HILO: Jurors walked up to marijuana seed advocate Aaron Anderson this
week and told him they thought he had been mistreated by the Hawaii
County prosecutor.

Anderson was charged with marijuana possession in 1992 for ordering
sterilized marijuana birdseed, which was legally imported into the
United States. The criminal case ended with a hung jury.

Despite their sympathy, jurors in the resulting federal lawsuit
against the county told Anderson they had to decide against him
because of the narrow wording of instructions to them by U.S.
District Judge Kevin Chang.

Anderson, 62, this week lost his lawsuit accusing the prosecutor and
the county of violating his constitutional right to equal protection.
The suit accused the county of selective prosecution for filing
charges against him but not against others with similar seeds, such
as Wal-Mart.

"It was like being hit by a 4-by-4," Anderson said of the verdict.
About six members of the eight-person jury expressed their sympathy
after the trial, he said.

Anderson's attorney, Steven Strauss, said he may appeal because of
the jury instructions and other reasons.

Besides the federal lawsuit, Anderson has a similar lawsuit pending
in state court, based not on inequality but on alleged maliciousness
of the prosecutor.

Unlike federal law, which says sterilized seeds are legal, Hawaii law
has two parts, one saying they are legal and the other saying they
are not.

U.S. Judge David Ezra eventually ruled that the two parts have to be
read together, and doing so shows sterilized seeds are legal.

Defending the county, attorney Joseph Kamelamela argued that
Anderson's seeds were capable of germination and did so in tests.
Strauss said the tests were not scientific and the germination was
abnormal.

A key point was whether Prosecutor Jay Kimura intentionally allowed
deputy Kay Iopa to conduct selective prosecution.

Kimura testified he told Iopa to check whether stores were selling
sterilized seeds, but he did not follow up with her.

Strauss called that "deliberate indifference," showing Kimura's
intent to permit selective prosecution.


Newshawk: M & M Family
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Apr 2001
Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI)
Copyright: 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Contact: letters@starbulletin.com
Website: http://www.starbulletin.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/196
Author: Rod Thompson