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items tagged with Courts

Medical Marijuana in Iowa Is Long Overdue
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Editorials

2014-07-09 14:30:31

On Monday, July 7, before the jury was brought in for his trial, Benton Mackenzie collapsed in the courtroom and was taken to Trinity Medical Center in Bettendorf. On Tuesday, however, the Long Grove, Iowa, resident accused of manufacturing marijuana had reportedly been released from the hospital and testified in his own defense.

For those new to this matter before the Seventh Judicial Court District in Scott County – presided over by Judge Henry Latham (appointed by Governor Terry Branstad in March 2013) – Benton and his wife Loretta were arrested a year ago and charged with growing marijuana, while their son Cody was arrested and charged with possession of less than a gram of marijuana because ... well, just because.

Benton stated, in media reports last year, that he was growing marijuana for the singular purpose of extracting the cannabidiol oil contained in the marijuana plant to treat his angiosarcoma cancer, purportedly in a terminal phase. According to Benton, nothing else but the cannabidiol oil relieves the extreme suffering he is experiencing from horrific lesions that manifest on his posterior. Unfortunately, cannabidiol is extremely expensive. It can be purchased on Amazon.com, among many places, for medicinal purposes because it does not contain THC, and therefore it is not illegal in the U.S. For most people, however, the cost is prohibitive, especially as an ongoing treatment.

So painful and prolific are his symptoms that he was released from the Scott County jail days after his initial incarceration, allegedly because the county did not want the responsibility for or expense of his health care, nor was the facility equipped to handle his extreme case.

The office of County Attorney Mike Walton, however, has aggressively expended tax dollars in prosecuting this invalid, his family, and his friends, but only if Benton is not allowed the common-law defense of growing marijuana for medical purposes. The prosecution submitted a motion in limine that was approved by Judge Latham to disallow any mention of his production or use of marijuana for medical purposes.


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Ted Rall: He's So Cute!
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Lifestyle

Category: Ted Rall

2010-12-13 11:23:44


“A Law Unto Themselves”: Jury Nullification and the Deck Stacked Against It
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: News/Features

Category: Feature Stories

2010-07-22 11:46:52

(Editor's note: "Fully Informed Juries: A New Hope for Freedom," Don Doig's commentary on jury nullification, can be found here.)

Like most people, Mike Angelos was surprised to learn about the power of juries to disregard the law. "The courts are really stacked against people," he said.

And he's trying to change that.

For more than a year, Angelos (a retired electrical engineer) and three other people have been handing out information regarding jury rights, including the power to return a verdict of "not guilty" if jurors believe that the law itself is unjust -- regardless of the facts of the case. This is commonly called "jury nullification" of laws, and the effort to spread the word about that power is known as the "fully informed jury" movement.

"The message we try to get to people is that it's the jury's right and duty to judge the law -- laws are arbitrary, bad, and misapplied -- as well as the facts of the case," Angelos said. "This was a new concept to me."


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The Demise of Western Art and Culture?
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Guest Commentaries

2009-10-06 14:11:19

Religion and religious expression have been objects of censorship in the public schools for quite some time. However, the intolerance of anything related to religion has taken a turn for the absurd in recent years. It makes no difference that the material in question does not proselytize, or that it was presented to people who by and large do not know that it was religious, or even that it is not meant to be religious. What matters is what school officials consider to be religious.

A ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Nurre v. Whitehead, which affirms the right of school administrators to censor material that has the remotest connection to religion, illustrates exactly how outlandish things have become.


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Iowa Courthouses Set to Close Eight Days Between March and June
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Iowa Politics

2009-02-27 21:07:44

Lynn CampbellIowa courthouses will close an additional eight days between now and June 30 if the $3.8-million cut to the judicial system approved Thursday by the Iowa House is also approved by the Senate and signed by the governor, State Court Administrator David Boyd told a panel of lawmakers this week.

That’s twice a month, or once a pay period, Boyd told the legislature’s joint justice-system budget subcommittee. Beginning in March, the courts would close on each day that the state’s 1,600 clerks of court and other judicial employees take a furlough, or unpaid day off, for a savings of $335,000 a day.


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