`Ganja Guru' Case Goes To Jury

`Ganja Guru' Case Goes To Jury
Posted by CN Staff on May 29, 2007 at 22:09:38 PT
By Josh Richman, Staff Writer
Source: Oroville Mercury-Register
San Francisco -- The fate of Oakland "Guru of Ganja" Ed Rosenthal once again rests in a federal jury's hands -- in a manner of speaking.A federal prosecutor and Rosenthal's lawyers rested their cases and made closing arguments Tuesday on whether Rosenthal should be convicted of five marijuana-growing felonies, and then jurors began deliberating.
But even if convicted, Rosenthal, 62, faces no more than the one day behind bars -- time he already served -- to which he was sentenced after his first trial and conviction in 2003, later overturned by a federal appeals court. Whether with a clean slate or as a convict, Rosenthal will walk free no matter what this jury decides."You've made a contribution, an important contribution to the administration of justice," Assistant U.S. Attorney George Bevan assured jurors Tuesday morning, adding "the evidence is clear, and we would submit, overwhelming" to prove Rosenthal's guilt.Laying out a pattern of documents -- property and utility records, invoices from bulk supply purchases and the like -- as well as witnesses' testimony, Bevan said Rosenthal conspired with others to use a warehouse at 1419 Mandela Parkway in West Oakland; a house across the street from his own home elsewhere in Oakland; and the Harm Reduction Center medical marijuana club on San Francisco's Sixth Street as sites to grow and distribute thousands of marijuana plants. More than 3,100 plants were seized from the Mandela Parkway site in February 2002, Bevan noted."Your responsibility is to hold him accountable for no more than what he did but no less than what he did," Bevan urged the jury.Defense attorney Robert Amparan -- much of whose case was gutted last week as U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer deemed defense witnesses' testimony of medical motivation irrelevant to the federal charges -- danced a delicate dance in his closing argument Tuesday."There are places that we can't go. ... The are answers to realistic, reasonable questions you may have that I can't give you," he told the jurors, instead focusing on discrediting the credibility of government itself -- "I fear my government because it does not always tell us the truth" -- and its witnesses in this case."The federal government has had almost six years to complete this recipe ... and yet their recipe, ladies and gentlemen, contains tainted, soiled, spoiled ingredients," he said. "If it smells like something that's going to make you sick, you have the right to reject it."Breyer repeatedly sustained Bevan's objections or even halted Amparan's argument himself as improper. For example, when Amparan described himself as "a gay Mexican one generation out of the fields," Breyer shut him down, saying "It's not about you." When Amparan accused Bevan of placing a woman and a person of color at the prosecution's table to balance out the two Latinos and a woman at the defense table, Breyer once again cried foul: "I suggest that you simply argue the case."Finally, as Amparan tried to liken Rosenthal's situation to past injustices done under color of law -- such as slavery, or internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II -- Breyer sent the jury out of the courtroom and then lambasted Amparan for trying to lead the jury into questioning federal law itself. Amparan insisted he wasn't, but said he planned to cite false pretenses for the war in Iraq and the botched response to Hurricane Katrina as other instances of the government's mistakes.As applause erupted from a courtroom packed mostly with Rosenthal's supporters, Breyer warned such outbursts would lead him to clear the courtroom; he then ordered Amparan not to make these arguments to the jury.With the jury present again, Amparan sought to discredit those who had testified against Rosenthal: Bob Martin, whose own marijuana dispensaries haven't been raided during his cooperation with the government in this case; James Halloran, Rosenthal's former partner who escaped the possibility of three 50-to-life sentences in return for his testimony; and David Lewis, Rosenthal's neighbor and a recovering methamphetamine addict.Amparan urged jurors to make "reasonable inferences" about what really happened, and why, from the evidence and testimony: "Be strong and have courage, and I trust you will do the right thing."A federal jury convicted Rosenthal in 2003, but within hours, most jurors publicly renounced their own verdict, claiming they'd been railroaded into convicting him by a court that allowed no consideration or discussion of medical marijuana. Breyer later sentenced Rosenthal to only one day in jail and warned any such cases in the future would receive harsher penalties.The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in April 2006 ruled there had been juror misconduct, and overturned Rosenthal's convictions. Prosecutors re-indicted Rosenthal in October, adding charges that he'd laundered marijuana proceeds and falsified three years worth of tax returns; Breyer in March tossed out those new charges, deeming them to be vindictive prosecution.Source: Oroville Mercury-Register (CA)Author: Josh Richman, Staff WriterPublished: May 29, 2007Copyright: 2007 Oroville Mercury RegisterContact: biano cncnet.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Ed Rosenthal's Pictures & Articles Re-Trial of `Ganja Guru' Begins for Medical-Pot Advocate Opens
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #5 posted by ekim on May 30, 2007 at 07:51:53 PT
Include Hemp 77% cellulose- in feasibility studies 29, 2007  
 Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., introduced legislation Wednesday aimed at helping farmers near biorefineries begin growing dedicated energy crops. Similar legislation has also been introduced in the House. The bill would offer farmers incentives to grow crops, such as switchgrass and fast-growing trees, for use as cellulosic ethanol feedstocks. Thune hopes the legislation will be included in the 2007 Farm Bill energy title. "For cellulosic to achieve its potential, Congress needs to help this industry overcome some of the initial market barrier," Thune said in a conference call Wednesday. The bill would fund several USDA feasibility studies - probably 10 to 12, costing about $50,000 each, partly to determine the level of interest and likelihood of success for biorefinery constructions. The bill would authorize a cost share and per-acre rental payment for farmers during a contract's first five years, in order to help the biorefinery get established and build a market. After a project is approved, farmers could enroll eligible land in the program and begin growing dedicated energy crops. During the first five years of the contract, farmers would a cost-share and per-acre rental payment which would continue until the biorefinery began operation. The farmer would get matching payments of up to $45 for each ton of biomass delivered to the refinery for up to two years.Farmers anywhere in the country selling byproducts and residues, such as wheat straw and corn stover, to ethanol plants would also be eligible for matching payment of up to $45 per ton. Bill co-sponsor Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., says the bill's real value is in giving cellulosic ethanol a jump-start. "It's difficult to start commercial production without a guaranteed supply of biomass, but it's hard to encourage farmers to grow the biomass unless they know they'll have a market."
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by fight_4_freedom on May 30, 2007 at 06:35:44 PT:
george michael
George Michael defends cannabis smokingGeorge Michael is due back in court at the end of May
Singer George Michael has said the world would be an "easier place to live with" if cannabis was legal.Speaking to ITV chat show host Michael Parkinson, the star said he was not "advocating" the drug for everyone."Nobody ever came home stoned and beat up their wife," the 43-year-old former Wham! singer said.Earlier this month he pleaded guilty to driving while unfit through drugs after he was found slumped over the wheel of his car in a London street.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by Storm Crow on May 30, 2007 at 06:23:06 PT
Whatever happened to...
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? It is sad when the truth is no longer allowed in the courtroom!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by mayan on May 30, 2007 at 01:28:11 PT
Hear No "Evil"
It's a shame that the jurors can't hear the whole truth regarding the cannabis being for medicinal purposes. Still, I would hope that they would be bright enough to realize what the crooked feds are up to. Ed was simply growing cannabis for sick people and has been constantly harassed for it by the real criminals! Let's hope for jury nullification. THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Giuliani Confronted By 9/11 Truthers, Lies About WTC Collapse: Reporters Gain National Media Attention For Giuliani Confrontation: Truth Squad Confronts Giuliani: Denies Being Warned of WTC Collapse: Engineers Question Collapse of the World Trade Center: suggests Rosie fired over 'leaked' video of 9/11 talk: Zwicker and Dr Joe Hawkins on Winnipeg morning show: - 9/11 Coincidences (Part Eleven): WAS AN INSIDE JOB - OUR NATION IS IN PERIL:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by JHarshaw on May 29, 2007 at 22:31:47 PT
Greetings all, Whether Ed stands to serve any time or not is not the issue in this case. The powers-that-be want him labeled as a convicted felon. This will enable them to punish him in many other ways. Good luck Sir. You will need it!just a thought, peace and pot.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment