SR Police Refusing Court Order To Return Pot

SR Police Refusing Court Order To Return Pot
Posted by CN Staff on January 30, 2007 at 11:26:03 PT
By Jeremy Hay, The Press Democrat
Source: Press Democrat
Santa Rosa, CA -- In the latest skirmish across the confused terrain of medicinal marijuana law, Santa Rosa police are refusing a judge's order to return a large amount of marijuana seized by detectives.Shashon Jenkins was growing marijuana and selling it. Santa Rosa police arrested him and took the marijuana. A judge said there was evidence enough to try him. But then Jenkins' attorney produced evidence he was a medical marijuana user and caregiver.
Deputy District Attorney Scott Jamar agreed in court and he dropped the case.And from Sonoma County Judge Lawrence Antolini came this: "It is hereby ordered that all items seized on October 16, 2006, by members of the Santa Rosa Police Department, including marijuana, be returned forthwith" to Jenkins.But police said no."We're not a dispensary, we're not going to give out marijuana," Police Sgt. Eric Litchfield, who supervises the detectives who arrested Jenkins, said in an interview.Antolini has ordered police back to court March 6 to explain why they shouldn't be held in contempt of court for disobeying his order.Litchfield said Jenkins has "always been very civil and polite," but federal law, which doesn't recognize medical marijuana use, prohibits him from returning Jenkins' cannabis, about 18 pounds worth."It's illegal," Litchfield said. "We've never given marijuana back."Such showdowns have become familiar since California voters in 1996 passed Proposition 215, which authorized medical use of marijuana."This is a problem that is literally all over the state of California," said Martin J. Mayer, chief legal counsel to the California Police Chiefs Association.Last year, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by Pismo Beach seeking a court ruling relieving it of a state judge's order that the city's police department return some marijuana.In that case, Mayer said, the judge ruled that because police had yet to return the marijuana, they hadn't been exposed to the federal prosecution that they'd argued the court order put them in jeopardy of.A similar case, involving the Garden Grove Police Department's refusal of a judge's order to return pot, is in Superior Court, he said."The order of a judge to a peace officer to return marijuana even though the case was dismissed pursuant to Prop. 215 creates a rock and a hard place for law enforcement because it is unquestionably a violation under a federal law," Mayer said. "In fact, it's a felony."Such disputes have only increased since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that the federal government still can prohibit possession of marijuana in states that have approved its use for medical purposes."The issue really is the conflict between federal law and our state and local laws," said Amy Chapman, the Sonoma County public defender who represented Jenkins."For Mr. Jenkins, this is absolutely about medical marijuana," she said. "The police, they feel it would be illegal."On Monday, Jenkins retrieved his computer, cell phone and cash from the Police Department, which has boxed up his pot in its evidence locker. He also hasn't been able to get back his marijuana-growing equipment, which he valued at about $5,000."It's a slap in the face," said Jenkins, 26, who said he's used marijuana to relieve anxiety and chronic pain for about six years and supplies about 10 other people with pot he grows.Jenkins, who has moved to Sonoma from Santa Rosa, sells pre-paid legal insurance.Oakland attorney William Panzer, who co-wrote Proposition 215 and is involved in two medical marijuana cases working their way through Sonoma County courts, described the Police Department's stance as, well, balderdash, although in less polite terms."It's the cops saying we don't like this law, we don't want to follow it," Panzer said, referring to Proposition 215.Under the federal controlled substance act, he said, agencies like Santa Rosa police are immune from prosecution if they are enforcing legal statues, such as Proposition 215.Besides, he said, fear of federal prosecution is a red herring."I am personally aware of many, many, many cases where cannabis has been returned by police to an individual, and I'm not aware of one police officer who has been prosecuted," he said.Mayer said he's unaware of any either but cited "the sense of the difficulty when you ask a peace officer to commit a crime."For example, in the Pismo Beach case, he said, "In all candor, we didn't expect there would be (federal prosecution), but this is a matter of principle."Also, he said, "it's a matter of law, we have a conflicting set of laws. Until or unless congress changes the rules, it's still a crime."In the meantime, he said, police departments unwilling to obey judge's orders have in some cases given the marijuana to federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents for destruction and in other cases to judges who have returned it."Don't ask me where," Mayer said. "I won't tell you."Note: Marijuana deemed medicinal under state law, but federal law prevents police from dispensing.Source: Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA)Author: Jeremy Hay, The Press DemocratPublished: January 30, 2007Copyright: 2007 The Press DemocratContact: letters pressdemo.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #12 posted by Toker00 on February 01, 2007 at 02:48:06 PT
Thanks mayan.
The link worked for me today, too. We have two years to talk this man up, and I will do just that. He is the only Pres. candidate who comes anywhere near the heart beat of America. There's not one candidate that I'm aware of who will touch health care, the drug war, the Iraq war, 9-11, or the will of the people. (With the exception of Ron Paul, but I would vote for him only if he ran as an Independent, not Republican.) We can't expect too much out of him unless he is actually President. The next two years are going to be difficult for us and him. We are starved for reform but he can't jeopardise his chances of being President, where he can make some really BIG changes. There may be some subtle changes in drug policy between now and '08, but I don't look for much, understandably.Toke.
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Comment #11 posted by mayan on January 31, 2007 at 16:06:57 PT
The link is working for me. It ends just as soon as he mentions 9/11, though. I would've liked to have heard what he said after that.Dennis Kucinich Calls for 9/11 Truth:'s an older link... Rep. Dennis Kucinich says Bush Admin Let 9/11 Happen:
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Comment #10 posted by Toker00 on January 31, 2007 at 15:09:41 PT
Wanna help?
I haven't watched the video yet, but I am headed there now.Dear (YOU),The feisty veterans' group VoteVets are back with a message for Congress: if you support escalation, you don't support the troops.They're aiming to put a powerful new TV ad on the air during the Super Bowl in Washington, DC urging nearby Senator John Warner (R-VA)—a top Republican—to stop the escalation.To get it on the air they need to raise $91,000 today. Can you chip in $20? To view the ad and contribute click here. id= 9811-6910519-4nLrZ3Whsz2m1ml9saivVw&t= 2The new TV ad features a montage of Iraq war veterans against escalation. Click the link or the video to watch it and contribute to put it on the air.–Tom, Nita, Wes, Eli and the Political Action Team
 Wednesday, January 31st, 2007P.S. Sen. John Warner is the target of this campaign because he has expressed reservations about escalation but he is holding up a vote on a resolution condemning the troop increase. But airing the ad in Washington, DC plays double duty since Congress, the president and the national media all live there. Toke.
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Comment #9 posted by Toker00 on January 31, 2007 at 03:49:43 PT
Couldn't get the Kucinich link to load. I need this in my teaching material for the guys at work. Yesterday I showed them the Kucinich Presidential bid video, and they are curious. They were impressed and a couple even excited about the possibility of Cannabis law reform. I'll try the link later, have to get to work.Toke.
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Comment #8 posted by cannabliss on January 30, 2007 at 19:36:44 PT
We don't interpret the law...
Whenever they are losing an argument about prohbition, the typical LEO will say "We don't interpret the law, we just enforce it" or some such weasel phrase.So, "just enforce" the court order - return the herb. I know it goes against your gorilla-like impulse*, but just try it anyway.The real crime was the original confiscation of private property.* no offense meant to gorillas
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Comment #7 posted by mayan on January 30, 2007 at 18:25:44 PT
In Contempt Of The People
Antolini has ordered police back to court March 6 to explain why they shouldn't be held in contempt of court for disobeying his order.It's bad enough that the police are in contempt of court but they are in contempt of the will of the people! I would pay to see these cops making all kinds of lame excuses to the judge! I say cage them. The tide is turning!THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Alternate 9/11 theory draws crowd - Panel speakers suggest U.S. government was behind attacks: Hopeful Dennis Kucinich Calls for 9/11 Truth at DC Protest: the Lessons of 9-11 (Review of The Hidden History of 9-11-2001): the 9/11 Rubicon with Hustler Magazine: WAS AN INSIDE JOB - OUR NATION IS IN PERIL:
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Comment #6 posted by Telarus on January 30, 2007 at 17:22:03 PT:
This seems BS to me. Officers get waivers all the time to handle and "release" drugs while undercover. Didn't the CIA abuse this in the early 80's to flood white drugs to the streets? And they have a judges order allowing then to handle and release these things while undercover, so they have a judges order now. OBEY, OFFICER, FOR THAT IS YOUR SWORN DUTY. for.whatever.that's.worthNamaste,-Telarus, KSC
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Comment #5 posted by Sam Adams on January 30, 2007 at 15:36:18 PT
Can't help but think of Orwell again.  It's legal to steal the medicine, but illegal to give it back. The armed cops that broke in & stole the medicine from the 11 sick people are "Peace" officers.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on January 30, 2007 at 13:58:25 PT
AP: Tracy Pot Shop Ordered To Close Doors
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 30, 2007 at 12:56:32 PT
I remember seeing a poster in Neil's studio during the Making of Greendale about that movie. I have heard some of the music and I liked it. I have many Neil Young CDs but I don't have the soundtrack and have often thought of buying it. The big archive release is coming out this Fall and one this March called Massey Hall from 71 so I guess I'm waiting to get a lot at one time. I had a good day yesterday and a half good day today so I think I am getting better. We couldn't find Cascadian Grape Juice but we bought Welch's brand and I mix a little with water and it helps me to drink more water.
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Comment #2 posted by OverwhelmSam on January 30, 2007 at 12:48:56 PT
Breaking Federal Law? Fraud, Theft & Abuse
Santa Clara police don't want to break the law? Many of law enforcement officers are more atrocious criminals than the people they arrest. What's worse is that they commit fraud, theft and abuse under the color of law. Frankly, I don't see how they put on a badge and look themselves in the mirror.
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Comment #1 posted by goneposthole on January 30, 2007 at 12:45:55 PT
Hey, FoM
I hope you are feeling better.There is a cult classic movie entitled 'Dead Man' starring Robert Mitchum, Johnny Depp, Iggy Pop, and Billy Bob Thorton.All of the music in the film is written by Neil Young.It's a great movie. One time, I was working at a police station to do a small job.An officer came in with a young person in custody for a marijuana possession charge. He had to be where I was working, but couldn't get access to a locked metal box hanging on a wall. He gave me his clipboard with the paperwork and the quarter ounce of marijuana attached to it so he could open the locked metal box.So, yeah, the police do give back marijuana, even if for a brief period of time. I was tempted to keep the marijuana, but my better judgment told me to return it.Doggone it anyhow.
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