Jovan Jackson Trial UPDATE – Day 2 (Tuesday)

By: Eugene Davidovich

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 was day two in the medical marijuana trial of Mr. Jovan Jackson of Answerdam Alternative Care Collective (AAC). The proceedings began at 8:30 in Department 33 of the San Diego Superior Court with Judge Cynthia Bashant presiding. The courtroom was half packed with a number of Mr. Jackson’s friends, family, and supporters. Local media was also present with cameras recording medical marijuana history in the making.

Judge Bashant first heard in limine motions which included attempts by the prosecution to exclude evidence helpful to Mr. Jackson’s case. The most absurd example of this was the argument by Prosecutor Chris Lindbergh to not allow Mr. Jackson to present the fact that he is a legitimate medical cannabis patient to the Jury in state court. With Mr. Jackson’s doctor ready and willing to testify to the legitimacy of Mr. Jackson’s recommendation, and the laws in place to allow for such a defense, the prosecution still fought hard not to allow it.

Chris Lindbergh also argued that one of the witnesses the defense was hoping to hear from should not be allowed to testify. The arguments were heard without any mention of the witness’ name, and only innuendoes as his high profile employment.

In short, the morning did not go in the prosecutions favor. Judge Cynthia Bashant ruled that that Mr. Jackson is a legitimate patient and will be allowed to present to the jury this fact as well as the fact that he was part of a collective / cooperative, a defense also attempted to be excluded by the prosecution.

The next ruling included to issue of the unknown witness. Judge Bashant ruled that the public has a right to now the identity of the high profile witness and that at 10:30 the same day the witness would be called to the stand for testimony to see if there is relevance for his appearance during trial.

The witnesses name was shortly released by the judge and we now know him to be Mr. James Pitts a well known and experienced prosecutor in the San Diego District Attorney’s office.

At 10:30 Prosecutor Pitts was called to the stand. He was asked a series of questions about his involvement in the AAC collective. Mr. Pitts confirmed that he was in fact a medical marijuana patients, that he had gone to AAC, the same collective Mr. Jackson was part of and that he had joined the collective by completing a written membership agreement, and had in fact obtained medicine from AAC for which he financially reimbursed the collective.

Mr. Pitts also volunteered his opinion on pricing and other issues and when asked what he based his opinion on, the courtroom was surprised to hear that he was basing it on his experience as a prosecutor rather than a patient.

Judge Bashant ruled that Mr. Pitts could testify but could not reveal his occupation as a prosecutor with the DA’s office to the jury.

The news of a prosecutor being a medical marijuana patient and bonnafide member of AAC the collective currently under prosecution by the same office, spread through the courthouse like wildfire. Mr. Pitts also confirmed that he obtained under an ounce of medication and reimbursed the collective for the cost.

Juge Bashant ruled that although Mr. Pitts could testify at trial, his occupation could not be discussed or mentioned to the jury, which would make for difficult questioning.

Proceedings are expected to resume on Thursday at 9am in Department 33.

The public is encouraged to attend and show support for Mr. Jackson as he defends our rights.

Links to local Media Coverage about Mr. Jackson’s case:

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