A judge decreed defense lawyers may not say that defendants are on trial because they obeyed state law to deal with sickness.
Trial by jury and the First Amendment are both waved about as symbols of American greatness and superiority. But whenever something arises that is important to the government, the actual practice of those things gets evaded. I posted recently about a prosecutor attempting to have a judge censor a defendant at his trial, but in that case the judge did the right thing.
The bad news, of course, is that the judge’s ruling was that there was no reason this time to gag a defendant and his attorney when the spoke to the jury. The judge did not repudiate the claim that he had the authority to limit an argument by the defense. No, he affirmed that right.
We can infer from this that jury trials are shams in this country. When you get to make your case to a jury in a trial, that is because the government is willing to tolerate it. Either they don’t have a vested interest in the outcome or they don’t feel threatened by the argument you want to make in your defense. But they are ready, able, and willing to censor you when they feel the need to do so.
Freedom of speech and trial by jury are gifts the government grants us to make us feel secure when the government feels it is in its best interests to engage in such public relations.
But now we have another court case and, this time, the judge has gagged the defendants, who are each facing a decade in prison. From Jacob Sullum at Reason.com: “Jurors Can’t Know Pot Growers Are Patients.”
Larry Harvey and his co-defendants—his wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey; Rhonda’s son, Rolland Gregg; his wife, Michelle Gregg; and a family friend, Jason Zucker—are gambling that at least one juror will figure out what is really going on and vote for acquittal in the interest of justice, federal law be damned. That is their only hope of avoiding prison unless a federal judge agrees with defense attorneys that the prosecution is barred by a spending restriction Congress enacted last month or the feds suddenly decide to drop a case they have doggedly and inexplicably pursued since August 2012.
If you think medical marijuana should not be legal, that shouldn’t matter. The point here is that the defendants followed the law.
A bit of arithmetic reveals that the total number of plants comes to just under 15 per defendant, which happens to be the presumptive limit for patients under Washington’s medical marijuana law. Yet no one says anything about medical marijuana during the trial.
It gets worse because the Justice Department had publicly declared it was not going to pursue people under Federal law who submitted to state law. That declaration meant nothing.
If the Feds are so hungry to inflict pain, why not go torment people selling for recreational use in Colorado? Why single out sick people?
It gets even more farcical. The actual charge against these drug criminals is that they were “growing and distributing marijuana in northeastern Washington.” That charge is embedded in the law itself, it seems. But the prosecution will not be bringing forward any evidence that these people “distributed” pot to anyone. If there were any such evidence, then the defendants could be prosecuted under Washington state law. The defendants are going to claim the plants were for personal use. The prosecution knows this is true but will dispute the claim anyway.
An earlier Huffington Post story reveals there is an attack in the Second Amendment also involved.
[T]he federal government has charged each with six felonies, including manufacturing, possession and distribution of marijuana, as well as possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
The family kept numerous firearms at the home, in the wilderness of northeast Washington state, near the U.S.-Canadian border, for hunting and defense, their lawyers said. They have encountered black bears, cougars and coyotes at their front door on several occasions, according to the lawyers.
“It doesn’t matter that we used the shotgun to hunt turkeys and the hunting rifle for deer,” Rhonda Harvey said in a statement to the media last week.
Federal prosecutors say the presence of firearms shows the defendants were involved in drug trafficking.
Every time a witness swears on a Bible in this trial to tell “nothing but the truth, the whole truth,” the jury is being scammed by this judge and the prosecutor.
The judge and the prosecutors should be sentenced to the penalty they are trying to impose on these people. We are ruled by sociopath thugs. We are an occupied country. They are just picking us off slowly to keep the herd from panicking.
If you believe that medical marijuana should be illegal, that should not make you sympathize with this vicious kangaroo court.
We all know the quotation by Martin Niemöller about the Nazis:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
If you as a drug prohibitionist think these tactics will only be used for drugs, you are deluding yourself. Wake up!
First they came for the law-abiding medical marijuana patients, but I did not speak out because…