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Ken Unger Interview - August 17, 2012

Kenneth Unger - Disabled Veteran - What happens when the "legal" medicine is worse than illegal options? - August 17, 2012


Ken UngerRIP Ken Unger

Ken Unger passed today (March 27, 2013) at 1:30 central time, services will be Monday April 1 from 4 to 8 pm at Buchholz mortuary 837 Mid Rivers Mall Drive, St Peters MO 63176. In lieu of flowers donations to Disabled American Veterans, American Heart Association or Missouri Norml.

Thank you to everyone who has been there for Ken in the past. You made our lives better and gave Ken hope for the future.



Ken Unger, of O'Fallon Missouri, in St. Charles County, was serving in the Navy, when he was hit with a 50 ton crane hook, and now suffers from two herniated discs in his back, muscle spasms, weakness, pain and numbness in the legs.  He has six coronary stents holding the arteries in his heart open and an artery bypass.  His injuries have rendered him weak, and he now suffers from depression as well as diabetes. Ken was given a 100% disability rating by the Veterans Administration leaving him unable to work.  He was prescribed morphine to control his pain.  The morphine left him barely able to function, and extremely sick, and effected his heart resulting in the heart trouble, so he made the decision that he did not want to be a morphine addict. Ken tried marijuana, and it alleviated most of the pain, and all of the vomiting and nausea.  So he decided to grow a small amount of marijuana in his basement to control his pain.  His quality of life improved, as the marijuana allowed him to begin to enjoy life by taking small walks around the block, which he was unable to do on morphine.  

Although some states have medical marijuana laws, Missouri does not.  Apparently Ken's 9 year old son, made a comment at school, about Dad having plants in the basement, which was overheard by a teacher and a D.A.R.E. Officer showed up at 11pm at the Unger residence, with a "release" in hand, demanding to inspect their home.  The Unger's refused to let the D.A.R.E. officer enter their home without a warrant, which led to a later arrest.  It is sad to see a 8 year old child used in this manner, and the effects on the child have evidently never been considered by the prosecutor, or the school.  Could they have requested a meeting with the Unger's to discuss the matter?   It is questionable if the teacher overheard anything, as children these days are often interrogated at school regarding what goes on in the home via questionnaires disguised as educational tools.    

Yet interestingly, states that do not have medical marijuana laws, have dropped charges out of compassion for patients, understanding that it is questionable if a crime exists, when there is no victim, and where the law does more harm, and seems wrongly applied, not to mention the fact that jury's are refusing to convict. In fact, Missouri dropped a similar case in 2010 on Kenneth Wells.

Outdated, unjust, or wrongly applied laws, cause more harm by the monetary burden they bring to a community.  Increasingly juries are finding the accused, "NOT GUILTY," regardless of state or federal law in cases such as this, and regardless of the instructions the judge gives to the jury.  During the instruction giving process, judges normally do not explain "jury nullification" as an option.  However, jury nullification has been used by many juries, and is increasing especially in cases involving patients seeking pain relief, who are caught up in the drug war. 

In his 1998 book "Jury Nullification: The Evolution of a Doctrine," Clay S. Conrad defines "jury nullification" this way: "Jurors in criminal trials have the right to refuse to convict if they believe that a conviction would be in some way unjust."  Regardless of the law, or evidence.  It is especially appalling that a young child would be used by the school and police against his own dad, which is how this case first began.  The damage surely goes beyond that inflicted on Ken.  It is obvious that the sense of  "community" is lacking in the school, the police, and the prosecution, by their apparent lack of reaching out and helping one of their community members, but rather acting like fools in this compassion-less game of earning brownie points, where anything goes, even if it means destroying a child, and turning a patient into a drug addict. 

The contact information for the prosecuting attorney is below for anyone who cares to write, or call and respectfully let him know how you feel about spending public money prosecuting this case, where the only victim is the patient, and his family for the additional hardship they have had to endure since these charges were brought forward.

Jack Banas, Prosecuting Attorney,  300 N. 2nd Street #601, St. Charles, MO  63301 Phone 636-949-7355

To listen to the Ken Unger interview use the audio player at the top of this page.

Update:  Ken Unger accepted a plea deal for 2 misdemeanors to end the expense, and physical stress this case put on him.  After suffering heart trouble and double bypass surgery he felt it was his best option for his physical well being, and to ease the burden on his family, although there will always be a part of him that wanted to take it the whole way to trial.  It is hopeful, that some day we'll look back at how barbaric those in pain were treated, by denying them a safer, milder alternative that allowed better interaction with their family, and a better quality of life.  It is a tragedy that those who have served our country, and put their health and youth to the disposal of the American government, are subjected to brutal armed raids aggravating their frail condition, and terrorizing their family, while they were merely attempting to treat the wounds that resulted from their sacrifice to their country.  There are many more like Ken Unger out there who are forced to hide, and live under the stress of being made to feel like a terrible criminal, when the fact is that marijuana is a safer alternative for many.