Juries are giving pot defendants a pass

From The Los Angeles Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-marijuana-juries-20101225,0,2484761.story

In cases involving small amounts of marijuana, some people aren’t willing to uphold the law in court.

By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times

December 24, 2010

Reporting from Seattle —

It seemed a straightforward case: A man with a string of convictions and a reputation as a drug dealer was going on trial in Montana for distributing a small amount of marijuana found in his home — if only the court could find jurors willing to send someone to jail for selling a few marijuana buds.

The problem began during jury selection last week in Missoula, when a potential juror said she would have a “real problem” convicting someone for selling such a small amount. But she would follow the law if she had to, she said.

A woman behind her was adamant. “I can’t do it,” she said, prompting Judge Robert L. Deschamps III to excuse her. Another juror raised a hand, the judge recalled, “and said, ‘I was convicted of marijuana possession a few years ago, and it ruined my life.’ ” Excused.

“Then one of the people in the jury box said, ‘Tell me, how much marijuana are we talking about? … If it was a pound or a truckload or something like that, OK, but I’m not going to convict someone of a sale with two or three buds,’ ” the judge said. “And at that point, four or five additional jurors spontaneously raised their hands and said, ‘Me too.’ ”

By that time, Deschamps knew he had a jury problem.

Continue reading at:  http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-marijuana-juries-20101225,0,2484761.story

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From the Pentagon to the private sector

I just finished Ted Rall’s book “The Anti-American Manifesto”.  When he was terminated from the group that syndicated his comic strips they basically tried to get him to sign an agreement that he would discontinue drawing political comic and making political commentary.

Working people are often required as terms of employment to sign contracts that state they will not go to a competing company and do the same work.

However in the government-corporate partnership of our Corporate Fascist state it is common for the generals who recommended purchase of multi-billion dollar weapons from certain contractors to retire and receive multi-million dollar positions from the same companies whose products they recommended the US government purchase for the military.

And we the people are not supposed to view this as the least bit problematic.

Or we are in a Wall Street/Big Banks created depression but we aren’t supposed to question the revolving door that has Summers, Bernake, Geithner, Ruben and others going from Citi/Goldman/etc to positions in the government where they write the rules back to Wall Street where they use the rules they wrote to transfer more money to the rich and trash the economy.

Rather than running the government like a business perhaps it is time to run the government like a government that is responsible to the people and not to the rich elite that own the corporations.

From Boston.com: http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2010/12/26/defense_firms_lure_retired_generals/

By Bryan Bender

Globe Staff / December 26, 2010

WASHINGTON — An hour after the official ceremony marking the end of his 35-year career in the Air Force, General Gregory “Speedy’’ Martin returned to his quarters to swap his dress uniform for golf attire. He was ready for his first tee time as a retired four-star general.

But almost as soon as he closed the door that day in 2005 his phone rang. It was an executive at Northrop Grumman, asking if he was interested in working for the manufacturer of the B-2 stealth bomber as a paid consultant. A few weeks later, Martin received another call. This time it was the Pentagon, asking him to join a top-secret Air Force panel studying the future of stealth aircraft technology.

Martin was understandably in demand, having been the general in charge of all Air Force weapons programs, including the B-2, for the previous four years.

He said yes to both offers.

In almost any other realm it would seem a clear conflict of interest — pitting his duty to the US military against the interests of his employer — not to mention a revolving-door sprint from uniformed responsibilities to private paid advocacy.

Continue reading at: http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2010/12/26/defense_firms_lure_retired_generals/

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