Colorado grower and caregiver Christopher Bartkowicz is scheduled to enter federal court today and change his plea to guilty, after being skunked by the judge. Bartkowicz’ original plan was to use Colorado state law (with which he was compliant) and medical marijuana proofs as his defense, but the judge shut that down, telling him that it had no place in a federal court.
Bartkowicz faces up to life in prison. Fellow grower Rodney L. Jobe was sentenced Wednesday on federal drug charges, pleading guilty to cultivation charges in Colorado Springs. His commercial grow operation had 374 plants.
You may remember Bartkowicz was originally raided by the DEA when he showed his marijuana growing business to a TV reporter earlier this year. The raid “found” over 200 plants.
It’s too bad these growers aren’t pushing their cases through to jury trial. Regardless of what the judge says, a lawyer or defendant can bring up just about anything he likes as evidence during jury trial, under the judge’s protest, and can even have the judge removed if there’s a conflict in the trial. I can imagine a crowded court room full of medical marijuana patients all sitting on the isle side of the defendant and what that would do to a jury’s thoughts.
Juries have the power of nullification and can make exceptions to the law, letting someone off the hook, or even declare the law itself as unfit or wrong. It’s the ultimate power in this country, yet it’s rarely used because judges and prosecutors do their damnedest to keep this power from the jury.
When will the People of Colorado (and California, etc.) stand up and tell these federal persecutors to stand down, leave, or face violent confrontation with the angry mob? It’s time for some change and it appears the only way we’ll get it is to forcibly tell these feds that their time has come.
[source Washington Post]