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Ryan Frederick Trial Goes to the Jury

We should be seeing a verdict soon in the case of Ryan Frederick, the Virginia man who was charged with murder for killing a police officer who he mistook for a burglar during a questionable drug raid.

The jury failed to return a verdict on Tuesday and will continue deliberating Wednesday. Having followed the case closely, I’m pretty worked up about it and I’ll be glued to the computer until this gets resolved. A guilty verdict would not only send an innocent man to prison, but would provide a symbolic victory for the worst aspects of drug war policing, those that created this tragedy in the first place.

Beyond all that, the trial itself has been a grand injustice, really just a classic railroading that brought out the worst of the worst as far as drug war prosecutorial tactics are concerned. Ryan Frederick is simply not the man the prosecution made him out to be, not on any level whatsoever. In one familiar example, prosecutor Paul Ebert used testimony from a "marijuana expert" to grossly exaggerate the capacity of Frederick’s personal marijuana garden:

Meinhart says 1 plant produces 1 pound of salable marijuana. 1 pound is 16 ounces, and at $400.00 per ounce is $6400.00 times 10 plants is $64000.00. [Tidewater Liberty]

Yet, as Radley Balko points out, Frederick had a not-so-great job getting up at 4 a.m. to deliver sodas. He didn’t have $64,000. Police only found 12 grams of marijuana in the raid. All of this is just pure garbage, the same bogus story recycled over and over again in every marijuana trial. But it’s particularly insidious in this case, since the goal is not only to convict Frederick of a marijuana offense, but to destroy his image before the jury and nail him on a false murder charge.

Please join me in keeping your fingers crossed that Frederick will be set free.
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No faith, in the justice system!

I have followed the trial and I hope for the best. The problem is, with the justice system in the shape it is in, I don't know if he will get a fair shake. No one knows what a jury will do with the evidence presented by the prosecution, and their, very untrustworthy, jailhouse witnesses. And they are trying to convict him for growing when he had absolutely no plants, or even an operating hydroponic setup on the property! He had grow lights and admitted to growing some for himself, in the past. But, he did not have an operational grow system, when he was raided! The charges seem to be the same game the prosecutors play, all of the time. Sneak in something close to the truth and see if you can sneak it by the jury! Technically he was not growing so how could he be charged with distributing!

The death was a result of the escalation, of what cold have been a simple arrest, to a late night raid on a guy whose house had been broken into three days earlier! Someone was going to get killed! Sadly it was a cop. And, Ryan's life is likely to be ruined, as well, from a botched "drug"operation!

Good luck, Ryan. I'll say a prayer!

If you are ever called for jury duty.....

....make it clear to other jurors what an ounce is (~28 grams). During the jury selection process for a felony cocaine case (less than 1 gram) I was involved with, one of the potential jurors said one ounce equals 3 grams. Also, make it clear to the other potential jurors that they are under no legal obligation to explain a "not guilty" decision in any case no matter what the evidence. It would be better to phrase this in the form of a question to ask for the defense lawyers (they will love you for it). You may want to go further and express outright dismay at the drug war if you have little chance at being selected for the jury. How do know if you have a little or no chance of being selected? A pool of potential jurors consists of about 40 people and they only need 12 to serve on the jury. In all probability, the prosecution and defense will select the 12 jurors from the first 20 people on the list with the possible exception one potential juror beyond that. You will know where you stand by the order of the seating in the court room with persons in the first row being the most likely to be selected and all those in the last row certain to go home. Also, if the lawyers on both sides are asking you few or no questions, you more than likely won't be selected.


I would think that if someone could not calculate the number of grams in an oz (454 grams / lb. divided 16 oz /lb equals grams/oz), maybe they are not peers and should not be serving on juries! Are we not guaranteed by the constitution a jury of our peers?! The real problem comes when people are required to serve on such complicated things as medical malpractice cases! How in the world can anyone without, at least, a college education be considered a peer of people who have eight to sixteen years of post high school education? The system is radically flawed, in that respect!

But, with all of the comments I have read about drugs, from the uneducated (or should I put it brainwashed), lately, it is obvious that propaganda, emotion, and anecdotes are the way of the drug warriors. They would not recognize scientific evidence if it bit them in the butt!

Peers?! I think not!

if more people defended thier homes from these crimnals

with badges .this murdeous crime spree they are on would end .what goes around comes around .

if ever called for jury duty

demand jury nullification on marijuana cases .in trials like this demand the surviving police are jailed and charged with murder of their own co conspirators .give fredrick a medal .home invasions should all be handled in this way .why allow this scum a free hand to kill our citizens.with out having to pay themselves.

I'm sure hoping for him

You can't have burglars working for the cops trying to find pot plants for the cops to raid. Not in the real America, you can't.

I think "demand jury nullification" isn't quite right

Unless you're in a very sympathetic jury. If the judge knows that's what you're doing, I think he can throw you off the jury, I know the view of judges is that you have a solemn obligation not to engage in nullification by jury. Jury nullification is exactly how honorable people should respond to the bogus war on weed, or the whole war on selected drugs, but I think it's recommended to find some pretext for refusing to convict.

In my county

each potential juror is questioned individually, like testifying in a trial, but all other potential jurors are sitting in the "peanut gallery" watching (and listening to) the whole process.

So, even if you are among the first few potential jurors, I think bringing up the idea of jury nullification (if given an opportunity) openly and loudly may be considered to be "spoiling" the whole current group from the jury pool. Done often enough, it would make bringing these (kinds of cases of self defense) even to the point of choosing a jury, too expensive and too time consuming. That effect would make prosecutors start thinking twice about charging in this kind of incident, and law enforcement to seriously rethink the use of raids for simple drug "offenses".

Same thing with trials of just plain drug "offenders" (users, growers, distributers, even smugglers) as long as no unprovoked violence against another citizen is part of the charge. Just make them go thru a whole jury pool (not just the first batch) to get a jury (if they even could seat a full jury) with more and more people using this tactic to muck things up for them.

Additionally, a comment posted over at FMNN on an article about "testilying" makes a really good point:
1/30/2009 - 0:12:58AM
BY: MetaCynic
Acting on the principle of innocent until proven guilty, it seems to me that the only logical thing for a juror to do in a case where it comes down to the police officer's word against the defendant's word is to vote for acquittal. Without any other corroborating evidence, the police officer's testimony is worth nothing.

I would add the same thing should be true of cases where there is only one witness for the prosecution with no corroborating evidence, another case of one person's word against another's.

I'm pro-choice on EVERY THING!

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