First from the Fully Informed Jury Association web site:
Severely disabled pain patient, convicted of drug trafficking
After an automobile accident and a subsequent botched surgery left him in constant, extreme, debilitating pain, Richard Paey, like many chronic pain patients, had difficulty legally obtaining the necessary amount of pain medication to allow him to lead a decent life. Because of the hostile prosecutorial environment associated with prescribing high doses, many physicians are loathe to prescribe the high levels of medication that patients like Paey need. Tipped off by a pharmacist about the volume of medication Paey, a paraplegic suffering with multiple sclerosis, was seeking, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office arrested him. Even though the prosecutor openly admits that he had no evidence that Paey ever sold or gave away a single pill to any other person, he was charged with and convicted of drug trafficking, triggering a mandatory minimum 25-year prison sentence.
Prison doctors supplied Paey with painkillers deemed necessary for his own pain management in excess of what he was accused of having for so-called trafficking purposes. Not only was he imprisoned, but he was further isolated in solitary confinement for more than 30 days. Paey was finally given a full pardon by then Florida governor Charlie Crist in September of 2007, after serving nearly four years in prison.
So – you want to convict that man and send him to prison for many years as a dealer, simply because he is clearly in violation of the law?
Not me. Our legal system was set up to take care of the good people, knowing full well that sometimes bad people would also get off. My heart breaks for the man in that example, especially because I know an individual who could have ended up being technically “busted” for doing absolutely nothing other than trying to alleviate pain that for many would have driven them to suicide.
Finally, if you’re not familiar with the Wickard v. Filburn case from 1942, I’d suggest a quick read of that now famous case of gross federal over-reach using the infamous “commerce clause.” Roscoe Filburn grew some wheat on his own property, some for legal (authorized by the government) sale, and some for his own personal use that he did NOT sell to others. But the combined amount of wheat exceeded what he’d been authorized to grow that year by gummint quota. So he was assessed a fine by Agriculture Secretary Wickard. The feds busted him because what he grew for himself kept him from purchasing wheat on the open market, and therefore interfered with INTERSTATE COMMERCE. His wheat field was destroyed, he lost a great deal of money, time, and effort. The Supreme Court upheld the original decision! If I’d been sitting on that original jury, there’d have been no question about the verdict, just as there was never even any question by the prosecutor himself, of his motives. But he was in technical violation of the law, which said he wasn’t one of the chosen ones allowed to grow more wheat that year – especially for personal use on his own land! I remember when I heard about that case in a business law course I took many years ago. I was much younger, and therefore shocked that my United States of America could do that to people. I’ve sadly grown up considerably since then, and my eyes are now wide open, much to my dismay at times. And like the other case, I’d ask – you really would have convicted Roscoe Filburn, because the government proved their case that he had, in fact, violated the law?
Consider the absurdities created by the government, using just the commerce clause, for example.
Those cases, and so many more, are why the Fully Informed Jury Association was formed – NOT for the purpose of getting scumbags off so they can act out yet again.