I am often accused of putting people down for not participating in the anti-prohibition movement (enough.) the truth is that I’m really not putting anyone down but rather, I have become aware of how much good (or harm) one person is capable of doing.
This past week Jason Andrews was on trial for possession with intent to sell and transportation of a controlled substance. He had a DPH card both as a patient and a caregiver. In addition he had set up a nonprofit collective in accordance with the “AG guidelines” I notices several striking examples of the power that one person willing to ACT can accomplish.
Jason Andrews decided when the Orange County’s DA filed criminal charges on him for an action that is supposed to be protected by California Law to exercise his right to a trial by a jury of his “peers” rather than take a plea deal that would subject him to the perils of probation including random searches, urine tests, and other assaults on personal freedom.
The biggest risk to taking a probation “deal” is that if the defendant gets violated, prison time is almost a certainty. Even at the day of trial when the prosecutor offered a misdemeanor and half of his seized money returned, Jason stood tall and decided to fight for his freedom. The power of one…
The first 2 days of the trial the prosecution presented their case and little to no support was present for the defendant. I received the call and reached out every way I knew. Jason was ready to bow and take the deal but it had been rescinded. The “Green Team“ appeared out of thin air wearing signature “solidarity ribbons” and the tone of the trial changed. Jason was testifying as we arrived and along with the judge and prosecutor quickly noticed our presence. In the hall on a break, Jason and Chris (Glew) thanked me for rallying the troops again, the power of one… (Simple action)
The power of one isn’t always used for good; in fact many times our biggest foes come in the form of individuals rather than groups. A judge in most cases wields nearly unlimited power, a “god” in their domain capable of stripping a citizen of his freedom with a few words.
In this trial, Judge Daphne Sykes Scott allowed the medical defense to be presented according to California Prop 215 and SB 420. Then, when the time for jury instructions came around, removed them all. Leaving the jury with no choice but to convict. Although this is an appealable action it was despicable to say the least.
Finally, the ultimate power of one without the authority of a badge or elected title, the juror is the one example when a citizen has the power to avert an unfair conviction even in an extreme situation such as this trial. In a very tense moment, the jury foreman sent a note to the judge complaining of juror #8’s unwillingness to cooperate with the rest of the panel. She claimed that he brought into the deliberation outside information separate from the evidence brought before the court.
We (the supporters in the gallery) all gritted our teeth as the judge asked Juror #8 questions regarding his behavior. If he was removed and an alternate was placed, a conviction would have certainly been the result.
Calmly juror #8 answered the judge and it was apparent that he shouldered the weight of his burden. Miraculously, judge Daphne Sykes Scott allowed juror #8 to return where he exorcised his power to nullify bad jury instructions and refuse to convict an innocent man.
Everyone held back cheers but shared the defendant’s elation as the judge announced the jury was hopelessly deadlocked, and a mistrial was the outcome. I shuddered as I looked at the 11 jurors willing to convict an obviously innocent man under the crushing influence of the judge. It could be any one of us. Fortunately this time justice was served thanks to the willingness of one courageous individual wiling to exercise his power as a juror.
On a side note, to anyone that thinks they know how the justice system works or how the law “protects us” yet has not sat in a trial I can assure you “things aren’t what you think” Come take a few hours and show support. It will not only open your eyes to the broken system that is supposed to interpret our laws and protect our rights, but also bring vital support to a worthy defendant because
No one belongs in jail for a plant!