NJ “Weedman” found not guilty in jury nullification victory
With few options left for people to protect themselves from the ever
growing police state, an old and long forgotten aspect of constitutional
law is making a huge comeback, and becoming very popular in cases where people are facing jail time for nonviolent offenses.
This reemerging defense is the act of jury nullification, which is
basically the right for any juror to not only judge the facts of the
case, but to also actually judge the validity of the law itself. This
means that if a jury feels that a defendant is facing an unjust charge
they actually have the right to rule in their favor even if they are
Ed Forchion is a medical cannabis user and cancer patient known as the
“NJ weedman”. Ed claims dual residency in Pemberton Township, New
Jersey and Los Angeles, California. Due to his residency in California
he has a prescription for Cannabis and is legally allowed to grow and
consume the plant in that state.
However, he is not legally allowed to possess the
plant in the state of New Jersey and unfortunately while in New Jersey
on April 1, 2012 Forchion was stopped by police and found with a pound
of cannabis and $2,000, enough to get slapped with a distribution
At an earlier trial last spring, he was convicted of possession, but
that jury could not reach a unanimous decision on the more serious
distribution charge, leading to this week’s retrial. With the
distribution charge he was facing 10 years, and it is likely that the
jury couldn’t send him away with a clear conscience. Ed’s primary
strategy throughout his whole ordeal has been jury nullification, much
to the dismay of Superior Court Judge Charles Delehey, who presided over
Forchion was passionate in his closing arguments, wearing a shirt that
said “Marijuana … It’s OK. It’s Just Illegal” and telling the jury that
he had been munching on pot cookies throughout the whole trial. Then at
one point he was nearly held in contempt of court for trying to advance
his jury nullification argument.
Considering the fact that most of the nonviolent offenses on the books
today are extremely unpopular for a variety of reasons, you would think
that jury nullification would be household knowledge, or taught in
schools even. However, this is a very well guarded secrets, with many
judges actually preventing the defense from informing juries of their
right to nullify laws that they feel are unjust.
Forcion started to talk about nullification, Delehey quickly stopped
him, reminding him that he wasn’t allowed to go there, but Forchion
fought back with intelligence and intensity. Frustrated, the judge
ordered the jury out of the room and told him he would be held in
contempt if he continued to speak the truth.
According to Phillyblurbs the judge told him
“If you want to make a martyr of yourself, the court will deal with
you. You’ve done everything you can to disrupt this trial.”
There has been a constant tug of war between the defendant and the judge
for the past year. During last May’s trial, Forchion and his
supporter’s placed pamphlets about jury nullification on cars parked in
the jury parking lot and were very vocal about the illegitimacy of the
law and the juries right to decide the validity of the law.
In pretrial motions, which were subsequently barred from being argued
before the jury, Forchion challenged the constitutionality of the
state’s criminal code now that New Jersey has a Compassionate Use
Medical Marijuana law that recognizes the benefits of cannabis.
He said Thursday he looks forward to the state Appellate Division
reviewing that motion when he appeals the possession conviction, which
he still faces sentencing on. Oddly enough, it will be the same judge
who decides his sentence, but he will still have the ability to appeal,
which can possibly lead to another acquittal.
J.G. Vibes is the author of an 87 chapter counter culture textbook called Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance and host of a show called Voluntary Hippie Radio. He is also an artist with an established record label and event promotion company that hosts politically charged electronic dance music events. You can keep up with his work, which includes free podcasts, free e-books & free audiobooks at his website www.aotmr.com.
Thanks to: http://www.activistpost.com