Jul 08 2007

Not Guilty


That was the verdict on all four counts of sleeping.

I didn’t feel very victorious and I suspect that the fact that the ACLU was going to jump on it if I lost had a lot to do with the outcome; that it was a simple cost-benefit analysis.

A number of people showed up, which I wasn’t expecting, and afterwards I remembered that in my first trial ten years ago I realized that I was convicted, to a large extent, because there were no friendly faces in the audience for the judge and the jury to see.

When I was attacked by the prosecution, there were no shocked, incredulous, dismayed, sympathetic faces for the judge and jury to see of people who knew me.

They were all afraid of being arrested, possibly in the courtroom but most likely they would be placed under surveillance and entrapped. Or raided.

I almost hesitate to publish that, but it was true.

There were a number of people who not only showed up, but put a lot of time and effort into helping me. A member of the umbrella organization for homeless services in the county showed up to testify on my behalf.

The judge, who gave me a bottle of water, stated it was her testimony that was the deciding factor. She said it made all the difference. Linda Lee Masters

One of the officers who testified that I did not ask where I was supposed to sleep recanted. I think it was Robert who prompted me to request the recording that enabled me to catch a policeman lying on the stand.

Kate Wells, Robert Norse, Becky Johnson, Bernard, Linda, and another lady showed up on my behalf. And there could have been one or two more.

More or less in the middle, at the point where the issue of a letter from homeless services came up, I had to medicate. My hands started shaking and…

…the judge declared a recess, I went outside, smoked a bowl, bummed a cigarette from Kate as mine were locked in the courtroom, and we resumed at 3:15pm.

I put Linda on the stand to testify about the policy, county wide, regarding medical marijuana patients.

I presented as evidence recommendations for the time in question, and offered recommendations going back several more years.

The recording of my being thrown out in the rain was entered as evidence and evidently, upon hearing it, the judge blistered someone’s ear and got the officer in the court-room to be re-examined by me, at which point he recanted his earlier testimony.

I was able, with a lot of help from a lot of very bright and dedicated people, to satisfy a ‘necessity’ defense myself, in front of a judge.

I suppose that is a victory, of sorts.

The gist of my defense was that sleep is a biological necessity, that sleep-deprivation is torture, that there is NO accomodation for me through homeless services or any other HUD/federally subsidized housing, that I am a bona-fide medical marijuana patient, and I believe I demonstrated that cannabis is a critical medical necessity for me.

That could have some very interesting legal implications.

And some very interesting practical ones.

One thing that occurs to me is that if they’re smart, the homeless will get medical marijauna recommendations. Most of them qualify, particularly if you consider ‘harm reduction’ medicinal use.

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