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Ryan Frederick Trial Goes to the Jury

Submitted by smorgan on
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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