Posts Tagged ‘supreme court’

Non-violent Drug Prisoners May Gain Freedom in Cali

May 27 2011

Non-Violent Drug Prisoners May Gain Freedom in Cali Thanks to The Supreme Court

Published by TRJ under Best news of the Day,Misc

Image Via Prison Law

The Supreme Court has ruled the crowded conditions of the California penal system to be a direct result of overcrowding. That may not be news to you, however, what you may have not known is that the Supreme Court has now demanded that the California penal system reduce it’s prisoner population by 200%. But will murderers and ill behaving gang bangers now be running the streets!?

“Tough-on-crime policies have crowded prisons so severely with people convicted of nonviolent offenses, including drug possession, that they are not only unsafe and overly costly, but also a net negative for public safety.”

“By reducing the penalty for drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor, for example, the state would save $450 million a year and reduce the prison population by more than 9,000.

I can only imagine the impact this ruling will have on the state of California. A decrease in state spending and an increase in the amount of otherwise law abiding citizens being back home with their families and lives. Sometimes the Supreme Court does come in handy, eh?

Judge Orders Cops To Return Two Pounds of Marijuana

Photo: ndboy

A judge on Thursday ordered the California Highway Patrol to return two pounds of marijuana seized during an arrest in August 2010.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge John Spaunor ordered the police to return the personal property of Kevin Smith (not the famous movie director) of Sacramento after the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office dismissed DUI and marijuana possession charges against him, reports Tom DuHain of KCRA.

Charges were dismissed in March after experts agreed that Smith did not have sufficient THC in his bloodstream to cause impairment, according to defense attorney Alex Veylupek.

Smith has a rare medical condition that caused him to black out behind the wheel as he was driving on Fair Oaks Boulevard last year, according to Veylupek. Smith also has a doctor’s authorization for up to three pounds of medical marijuana, the attorney said.

In court on Thursday morning, the judge asked members of the D.A.’s staff if they had an opinion about returning the marijuana. Veylupek said he objected to them being asked, rightly pointing out that the D.A. no longer had standing in the case, since charges were dropped.

The ruling is good news for patients who need to transport their medical marijuana, according to Ryan Landers, a member of the Compassionate Coalition, a medical marijuana advocacy group in Sacramento.

“I’m glad the judge followed the law and applied it accordingly and that he took the time to look into the truth,” Landers said.

Superfast Computers Triggering Botched Marijuana Grow Raids

Photo: Bitcoin Miner
Turns out, looking only at electric usage from a residence, the consumption for bitcoin mining won’t look much different from a marijuana grow-op. Cue clueless cops.

You don’t have to be growing marijuana to get raided for it. At least one Bitcoin miner has been raided by police because unusually high power usage led them to suspect he was growing marijuana, according to unconfirmed reports on Monday.

The tip comes from an IRC chat captured by blogger Mike Esspe, though there are no corroborating details, reports Jerry Brito of Techland.
Bitcoin is the anonymous virtual currency that uses distributed computing power to validate online coins. “It’s like gold mining, except that instead of digging, a miner uses cryptographic math,” reports Techland.
Screen shot 2011-05-23 at 11.12.58 AM.png
Screen capture: Mike Esspe
Does this mean, that with the growing number of bitcoin miners, courts will stop issuing warrants based on energy bills? Not bloody likely.
Like clandestine indoor marijuana growing operations, Bitcoin mining uses large amounts of electricity and runs up big power bills. It does this because it employs super-fast computers.
High power consumption has often alerted police to marijuana growing operations and has thus led to busts.
“The Canadian town of Mission, B.C. has a bylaw that allows the town’s Public Safety Inspection Team to search people’s homes for grow ops if they are using more than 93 kWh of electricity per day,” according to the blog Bitcoin Miner.
Though a typical mining rig will consume only a fraction of that amount, Bitcoin miners are adding capacity, and with multiple rigs, more and more miners are exceeding the level which triggers police interest, according to the blog.
Residents have been charged a $5,200 inspection fee — even if no marijuana or signs of a grow operation are found, reports Cam Tucker at the Delta Optimist.
Some Mission residents who feel their rights have been violated by the arbitrary searches, and have begun a class-action lawsuit against the District of Mission in B.C. Supreme Court.
There had already been speculation that mining Bitcoins will bring unwanted and misdirected attention from the police.
“I’m still waiting for the first bitcoin grow-op raid,” a Bitcoin mining pioneer had commented on an IRC channel back in January.
Increasingly ubiquitous supercomputing could lead to more and more false positives, not just for Bitcoin miners, but for hardcore gamers too, as well as anyone running video rendering farms or web servers from home, according to Techland.
“It will be interesting to see how courts will adapt to such uses when interpreting reasonable suspicion standards,” Brito writes.
Does this mean, that with the growing number of Bitcoin miners, courts will stop issuing warrants based on energy bills? Not bloody likely.

The Supreme Court is out to Get You

NORMLizer – The Supreme Court Is Out to Get You

Wed, May 11, 2011 5:51 pm


There’s no good word in the English language for when you’re paranoid – and right.

I’m not prone to conspiracy theories, but one has to wonder when it comes to cannabis and the Supreme Court of the United States (a.k.a. SCOTUS). By this I mean the court’s pervasive series of decisions on cannabis prohibition – dating back to the 1960s – that has placed a huge segment of society and the government in conflict. SCOTUS almost always rules in favor of the government, which means the very high court sworn to uphold the US Constitution and protect individual liberties has, in every single one of these rulings, created a greater jeopardy for other basic civil liberties by way of terrible and self-fulfilling legal precedents that diminish the freedom of all citizens, religious institutions and businesses.

One would be hard-pressed to find another public policy – a long and failed public policy – that has created so many opportunities for the government to invade the private spaces of Americans, interfere with their personal health decisions, pervert banking regulations and free-market principles, and create a massive, taxpayer-supported bureaucracy than the 74-year-old policy of cannabis prohibition.

I came to be reminded about all the terrible, liberty-sucking legal decisions from SCOTUS after reading the transcripts from oral arguments in Kentucky vs. King. In this case, cops in Kentucky claimed to have smelled marijuana being used in a certain apartment, then performed a warrantless “knock and talk.” When no one immediately answered the door, the cops forcibly knocked it down, entered the apartment and arrested a couple of otherwise harmless pot smokers (a.k.a. taxpaying citizens trying to relax in the privacy of their home).

The question for the Supreme Court is this: Is it legal under the US Constitution for the police, in the dead of night, to kick down a citizen’s door, with no warrant and virtually no probable cause (aside from a scent in the hallway), in pursuit of enforcing a self-evidently unenforceable prohibition? How is any of this good for freedom and liberty?

Unfortunately, to see how SCOTUS is likely to decide this case, we only have to look at the many past decisions where the Supreme Court has consistently ruled against patients who use medical cannabis, or the religious use of cannabis as a sacrament, or even cannabis-related free speech (i.e., the case involving high-school students unfurling a banner that read “Bong Hits for Jesus”), but has just as consistently ruled for more drug testing, tax stamps, civil forfeiture, roadblocks and searches of the car, home and locker.

If the past is prologue, then with this current SCOTUS, cannabis consumers will have one more good reason for being paranoid in this stupid, wasteful and constitutionally warping epoch of cannabis prohibition.

Allen St. Pierre is the executive director of NORML in Washington, DC (

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