Hypotheticals and CBD: How Court Outcomes Are Changed

This is a small piece looking at how hypotheticals may be used in court.

“…some prosecutors know enough to think they are right – but not enough to know when they are wrong.”

As an addition to this small writing we’ve included a piece written by Ben Stevens in which the German minister for food and agriculture agrees that the hemp prosecutions are ‘senseless’. This ministerial observation has still has not prevented prosecutorial mistreatment from continuing unfortunately.

HYPOTHETICALS REPLACE EVIDENCE IN COURTROOMS

Prosecutors in CBD trials have tried hard to prove something which they can’t: they have tried to prove that a product which doesn’t intoxicate, is a narcotic. To add authority to their claim, they’ve been forced to rely on hypothetical arguments, because this is all they’ve got. The claim is not supported by good science and not supportec by evidence.

Prosecutors have used hypotheticals to show that a product – which doesn’t intoxicate – becomes a narcotic when consumed in vast quantities. This topsy turvy suggestion, that a narcotic must be consumed in vast proportions to intoxicate, defies our understanding of what a narcotic is. We know that narcotics are supremely potent when consumed in minute quantities and when taken in excess quantities, narcotics frequently kill.

Prosecutors have used the narcotics law to prosecute substances which are not narcotics and have been forced to alter the definition of what a narcotic is to achieve this.

Prosecutors suggest that CBD flower which does not intoxicate, becomes a narcotic when consumed in vast proportions. Suggesting that CBD flower is a narcotic, is like suggesting alcohol free beer – when consumed in vast quantities – is potent like vodka. Is alcohol free beer as potent as vodka? Police prosecutors suggest this is so.

CIRCUMVENTING ACCEPTED LAW- JUDICIAL ACTIVISM OR JUDICIAL MISUNDERSTANDING

Prosecutors have attempted to circumvent both EU and international law. Their purpose for doing this is difficult to understand. The law is clearly set out. Claims made suggesting prosecutors have in fact misunderstood the law, have been quickly dismissed by those reviewing the allegations. Those reviewing allegations against the police prosecutors are generally other police. Like a clam closing up its shell the police community draws in to protect itself.

Investigations that police prosecutors have misunderstood the law, confirm the prevailing situation and nothing more. Independant third parties must be used to separate incorrect behaviours from correct behaviours, police investigating complaints against themselves cannot be relied on. Asking a fox to investigate a raid on the henhouse will seldom benefits the hens.

How is public trust affected when court rulings are inconsistent with the written law?

TRICKY LAWYERS AND TRICKY COURTS

Tricky arguments are often used by lawyers to persuade judges and juries. That’s a lawyers job, to change someones opinion. The more persuasive a lawyer is the more money he will make. Like a footballer scoring a goal, good lawyers get extra money for special performances.

Sometimes prosecutors and judges change each others mind naturally. They spend so much time together discussing possibilities, they persuade each other something is true – when it isn’t. Is there a way to make sure court judgements remain correct and true, not influenced by tricky lawyers or judges?

ORDINARY PEOPLE WITH COMMON SENSE

Judges and prosecutors sometimes believe an event or a version of an event is true – when it isn’t. To stop this happening and keep courtrooms honest, juries, selected from ordinary people were used in courtrooms to make important decisions. The jury system used ordinary persons to weigh up the facts of a case and determine an accused’s guilt or innocence using  ‘common sense’.  

THE IMPORTANCE OF JURIES

It was thought that people with too much education,  might have had the ‘common sense’ educated out of them, so ordinary, reasonable people were chosen for courtroom duty. Perhaps this is an unkind view, that too much education, educates the intelligence out of a person, however, on occasion, we see highly educated people struggle to make sensible decisions or even do simple straightforward tasks, like change a car tyre for example. Having spent so much time buried in books, the real world seems unfamiliar to some judges and some lawyers.

Lawyers are educated and some are highly educated. It’s not uncommon to see lawyers make arguments in court which seem to lack common sense: sometimes the more highly regarded the lawyer, the more outrageous their arguments may be. These ‘outrageous’ arguments may convince a judge who deals in hypotheticals,  but surprisingly, may not persuade an ordinary, reasonable person who solves problems using common sense and logic. Because of this the ordinary persons opinion was highly valued in courtroom decisions. And jury duty was made compulsory in some common law countries.

COMMON SENSE REALITY v’s HYPOTHETICAL REALITY

HYPOTHETICAL: involving or being based on a suggested idea or theory being or involving a  hypothesis:  CONJECTURALhypothetical arguments: a hypothetical situation

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypothetical

Hypotheticals are models of an idea. Hypotheticals use the imagination to build a model of a situation to understand the situation better. An example of a hypothetical argument might be that: “alcohol free beer is the same as vodka”. It seems an unlikely suggestion at first glance, but hypothetically, is the idea possible?

This idea has merit: alcohol free beer contains 0.2% alcohol, and alcohol is an intoxicant. If alcohol free beer is consumed in very very large quantities, it will intoxicate, because it contains alcohol – just like vodka. So we can say hypothetically, alcohol free beer under the right conditions will intoxicate the same as vodka.

A judge, whose career is based on hypotheticals, may see the merit in this argument and be persuaded that yes vodka and alcohol free beer are the same – hypothetically. But it’s unlikely an ordinary person will accept that vodka and alcohol free beer are the same. Because, common sense tells us, it isn’t.

JUDGES AND HYPOTHETICALS

Judges rely on hypotheticals to explain the world around them, indeed in the search for truth judges must use hypotheticals to shed light on situations that are unclear; did X steal the money, is the alibi of X convincing? For a judge or a police prosecutor, hypotheticals are a valuable tool used to discover the truth from criminals who are hiding the truth. But an ordinary reasonable person, is less likely to be persuaded by the artifice of hypotheticals,  the ordinary, reasonable person’s reality is built on a common sense understanding of the world they confront – as they walk through their day to day life.

ALL ALCOHOL IS THE SAME

In a hypothetical world alcohol free beer and vodka are the same. Both contain alcohol, both can cause intoxication and both can cause severe intoxications if consumed in very large quantities. Theoretically this is fact and cannot be denied. The problem with hypotheticals is accuracy. A hypothetical is made in the imagination, the imagination cannot measure a situation accurately: values and shades of importance become hard to determine in the imagined hypothetical world. Is vodka the same as alcohol free beer? Of course not.

THE NEWSPAPER ARTICLE

If we imagine a newspaper article about murder, the story may read like this: a man accused of murder,  had drunk 2 bottles of vodka before shooting the victim dead:   this article doesn’t strike us as unusal. Erratic behaviour and alcohol consumption is frequently associated.

However if the article reads like this: a man found guilty of murder had drunk 200 bottles of alcohol free beer before shooting the victim dead. Immediately something seems unusual. Hypothetically all alcohol may intoxicate and seem the same, but in real life differences become obvious.

HYPOTHETICALS MUST BE CONFIRMED BY REAL LIFE

Real life either confirms the accuracy of a hypothetical model or dispels the hypothetical model as an unusable theory. A hypothetical model, which is untested, cannot, in good faith, be put forward as an assertion of fact. But police prosecutors do. Police prosecutors who present hypotheticals as fact, do so to manipulate court outcomes. Hypotheticals can be used to persuade people something black is indeed white.

CHANGING REALITY IS LAWYERS WORK

If a lawyer can change what people think, distort perception, make someone who is guilty appear innocent, they will. This is how lawyers make money. Hypotheticals are a tool which can help to distort perception, it is why lawyers use them. A lawyer who can distort the truth, will be more effective in court and earn more money than the lawyer who can’t. For lawyers money is a driving priority. This is true of defence attorneys. It is also true of police prosecutors.

Police prosecutors are aggressive and self interested, they distort the truth to make their case more convincing. This is not a bad quality but a qood quality for prosecutors. The better they are in court, the more wins they chalk up, the more their job opportunities increase and the state receives more money and fines. For the state, a conviction equals revenue and for the prosecutor a pat on the back. Distorting the truth is lucrative.

HYPOTHETICALS – HOW USEFUL ARE THEY

Lawyers use hypotheticals to persuade and manipulate. Vodka is the same as low alcohol beer – hypothetically. Both intoxicate and cause drunkenness under the right conditions. But common sense is strong. We know vodka and low alcohol beer are different. To chill out for an evening with some friends and a few vodka costs 30 – 40 euros. To chill out for an evening using alcohol free beer isn’t possible, the alcohol has been removed or suppressed. This is the reality. The reality is different to the hypothetical which says alcohol free beer and vodka are the same.

Is it incorrect to say one cannot chill out with alcohol free beer? Let’s asume It’s possible even if it’s difficult. To feel intoxication or get very drunk on alcohol free beer – vast quantities must be consumed. To chill out or party hard with alcohol free beer perhaps a person needs to drink 100 or 150 alcohol free beers during the occasion.

There is an economic difference between vodka and alcohol free beer which the hypothetical model doesn’t make clear: to chill out for an evening at the local pub, 10 double vodka is €40 euros and to chill out for an evening with alcohol free beer costs € 3 – 400 euros perhaps more.

Another difference between vodka and beer is ease of consumption. 4 or 5 vodka or even 10 can be drunk reasonably quickly and easily. To chill out for an evening with alcohol free beer and feel intoxication or powerful drunkenness – means drinking 30 – 50 beers an hour – approximately 1 bottle of beer every 1.5 or 2 minutes, for 3 or 4 hours….not a fun chilled evening at all and a date won’t be impressed by this activity of drinking bottles of beer like a crazy man. The real world examples show vodka and alcohol free beer are not at all similar as the hypothetical suggest, but very different. The ease of consumption between alcohol free beer and vodka is another quantifiable difference not made clear by the hypothetical.

SHORTCOMINGS OF HYPOTHETICALS

Hypotheticals have shortcomings which make them of limited value. Police prosecutors have taken advantage of these shortcomings to present people who are innocent as guilty, this makes it easier for them to secure a conviction. Easy prosecutions are an effective policing strategy, prosecutors dont need to work hard to ‘catch criminals’, but prosecutions, made possible by the misleading outcomes hypotheticals allow, is a questionable tactic. And a tactic we have seen used for some years.

Quantity is another difference between vodka and low alcohol beer which can be identified. The stomach can easily hold 5 or 10 vodkas over a 4 hour period. Can the stomach hold 100 – 150 bottles of beer over a 4 hour period? The hypothetical doesn’t consider this and it should. The more deeply we look into and test the hypothetical the more absurd it begins to appear and the less accurate it becomes. The less accurate it becomes the less useful it is.

Police prosecutors ask us to forget that hypothetical models are no more than a theory and ask us to accept that a hypothetical model proves a scientific truth. It doesn’t. Hypotheticals are by their nature just an idea and this idea is waiting to be proven or disproven.

TRIAL BY HYPOTHETICAL

Instead of asking us and the court to accept as reality – flawed hypothetical comparisons – it is better prosecutors put a question to themselves – why are they using hypothetical models with misleading outcomes. Is this the only way they can show that the claims they make are reasonable? Is this a valid way to conduct trials in which people’s liberties and freedoms are at stake, providing false outcomes from hypothetical arguments?

To maintain a righteous appearance prosecutors may claim to our face that hypotheticals are not used to sway court outcomes, while enabling the practice to continue behind our backs. The practice of using legal tricks to criminalise members of the public should not be tolerated. Evidence of a crime having been committed and intention of a person to commit that crime, should weigh far more highly than the presentation of hypothetical arguments and legal tricks. But it doesn’t.

ALCOHOLS ARE DIFFERENT AND SO IS CANNABIS

We know alcohols are different. Cannabis, like alcohol is also different. Some cannabis has a high intoxicant value and some a low intoxicant value – just like alcohol. Prosecutors are currently using hypothetical arguments to show that low intoxicant cannabis and high intoxicant cannabis are the same. That both are narcotics and deserve criminal punishment under narcotics law.

Common sense tells us low intoxicant cannabis, used to make ropes and fabrics, fed to animals[1], and grown openly in fields, is different to high intoxicant cannabis people smoke to get stoned. Common sense tells us this. Police prosecutors argue both are the same hypothetically – both are narcotics.

There is no evidence to prove these claims. There is no research of international merit to support these claims. In fact the opposite is true, writings and papers put forward by leading international experts disagree with prosecutors claims: as do high court decisions from international courts. However none of this seems relevant, prosecutors persist that low intoxicant cannabis is a narcotic.

If prosecutors put forward dubious hypothetical arguments and these arguments are accepted by the court at face value then we must quietly take a step back and wonder what is really going on?

If a court allows an argument of dubious merit to succeed over convincing legal evidence, then it’s not unreasonable to wonder if persuasive forces are quietly at work behind the scenes.

HYPOTHETICALS NEED TESTING

All cannabis isn’t the same – just like all alcohol isn’t the same. The alcohol argument we looked at above, low alcohol beer is the same as vodka, is a fun look at how hypotheticals can be used to provide incorrect legal outcomes when incorrect legal outcomes are desired. A hypothetical can be used to manipulate court outcomes and make something which is white, appear black. To prevent this a hypothetical idea must be tested against the real world.

THE TRUTH IS SUBJECTIVE

A hypothetical can be used to subvert the law. The law is intended to be applied impartially – sometimes it isn’t.

Judicial activism is not an abstract idea written about by legal scholars in books no one reads. It is real and potent. Hidden from plain view this parasitic force is used to alter court outcomes. Judicial activism is kept in check by safeguards put in place to keep the court system secure and judgements transparent. Judicial activism can on occasion be a white knight in shining armour, perfecting the imperfect, achieving the impossible. But not often.

When prosecutors and judges decides what the law should be and ignore what the law is, when prosecutors and judges decide what the courts outcome should be and ignore what the law requires, the laws direction changes.

Judicial activism on occasion brings about legal greatness. Bold fearless decisions which prove themselves correct in the face of criticisms. More often, however, it will not bring good to the majority, nor will it provide charity to those who have been harmed. Judicial activism generally speaking will be further used to line the pockets of the undeserving, to channel revenue streams from one direction into another.

They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.

Proverbs 28:4

LEGAL SYSTEMS

Many people think court integrity is guaranteed but it’s not. Behind the scenes immense pressures come to bare on judges, prosecutors and court outcomes. It took many hundreds of years until the ordinary person, those without wealth, would be safe from and treated fairly by the state. And in theory a person today who is not rich – but has been wronged – will be heard.

America’s court system, perhaps more than most has special interest groups that put pressure on the courts to ensure judgements go their way, lobby groups trying to ‘ rig the game in their favour’. This is nothing new – human beings have always tried to secure for themselves, an unfair advantage over others. The American courts are no different to the courts of other countries except in America things are made public, documents are discovered or information is ‘leaked’, and things come out in the open. Courts playing favourites hasn’t gone unnoticed in America. The Judicial Ethics Enforcement Act 2024, is a Bill put forward by individuals who seek to remedy alleged corruption in the American Supreme Court. According to an independant watchdog, ‘Accountable. US.’ it’s time to clean things up. Will they manage?

“The Supreme Court’s ongoing corruption crisis has undermined its credibility and caused public trust to plummet to record lows. Since the conflicted justices refuse to cut off their cozy relationships with their billionaire buddies, the crisis requires an urgent solution. The Judicial Ethics Enforcement Act is just that,” said Accountable.US President Caroline Ciccone. “Thanks to the strong leadership of Representatives Stansbury, Raskin, Omar, Hank Johnson, and several other original cosponsors, we’re one step closer to ensuring our high court serves everyday Americans — not justices’ wealthy pals and special interests.”  (1)

https://omar.house.gov/media/press-releases/repsomar-raskin-and-stansbury-push-supreme-court-accountability-new#:~:text=Specifically%2C%20the%20Judicial%20Ethics%20Enforcement,Court%20of%20the%20United%20States.

[1] https://www.allaboutfeed.net/animal-feed/raw-materials/hemp-may-help-reduce-piglet-mortality-and-diarrhoea/#:~:text=This%20is%20done%20by%20supplementing,thus%20their%20resistance%20to%20infections.

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