More MS news articles for Dec 2001

Indiana's First Medical Marijuana Trial

12:34pm Wed Dec 19 '01 (Modified on 1:14pm Wed Dec 19 '01)
by Skywolf, aka Neal Smith 

For the first time, a Judge in Indiana has ruled a medical necessity defense may be used in a Marijuana trial

New legal ground has been broken here in Indiana. For the first time a judge has ok'd a medical necessity defense to possession of Marijuana.

The Jeanne Horton case, which was to have gone to trial yesterday, December 18th, will not take place until February 12th...Lincoln's birthday.

About 30 supporters of Horton protested outside the City-County building, including members of Indiana NORML, the Indiana Green Party, the Marion County Green Party, Common Bonds, the Libertarian Party and private individuals.

Horton is bedridden. She was brought to the Indianapolis City-County building in an ambulance and wheeled in on a gurney. She was required previously to appear in person at a pre-trial hearing and was taken in in a wheel chair. According to Horton's mother, Jeanne had developed a bed sore from the wheel chair that still hasn't healed. It took Horton several weeks to recover from the stress of being in the wheel chair.

After changes in judge and prosecutors, and an official lapse of memory in selecting a jury and other delaying tactics, defense attorney Steve Dillon, who is also Chairman of the Board for national NORML and President/founder of Indiana NORML, convinced the judge Mark Renner of Horton's medical necessity. Three previous judges in the case had refused any of Dillon's defenses.

Horton, a 41 year old woman from Indianapolis, has been bedridden for nine years with Multiple Sclerosis. She is 80% paralyzed and weighs only about 100 pounds. She was arrested in April of 2001 and charged with possession of 1.2 grams of Marijuana and reckless possession of paraphernalia (Which means possession of "Drug" paraphernalia that "Endangered" other people) Marion County Prosecutor Scott Newman wanted to jail Horton for up to three years in spite of her condition. Newman had claimed in TV interviews that Horton was having a "Medical Marijuana party" in her home at the time of the arrest.

Horton had only smoked Marijuana shortly before her arrest, upon the advice of some friends who told her they had heard that it was good for Multiple Sclerosis patients. Horton had reported about a 20 pound weight gain and some improvement in muscle control after smoking Marijuana for a short time. She stopped smoking after her arrest and reverted to her previous weight and muscle condition.

Dillon had brought in medical Marijuana expert Dr. David Bearman from Santa Barbara, California as expert witness in the case. Since the court had "Forgotten" to seat a jury for the trial, and the court date had to be changed, Judge Renner authorized Dillon to videotape a deposition.

There were four prosecutors in the courtroom. Prosecutor Michael Hanson attempted to oppose any testimony from the defense, going so far as to request testimony from the defendant be disallowed, particularly from her gurney as it would have added sympathy for Horton to the jury. Judge Renner ignored the Prosecutor's demands.

Mainstream news media coverage of the case was excellent early in the day, but all of the TV stations failed to present the case on their prime time newscasts. The city's only newspaper, the Indianapolis Star had no coverage in today's editions, apparently feeling that donations of teddy bears to the Sheriff's department warranted more coverage than the judicial failures in the Horton case. The case allegedly goes to trial February 12, 2002.