May 28, 2019 Lynch files Final Reply in Lynch vs USA
Free Federal Public Defenders file Reply in Lynch vs USA asking Supreme Court to hear the case. The briefs will be distributed to the Justices tomorrow, and they will hold a conference to decide whether to accept the case (as well as many other cases) on June 13. We should learn the Court’s decision on June 17, or later if the Court needs additional time to consider the petition.
"Almost no criminal cases go to trial these days. On those rare occasions when they do, courts should jealously protect the jury’s historic duty to decide the defendant’s guilt or innocence, and to issue a verdict on behalf of the community. That didn’t happen when Petitioner Charles Lynch defended himself against federal marijuana charges."
"After a prospective juror balked at the idea of convicting Lynch for running a state-legal medical marijuana dispensary, the trial judge issued an anti-nullification instruction that effectively threatened punishment if jurors disobeyed, and polled each juror individually to ensure none would."
"Lynch could have prevailed at trial nonetheless, for he had a defense to the charges: a federal Drug Enforcement Administration official had told him that the legality of his proposed dispensary was a matter of local law."
"Though college-educated, Petitioner had no legal training, and struggled to understand how federal law seemed to criminalize marijuana, while California openly embraced medical marijuana. He studied the conflicting laws as best he could, and tentatively concluded that the Tenth Amendment reserved to the States authority to legalize medical marijuana. How else to explain the hundreds of dispensaries operating in plain sight? Petitioner’s call to the DEA confirmed the apparent correctness of that understanding, which he then included on dispensary forms."
"The Ninth Circuit issued a final judgment affirming Petitioner’s conviction. Lynch, 903 F.3d at 1087. Short of habeas relief, no alternatives remain for overturning that conviction beyond this petition for certiorari."
The Ninth Circuit’s decision doubly diminishes the historic role of the citizenjury in a criminal case, deepens divisions among the lower courts, and contradicts Supreme Court precedent. The Court should grant the petition.
May 28, 2019 Respectfully submitted,
Federal Public Defender
ALEXANDRA W. YATES
Deputy Federal Public Defender
Counsel of Record
Attorneys for Petitioner