As a result of Green Aid’s 7-month campaign in Missouri, this Missoula, Montana, jury pool staged a mutiny.
Montana is maybe the most radical pro-pot state in the country. The continuing controversy in Columbia, Missouri, which is often reported in Montana helped create and insight the mutiny.
Congratulations Monatanans, you are setting the pace for the country!
Missoula District Court: Jury pool in marijuana case stages ‘mutiny’
“Because the case never went to trial, members of the jury pool didn’t know that Cornell’s neighbors had complained to police that he was dealing from his South 10th Street West four-plex, according to an affidavit in the case. After one neighbor reported witnessing an alleged transaction between Cornell and two people in a vehicle, marijuana was found in the vehicle in question.
The driver and passenger said they’d bought it from Cornell, the affidavit said. A subsequent search of his home turned up some burnt marijuana cigarettes, a pipe and some residue, as well as a shoulder holster for a handgun and 9mm ammunition. As a convicted felon, Cornell was prohibited from having firearms, the affidavit noted.
Cornell admitted distributing small amounts of marijuana and “referred to himself as a person who connected other dealers with customers,” it said. “He claimed his payment for arranging deals was usually a small amount of marijuana for himself.”
Potential jurors also couldn’t know about Cornell’s criminal history, which included eight felonies, most of them in and around Chicago several years ago. According to papers filed in connection with the plea agreement, Cornell said he moved to Missoula to “escape the criminal lifestyle he was leading,” but he’s had a number of brushes with the law here.
Those include misdemeanor convictions for driving while under the influence and driving with a suspended license, and a felony conviction in August of conspiracy to commit theft, involving an alleged plot last year to stage a theft at a business where a friend worked, the papers said. He was out on bail in that case when the drug charges were filed.
In sentencing him Friday, Deschamps referred to him as “an eight-time loser” and said, “I’m not convinced in any way that you don’t present an ongoing threat to the community.”
Deschamps also pronounced himself “appalled” at Cornell’s personal life, saying: “You’ve got no education, you’ve got no skills. Your life’s work seems to be going out and impregnating women and not supporting your children.”
The mother of one of those children, a 3-month-old named Joy who slept through Friday’s sentencing, was in the courtroom for Friday’s sentencing. Cornell sought and received permission to hug his daughter before heading back to jail.
Deschamps sentenced Cornell to 20 years, with 19 suspended, under Department of Corrections supervision, to run concurrently with his sentence in the theft case. He’ll get credit for the 200 days he’s already served. The judge also ordered Cornell to get a GED degree upon his release.
“Instead of being a lazy bum, you need to get an education so you can get a decent law-abiding job and start supporting your family,” he said.
Normally, Paul said after the sentencing, a case involving such a small amount of marijuana wouldn’t have gone this far through the court system except for the felony charge involved.
But the small detail in this case may end up being a big game-changer in future cases.
The reaction of potential jurors in this case, Paul said, “is going to be something we’re going to have to consider.” ”