In an earlier article, “The Weedman trial: Did the jury really nullify?” Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion claimed that he won his two trials by using a jury nullification defense while all of the local media covering his trials reported that the judge prevented him from doing so.
In an effort to get to the truth Ed Forchion responded to these Libertarian News Examiner (LNE) questions in an exclusive interview.
LNE: During your first trial in May a local newspaper said the judge wouldn’t allow you to use a jury nullification defense and even reprimanded you for attempting to do so. Is that right?
Forchion: yes, the Judge did reprimand me for habitually crossing the line in his view. I dispute that I was crossing any legal line. New Jersey Constitution Article 1(6) says “In All Prosecutions or Indictments … the jury may be given the truth as evidence … the Jury has the right to judge the law as well as the facts.” I read this clause several times and had it on a poster board throughout the trial. In my opening and closing statements I said clearly several times I disagree with the law, the law is wrong and not I. I used the poster board as a prop and left it in front of the Jury the whole trial! The Judge would interrupt me and threatened to hold me in contempt but the jury heard what I said.
LNE: In your second trial in October for distribution another local newspaper wrote that Judge Charles Delehey barred you from using a jury nullification defense in both trials. Do you claim that is incorrect?
Forchion: The Judge did bar me using it. I ignored his order without being held in contempt. I told them they had the power to save me from the Goliath of Government and they were empowered to do so by the New Jersey constitution. An argument broke out in front of the Jurors when I said this. The judge threatened to hold me in contempt, but as I said the Jury heard it. The jury was given my opinion that the law was wrong. I pointed out how the state had no evidence that I had sold anything, or intended to sell anything. The state’s whole case was the amount I had constitutes a purpose of sales. The jury rejected that. I presented evidence that I used it for medical purposes, that I ate it and used it for religious purposes. The Jury accepted that and found me “not guilty.” One Juror called a newspaper to say it was [typo – corrected to “wasn’t” on 10/31/2012] jury nullification but then confirmed it was, with her reasoning of the acquittal, they rejected the state law that said over a certain amount constitutes sales.
LNE: Did you use the actual words “jury nullification” or something that indicated that’s what you meant? What did you actually say?
Forchion: I never actually said the words “Jury Nullification” in trial (I’m not stupid) but I clearly said repeatedly that “the law was wrong and not I.” I openly said things like I’m “conviction proof.” I used the term “The law is wrong not I” and told the Jury I disregard the marijuana laws every day daily as do millions of other Americans, the law is a lie – I’ve been using marijuana throughout these proceedings, the cookies and brownies you’ve been watching me eat throughout this trial have been loaded with marijuana! I showed a picture of me with a carton of cigarettes and a pound of marijuana. I did present a case that the law was wrong, not I. I said in opening and closing statements in both trials that I was the victim here of a failed war on drugs! In my opinion everything I wanted to say was said except the words “Jury Nullification.” I absolutely told my Jury to nullify and I was acquitted.
Next: Jury Nullification: The Ed Forchion Interview Part 2
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