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   Would-Be Jurors Stage 'Mutiny' in Marijuana Case
Posted by DrReefer.com on December 22, 2010, 7:06 pm

By The Associated Press
Source: Associated Press

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.

"I thought, 'Geez, I don't know if we can seat a jury,'" said Deschamps, who called a recess.

The case involved Touray Cornell, whose criminal history includes numerous felony convictions and in his latest case faced a felony charge of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs.

That charge stemmed from an April 23 search of his home following complaints from neighbors he was selling drugs. Police said they found burnt marijuana cigarettes, a pipe and some residue.

An affidavit said Cornell admitted to distributing small amounts of marijuana and connecting other dealers with customers, getting small amounts of marijuana for himself as payment.

At the time of his arrest Cornell was out on bail on a charge of felony conspiracy to commit theft, of which he was convicted in August.

During the recess called by Deschamps on Thursday, Deputy Missoula County Attorney Andrew Paul worked out a plea agreement with the defense.

"A mutiny," Paul told the Missoulian in describing the actions of the potential jurors.

"Bizarre," said Cornell's defense attorney, Martin Elison.

In the plea memorandum filed by Elison, he noted that public opinion "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."

On Friday, Cornell entered an Alford plea, meaning he does not admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence to convict him. Deschamps then sentenced him to 20 years in prison with 19 suspended, to be served concurrently with his sentence in the theft case.

Cornell was given credit for the 200 days he's already served.

"I'm not convinced in any way that you don't present an ongoing threat to the community," Deschamps told Cornell during the sentencing, calling him an "eight-time loser" in a reference to the number of Cornell's previous felonies.

The potential jurors in the case ranged in ages from 20s to 60s, with one of the most vocal in her 60s.

"It's kind of a reflection of society as a whole on the issue," said Deschamps.

Missoula County voters in 2006 approved an initiative requiring law enforcement to treat marijuana crimes as their lowest priority. In 2004, Montana voters legalized medical marijuana by initiative.

"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.

Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com/

Source: Associated Press (Wire)
Published: December 21, 2010
Copyright: 2010 The Associated Press



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DrReefer.com
Posted: 12/22/2010 11:02 PM  Updated: 12/22/2010 11:02 PM
Home away from home
Joined: 05/24/05
From: Las Vegas
Posts: 1544
 Re: Would-Be Jurors Stage 'Mutiny' in Marijuana...
according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutiny

Mutiny is a conspiracy among members of a group of similarly-situated individuals (typically members of the military; or the crew of any ship, even if they are civilians) to openly oppose, change or overthrow an authority to which they are subject. The term is commonly used for a rebellion among members of the military against their superior officer(s), but can also occasionally refer to any type of rebellion against an authority figure.

"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."

I wonder about many were nearly all 27, why don't they just give the exact amount? Is it a conspiracy? Could it be that it was 26 out of 27 would have vote not guilty? I would like to know specifics.

I guess the authorities that be are scared of giving a "hard" number. It is sad that it was plea bargained out because we will never know if they would have dismissed the case.

So defense attorney, Martin Elison states in an affidavit that "public opinion "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.""

Wow, under any circumstance? If that is true then "authorities worry the result will be viewed as a game-changer when it comes to future attempts at prosecuting drug cases in Montana."

Hell yes there worried you know how many people would move to Montana? Did you know that Montana honors other states medical marijuana licenses? If you are a patient any where in the United States, you are allowed to shop in Montana's Medical Marijuana dispensaries.

What a great community in Montana. I should go visit.

Pierre Werner
DrReefer
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