrow to fix him. It’s really annoying to me that people think that way.

    I actually try not to say that I think cannabis medicine should be legal for the sick and suffering. I try to say that doctors and scientists should be the ones making the decisions. It should not be made by know nothing laymen with no advanced degree in science and/or a medical license. It should certainly not be made by politicians with a political agenda. When I need medicine I don’t call a politician or an English locksmith, and I don’t know of anyone that does so. It’s amazing how many of those two cohorts will say that the laws are a joke because cannabis should be treated like any other effective medicines so we should just do away with cannabis medicine. Wow, how the heck do they get from here to there? How about calling and writing your Representative and Senators and tell them to leave the decision to doctors and scientists? Frankly a sizable percentage have no clue about DEA numbers, how doctors and pharmacists basically lose their ability to make a buck if the DEA pulls their license. Did you know that in 1938-39 Harry J Anslinger persecuted doctors, recording the arrest of around 3000 doctors charged with writing illegal prescriptions? Almost all of them members of the AMA because the AMA refused to toe the line in the way Anslinger demanded? 3000 is a lot of frigging doctors even today. Have the Feds prosecuted 3000 doctors for writing prescriptions of which the know nothing bureaucrats disapprove? How many oxycodone pill mills have they shut down. I think that it maybe less than 100 in this millennium. I’m certain its’ less than 1000 and that’s over a span of almost 10 years. Does anyone else here recall Quaaludes? Those things were all over the place, really easy to obtain. I don’t recall hearing of even 1 doctor being prosecuted for that. I’m hard pressed to believe that those pills weren’t coming out through the back door of the pharma company with a nudge and a wink from the big shots in the company that made them. I could have missed that though as I was too busy having fun to be interested in the gov’t in the ’80s. So why the heck did Quaaludes disappear from the black market?

    Wow, I didn’t actually recall that the ‘what about the cheeel-dren’ red herring dated as far back to the 1930s. Since it isn’t dated it could be that Pete wrote the article linked below before I got disoriented from consuming too much cannabis and woke up here in his blog.

    http://www.drugwarrant.com/2010/08/judge-assigns-pot-homework/#comments

  • Brucem

    This is in large part the defendants fault. His “self admitted” realization that the medical ,marijuana laws are bad means he got caught selling pot to the cop and blamed his actions on medical marijuana… That coincides with the ideology of the elected “tough on crime”judge and the evil prosecutor. So his plan to blame medical marijuana totally worked.

    As long as criminal defendants keep blaming their actions on drug use, the prohibitioners will continue to have the best ammo possible in this debate… The fact that voluntary intoxication is not a valid defense to crimes under the law of any state in the US doesn’t stop defendants from trying to use “the drugs made me shake and kill my loud obnoxious baby” as a defense. As a lawyer I won’t represent a client who insists on blaming drugs for his/her crime. Fuck them. It’s not a valid defense and it’s also blatant perjury.

  • ezrydn

    Well, Troops,

    Judges are a hard group to get ahold of. All sorts of BS pertaining to getting contact. However, I was able to piece it together from a couple of emails.

    You can send your reports to the judge via the address below. Be nice, be factual and be brief.

    JoAnn Thaler
    Judicial Assistant to
    The Hon. David R. Gamble
    P.O. Box 218
    Minden, Nevada 89423

    Be sure to put on the front of your report that it’s in response to the Matthew Palazzolo case.

    We’ve now seen what the bench THINKS it can do. Let’s show the fine judge what THE PEOPLE can do!

  • ezrydn

    JoAnn just sent me the correct address for the Judge;

    The Hon. David R. Gamble
    9th Judicial District Court, Dept. I
    Post Office Box 218
    Minden, NV 89423

    It’s report writing time, folks!!