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Pot Prosecutor

Wants Mercy for

Willie Nelson

7/9/2011 6:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Willie Nelson's fortunes may have changed dramatically ... the guy who's prosecuting him for pot possession is not going along with the judge who wants to nail the singer ... and Willie could walk.

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The judge in Wilie's Texas marijuana case rejected a plea deal struck between Willie and the D.A. in which Willie would have paid $500 and the case would have gone away.  The judge felt the deal reeked of celebrity justice so he told them to come up with a stronger punishment -- with a maximum of one year in jail.

But sources connected with the case tell TMZ ... there's a "strong possibility" the prosecutor will not recommend a stronger punishment, but instead just sit on the case until it's dismissed for lack of prosecution.

Call it defiant, but the prosecutor is riding a wave in Texas to treat marijuana possession for what it is ... and not fill the overcrowded jails with recreational potheads.

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