Omar Figueroa, Criminal Defense Attorney, has recently joined Chris Conrad, Mikki Norris, Russ Belville and a few others to try to trick medical marijuana patients (and in California, where anyone can become a patient, everyone) into voting against their own self-interests by voting for Sean Parker’s POS, The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, aka AUMA, aka Initiative No. 16-0103, aka the next Trojan Horse out of the George Soros/ Monsanto stables.
So, a week or so ago, one of the many annoyed pro-marijuana voters who’s sick of all the posturing by the pro-AUMA folks sent me Mr. Figueroa’s comments and asked me to respond to them. It took me a little while, but here it is, Marty!
Gentle readers, as a fun test of your own skills, watch and see if you can spot Omar’s lawyer-ly efforts to use various techniques (exaggeration, guilt, il-logic, etc.) to try to get people to think AUMA isn’t too bad. Did any of those techniques work on you? No? Very good!
Omar Figueroa: This week, a felony narcotics prosecutor told me he was voting for AUMA (California’s cannabis semi-legalization initiative) in November and hoped it would pass. “Is it because you’ve realized cannabis prohibition is a waste of time and want to focus on violent criminals?” I asked hopefully. “No,” he responded with a wry smile. “The current medical marijuana laws are too vague; if legalization passes, we will have some clarity at last.”
Letitia Pepper: LOL! When a prosecutor thinks a law is “too vague,” a defense attorney should be leaping with joy! When there is any doubt about the meaning of a criminal law, all doubts must be resolved in favor of the accused! That’s known as the Rule of Lenity, and that rule says that “ambiguity concerning the ambit of criminal statutes should be resolved in favor of lenity.” Cleveland v. United States, 531 U. S. 12, 25 (2000) (quoting Rewis v. United States, 401 U. S. 808, 812 (1971); see also Yates v. United States (2015) 135 S.Ct. 1074). That means the defendant walks!
So, any defense attorney who is really playing for the defense team should be advising people to vote against AUMA, not for it, because Prop. 215, the Compassionate Use Act, makes it HARDER to convict people than AUMA will make it – if AUMA passes. Want to make it harder to convict people? Then vote NO on AUMA. (And tell Mr. Figueroa to brush up on the Rule of Lenity – I’d hate to think he’s been ignoring it!)
Omar Figueroa: I travel across the state defending medical cannabis patients, and I can tell you that police, prosecutors, and judges think AUMA is legalization, even if in my humble opinion, AUMA is a cruel mockery of what many of us activists hoped for when we dreamt of legalization. If only we were living in an alternate universe . . .
Letitia Pepper: So, Mr. Figueroa, if the police, judges and state and federal prosecutors are all going to vote yes on AUMA, doesn’t that tell us, the human fodder for the criminal “justice” system, that we should all be voting NO? This is the real world, and instead of dreaming of legalization, anyone with a lick of legal training who wants to end prosecutions and the war on people who use drugs should have been saying, “Decriminalization is the answer! Legalization is how they put more laws on you – and the laws always benefit the State and the lobbyists bribing elected officials! So vote NO on AUMA!”
Omar Figueroa: If AUMA passes, thousands of felony marijuana defendants across California will have their cases reduced to misdemeanors or dismissed.
Letitia Pepper: Really, Omar? Nothing in AUMA says that will happen. Could you explain this a little more? And please be a little more clear on exactly what you are claiming. Who are these thousands of “felony marijuana defendants” about whom you are talking? Are you talking about the cartels caught growing marijuana on public property? The ones booby-trapping their grows? About people like Sam H. Clauder II — someone caught transporting millions of dollars of marijuana across state borders? About street dealers selling pot to minors? About someone who was selling potentially lethal synthetic marijuana? About someone who was producing health-impairing contaminated concentrates by using the spiked butane any idiot can buy at a smoke shop?
Mr. Figueroa, are you suggesting we should vote for AUMA – which will make it easier to prosecute all future marijuana defendants – just because some alleged, existing defendants are charged with unspecified-by-you, marijuana-related felonies? Even if we ourselves might vote to convict some or all of them if we were on a jury? Sorry, but this argument just won’t work on anyone paying attention.
I would not trade my own Prop. 215 rights, or those of any other people I know, just to vote to secure the acquittal of someone selling potentially lethal synthetic pot to kids, or someone booby-trapping public lands! And I don’t feel one little bit guilty for voting NO on AUMA! (Nice try!)
Omar Figueroa: If AUMA doesn’t pass, narcotics prosecutors will feel emboldened, and will keep on trying to put peaceful human beings in cages for non-violent cannabis felonies.
Letitia Pepper: This is one weird argument! To put it another way, Mr. Figueroa, your argument is that if AUMA does pass, prosecutors will become afraid to continue to prosecute people, will stop trying to send defendants to prison, and will just retire and move to Florida, right?
Let me ask you: do arguments like this one ever work on a jury of 12 people? I could just as easily argue that if AUMA doesn’t pass, then we can all breath a sigh of relief, because the Rule of Lenity will still be there for any defense attorneys smart enough to use it!
Omar Figueroa: I wish AUMA’s supporters would unveil a comprehensive plan for future legislative reforms to reassure the medical cannabis community that AUMA is not the beginning of the end of medical marijuana in California in much the same way that I-502 was the beginning of the end of medical cannabis in Washington State.
Letitia Pepper: And, as people in Ohio say, “And people in Hell wish they had ice water.” No, the tricksters behind AUMA went to a LOT of trouble to write this just the way they want it, and it will be a cold day in Hell (or Ohio) when they want to see this POS reformed.
These jerks WANT to end the not-for-profit medical marijuana system, so Big Pharma can go back to selling all those expensive, patented, POS prescription drugs to people unable to get and use enough cannabis. They don’t want to reform AUMA — they want it to crush everyone in its path.
Omar Figueroa: AUMA is not a sure thing if it continues to be fiercely opposed by many members of the medical cannabis community, so the AUMA campaign would be wise to come up with a plan to expand the rights of medical cannabis patients.
Letitia Pepper: Damn straight! People who like marijuana defeated the AUMA-clone that Parker and friends tried to foist on them in Ohio, and we in California will do the same thing here! And why should we trust any “fix” offered by the very same people, after they’ve been caught, who wrote AUMA so carefully to try to trick people in the first place?
We defeated Prop. 19, and we will defeat AUMA, too. And we will make Gavin Noisome, Pawn Sharker, and, if need be, the whole Democratic Machine look like the corrupt weasels they are if they don’t stop trying to partner with Soros and Monsanto in order to steal Californians’ birthright as the home of the first and best medical marijuana law in the country.
SHAME! Shame on the profiteers, for trying to steal medicine from children, the sick, disabled and dying and trying to treat healing marijuana like poisonous tobacco and alcohol!