Felony Transportation of Marijuana Charge Reduced to a Misdeamor

By Terrie Best – San Diego Americans for Safe Access Court Support Coordinator

San Diego, CA – Well-known medical cannabis defense attorney, Michael J. McCabe and his client Alexander Ayres were in the Vista courthouse in San Diego County today to accept a plea deal and bring an end to the months-long ordeal for Ayres, a legal medical cannabis patient.

Alex Ayres 24, suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder, a condition he seeks cannabis treatment for in lieu of the addictive, side-effect laden pharmaceuticals he has tried in the past.  His mother, Joyce, who has been by his side in court since his arrest, said Alex’s mental state is so improved by his cannabis use it was like a miracle for him.  Joyce, a pretty and articulate woman in her 50s said she began advocating for Alex to use medical cannabis, when, in his late teen years, she discovered how beneficial it truly was for Alex.  She says the stigma of cannabis is an issue but what really baffles her is why the District Attorney would drag her son through the courts when he is a legal patient.

San Diego District Attorney, Bonnie Dumanis has exhibited a perplexing lack of compassion toward medical cannabis patients. Refusing to craft direction for her investigators and failing to honor patient status, Dumanis’ strategy has been to send all patients through the courts as drug offenders and let judge and jury decide their fates.  The difficulty with that is it is very expensive, clogs the courts with victimless cases, is cruel to sick and injured patients and goes against California state laws: Proposition 215, SB 420 and the CA Attorney General Guidelines.

Alex, a resident of Santa Barbara, CA, held a medical cannabis recommendation which expressly allowed him to possess 11 pounds of cannabis at a given time but when Border Patrol officers stopped him at a boarder check point on his way home from San Diego they confiscated 174 vaporizer cartridges, a ¼ pound of wax concentrate and his electronics. The County Sheriff was called and Alex was taken to jail for nine days, had to pay bail to be released and was charged with transportation of a controlled substance.

Defense Attorney Michael McCabe said he was fully prepared to take Alex’s case to trial and had a very good defense for the transportation charge. Mr. McCabe, cited California’s AB 721, passed this year, which made a change to the California Penal Code to re-define “transportation” to mean “transportation for sale” in the law. In other words, the District Attorney’s Office would be required to prove Alex had intended to sell his medicine in order for him to be found guilt of transportation of a controlled substance.

The Deputy District Attorney in the case,  Landy Spencer-Daly, apparently wasn’t so confident of a win in a jury trial and offered Alex a possession of marijuana misdemeanor charge with summary probation.  Wanting the nightmare behind him and worrying about the possibility of other charges being levied, Alex signed the misdemeanor deal today in Department 5 of the Vista County Courthouse.

Alex and his attorney will be seeking a judge’s order to allow Alex to continue using his medical cannabis while serving his probation term – a strategy which has been successful, according to testimony from probation officials in other medical cannabis cases.

State legal Medical Cannabis Patient Remains in Federal Detention as U.S. Attorney Pressure for Plea

By: Terrie Best

San Diego, CA – Ron Chang, a state legal medical cannabis patient, remains in federal custody after a motion to modify his pretrial release was denied by Judge Michael M. Anello in the United State District Court for the Southern District of California.

 

On July 30th, 2012, in front of Ron Chang’s supporters and patient advocates, Michael J. McCabe, attorney for Ron, presented a motion requesting a release from federal detention on (Ron’s) own recognizance (O.R) when his attempts to satisfy collateral for a 200,000 dollar bond were not met and the bond was pulled.

 

The local bond company first issued the bond but then took Ron into custody last month pointing to an audit by their underwriter as the cause for the bond pull and his re-arrest.

 

Both U.S. Prosecutor, Paul Starita and U.S. Pretrial Services Officer, Tammy Riedling argued vigorously against the motion for O.R. release. Starita, claiming to know nothing about the audit at the bond company which led to the arrest, was also dismissive of a heartfelt letter from a physician treating Mrs. Chang, Ron’s elderly mother.

 

The physician’s letter to the court requested Ron be released to resume the care of his mother. Pleas from Ron’s employer and assertions of his good character were also met with indifference by the Prosecutor and Pretrial Services Officer.

 

Judge Arnello called the aim of the motion a “humanitarian issue” but Riedling listed a host of petty violations such as low batteries in the tracking device used to monitor Ron previous to the June arrest as her reason for opposing the motion.

 

Starita, knowing that a man in custody is strategic positioning for his office to force a plea bargain, insisted the unsecured bond was his main objection to the O.R. release. Starita also argued that “anybody who used the care of their mom to get out of trouble” is problematic and clearly a flight risk, showcasing the U.S. Attorney’s utter disdain and lack of compassion for medical cannabis patients.

 

“This amounts to a vindictive prosecution,” said San Diego Americans for Safe Access Vice Chair, Marcus Boyd. Boyd pointed to a 2010 civil action in the City of San Marcos where MMSC, a collaboration of medical marijuana patients including Ron, successfully fought off an emergency injunction by the city. In his statement Boyd cited this article http://www.safeaccesssd.org/2010/10/san-marcos-sues-for-emergency.html as basis for his view.

 

After hearing the arguments, Judge Arnello denied the motion to modify Ron’s pretrial conditions without prejudice and gave the defense two weeks to secure the pulled bond with collateral.

 

The next hearing for the motion to modify Chang’s release will be held at 2:00 on August 21, 2012, in Department 5 of the US District Court at Front St. San Diego, CA 92101.

 

Ron Chang and his co-defendants James Brand, Gary Maddox, Hal Pilotte, Peter Suhan and Amanda Ventura (allegedly connected to Club One Collective/ Extreme Holistic Care) will also be in court with their attorney’s Michael McCabe, Paul Turner, Knut Johnson, James Dicks and Mark Bluemel, this time to argue motions challenging the legality of the wire tap used in this case.

 

The illegal wire tap hearing is scheduled for September 10th, 2012 also in Department 5 of the San Diego Federal Court Building at 940 Front Street, San Diego, CA 92101.

 

Additional articles on this case:

http://www.safeaccesssd.org/2010/10/san-marcos-sues-for-emergency.html

 

For more information:

Terrie Best, San Diego Americans for Safe Access Court Support Coordinator ilegalsmile@hotmail.com

 

http://www.safeaccesssd.org/2012/07/state-legal-medical-cannabis-patient.html

Innocent Americans spent at least 10,000 years in jail

There are innocent Americans being convicted here in San Diego too. Many defendants are scared and have very little money so they are easy to convince to take a plea deal for less time and this leads to more convictions too. The DA’s office has a habit of over charging people in order to manipulate them into plea deals even if they are not guilty. This is another good reason why you need an attorney that is experienced, competent and is not afraid of a trial.

The US Constitution guarantees a fair trial, but the number of Americans that will argue otherwise is incredible. At least 2,000 people have been sentenced to prison for crimes in the last 23 years, only to eventually be exonerated by the court.

As shocking as it may be, until now there has been no official database of information pertaining to Americans wrongfully convicted of crimes only to be exonerated down the road. As a result, researchers at the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law took it upon themselves to change all that and have just now rolled out a database that examines exonerations in America and the findings are astounding. Taking into account as much information as obtainable dating back to 1989, more than 2,000 people have been sentenced to time behind bars for crimes that the court would later say they did not commit.

Scanning barely two decades of available info, researchers have found a trove of information detailing 873 well-documented exoneration cases. Of just those, the time spent behind bars totals to more than 10,000 years in prison. The creators of the database have found proof of roughly 1,200 separate exonerations during the same time span, although less information at this point is available.

So far the results offer an uncensored look at the falsities of the US justice system, and, sadly, the researchers feel like they are only just beginning to dive into the data.

“We know there are many more that we haven’t found,” University of Michigan law professor Samuel Gross tell the Associated Press of his findings.

Although the database only contains a limited amount of information for now, Gross says that it is a critical starting point for reexamining the mistakes that mare the justice system in the United States.

 

Read the rest here

John Stossel Thinks That Everything Is Potentially Illegal In The Government’s Eyes

San Diego California Criminal Defense Attorney Michael J McCabe

Here is a very good reason you need a good defense attorney. There are many people who don’t even know that what they may be involved in is illegal. If you are being charged of a crime do not take a chance of thinking that you can handle it yourself. You need the help of a competent attorney who will vigorously defend you. Call me.

Michael J. McCabe

(619 ) 231-1181

 

 

The producer of Stupid in America, John Stossel, broadcasts another outstanding documentary “Illegal Everything” which shows how nearly everything is (or may soon be) illegal – including lemonade stands, raw milk, drugs, fast food, prostitution, recording police, and more.

Feds target pot shops across the state

Chang’s criminal defense attorney, Michael McCabe, said his client believes that the federal prosecution is “retaliatory,” especially because Chang —- reportedly acting on the advice of a different attorney —- renamed and reopened his San Marcos shop after it was shut down a year ago.
 
San Diego Marijuana Criminal Defense
 
                             
 
 The four top federal prosecutors based in California announced an aggressive, statewide crackdown against pot dispensaries Friday, vowing to shut down dozens of operations and saying that the worst offenders are using the cover of medical marijuana to act as storefront drug dealers.

San Diego U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said medical marijuana dispensaries are “becoming a pervasive, for-profit industry” and “a local law enforcement nightmare.” She said federal authorities were sending out letters to medical marijuana storefronts and property owners in San Diego and Imperial counties to warn them to close within 45 days or suffer the consequences of losing their property and facing criminal charges.