There was not a lot of suspense about the outcome of Ed Rosenthal's trial on federal marijuana charges, but just to tie up loose ends let it be noted that he was convicted again on Wednesday. He will therefore walk free, albeit saddled with three felony convictions, since U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has made it clear that the sentence this time around will be the same as in the first trial: one day, already served.
Breyer was so disgusted with the prosecution's decision to pursue a second trial (not to mention its vindictive attempt to tack on new charges) that he pretty much ordered the U.S. Attorney's Office to drop the one charge on which the jury did not reach a verdict. The Drug War Chronicle notes that Breyer so far has declined to punish six prosecution witnesses who said they could not in good conscience testify against Rosenthal, who was prevented from telling the jury that he was growing pot in cooperation with local officials for patients who are permitted to use it under California law. Breyer deemed that fact irrelevant to Rosenthal's guilt under federal law but took it into consideration when he imposed the most lenient sentence he could.
So what has U.S. Attorney's Office gained by pissing off Breyer and defying public opinion in Northern California, which strongly supports medical marijuana? It was uncharacteristically silent on the question after Rosenthal's conviction.