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Montana jury rebellion reaches New York Times

This is great. The more people who read about jurors exercising their absolute right to question the law, the better. There are still too many people out there who don’t know that it’s OK for a juror to wonder whether it’s appropriate to waste taxpayer resources going after marijuana.

Marijuana fans are calling it the Mutiny in Montana.

Well, actually no. It was the deputy district attorney who called it a mutiny. Marijuana fans were calling it the proper job of jurors. However, I’ve got to admit that “The Mutiny in Montana” has a nice ring to it.

Mr. Cornell did plead guilty to the felony, but by Wednesday, what appeared to be a case of juror revolt, which was first reported by The Missoulian, was being trumpeted by pro-marijuana Web sites as yet another sign of the nation’s increasingly liberal attitude toward the drug.

Again, no. Not a sign of increasing “liberal” attitude toward the drug. A sign of increasing knowledge about the drug, the drug war, and the problems with our criminal justice system.

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32 comments to Montana jury rebellion reaches New York Times

  • claygooding

    And this was our two steps forward in this dance of DEAth for the dragon we have created and our legislators maintain with stupid appointments,budget approvals,and just ignoring numerous bills aimed at reform.

    That would save America billions of tax dollars,just in investigative/court/incarceration costs,not to mention billions in taxes,job creation,business opportunities and the very things our economy is screaming for,keep our economy viable by keeping our income here.

    Produced HERE,regulated HERE,and enjoyed Here,,,,,,regardless of where it comes from.

  • darkcycle

    This is another case of the people being far out ahead of our imperial rulers. (Since we’re now a corporate controlled empire, and in the face of ‘citizens united’, it just doesn’t seem right to call them ‘elected representatives’.)I’m not surprised at the way the NYT is portraying it, though.

  • […] jury rebellion reaches New York Times Montana jury rebellion reaches New York Times DrugWarRant / Pete Guither / 12,23,2010 This is great. The more people who read about jurors […]

  • Ben Mann

    It’s a sign of a populace that has started to realize that the government’s stance on marijuana is full of sh!t.

  • FM58

    Anyone living in Montana knows the western part of the state (Missoula, Bozeman) is pretty liberal while the eastern part (Billings) is very conservative.I’m not saying this is bad or good,it’s just the way it is. I don’t think one would have the same results (jury mutiny)in Billings or anywhere else east of Bozeman.The Billings Gazette has been running an anti MM campain that makes Randolph Hearst look like a piker.For a good laugh or cry (depending how you look at it), check out the articles that came out today @billingsgazette.com. Yellow journalisim is alive and well!

  • Mark

    The Billings Gazette is a joke, as is the parent company Lee Enterprises, which owns all of the major newspapers in the state. The irony about all this in Montana is that the legislature is actively considering over-riding the will of the people and repealing medical. All the Repubs like to say that their constituents say “that’s not what I voted for.” Or in other words a few people voted for it thinking it would be used as a last resort for terminally ill patients and are now unhappy with the decision.

    It seems like that’s become the prohibitionist rally cry up here – “that’s not what I voted for.” Not to worry though, it seems like the repeal prospect is pissing a lot of people off here because it simply means the legislature is trying to override the will of the majority.

  • Mark

    Share your thoughts on their yellow journalism with the Billings Gazette editor at speakup@billingsgazette.com

  • […] also on blogs with names like The Weed, Stop the Drug War, and Hemp […]

  • kaptinemo

    Jeez, I hate it when people are sloppy with language! (As the old INXS song went, “Words are weapons, sharper than knives…” and people ought to be careful with ’em, dammit)

    It was not an effin’ ‘mutiny’, and those engaged in it were not ‘mutineers’. That’s a military and naval term.

    This was, if anything, a non-violent refusal to cooperate with an amoral law. Passive resistance against unjust legislation, in the same spirit as urged by the great Dr. ML King.

    That’s what this was. Citizens standing against a bureaucratic Juggernaut, and seeking to curb its’ excesses, in precisely the way the Founders intended. It’s that simple.

  • kaptinemo

    Holy crap! I just went to TalkLeft and saw a link to this:

    Rick Scott moves to cut drug office.

    Well, it’s no longer “Ready Tubes One and Two, and open outer doors!”.

    Now, it’s a fiscal “High-speed screws! Torpedo in the water!” and its’ heading right for a State’s local ‘anti-drugs’ bureaucracy. Expect other States to follow suit.

  • FM58

    Mark- I completely agree with you. The use of an out of shape “school resource” PD officer’s comments about kids ‘confiding” in him is ludicrous at best. What is he going to say? I find it disturbing in this issue that so much emphasis is given to what Law Enforcement says should be done to change the law. LE should work with what the people wanted (and voted for) and not be involved with writing laws, period. If “we the people” allow LE to dictate legislation, the next thing you know, you’ll have an Abrams M1A1 on your lawn, and it won’t be there for lawn maintenance. After working in emergency services for 28 years (now retired), I did not see the purported devastation the prohibitionist’s report when it comes to the use of cannabis. What I did see on a regular basis was the effect of alcohol (no surprise) the over medication of the elderly with prescription drugs, and the consequences of consuming tobacco smoke. I have also experienced personally the tar baby that attaches itself to the charged drug law breaker when they enter our so called “justice system”. Our courts have become processing plants that herd the young and poor through like cattle going to the killing floor. All rights are lost and one is certainly guilty until proven innocent. The rich that can afford high end lawyers, skate. The emphasis seems to me to be all about local government revenue streams, incarceration (prison revenue streams), drug testing revenue streams, corporation treatment revenue streams, law enforcement funding revenue streams etc., etc, etc. The last time I checked (some) treatments work only when the addict has come to rock bottom, when they themselves finally recognize that they have nowhere to go but up. In our system, everyone charged for use of any kind is automatically labeled an addict and of course needs treatment. But of course, a Cop will tell you they need that Tank, and a Politian will tell you we need to get tougher.

  • darkcycle

    Rick Scott isn’t doing that out of the goodness of his heart. He doesn’t have one. Florida has a terrible prescription pill problem. Alot of those ‘pill mill’ doctors are part of HIS network, as are alot of those for-profit treatment facilities. He makes out both ways.

  • kaptinemo

    DarkCycle, I entertain no illusions as to Gov. Scott’s motivations. As usual, it’s the (Once) Almighty Dollar that’s driving his actions…as it will the actions of those other State’s Guvnuh’s who will closely follow suit.

    It’s going to get awful hard politically to justify those kinds of bloated salaries (in this case, 500K each!) to increasingly restive, angry taxpayers (and worse, increasingly restive, angry former taxpayers now facing fiscal Armageddon since their UI bennies are running out) when they can’t do a damn thing to prove they’ve done a damn thing about halting the flow of illegal drugs into the State.

    A timer set on a pile of political C4 is about to begin its’ last cycle prior to detonation in every State government that has its’ own local ‘anti-drugs’ bureaucracy. Gov. Scott has realized what a political liability that office was and shrewdly decided to cut his losses. I fully expect other State governments to follow suit, lest they be hoisted by this petard of their own making.

  • Duncan20903

    It’s too bad that the promoters weren’t able to collect enough signatures to get CI-104 on last month’s ballot. We’d be having a whole different discussion about the present subject.

    THE COMPLETE TEXT OF CONSTITUTIONAL INITIATIVE NO. 104 (CI-104)

    Article II, Section 26 of the Montana Constitution is amended as follows:

    Section 26. Trial by Jury. ( 1 ) The right of trial by jury is secured to all and shall remain inviolate. But upon default of appearance or by consent of the parties expressed in such manner as the law may provide, all cases may be tried without a jury or before fewer than the number of jurors provided by law.

    ( 2 ) In all civil actions, two-thirds of the jury may render a verdict, and a verdict so rendered shall have the same force and effect as if all had concurred therein.

    ( 3 ) In all criminal actions, the verdict shall be unanimous. In the trial of all criminal cases, no judge or other officer of the court may prevent or restrict the jury at trial from being provided or receiving information from counsel about the right of the jury to judge the law as well as the facts.

    New Section. Section 2. Effective Date. This act is effective April 1, 2011.

    I do notice that the amendment was worded as if Montana jurors have the right to nullify and the amendment was in order to assure the protection of that right.

  • Duncan20903

    http://sos.mt.gov/Elections/archives/2010s/2010/initiatives/CI-104.asp <—source used in my previous post.

    I just found out that there's no Federal statute requiring jurors to swear an oath. It's just a "tradition" and has the exact same legal force as the Declaration of Independence.

    According to FIJA.com there are 24 States that have language in their State Constitutions which overtly protect the right of jury nullification. I don't know if Montana is one of them.

    You and each of you do solemnly swear or affirm that you will well and truly try the matter in issue between ___________ and ______________ and a true verdict render according to the evidence, so help you God.

    http://www.ravallicounty.mt.gov/clerkofcourt/documents/handbook_000.pdf

  • Jim K

    My instincts are getting better. I thot this might get national play, and managed to scoop the NYT on the pick up by posting the original story on facebook with this tag line:

    “Mutinous Missoulians and Montana Marijuana”

    And how about that Pat Robertson story?! Signs of changin’ times indeed. But Lenny Bruce scooped us all back in the ’60’s when he said he knew pot would be legal someday “because all the law students I know smoke it.”

  • ezrydn

    It’s coming up on 100 years that they’ve bullshitted and lied to the American Public and, slow to figure things out as they are, the Public is finally starting to get a clue.

    I mean, even ol’ Patrick is finally figuring it out. That’s a start! And you know avid 700 Club watchers believe his every word so he got said word out to a lot of people with his comments.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Veronica Ambrello. Veronica Ambrello said: Montana jury rebellion reaches New York Times: But of course, a Cop will tell you they need that Tank, and a Pol… http://bit.ly/fbeGnO […]

  • DdC

    Do The Research Before Tweaking Marijuana Law By Doug Chyatte
    CN Source: Great Falls Tribune December 23, 2010 Montana
    While it remains clear problems exist with the application of Montana’s medical cannabis law, these issues do not indicate our model of compassionate access is itself a failure. The use of cannabis, be it for recreational or medicinal reasons, has been relocated to the back alleys and shadows of our society for more than 80 years. This past prohibition creates an array of issues most tragic being the association of our ill with society’s criminal element.

    Lawmakers Eye Ways To Regulate MMJ or Repeal It By Charles S. Johnson
    CN Source: Billings Gazette December 22, 2010 Helena, MT
    Key members of the 2011 Legislature are determined to impose new regulations on a medical marijuana industry that some believe has reeled out of control the past year. Others are calling for outright repeal of the medical marijuana law enacted by a 2004 ballot measure, which 62 percent of Montanans approved, and one lawmaker wants to put the issue before voters again. One legislator believes it’s time to start taxing what he believes is an industry with annual revenues approaching $150 million.

    Would-Be Jurors Stage ‘Mutiny’ in Marijuana Case
    CN Source: Associated Press December 22, 2010 Montana
    Potential jurors staged a “mutiny” during a felony drug case, a Missoula County prosecutor says, and authorities worry the result will be viewed as a game-changer when it comes to future attempts at prosecuting drug cases in Montana. Nearly all 27 Missoula County residents during the jury selection process on Thursday told District Court Judge Dusty Deschamps there was no way they would convict anybody of having a couple of buds of marijuana.

    Montana NORML Newsletter
    Legislature, Preventing Repeal and the News

  • DdC

    Lenny Bruce 12/30/03 thread

    “I’m totally corrupted. I mean, really. My whole act, my whole economic success, whatever that is, is based solely on the existence of segregation, violence, despair, disease and injustice. And if by some miracle, the whole world would suddenly tranquilize, be pured, I would be standing in an unemployment line somewhere. So you see, I’m not a moralist.”

  • Good

    I’d walk out too if my time were being wasted. Good job to those jurors. It shocks me this substance, which is less harmful than tobacco and alcohol, is still illegal. Let’s just sell it in the gas station like beer and cigarettes so we can leave all things “medical” to real doctors, not gardeners.

  • vicky vampire

    This is nice that is has reached New York Times Level no do not agree with lots of there Editorials but on this issue good it was exposed on Montana Story.
    and Ddc I saw article on Montana Legislature throwing a fit about Medical Pot and wanting to possibly repeal law if not regulated strictly I’m like WTF DID Gov Christie from New Jersey infuse your little bodies overnight please they are using excuses these prohibs are pissed that more and more folks are having access and are now trying to squelch it in its path and using every Fucking excuse and the threat to reapeal Oh thats’ right like some said who already have cards lets just criminalize 25,000 people on Montana medical roles and what arrest them fill the jails fraking iditots yes even in states that legalize medical with some politicos they will use it to threathen and spark and intimidation in public cause they do not like the amount of people using they say its onlyfor really sick. Oh wow my a Doc out there can prescribe oxycontin or percecets but for Harmless Pot they now want a three DOC PANEL to prescribe Cannabis look all I’m going to say these folks are ignorant SOBS. screw them. folks will go back to getting on black market again, Idiots at least New Jersey had legislature or health panel turn over Governors nonsense, In Montana will have to wait and see what happens.

  • truthtechnician

    Pete, please report on this!

    85-90% of law enforcement wiretaps are for drugs!

    According to data gathered by privacy expert Christopher Soghoian (PhD candidate at Indiana University), 85-90% of real-time surveillance of your Internet communication is for drug enforcement.

    He discusses the evidence during his talk at the Defon 2010 hackers conference, a video of the talk is available on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=jJDCxzKmROY#t=342s he discusses drug related Internet wiretaps at 5min 42sec

    Please help spread the word!

  • Duncan20903

    Wow, how did we miss this one?

    The Shasta Dam scenario began with the two mock bomb blasts followed by the “Red Cell” terrorist group taking over the dam in an effort to free one of their fellow marijuana growers from prison. Holding three people hostage, they threatened to flood the Sacramento River by rolling open the drum gates atop the dam. Those gates hold back the nearly full lake.

    http://www.redding.com/news/2010/nov/17/practice-makes-safety/

    Man what kind of mind bending substance must these people be fucking tripping on to even come up with pothead terrorists? Could this be the result of sniffing model airplane glue?

    My god I thought I had seen every absurdity possible come from the idiots on the other side of the table. I was wrong. They’ve gone from the sublime to the ridiculous and on to complete brain dead insanity.

  • kaptinemo

    Uh, Duncan, that was covered some weeks ago. It just goes to show how far they are ‘reaching’ in attempting to justify their bloated bureaucracies in a time of universal fiscal belt-tightening.

    Next you know, it’ll be covertly hidden three-eyed Martians or 20-legged Jovians or the denizens of Uranus (more like Their-anus) that we have to be on guard against.

    Jeez, how much more sophomoric can they get? And we pay the salaries of these people? What they need is 24 hour monitoring in an institution and anti-psychotic meds, not a paycheck.

  • Amy

    What they need is required regular drug-testing — of all elected and top appointed government officials, from the local level to the highest federal level. Unless, of course, they would rather bring an end to this prohibition lunacy instead.

  • JB

    A simple case of citizens excercising their constitutional rights. Conservative’s should think about the “big government” war on drugs, and the waste of their tax dollars, and “getting govt off our back” and what The Constitution stands for before complaining about this one. This is power to the people. Proud of you Montana. Very proud to be an American today!

  • Sandy

    I am so relieved to read about the people(in jury s) using court room trials as opportunities to express their opposition to the current cannabis laws.They could not have picked a better opportunity to speak out.So would it be good advice to just forget a bunch of plea bargaining,take the case to trial,and let the people govern themselves,as they see fit?
    I am guessing at least 50% of the population is in favor of reform.This would probably also be your chances of being found not guilty as well.

  • ele

    The headline of our local newspaper recently proclaimed: “Town outlaws dope growing.” Somebody in Philipsburg[Montana] is growing marijuana and until last week they were doing it legally.” Whatever happened to “no expost facto laws”?

    When the town got word of a growing operation “they passed an emergency measure to bring such business to a halt”, declared one council member. The same member who had a pet peeve against certain town people and got an ordinance passed banning their pet animals that they had for years. More expost facto laws? None complained, other than same council member. Coincidentally, the ban was tailored to exclude similar animals his “friends” had.

    Sorry. I digress. This councilman parroted the same rhetoric about people not knowing what they were doing when they approved medical marijuana. Isn’t it funny how stupid we voters get AFTER we elect people like him? My opinion? There’s probably a caregiver “friend” in the county wanting all town competition eliminated. Coincidentally, Pburg not only has a contracted lawyer (not a city or county attorney) but also a hired judge (non-elected…ever). Both serve at the pleasure of the town council which has more than its “either you’re with me or you’re toast” shared attitude. Talk about kangaroo justice: tailor made vendetta ordinances, selective enforcement, faux prosecutor and hired judge. How can you lose (or win)? Just kiss up to or hold power over certain council members and you’re in like granite. Montana Code be damned!

    Can a “TOWN” having “general powers” pass an ordinance banning a legal substance or practice? Sure, pass zoning and licensing ordinances, but to totally ban something just on somebody’s edict? A ban that they ordered their lawyer to draft based on Anaconda’s? Anaconda, a CITY, having “self governing powers”? But that shouldn’t matter to Philipsburg…or any TOWN that tailors rules to suit local politics. Should it?

  • sandy

    re:For those who still lecture the so called evils of cannabis as a schedule one dangerous drug with no medical uses=spin.This is so far from the truth.
    It is remarkable that so many people are still uneducated about cannabis and still stick to the old made up stuff to discourage its use.I wonder if they realize lying to children will,in time,prove a big mistake.Once kids get older and find out the truth,Do those who lie to children now,think children will believe what they say in the future even if it is the truth?The truth will always prevail eventually,and when it dose,will you be the one who stood behind the lie,or one of the ones brave enough to stand up tell the truth?