KEENE, NH — Prominent New Hampshire marijuana activist Rich Paul was sentenced last week, after emotional and defiant remarks to the court.
In a 20 minute statement, he lashed out at the Drug War, and at the FBI for trying to spy on and intimidate political reformers. His friends filmed the courtroom, so a video record exists of the proceedings.
The videos below are well worth watching, giving a unique view of an actual trial of a dedicated man who held his head high. He maintained a level of honor far outshining that of the of the American legal system.
The judge chose to treat him neither as a noble dissident nor as a menace to society. In giving him much less than the maximum, he seemed to be dismissing Mr. Paul as a naughty child. Such is the sorry state of our society.
Rich got one year in jail, and three years of probation. The probation holds a threat of further jail time, unless he sticks to its many constraints, which may include restriction on associating with his friends. Of course, he also gets all the downside that comes along with a felony record.
On the positive side, Rich has already served two months, and with good behavior, will probably be out in seven more. He is also in a jail whose warden is a member of L.E.A.P, and who recently testified in favor of drug legalization at the state legislature.
Mr. Paul was denied release during his appeal. That appeal moves forward however, and hopefully will result in legal precedent regarding jury nullification. An appeal fund has been established here.
Rich Paul’s statement:
The entire sentencing hearing:
The entire trial:
Trial excerpts focusing on the FBI’s malfeasance:
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