J.K. Dineen of The Examiner,
In a startling revelation that could mean a new trial for convicted medical-marijuana cultivator Ed Rosenthal, a juror in the case says she violated the law by seeking outside legal advice during the trial and then sharing the information with a fellow juror. The development is another chapter in the bizarre case of Rosenthal, a nationally recognized medical pot advocate whose case pitted state medical marijuana laws against federal laws, which do not allow for any use or cultivation of pot.
With Rosenthal's sentencing slated for later this month, jury member Marney Craig will appear this morning before Judge Charles Breyer. Craig is expected to say that despite constant warnings from the judge not to discuss the case outside of the courtroom, she sought and obtained outside legal advice on whether she could vote not guilty. After being told that she had to vote guilty, she then shared that advice with another juror, Pamela Klarkowski, according to sources. A source said Craig is not expected to name the lawyer she spoke to. Klarkowski, the juror she allegedly shared the illegal counsel with, will reportedly be there to confirm that the conversation took place. Rosenthal attorney Dennis Riordan called the case a "classic example" of a situation where a mistrial is warranted. "Even if she had never talked to the other juror that could be sufficient grounds for mistrial," said Riordan. The Rosenthal trial received national attention after a majority of the jurors after the conviction repudiated their verdict, contending they should have been allowed to consider that Rosenthal was growing the marijuana in accordance with state medical marijuana laws and that he had been deputized by the city of Oakland to grow medical pot. Craig was one of the jurors who went on television to complain about the trial and called it "the worst mistake of my life." Golden Gate Law School Dean Peter Keane said the revelation could constitute jury misconduct and grounds for a new trial. "If you have something that comes into the jury room from outside, such as an outside legal interpretation or a jury member going to a crime scene to see evidence that was not presented, that is jury misconduct," Keane said. If Craig did get advice from a lawyer, that attorney would have been guilty of misconduct as well, Keane said. He said Craig could be in legal hot water as well, although judges respond to jury misconduct in a variety of ways. "It varies from a chewing out to a finding of contempt and a fine to, in egregious situations, maybe a couple of days in jail," he said.