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A higher tolerance? (access required)

Jurors in Albemarle express anger over pressing pot charge

In a drug case tried in Albemarle County last month, it took nearly five hours to seat the jury. The charge was simple possession of marijuana, and the amount was less than five ounces. Why did it take so long? Nineteen potential jurors were called, and eight of them were mad that the case was being pursued at ...

One comment

  1. James Hingeley

    The article says “The trouble for Washington started when the car he was in was stopped on a February night because a license plate light had burned out.” I want it to be clear this was not Mr. Washington’s car, and he was a passenger, not the driver. In fact, the driver testified the marijuana was his and pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana shortly after his arrest. The passenger, Mr. Washington, denied the marijuana was his, but made a statement that might be understood as giving him joint possession with the driver. Unfortunately, the jury saw it that way, and decided a $200 fine was sufficient punishment. I imagine this was a compromise verdict, reached without knowledge of the actual consequences, in particular, the loss of the defendant’s CDL. I heard several jurors wanted to fine Mr. Washington $1.00, but were convinced to increase the fine so the community would consider that the jury had taken the matter seriously.

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