Graphic: The Bilerico Project
In a move sure to sweep the land, a jury pool has refused to convict the defendant of a marijuana charge.
In what could grow into something much bigger in future cases, potential jurors in Missoula County District Court staged a revolt Thursday, taking the law into their own hands and making it clear they would not convict anybody for having less than 2 grams of marijuana.
The tiny amount of marijuana police found in Touray Cornell’s Missoula, Montana home on April 23 became a big point of contention for some members of the jury panel, reports Gwen Florio of The Missoulian. One juror after another said there was no way they would convict somebody for having 1/16 of an ounce of pot.
One juror wondered aloud why the county was wasting time and money prosecuting the case at all, according to a “flummoxed” Deputy Missoula County Attorney Andrew Paul, who called it “a mutiny,” Florio reports.
When District Judge Dusty Deschamps took a quick poll to find who might agree, of about 27 potential jurors before him, around five raised their hands. A couple of others had already been excused because of their philosophical objections.
“I thought, ‘Geez, I don’t know if we can seat a jury,’ ” said Deschamps, who called a recess to address the situation.
Deschamps said that in his nearly 30 years as a prosecutor and judge, he had never seen anything like it.