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Man Lights Up a Joint in Portland Courtroom, Disrupts Murder Trial

Photo by Getty Images

Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers, said: “Common sense is a flower that doesn’t grow in everyone’s garden.”

It became apparent that one young man’s garden lacked that flower when he lit up a joint in a courtroom in Portland, Oregon during the hearing of a tragic shooting death of a 17-year-old boy.

The 30-something smoker apparently thought it was cool because, after all, weed is legal in Oregon, right?

Two deputies quickly disabused the man of that notion.

Courthouse deputy Chris Payne said he walked through a plume of smoke to the man who was toking in the third row of the crowded courtroom.

“I said, ‘Sir, you need to leave the courthouse now,’” Payne told the Oregonian/OregonLive.

The man, confused at the rebuke, stepped into the hall and naively asked why he was removed.

“You can’t smoke marijuana in public,” Payne told him.

“Oh, you can’t?” the man responded.

Payne said the man seemed genuinely surprised and also showed “signs of being high.”

Word of the encounter reverberated through the courthouse community and apparently astonished a broad cross-section of seen-it-all lawyers, judges, deputies and court staff.

The Multnomah County Courthouse, the main courthouse in downtown Portland, has been around for 106 years and regularly handles 800 to 1,000 daily visitors from all walks of life.

Presumably, professionals in the criminal justice field are accustomed to all sorts of things.

But this was the first time anyone had ever seen a visitor casually smoke a joint in court like he was home watching the OJ trial on TV.

From the bench, presiding Multnomah County Circuit Judge, Cheryl Albrecht, said she saw the man being ejected from her courtroom but didn’t realize why until she got a pungent whiff of weed, which to her credit, she recognized.

“Never have I seen anything like that,” Albrecht said, and she’s been a magistrate and a judge for 16 years. “I look at the detective on the stand and think ‘It’s not him.’ And I look at my clerk, and I know it’s not her.”

An attorney for one of the murder defendants had some harsh words for the pot smoker.

“To me, that guy is living proof that marijuana makes you stupid,” said Alicia Hercher.

Aw, come on…it’s just one guy lacking the common sense flower.

Court deputies didn’t get the man’s name, nor did they try to issue him a citation.

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