Friday, June 08, 2012

Was the Attorney General's medical marijuana testimony perjury?

The Washington Times quotes the June 7, 2012 testimony of Attorney General Eric Holder before a House Judiciary Committee hearing regarding medical marijuana:

"We limit our enforcement efforts to those individuals, organizations that are acting out of conformity with state law," Mr. Holder told a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing.
This is not true. U.S. Attorneys have threatened state governors that the Justice Department would prosecute state employees who are carrying out state law.

In June 2011, the threats were so real they worried New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R), a former U.S. Attorney himself.

In Delaware, this spring U.S. Attorney Charles Oberly, III, threatened to prosecute state employees while state officials were developing the regulations to fine tune the state law. In that case the Justice Department was trying to prevent any possibility that anyone could be in "conformity" with state law! Governor Jack Markell actually stopped state employees from going forward in the regulation writing process.

In the adjacent state of Maryland, Gov. Martin O'Malley was so alarmed by Oberly's threat, he announced, before the General Assembly could even mark-up a bill in committee, that he would veto any bill that was sent to him!

Last September, the BATF, a unit of the Justice Department, advised all federally licensed firearms dealers that it would be a crime if they sold a firearm to anyone they knew was a state-licensed medical marijuana patient. Patients who are conforming to state law could either be denied their right under the Second Amendment from owning or acquiring a firearm (as the Supreme Court ruled in the 2008 Heller case) or be prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(3) for exercising that right and risk imprisonment for up to ten years! (18 U.S.C. 924 (a)(2)). Certainly lots of officials in Montana, including the state Attorney General, thought this was outrageous.

How could Attorney General Holder think his answer was a truthful explanation of how "limited" the Justice Department has been in relation to state medical marijuana laws?

Since the Attorney General was not placed under oath by the committee at the start of his testimony, these falsehoods are not perjury. Typically in the Judiciary Committee, Administration witnesses are not placed under oath when they testify at regular oversight hearings on the activities of government agencies.

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Anonymous said...

Fantastic analysis! Not perjury at all, just run-of-the-mill lies from our top law enforcement officer. To be expected!?

Douglas Andrew Willinger said...

Just a part of that great Washingtoon D.C. Merry Go Round: