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Federal jurors buy testimony by pot-smoker, set him free

Submitted by David Borden on
I felt this would be an interesting read for everyone concerned.It's written by a local newspaper journalist from San Antonio, TX. Federal jurors buy testimony by pot-smoker, set him free Web Posted: 10/12/2006 12:58 AM CDT Guillermo Contreras Express-News Staff Writer Ari Jordan admits he was trespassing in an East Side apartment complex where San Antonio police often respond to calls about crime, and that he was there with a friend to smoke "weed." But on the witness stand, he maintained that a revolver police found in the abandoned apartment wasn't his. Jordan, 27, who spent eight months behind bars over the incident, now is a free man, the recipient of a stunning verdict in which federal jurors believed him over four police officers who claimed the loaded .38-caliber gun was his. After deliberating two hours, jurors late Tuesday found Jordan not guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in a trial before U.S. District Judge W. Royal Furgeson. Jordan had faced up to 10 years. Jordan served two years in prison for a prior conviction in 2002 of possessing a piece of a sawed-off shotgun. Police testified Jordan was lying in the apartment off East Commerce Street on Feb. 5 and had an arm outstretched toward the gun. "I guess the jury felt (Jordan) was telling the truth," Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerry Matheny said. Jordan was in Bexar County Jail for 90 days before he was released because state authorities didn't indict him on felony charges, and because he was sentenced to time served for his guilty plea on misdemeanor marijuana charges, said his current lawyer, Rusty Guyer. Jordan was picked up again May 17 when the feds indicted him, and later was denied bond, Guyer said. Jordan testified he and a friend were smoking marijuana and that the friend left to buy items to roll joints when the police came. Police took Jordan into custody and emerged with the gun. Guyer said Jordan denied knowledge about the gun but thought about a plea deal, which would have left him looking at 36 to 41 months. "He was ready to break down from sitting in jail," Guyer said. "In 99 percent of the cases, a person in this circumstance would have plead(ed) guilty."

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