New Mayor of San Diego, Former Congressman Bob Filner Offers Humanitarian Path to Safe Access – Calls For Action Against DA & Feds. Mayor Filner took questions and addressed many concerns of the medical marijuana community. This is the first time a sitting Mayor in San Diego attended an Americans for Safe Access meeting.
Mayor Bob Filner told some current defendants facing legal action that he would appear and speak at their trials if the court allow him to speak in favor of legal medical marijuana.
By Terrie Best – San Diego Americans for Safe Access
September 13, 2012
San Diego, CA – Over 60 senior citizens put the Edward Schwartz Federal Courthouse on its ear by forming a long line outside the building, donning green medical cannabis ribbons of support, and setting off metal detectors with their canes and walkers.
Their mission: To support Ronnie Chang, Hal Pilotte and co-defendants Gary Maddox and Peter Suhan (all allegedly connected to Club One Collective/Extreme Holistic Care, formerly San Diego Dispensary Services). The defendants were in court with their attorneys Michael J McCabe, Paul Turner, Mark Bluemel and Tom Matthews to argue a motion challenging the legality of a wire tap.
Michael McCabe, who wrote and argued the motion to suppress the evidence obtained from the wire tap, asserted the affidavit used to support the warrant contained false statements and omissions of facts. Further, had those false statements not been included in the affidavit and had the omitted information been included there would not have been enough probable cause to support the wire tap warrant, making it illegal.
US Prosecutor, Paul Starita decided not to use oral arguments and seemed quite taken aback by the full galley of supporters. The US attorney’s office likely understands it will be difficult to seat a jury who would convict when it is common knowledge that California is a medical cannabis state.
For years, the federal government has senselessly interfered with states rights to regulate cannabis in accordance with Proposition 215, a peoples’ initiative, SB420, designed to clarify the scope of 215, and the California Attorney General’s Guidelines for the Security and Non-diversion of Marijuana Grown for Medical Use.
Among the points of Starita’s written response was the opinion that primary care givers for infirm people who use medical cannabis may not be entities but only individuals. Mr. McCabe, however was able to quickly enter evidence to discredit Starita’s argument with documents he obtained from state court.
In the now vacated state case against Ronnie Chang, prosecutor Theresa Pham entered the collective’s membership agreement into evidence some time ago and Mr. McCabe obtained and used the agreement to expose Starita’s falsehood that the collective ever designated themselves as primary care givers.
The state case was vacated when the US Attorney’s office inserted themselves into the matter and San Diego District Attorney (and failed Mayoral candidate), Bonnie Dumanis allowed county resources to be used to assist in the victimization of the defendants on the federal level. This disturbing level of cooperation illustrates how much assistance Dumanis office provides the US attorney’s office in their effort to thwart the will of California voters.
In the courtroom every chair in department 5 was filled and 20 more supporters waited outside necessitating a US Marshall be stationed at the door throughout the hearing to keep latecomers out, for lack of seating.
The Judge, Michael M Anello, acknowledged the supporters with an understanding of why we were there. In a show of authority to the seniors however, US Marshalls attempted to put Ronnie Chang, who is in custody, in the corner of the courtroom away from his counsel, an intimidation tactic that did not work on his honor.
In the end Judge Anello ruled against the defendants, a crushing blow to the supporters who were seen leaving the courtroom in tears. Mr. McCabe remained to speak with supporters, explain the motion’s arguments and provide information on the case law cited within it. Among the case law Mr. McCabe used in his motion:
Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978)
United States v. $186,416.00 in U.S. Currency, 590 F.3d 942 (9th Cir. 2010)
People v, Mower
People v. Mench
People v. Colvin
On the other hand, Paul Starita, in his effort to exit the room and escape the crowd at the end of the hearing, accidentally hit Ronnie Chang’s mother in the head with the swinging door as he exited and she was taken away by ambulance. Mrs. Chang is doing well but sustained heavy bruising.
Outside the courthouse supporters were delighted to hear attorney Bahar Ansari Miller take interest in the case and it looks hopeful she will take Hal Pilotte as a client, replacing appointed counsel, Paul Turner. Ms. Ansari Miller was co-counsel with Mr. McCabe in the successful Davidovich state case a few years ago and has extensive knowledge in medical cannabis law.
Later that day, Hal Pilotte thanked his friends and supporters with this note:
Ann and I wish to thank all of you who showed up to support us in court yesterday, and those of you who held us up in your thoughts and prayers and couldn’t be their. We had around 50+ supporters who showed up for us and well over 20 people who could not get seats inside the courtroom. We know it made an impact. A special thanks to Colleen McCall. Colleen took calls from people who were concerned about us and wanted some information on how to get to the Federal courthouse and Coaster train times to and from. You are all dear dear friends.
Hal also vowed to keep fighting this terrible injustice. He and his wife Ann continue to help with the care of Ronnie’s mother while Ronnie is in custody.
Upcoming court dates for this case are October 30, 2012 at 9:30AM and November 28, 2012 at 9:30AM, Dept. 5, on the 3rd Flr. of the San Diego Federal Courthouse, 940 Front St. at Broadway, San Diego, CA, 92101.
Other articles on this case: http://www.safeaccesssd.org/2012/01/club-one-collective-federal-court-update.html http://www.safeaccesssd.org/2012/07/state-legal-medical-cannabis-patient.html http://www.safeaccesssd.org/2010/10/san-marcos-sues-for-emergency.html Helpful links: www.FIJA.org www.SafeAccessNow.org www.SafeAccessSD.org
“When you’re a lawman & you’re dealing with people, it’s best not to go by the book, but to go by the heart.” ~ Sheriff Andy Taylor, Mayberry, NC
After a 7-day trial before Judge Laura Parsky on charges of possession for sale and cultivation of marijuana, the jury hung 7-5 for conviction. Judge Parsky, after declaring a mis-trial, dismissed the case in the interests of justice under PC § 1385. Judge Parsky stated that she believed that the evidence presented had established a reasonable doubt, and that the rebuttal argument of DDA Deborah La Touche “bordered on dis-ingenuousness.” Ms. La Touche immediately ordered a transcript of the trial, and will undoubtedly lobby her supervisors to appeal the dismissal.
Client was the president of a non-profit medical marijuana cooperative with 3000 members as of the time of his arrest on January 27, 2011. The prosecution followed the same old script, maintaining that the coop was too big to be legal; that each member had to participate in some aspect of the cultivation or preparation of the marijuana it grew for the benefit of the members; that the coop could not pay employees; and that since the balance sheet of the coop showed gross receipts of over $1 million, it was, in reality, an illegal, for profit organization.
All of those contentions were rejected by the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division One, in a published opinion issued on February 23, 2012 – People v. Colvin (2012) 203 Cal App 4th 1029. In spite of this opinion, Judge Parsky allowed the prosecutor to argue the usual script over my objections which, I believe, was the reason the jury hung.
By: Eugene Davidovich, San Diego Americans for Safe Access
Another devastating blow to San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ fierce fight against medical marijuana patients; Judge Parsky declared a mistrial after the jury was hopelessly deadlocked.
SAN DIEGO – On May 16th, twelve jurors and two alternates were selected in the trial of DA Bonnie Dumanis v. Dexter Padilla, navy veteran, medical marijuana patient and president of Therapeutic Healing, a San Diego based non profit medical marijuana coop.
The jury began deliberations on Tuesday, May 22, after a long week of arguments and testimony from experts and the defendant, Dexter Padilla.
Two notes were turned in by the jury less then an hour after deliberations. The first was a request for the defendant’s testimony to be read and the second was a concern from all the jurors about juror #10 being hostile, refusing to participate, and preventing everyone from working towards a verdict.
After hearing from both sides about this issue and interviewing the foreman of the jury, Judge Parsky decided to admonish the jurors to be courteous to one another and sent them back to the jury room to continue deliberating. Within nineteen minutes of the second attempt at deliberations another note came in from the jury raising the same concerns about juror #10. Once again the judge interviewed the foreman, heard from the defense and prosecution, as well as disruptive juror #10. This time however, both sides were asking for the juror to be replaced with an alternate. The judge agreed and an alternate was selected.
Judge Parsky then brought the entire panel into the courtroom, dismissed juror #10 and instructed the new panel to start deliberations from scratch. By the time jurors began the second round of deliberations it was 3pm, and less than an hour to reach a decision was not enough.
Deliberations resumed yesterday at 9am. By 2:15 pm the jurors once again sent a note to the Judge. Everyone including the attorneys, defendant, his family and all the supporters rushed to court to find out what the note stated.
By 2:45pm court was in session and Judge Parsky revealed that the jury was hopelessly deadlocked and could not reach a verdict. After a few brief questions the Judge dismissed all the jurors, thanked them for their service, and proceeded to declare a mistrial, concluding the two charges would be dismissed.
Before the judge could finish uttering the word ‘mistrial,’ Deborah LaTouche, the deputy DA assigned to the case, was falling over herself to announce she would be re-filing both charges.
Michael McCabe, attorney for the defense, urged the court to dismiss the new charges in the interest of justice, citing the prosecution had not come close to reaching their burden of proof, and Padilla had been in full compliance with State’s medical marijuana laws.
Judge Parsky agreed, and in a very rare move dismissed both counts in the interest of justice citing the prosecution was bordering on ‘disingenuous’ in the way they presented their arguments in this case. The defendant, supporters, and everyone in court aside from the DA were overjoyed at the decision.
“Today, justice was served and Dumanis’ bias driven effort to chip away at the states medical marijuana program saw yet another defeat” said Terrie Best, court support coordinator for San Diego Americans for Safe Access
Dumanis tried Padilla on the basis he did not have all the coop’s documents together, which was the reason LaTouche used in her closing arguments in an attempt to prove guilt. The most outrageous part about LaTouche using the documents in her closing is all the records she claimed were not present, were the very records offered to her prior to trial, and the very records looted by the DEA in an unlawful raid on Mark Wuerfel’s office, the general counsel for Therapeutic Healing.
The fact that Judge Parsky dismissed the case in the interest of justice sends a strong message to Bonnie Dumanis’ office that Padilla is immune from prosecution as matter of law, and it would be impossible for them to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was out of compliance.
“The Judge’s ruling shows this case never should have been tried in the first place and that Dumanis has a vendetta against qualified patients coming together in a lawful manner,” said Mark Wuerfel. “It underscores the malicious way in which the tax payers money is being squandered to try and put innocent people in prison where all they are trying to do is follow the law”.
After the conclusion of the trial, Deborah LaTouche was seen requesting transcripts from the court recorder signaling Dumanis’ office was considering an appeal, further proving the vindictive nature of Dumanis’ war on patients.
Bonnie Dumanis’ complete disregard for state law is a slap in the face to the will of the people, as well as all the patients who use Prop 215 and the State’s medical marijuana laws to protect themselves from overzealous prosecutors like Dumanis.
As a result of the amazing work of Michael J. McCabe, the criminal defense attorney representing Padilla, attorney Mark Wuerfel and his willingness to stand up for his client, and the dedication of patient advocates with San Diego Americans for Safe Access, the community saw justice served in court yesterday.