The prosecution in the Kettle Falls Five case, which involves a family of medical marijuana patients who are facing federal drug charges, is worried that the jury will ignore the law and vote to acquit the defendants in order to send a social message, according to a motion filed by U.S. attorneys on February 10.
The motion also really doesn’t want the defense or anyone else to talk about medical marijuana during court proceedings. Medical marijuana remains illegal under federal law, even though 23 states, including Washington, legitimize its use. Because the case is in federal court, the defendants aren’t allow to discuss medical marijuana at all, giving the prosecution a straight shot at putting the family in jail for possibly 10 years each.
The motion raises concerns that the defense is attempting jury nullification, where jurors deliberately reject evidence and legal standards in order to send a message about some issue. Pointing to a recent article on forbes.com by libertarian writer Jacom Sullum that quotes Phil Telfeyan, one of the defense attorneys for the family, the motion suggests that even though medical marijuana can’t be mentioned in proceedings, jurors will read about this aspect of the case beforehand and vote to acquit:
The United States believes this indicates the Defendants are attempting to engage in jury nullification – by circumventing the Court’s previous Order and attempting to provide the jury with evidence by “planting the seed” and hoping it will germinate in the jury deliberation room into a discussion of issues which the Court has already ruled are not relevant to this case and should be not considered by the jury. The law in this area is straightforward, it is improper for a Defendant to suggest in any way that the jury should acquit the Defendant even if it finds the United States has met its burden of proof.
In other news:
The winners of the High Times SoCal Medical Cannabis Cup are in.