Tag Archives: trial

Pro-pot advocate defends self on marijuana charges

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Katie Fretland, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee

Wearing a cannabis plant necklace and a long black robe, pro-pot advocate Thorne Peters defended himself on marijuana charges and a gun charge Wednesday in an afternoon punctuated by yelling between him and the judge.

Judge Bobby Carter repeatedly asked Peters to stop editorializing and opining in front of the jury as Peters acted as his own attorney during the first day of testimony in his trial in Shelby County Criminal Court.

“This is not productive,” Carter said.

“I know it’s not,” said Peters, who told The Commercial Appeal he had smoked as much pot as he possibly could on Wednesday.

“And it’s because of you,” Carter said.

“No, it’s because of you,” Peters told the judge, who immediately asked the jury to step out.

“This is your last chance. You are in contempt. You are absolutely in contempt of this court,” Carter said, before telling Peters to stop pulling out documents, stop characterizing them in front of the jury and stop waving them around.

“You have to control yourself,” the judge said.

The first day of testimony was heard in front of a group of a dozen public defenders and prosecutors who watched the trial.

At one point in his discussions with the judge, Peters implored Carter to “swing the gavel and end the siege of prohibition.”

“No, I couldn’t,” Carter said.

“You can,” Peters said.

“No, I couldn’t,” Carter reiterated.
The charges against Peters, who pulled paperwork to run as an independent for Shelby County mayor in the Aug. 2 election, stem from an arrest Feb. 3, 2015 in a search warrant for him at his girlfriend’s address in the 700 block of Marianna Street in Orange Mound.

“I’m proud to be a pot salesman,” he told authorities in a tape played for the jury.

On the day of his arrest, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Narcotics division and the Multi-Agency Gang Unit served a search warrant naming Peters as the suspect, according to a law enforcement affidavit. Detectives approached the residence and cut a lock to the front gate and entered the property.

Two large dogs charged the detectives, according to the affidavit, and a sheriff’s sergeant fired a less lethal shotgun round. A pit bull named Muggles was shot in the face. He lived but lost his right eye and hearing on his right side. None of the officers was injured.

Muggles was shot with a less lethal round in the face by a Shelby County Sheriff's sergeant while the sheriff's office Narcotics division and the Multi-Agency Gang Unit executed a search warrant with Thorne Peters as a suspect on Feb. 3, 2015. Muggles lost an eye and hearing on his right side from the shooting.

Muggles was shot with a less lethal round in the face by a Shelby County Sheriff’s sergeant while the sheriff’s office Narcotics division and the Multi-Agency Gang Unit executed a search warrant with Thorne Peters as a suspect on Feb. 3, 2015. Muggles lost an eye and hearing on his right side from the shooting. (Photo: Mark Weber/The Commercial Appeal)

Detectives then forced entry through the front door of the house. Peters and Linda Harrah were found in the dining room and taken into custody.

The affidavit says a detective searched the front room of the house and found a Gendarmeria Nacional .45 caliber pistol. A plastic baggie of 14.8 grams of suspected marijuana, a wooden pipe, glass pipe and two baggies of marijuana cigarette butts were found in the dining room.

Detective Jeremy Drewery, who has since been terminated from the sheriff’s office and convicted in federal court of unlawfully taking money from a drug dealer in 2016 and trying to have a witness killed, was also part of the search. The affidavit says Drewery searched a northwest bedroom and found three jars of suspected marijuana weighing 339 grams, a digital scale and five glass pipes. He also found $403 in a tin box, the affidavit says.

Drewery searched Harrah’s purse and found $184 which was released back to her, and 4.8 grams of suspected marijuana, according to the affidavit.

All of the suspected marijuana tested positive for THC, according to the affidavit.

Peters, who has represented himself before, has two previous misdemeanor marijuana convictions on his record. Three felony drugs counts were previously dismissed, according to court records.

The trial was still underway late Wednesday afternoon.

CONTINUE READING…

https://www.facebook.com/thorne.peters

Advertisements

NJWeedman found not guilty in pot distribution case

 

MOUNT HOLLY — A jury found Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion not guilty Thursday in the Rastafarian activist’s marijuana distribution case.

The decision came after Forchion was nearly held in contempt of court in the morning as he delivered his closing argument.

 

Stay tuned for details of Thursday afternoon’s verdict.

Forchion, formerly of Pemberton Township, tried to introduce his jury nullification argument into the closing, but was quickly stopped by Superior Court Judge Charles Delehey, who had barred any discussion of it.

Forchion began verbally sparring with Delehey, who then ordered the jury out of the room and told the defendant he would be held in contempt if he continued to ignore the court’s orders.

“If you want to make a martyr of yourself, the court will deal with you,” the judge said. “You’ve done everything you can to disrupt this trial.”

Jury nullification would allow the jurors to disregard the law they were ordered to follow in considering the case and acquit a defendant, no matter what the evidence, in effect nullifying or invalidating the law.

Forchion, wearing a “Marijuana … It’s OK. It’s Just Illegal” T-shirt, refused to talk to his court-appointed attorney during the brief recess, but when Delehey and the jury returned, he toed the line and abandoned his blatant jury nullification pitch.

Instead, the legalization activist focused the jury on his plight as a licensed medical marijuana patient in California who brought a pound of pot to New Jersey in April 2010 for his own use.

“I don’t use it the way the state says. To me, it’s medicine, it’s food,” Forchion said, noting for the jury that he had been eating pot-laced cookies throughout the trial. “I feel I’m the victim of a flawed law.”

The state alleged that because of the sheer volume of the marijuana, his intent was to distribute it. Burlington County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Luciano told the jury that the case was not “a political referendum” on medical marijuana or legalization.

“It is not a litmus test on the war on drugs,” he said.

Luciano also said the numbers and common sense should lead to a guilty verdict, noting that Forchion had enough pot on him when he was stopped by police in Mount Holly on April 1, 2010, to smoke for months.

By Luciano’s calculations, Forchion would have to smoke two to three joints an hour nonstop for 24 hours to get through the pound of marijuana in about six months. NJWeedman disputed the prosecutor’s math and said it doesn’t fairly portray how he uses the drug.

“He had more than any person could smoke on their own,” Luciano said, reminding the jurors that they didn’t have to find he was selling it to convict him and that sharing also constitutes distribution. “He was going to distribute this for profit. He was going to distribute it because that’s what he believes, that’s his drug, that’s his food and that’s his plant.”

At a trial earlier this year, Forchion was convicted of possession, but the jury deadlocked on the more serious distribution charge, leading to this week’s retrial.

 

CONTINUE READING….

Guilty verdict in case of Yippie caught with 155 pounds of pot

PUBLISHED FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012 AT 6:19 PM / UPDATED AT 8:46 PM
Guilty verdict in case of Yippie caught with 155 pounds of pot
By Paul Hammel / World-Herald Bureau

LINCOLN — One of the original members of the ‘60s revolutionary group, the Yippies, was found guilty this week of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver after being caught with 155 pounds of baled pot in a van at Ashland, Neb.

Saunders County District Judge Mary Gilbride, in an order dated Tuesday, also rejected, for the second time the use of a “choice of evils” defense by Dana Beal, 65, of New York City, a long-time advocate for using marijuana as medicine, and the official historian of the Yippie Museum.

Beal, at a trial last month, admitted he was a passenger three years ago in a van carrying the marijuana.

But in court and in jail interviews, he has said his crime should be set aside because the cannabis was being delivered to a group of AIDS and cancer sufferers in New York and Michigan who use the pot for pain relief, appetite enhancement and for other medical reasons.

Beal and his attorney, Glenn Shapiro of Omaha, said they want a jury to weigh whether Beal had chosen a lesser evil —and should be found innocent — because he chose to break the law to provide medicine for sick people.

Seventeen states have legalized marijuana for medical uses, but Nebraska and New York are not among them.

Shapiro or Beal could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon, but both have said they plan to appeal the conviction.

Beal will be sentenced on Nov. 19. The marijuana delivery charge is a felony, punishable by five to 50 years in prison. Two others arrested in the van, James Statzer and Christopher Ryan, were sentenced to 36 to 48 months and 24 to 36 months, respectively, in prison.

Saunders County Attorney Scott Tinglehoff said his office would not have a sentencing recommendation for Beal until after a pre-sentence investigation is completed.

But, he said, it was unlikely that he will not recommend some time in prison because Beal, while he was awaiting a trial on the 2009 drug stop in Nebraska, was arrested in Wisconsin for transporting pot across that state.

“He obviously doesn’t care about following the law and acts like he’s above it,” Tinglehoff said. “Because of that, we have a problem with it.”

The Yippies, or Youth International Party, were a radical group that used satire and pranks to mock the status quo. They were best known for leading protests that disrupted the Democratic National Convention in 1968. Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman were among their leaders.

One fellow Yippie, Ed Rosenthal, is among the Beal supporters who have said they will testify at his sentencing hearing.

Contact the writer:

402-473-9584, paul.hammel@owh.com

CONTINUE READING…

NJ Weedman – Ed Forchion Burlington County Trial

Ed

Ed "NJWeedman" Forchion court verdict: Ed "NJWeedman" Forchion talks before and after the verdict is read in his Burlington County jury trial on charges of marijuana possession and possession with intent to distribute.

 

MOUNT HOLLY — A jury convicted medical marijuana activist Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion of possession Wednesday, but could not reach a verdict on the more weighty charge of distribution.

Following the verdict announcement in Superior Court in Mount Holly, an uncharacteristically agitated Forchion, dressed in a white T-shirt with a green cannabis leaf pictured inside the O of the letters LOVE, challenged an assistant Burlington County prosecutor that he would be ready for a retrial on the distribution charge.

“If he thinks he can get me again, let’s go,” Forchion told Judge Charles Delehey in regards to Assistant Prosecutor Michael Luciano. “I would go tomorrow.”

Forchion, who is representing himself, shot down his court-appointed lawyer’s plan to file a motion to have the court dismiss the possession with intent to distribute charge, saying angrily that the process would only delay the resolution of his case. The motion would have had to have been heard before a new trial could begin on the outstanding charge.

“I’m stuck here broke,” Forchion said. “I want to get this over with.”

Forchion, 47, grew up in the Browns Mills section of Pemberton Township but later opened a medical marijuana dispensary in California. He was arrested in April 2010 when he returned to New Jersey to visit his children and was stopped in Mount Holly with a pound of pot in his trunk.

Since then, Forchion has heavily promoted his case in an effort to further argue against New Jersey’s marijuana laws.

“This is bigger than me,” Forchion said while waiting for the jury’s verdict Wednesday. “I’m not in here just fighting for me.

“It’s the cause. I’m on the side of righteousness here.”

In his opening arguments last week, Forchion boldly proclaimed to the jury that the stash of pot was his but he maintained that he never had any intent to peddle his “medicine” to others.

During the trial, experts from both sides presented their opinions as to whether there was evidence that Forchion was intending to distribute the pot.

CONTINUE READING STORY…

Reach George Mast at (856) 486-2465 or gmast@gannett.com

NJ Weedman – Ed Forchion Burlington County Trial

Ed

Ed "NJWeedman" Forchion court verdict: Ed "NJWeedman" Forchion talks before and after the verdict is read in his Burlington County jury trial on charges of marijuana possession and possession with intent to distribute.

 

MOUNT HOLLY — A jury convicted medical marijuana activist Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion of possession Wednesday, but could not reach a verdict on the more weighty charge of distribution.

Following the verdict announcement in Superior Court in Mount Holly, an uncharacteristically agitated Forchion, dressed in a white T-shirt with a green cannabis leaf pictured inside the O of the letters LOVE, challenged an assistant Burlington County prosecutor that he would be ready for a retrial on the distribution charge.

“If he thinks he can get me again, let’s go,” Forchion told Judge Charles Delehey in regards to Assistant Prosecutor Michael Luciano. “I would go tomorrow.”

Forchion, who is representing himself, shot down his court-appointed lawyer’s plan to file a motion to have the court dismiss the possession with intent to distribute charge, saying angrily that the process would only delay the resolution of his case. The motion would have had to have been heard before a new trial could begin on the outstanding charge.

“I’m stuck here broke,” Forchion said. “I want to get this over with.”

Forchion, 47, grew up in the Browns Mills section of Pemberton Township but later opened a medical marijuana dispensary in California. He was arrested in April 2010 when he returned to New Jersey to visit his children and was stopped in Mount Holly with a pound of pot in his trunk.

Since then, Forchion has heavily promoted his case in an effort to further argue against New Jersey’s marijuana laws.

“This is bigger than me,” Forchion said while waiting for the jury’s verdict Wednesday. “I’m not in here just fighting for me.

“It’s the cause. I’m on the side of righteousness here.”

In his opening arguments last week, Forchion boldly proclaimed to the jury that the stash of pot was his but he maintained that he never had any intent to peddle his “medicine” to others.

During the trial, experts from both sides presented their opinions as to whether there was evidence that Forchion was intending to distribute the pot.

CONTINUE READING STORY…

Reach George Mast at (856) 486-2465 or gmast@gannett.com

Marijuana activist ‘NJWeedman’ convicted of pot possession, jury hung on distribution charge

By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, May 10, 6:37 AM

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. — Jurors in New Jersey have delivered a mixed verdict at the trial of a marijuana activist who lives in California and goes by the name “NJWeedman.”

The panel in Mount Holly on Wednesday convicted Ed Forchion of possession of one pound of pot in the trunk of his car. However, they could not reach a verdict on whether he intended to distribute it.

The 47-year-old moved to Los Angeles several years ago to run a medical marijuana dispensary. He was arrested during a traffic stop in April 2010.

He could not use New Jersey’s medical marijuana law as a defense.

Forchion told The Courier-Post of Cherry Hill (http://on.cpsj.com/JhKWmV ) he was happy he didn’t get thrown in jail while he awaits a retrial for the distribution charge.

CONTINUE READING___

Information from: Courier-Post, http://www.courierpostonline.com/