Pubdate: Wed, 23 Feb 2011
Source: Missoulian (MT)
Copyright: 2011 Missoulian
Author: E. Gagliano


The headline of our local newspaper, the Philipsburg Mail, recently
proclaimed: "Town outlaws dope growing" as an emergency (?) measure.

The article went on to quote the councilman who initiated the
ordinance. He parroted the same rhetoric about people not knowing what
they were doing when they approved medical marijuana. Isn't it funny
how stupid we voters get after we elect people like him?
Coincidentally, P-burg not only has a contracted lawyer (not a city or
county attorney) but also a hired judge (non-elected, ever) and the
sheriff answers directly to the same council by an interlocal
agreement (there is no police department or police chief). All serve
at the pleasure of the town council. Talk about kangaroo justice:
tailor-made vendetta ordinances, selective enforcement, faux
prosecutor and hired judge. How can you lose (or win)? Montana Code be

Recently the Missoulian had an article about a district court jury
pool "mutiny" (Dec. 19, 2010). In essence, the potential jurists
refused to enforce a bad law. Unfortunately, today it seems that
passing bad laws has become more the norm. Too many statutes, codes
and even local ordinances are being passed as payback from elected or
re-elected candidates, for special or personal interests, vendettas
and even self-aggrandizement.

As Gregg Smith at Electric City weblog succinctly puts it: "A Missoula
jury puts a new spin on the concept of jury nullification, apparently
refusing to even be seated in a trial concerning a small amount of
marijuana ... This raises an interesting point. At what point does the
collective criminalize the citizens to the point that the citizens
simply refuse to be criminalized?"

House Bill 332 would not give the jury any power it doesn't already
have. It just mandates that the judge informs them of it.

E. Gagliano, Philipsburg 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake