Moral Low Ground

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San Francisco Jury Acquits Eric Meoli, who ‘Forgot’ Magic Mushrooms were in his Backback

A San Francisco jury has acquitted a man for possession of ‘magic’ mushrooms after his lawyer argued that he forgot they were in his backpack, the San Francisco Examiner reports. 

Eric Meoli was stopped by police at the Powell Street BART station in May after officers spotted him riding his bike on the platform. When he handed his backpack over to them, the officers found less than four grams of psilocybin mushrooms, a powerfully hallucinogenic drug, in a small internal pocket of the bag.

Meoli, who works in a medical marijuana dispensary,  said he  gifted $10 worth of legally-obtained cannabis to “a hippy in Golden Gate Park” who suffered from insomnia. The sleep-deprived hippy gave him the mushrooms in exchange.

Meoli’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Kimberly Lutes-Koths, argued that her client placed the mushrooms in his backpack sox months later and forgot about them.

“One of the elements of the law requires that the defendant know of the presence of the substance,” Lutes-Koths told the Examiner. In this case, the prosecution failed to prove that Meoli knew the mushrooms were in his bag when he was stopped by police.

The jury went for this defense. Instructions were given to them that if circumstantial evidence is inconclusive, suggesting both guilt and innocence, then they must find the defendant innocent.

That’s just what they did, clearing Meoli of one count of misdemeanor possession of psilocybin mushrooms.

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One Comment

  1. Scott GJuly 17, 2011 at 10:12 pmReply

    at last…a Public Defender who actually defends.

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