Medical Pot Patient's Dealing Conviction is Tossed

Medical Pot Patient's Dealing Conviction is Tossed
Posted by CN Staff on December 21, 2007 at 20:33:07 PT
By Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Source: San Francisco Chronicle 
Santa Ana, CA -- A person who carries a small amount of marijuana with a doctor's note allowing medical use can't be convicted of dealing the drug just because police thought he was a dealer, a state appeals court ruled Friday.In overturning an Orange County man's conviction for possessing marijuana for sale, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana said the prosecutor needed more evidence of sales than the opinion of a sheriff's deputy who specialized in investigating narcotics dealers.
The defendant, Christopher Chakos, was arrested in December 2004 in Rancho Santa Margarita near the medical office where he worked as a phlebotomist, drawing blood for lab tests. Officers found seven grams of marijuana in his car, along with a doctor's note recommending pot for his pain and depression. They found more marijuana, in varying amounts, in a search of his apartment, along with a digital scale and a closed-circuit camera system.The marijuana totaled about six ounces, less than the eight ounces that medical marijuana patients can possess under state law. But Chakos was convicted of possession for sale based on expert testimony by Deputy Christopher Cormier, who conducted the search and said he had concluded Chakos was a dealer. Chakos was placed on probation for three years. Snipped:Complete Article: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)Author: Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff WriterPublished: Friday, December 21, 2007Copyright: 2007 Hearst Communications Inc.Contact: letters sfchronicle.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #6 posted by FoM on December 25, 2007 at 05:39:28 PT
Related Article from Metropolitan News-Enterprise
C.A. Rules Peace Officer No Expert on ‘Medical’ Marijuana***Panel Says Jury Wrong to Rely on Police Testimony About Defendant’s Intent to Sell. Monday, December 24, 2007 Police officers who have only limited experience dealing with people who possess marijuana legally do not have a sufficient basis to determine whether such persons intend to sell it, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled Friday.In a unanimous opinion, Div. Three reversed Christopher James Chakos’ conviction for possessing marijuana for sale based on a lack of evidence, saying the police officer upon whose expert testimony the conviction was based had no expertise in differentiating between individuals who possess marijuana lawfully for their own consumption, and those who possess it unlawfully with the intent to sell.Writing for the court, Justice David G. Sills said:“Mere and undefined ‘contact’ with undefined “investigations” is manifestly not substantial evidence that an officer is in any way familiar with the patterns of individuals who, under state law, may lawfully purchase marijuana pursuant to a physician’s certificate under the Compassionate Use Act, nor does it show any expertise in the ability to distinguish lawful from unlawful possession.”URL:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by charmed quark on December 22, 2007 at 18:51:47 PT
But the jury ignored vital facts
I'm sorry. If I was on a jury and presented with the facts that the accused had a legitimate permit and less than the maximum amount, how could I convict just because the officer said he felt the guy was dealing?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by museman on December 22, 2007 at 11:22:17 PT
A prime and fundamental law
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."Purgery is a crime. That cop should be charged and held accountable.When that begins to happen, I would say that the tide has truly turned. It won't happen until the rich are dethroned however, because they are going to protect their dogs from the justice they deserve.The public is beginning to see that the real criminals are the ones going around forcing people to do, and not do things that are perfectly safe, harmless, and none of their damn business.One for the home team!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by Treeanna on December 22, 2007 at 08:29:19 PT
based soley on the cop saying "in my expert opinion based on my experience and trainig" is why he was convicted.And the Court says that isn't good enough now - there has to be some EVIDENCE.This is a huge bat to the knees for these lame cops who have gotten a free pass spouting this BS. Great case for our side :)
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by charmed quark on December 22, 2007 at 06:53:28 PT
Convicted in a trial?
How in the world did they get a jury to convict him? Were they able to somehow suppress evidence?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by runruff on December 21, 2007 at 21:23:59 PT:
I gafaw in their general direction! Cha!
Ha ha ha, ho ho ho, hee hee hee! Of course he is a cannabis vendor. 
And what is wrong with that? I've known many cannabis vendors who were far more honorable than many cops.In your face DEA!Rest in peace Robin! I wish you could be around when the last chapter is written. 
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment