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Jim Carlson vs. the United States of America: How will the court rule?

Last Place on Earth store owner Jim Carlson’s trial is scheduled to begin today. He’s accused of 54 55 counts of violating federal drug and regulatory laws. How many of them will stick? Perhaps you’d like to take a lucky guess. There’s a prize involved, so concentrate and read on.

More explanation below, poll question now:

How many counts of federal drug and regulatory laws will Jim Carlson be found guilty of violating?

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This poll is now closed.

Following the ruling on the case, everyone who has chosen the correct number will be entered into a drawing for the prize. What is the prize? It’s a little vague, but PDD will buy you something nice at any shop located near the Last Place on Earth. Maybe you’d like a nice lunch at the Chinese Dragon, some copies at Shel-don, some tokens at Fond-du-Luth Casino or a couple Starfire Ales at Tycoons? We’ll figure it out.

Normally we turn off the commenting feature on polls, but this time we are leaving it on, because it could be interesting to get into some discussion about strategy.

It should be noted that there are three other defendants in this case, charged along with Carlson on some of the counts. For the purposes of this poll, we are considering them irrelevant.

Any changes to the ruling on appeal do not apply to this poll/contest.

Also, because this poll was recklessly hatched overnight, we reserve the right to change the rules at any point, should there be something stupid we overlooked.

Below is a copy of the indictment, courtesy of Minnesota Public Radio. Click here to read it bigger.

11 Comments

tamara

about 6 years ago

I think that if the Judge is ethical and moral, then he will have to throw out any charges and evidence obtained prior to the change of law in 2012 and reinstate the forfeitures obtained prior to that date (August 1, I think.) I think the feds and the DPD jumped the gun there, much to my dismay.

However, I think Carlson's absolute megalomania needs to be checked at the border. After August 1, he knowingly and mockingly thumbed his nose at the law. That gets no points from me whatsoever. 

I think what will happen is he will be found guilty of most, if not all, the counts, regardless of my earlier conjecture about the judge's ethics and morals, and then he (Carlson) will appeal them and it will end up before a higher court.

Barrett Chase

about 6 years ago

The DNT is reporting it as 55 counts.

I don't know where the 55th count comes from, but here are the 54 listed in the document above:

1. Conspiracy to Commit Offenses against the United States
2-10. Causing Misbranded Drugs to be Introduced into Interstate Commerce
11-16. Delivery of Misbranded Drugs Received in Interstate Commerce
17. Doing Acts Resulting in Drugs Being Misbranded While Held for Sale
18. Distribution of a Controlled Substance
19. Distribution of a Controlled Substance
20. Possession With the Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance
21. Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substance Analogues
22-29. Distribution of Controlled Substance Analogues
30-54. Monetary Transactions in Property Derived From Specified Unlawful Activity

Barrett Chase

about 6 years ago

Tamara, isn't the August 1, 2012 law you're referencing a state law? Carlson is being charged with federal violations.

missdiscer

about 6 years ago

What a crap shoot. Hope I win.

baci

about 6 years ago

55. Unlawful distribution of "numchucks"

Herzog

about 6 years ago

Gotta have a strong sense of humor to make it in this town.

Paul Lundgren

about 6 years ago

I'm disappointed no one has handicapped this thing, explaining which counts Carlson is likely to be found guilty and which he is likely to be found innocent, thus determining which numbers are the odds-on favorites.

And apparently a 55th count has sprung up since the initial indictment was written. Fortunately, we are covered for that in this contest since the poll includes a "somehow more than 54" option.

emmadogs

about 6 years ago

It's difficult to comment intelligently on this, but here goes....  

I am going to attach a couple of links that might (?) be interesting.  I'm including the Wisconsin drug statute because that's what I am familiar with.  It can be difficult for prosecutors to successfully prosecute these offenses.  No one is going to be sending each package to the crime lab to see if anything inside is illegal.  And the statute itself is confusing and difficult to understand, unless you have your degree in chemistry. So I've had cases dismissed out of the gate due to lack of 'probable cause' to even know what is or is not in the package sold to the accused.  

Second, if the substance is ultimately sent to the crime lab, I have had 'no illegal substance found' result come back from product purchased at LPOE.

So back to Paul's question:  Take a look at the drug statutes...now imagine you are on a jury and are being told that Carlson had sent substances to his lab to confirm they had no currently illegal substance in them...imagine you are asked to try to comprehend these statutes...imagine you are being told that the chemists change substances in these products as fast as the law changes what is illegal in these products...I dunno, seems possible he can walk from a lot of the charges.  Engaging in offensive and gross behavior does not constitute a 'guilty beyond a reasonable doubt' verdict.

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/961/II/14/4/tb

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/07/synthetic-drug-ban/

http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/fed_regs/rules/2013/fr0412.htm

Paul Lundgren

about 6 years ago

The correct answer was 51, as the AP reports:

A Minnesota head shop owner was convicted Monday of almost all counts against him in a closely watched federal case involving the sale of synthetic drugs. Jim Carlson, who defiantly operated the Last Place on Earth shop in Duluth through multiple federal raids, was convicted on 51 of 55 counts. The complex indictment included multiple charges of receiving and selling misbranded drugs. Carlson's girlfriend, Lava Haugen, was convicted on all four counts she faced. His son, Joseph Gellerman, was convicted on two of four counts. Prosecutors contended the defendants knew they were selling recreational drugs that people would use to get high. Carlson never denied selling the products, but the defense argued that he did nothing illegal. Carlson's attorney, Randall Tigue, said he was disappointed by the verdicts and would seek a new trial.

Paul Lundgren

about 6 years ago

So, who won?

Well, believe it or not, no one actually guessed 51. However, a handful of people guessed 50 or 52. 

Of those, the winner of the drawing is ...  	Brittney Blair!

Paul Lundgren

about 6 years ago

Brittney has chosen to receive a gift certificate to Art in the Alley as her prize. By the way, Art in the Alley will celebrate five years in business on Oct. 17.

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