New Orleans Prosecutors Unable To Fill Jury In Felony Marijuana Case

American Courtroom

A New Orleans man who was facing 15 to 20 years behind bars on charges of marijuana possession with intent to distribute will only have to spend 12 weekend days in jail. Jabar Kensey was arrested with 17 individual baggies containing marijuana, but prosecutors were unable to fill a jury as they took his case to trial.

Ad hoc Criminal District Court Judge Dennis Waldron was forced to call off the proceedings after he dismissed 20 of the 25 potential jurors. In order to move forward with the trial, they needed a total of six jurors, plus one alternative. Judge Waldron said that lawyers asked for a "significant" number of the jurors to be dismissed after they voiced their opinions about "whether or not (marijuana) should be the subject of criminal laws outlawing it."

The following day, Kensey's lawyers agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors in which he would plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge and only spend 12 weekend days bars.

"I think the District Attorney's Office heard their sentiments," Kensey's lawyer Stavros Panagoulopoulos said. "Given the current climate in our country with regards to marijuana, I think this was an appropriate solution."

Ken Daley, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, disputes that claim and told the New Orleans Advocate that they were planning to try to seat a jury the next day. He said that prosecutors felt the "plea agreement and length of jail time brought a resolution to the case satisfactory to the state."

Photo: Getty Images

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