Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Update: John Wilson trial underway - support needed

Supporters are being asked to have a strong presence inside and outside the courtroom throughout the trial. Please contact Ken Wolski: ohamkrw (at) aol.com or Chris Goldstein: director (at) normlnj.org if you would like to help this effort.

Somerville, NJ- The trial is moving with unexpected speed for John Wilson, a New Jersey Multiple Sclerosis patient who was found to have with 17 cannabis plants outside his home last year. A jury was selected and the trial got underway today at 1:30PM at the Somerset County Courthouse.

The prosecutor and judge have zealously kept out any testimony regarding medical marijuana or even personal use, arguing the reason why the plants were grown is irrelevant.

The state Attorney General’s office has charged him with the first-degree felony of 'Operating a Drug Manufacturing Facility,' a statute originally created to go after cocaine dealers. The Superior Court Judge presiding over the trial has barred John and his defense attorney from mentioning to the jury that John even has MS.

Supporters held signs in front of the courthouse again today, the third public demonstration for John.

State Senators Nicholas Scutari and Raymond Lesniak have asked for NJ Governor Jon Corzine to grant a pardon. They are both co-sponsors of the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act and Senator Scutari is himself a municipal prosecutor in Lynden. Their statement requesting the pardon was strongly worded:

“It seems cruel and unusual to treat New Jersey’s sick and dying as if they were drug cartel kingpins. Moreover, it is a complete waste of taxpayer money having to house and treat an MS patient in a jail at the public’s expense,” said Senator Scutari, D-Union, Middlesex and Somerset. “Specifically, in the case of John Ray Wilson, the State is taking a fiscally irresponsible hard-line approach against a man who’s simply seeking what little relief could be found from the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis. Governor Corzine should step in immediately and end this perversion of criminal drug statutes in the Garden State.”

“Without compassion and a sense of moral right and wrong, laws are worth less than the paper they’re printed on,” said Senator Lesniak, D-Union. “New Jersey’s tough criminal drug laws were never intended to be used against patients suffering from chronic and terminal medical conditions. The prosecutors and presiding judge have set up a scenario where Mr. Wilson is no different than a common street thug in the eyes of the law.” Read their release in full

Here are some related recent news articles about the trial


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