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It is a nearly four-hour drive northeast of Memphis to get to Lebanon. As the seat of Wilson County, the city is home to the county’s courts where civil and criminal cases are heard. It is perhaps an odd coincidence that the courtroom where a Tennessee man recently lit up a marijuana cigarette and puffed is located on E. High Street in Lebanon.

The 20-year-old was in court on a marijuana possession charge when he lit up in front of the judge. It appeared that the man was making a statement about marijuana legalization with the act of defiance. He received a 10-day sentence for contempt of court for the gesture, however.

According to a news report (complete with video of the incident), the judge and defendant were engaged in brief discussion of the case when the judge looked down to make some notes. That’s when the defendant reached into his pocked, pulled out a joint, lit up and took a puff.

He then turned to the packed courtroom and said, “the people deserve better.” The video doesn’t include audio, but a TV reporter said the audience erupted in laughter. It should be noted that the judge wasn’t laughing.

Bailiffs took the man into custody and the judge then imposed the contempt of court sentence.

“I’ve been in law enforcement for 20 years and this is by far the most bizarre thing I have seen in a courtroom,” said a sheriff’s deputy.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the man had no prior arrest record.

The defendant in this case obviously chose to make a statement. It is entirely up to him to decide if the act of defiance was worth it. But if you face a drug possession charge here in Memphis, you can contact an attorney experienced in criminal defense to help you avoid the harsh sanctions of the law.