MARIJUANA SMOKEOUT NEWS
State College, PA
August 6, 1998
by Julian Heicklen
Smart on Crime & Centre County Libertarian Party
Hello! Thanks for coming out. The jury selection for my first 4 trials was held on the norning of August 3, 1998. My request for a jury pool representative of the population of the county was denied by Judge Charles Brown.
According to the 1990 census with estimated growth to 1998 and the population of University Park as provided by the Penn State University Housing Office, the population of University Park during the academic year 1997-1998 was 11.8% of the adult population of Centre County. My final jury pool of 147 people contained no residents of University park.
According to the 1990 census, 24.1 of the county adults (³18 years of age) are in the ages of 18-21 years; in my final jury pool there was 2.8%. The county population is 55.1% of adults in the 1834 year-old range; in my final jury pool it was 20.4%.
Judge Charles Brown did not allow either the Assistant District Attorney or myself ask questions of the jury pool in order to select a jury. Instead we each had to submit questions to him, so that he could select the ones that he wished to ask. This is contrary to the practice in this court. I submitted 13 questions, of which Judge Brown used __.
My jury was picked from the jury pool of 147 people. Prior to the selection of my jury, another jury was picked for a criminal trial before the whole venire. Since my trial is a political trial, I believe that it was inappropriate for the venire to hear the questions posed to that jury. It raises the connection in the minds of the venire that my trial is similar to the criminal trial. Therefore I believe this jury is tainted and I move for dismissal of this jury and re-selection of a new jury.
Before the jury was selected, it was announced that the trial date would be September 21, 1998. Judge Charles Brown asked all of those in the venire who could not serve on that day to identify themselves, so that they could be excused. This date is Rosh Hashonah, a Jewish High Holy Day, so presumably all of the Jews were excused. I had notified the Court Administrator at the pre-trial conference of July 28, 1998, that this was Rosh Hashonah and that I could not appear. She informed me that was the date for trial. The jury is not a jury of my peers, because all of the Jews have been excluded. Therefore I move for dismissal of this jury and re-selection of a new jury.
During Judge Brown's opening statement to the prospective jurors, he stated that I was being tried for possession with intent to distribute. I objected and attempted to say that I was only being charged with possession of a small amount for personal use. He interrupted me and said that all objections would be entered later. Since I have not been charged for intent to distribute, I believe that the jury is tainted and should be dismissed.
At the pre-trial conference, Judge Brown said that he would ask all of the jury questions. He requested that the Assistant District Attorney, Stephen Sloane, and I submit questions for him to consider, which we both did (see Exhibits A and B). As Judge Brown was about to start questioning the prospective jurors, I interrupted and said that I had two additional questions and some objections to raise. Judge Brown said that I could not introduce those now, but that I could after the questioning was completed, and the jury retired to another room for pre-emptory strikes.
During the questioning, Judge Brown did not cover my questions 1113 (see Exhibit A) in his questioning. Question 13 is particularly important, because I am a person of the Jewish faith, and I do not want an anti-Semite in my jury. Therefore I move for dismissal of this jury and re-selection of a new jury.
After the jury had been questioned and retired to await the pre-emptory strikes, the Judge allowed Mr. Sloane and me to approach the bench to enter my two additional questions and my objections. The court stenographer was not present and I requested her presence. She was not recalled, but Judge Brown said that he would enter my statements into the record. The additional questions that I entered were:
1. What do you think about organizations such as DARE that wish to continue prohibition of marijuana? Have you been involved in programs to further prohibition of marijuana?
2. If it could be shown that I did not have criminal intent, would you find me guilty?
Judge Brown stated that he would not permit those questions. However for the jury selection 3 hours later of Andrew Burke for the same offense, Judge Brown did ask the first question. I believe that I did not get full disclosure from the prospective jurors. Therefore I move for dismissal of this jury and re-selection of a new jury.
I. I raised four objections to the proceedings. All four were overruled. These were:
1. I objected to the whole venire hearing the questions asked during the previous jury selection in a criminal trial
2. I objected to the trial date on Rosh Hashonah. I stated that this was a violation under both the state and federal constitutions of my freedom of religion and the opportunity to have a jury of my peers, since the Jews were systematically excused.
3. I objected to the judge saying that I was accused of intent to distribute when I was not. He said that he read the accusations and that he was correct. In fact I was not bound over for trial for possession with intent to distribute.
4. I objected to the fact that I could not address the prospective jurors or ask the questions myself.
About two hours after the completion of the choosing of my jury, Judge Brown changed the date of the trial to October 7, 1998. However the Jews in the venire had already excused themselves, so that they were not included in the jury selection process. I believe this jury is not representative of the county and ask that it be dismissed and re-selected.
The jury for Andrew Burke's trial was chosen in the afternoon of August 3, 1998. Judge Brown asked all of the questions, even though Andy had not been notified of this ahead of tiem. Andy had not submitted any suggsted jury question. Judge Brown used the same list as I had submitted. Andy objected to this, so Judge Brown let him submit his list right then. Judge Brown added the question discussed above about approving of or belonging to organizations that promote the continuation of prohibition.
I ask that no-one under 18 years old smoke marijuana. We appreciate your support, but if minors smoke, it will hurt our cause. If arrested, give only your name and address. Go limp and make the officers carry you away from the demonstration. Plead not guilty and ask for a speedy, jury trial.
If you are attacked by either police or bystanders, go into the fetal position, and use your hands to protect your head. Under no circumstances, even if provoked, use violence. Thank you for your cooperation.