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Virginia Jury Finds Defendant Not Guilty Of Marijuana Possession


gavel cannabisPhilip Cobbs’ Victory In The Courtroom Was A Victory For The Marijuana Movement And The Fourth Amendment

An Albemarle County, Virginia jury has acquitted a man on marijuana possession charges. Philip Cobbs, 54, was arrested in October 2011 after police claimed they spotted marijuana on his property using a helicopter and conducted a SWAT team-like raid on his land. The Rutherford Institute got involved saying the raid was a violation of his 4th Amendment rights of unreasonable search and seizure.

“I feel like justice finally was done,” Cobbs said, according to The Hook. The same article went on to state that, “Before the jury was selected, prosecutor Matthew Quatrara read the opening paragraph of a New York Times Paul Butler op-ed calling for jury nullification: “If you are ever on a jury in a marijuana case, I recommend that you vote ‘not guilty’— even if you think the defendant actually smoked pot, or sold it to another consenting adult. As a juror, you have this power under the Bill of Rights; if you exercise it, you become part of a proud tradition of American jurors who helped make our laws fairer.”

Almost a dozen officers with semi-automatic weapons, helicopters, a drawn out court battle, and all for two plants? Am I missing something here? I would love to see what the final tally was to the government to pursue this failed case. The last time I checked we were in the midst of an economic crisis…I guess Virginia is flush with cash, enough so that they can go after people like Philip Cobbs for two plants…

As all of the media reports are stating, this is a big victory for the 4th Amendment. No one should ever have their privacy violated, and guns pointed at their heads because of marijuana. I know several people that have had to experience that horrible scenario, and almost all of them are traumatized for life as a result. With all of the real crime and suffering that is going on in the world, it makes me extremely sad to live in a world where the priority of law enforcement and our judicial system is to go after marijuana consumers. At least in one court room in Virginia, the people decided to stand up and say no!


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Johnny Green


  1. NJWEEDMAN is fighting a case with jury nullification
    when the people wont convict , the law must change.

  2. Tips for becoming a stealth juror: If you are called up to perform jury duty in a marijuana case, you will be asked by the prosecutor if you would convict someone for a marijuana offense. Say “Maybe if the prosecutor has a strong case”. During jury deliberations, vote not guilty. Do not give a personal reason for voting not guilty; just say that you don’t think that the prosecution proved its case. Your vote will result in a hung jury which will force the prosecutor to offer the defendant a better plea deal. If enough marijuana cases end in hung juries, prosecutors will not bother to try these cases. This strategy helped end alcohol prohibition.

  3. Unfortunately, no. Click on the link to the original article in “Hook,” which is the source theweedblog linked to:


    Read the sidebar on the difficulty they had selecting a jury (because so many of the potential jurors admitted they were opposed to pot Prohibition, expressed disgust at the waste of money, etc.)

    You will see that although the prosecutor did quote Paul Butler’s NY Times Op-Ed piece — in which Butler advises jurors to vote “not guilty” on all marijuana possession cases — it turns out that the prosecutor was using that quote to argue that any potential jurors who agreed with Butler should not be allowed on the jury.

    From the article on the Hook website:

    “That, instructed Quatrara, would not be the proper attitude for those chosen to serve on the jury.”

    So the prosecutor isn’t the hero here.

    The defendant, his attorneys, and the members of the jury are heros, for standing up for this guy’s right not to be subjected to a warrantless, military-style commando raid on his property, all over two plants.

  4. Melanie Marshall on

    I am very proud of that jury! Great article. In response to the last paragraph, it makes me extremely sad that, with all the real crime and suffering out there, our law enforcers choose to ADD TO IT. They love getting paid to play, and I am SO glad this era is coming to an end. Keep sharing the truth, everyone – YEAY!!

  5. nygratefulfred on

    if you are on the jury-any case involving Marijuana in any degree-vote acquittal-no matter what,even if you are the only one,vote acquittal!

  6. Hi Eapen. That’s what I thought when I read it, in fact I reread it to be sure I didn’t miss something. That’s my kind of prosecuting attorney!

  7. Helicopters, SWAT team and machine guns for 2 freakin plants. I think it really sends a message to them when they waste so much $$ on a case just to loose it. Give it up!! Cannabis has been around for thousands of years and no matter what our DEA and politicans try to do to eradicate this plant and stop its use, its not going anywhere, and neither are the millions who benefit from it.

  8. Jury Nullification is a constitutional doctrine that allows juries to acquit defendants who are technically guilty but do not deserve punishment. – All non-violent ‘drug offenders’ who are not selling to children – be they users, dealers or importers – clearly belong in this category.

    If you sincerely believe that prohibition is a dangerous and counter-productive policy, then you must stop helping to enforce it. You are entitled to act according to your conscience: Acquit the defendant/s if you feel that true justice requires such a result. You, the juror, have the very last word!

    * It only takes one juror to prevent a guilty verdict.

    * You are not lawfully required to disclose your voting intention before taking your seat on a jury.

    * You are also not required to give a reason to the other jurors on your position when voting – simply state that you find the accused not guilty.

    * Jurors must understand that it is their opinion, their vote. If the Judge and the other jurors disapprove, too bad. There is no punishment for having a dissenting opinion.

    “It is not only [the juror’s] right, but his duty … to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.” – John Adams

    We must create what we can no longer afford to wait for — PLEASE VOTE TO ACQUIT!

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