New Trial for Defendant after Prosecutor goes on Rant against Medical Marijuana
In a case from Munising in the Upper Peninsula, Paul Heminger was convicted of growing about two dozen marijuana plants.
On appeal from his conviction, Heminger argued that the prosecuting attorney on the case made improper statements that influenced the jury.
In the closing arguments of the trial, the prosecutor went on a rant against medical marijuana users and the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, stating that the government objected to the way the law was written.
The prosecutor slammed medical marijuana users, labeling them as anti-government types who are a drain on the government and whose agenda is to create a society of stoners.
“They do nothing to support the government services they want, and have nothing but criticism for the government services they don’t want,” the prosecutor told the jury. “We’re trespassers and tramplers of their rights right up until they need us to protect them from the violence that they attract to the community.”
The prosecutor referred to the Medical Marijuana Act as meaningless, and belittled the need of those with chronic pain to use medical marijuana.
The Court of Appeals held that prosecutor’s comments were inappropriate to make during trial, ruling that the comments were, “clearly and thoroughly improper,” and were a “personal diatribe.” Because of these inflammatory statements the fairness of the trial was called into question, and the Court of Appeals granted Heminger a new trial.
Check out ArborYpsi Law’s Medical Marijuana Blog.