Opening Statements in Jackson Second Medical Marijuana Trial to Begin Monday

By: Eugene Davidovich

Defense denied, supporters restricted, unfair trial continues

SAN DIEGO – Monday, September 20, 2010 opening statements in the second medical marijuana trial of Jovan Jackson are expected to begin at 9:00 am in Department 15.

Pre trial motions have been argued, the jury has been selected, and the community continues to be outraged at the waste of taxpayer’s dollars on this vindictive and bias driven prosecution by San Diego District Attorney (DA) Bonnie Dumanis.

Although Mr. Jackson has been tried and acquitted by a jury of twelve peers on similar charges a few months ago, he is now facing a second trial stemming from a second raid on the Answerdam collective; same prosecutor, same investigators, same evidence, different Judge.

After suffering two recent high profile losses in similar cases one of which included Mr. Jackson’s first trial, the DA realized that the law is clearly on the defendants’ side and the only way she could succeed in court is to deny patients from telling the entire truth at their trials.

For Mr. Jackson’s second trial, Dumanis teamed up with Judge Shore, a historically bias judge on the issue (see People v. Konow), and has successfully prevented Mr. Jackson from presenting to the jury the fact that Answerdam was a collective that only allowed qualified patients to become members, and that Mr. Jackson himself is a qualified medical marijuana patient.

Judge Shore’s reasoning for not allowing the defense was that all 1600 members of Answerdam did not roll up their sleeves in the garden together.
According to Judge Shore, it wasn’t enough that Mr. Jackson testified to cultivating the medicine with other patients and members of the collective. Unless all 1600 patients, wheelchair bound or otherwise plowed the fields together, Answerdam was not a legal collective Judge Shore maintained.

The Judge took it upon himself to decide on the legality of the collective rather than let the jurors see all the evidence and decide for themselves as is normally done in these cases in California.

The DA and Judge, did not stop there, on Thursday of last week Chris Linbergh the assistant DA prosecuting Jackson, came into court with a laundry list of reasons why Jackson’s supporters should be banned from the courthouse.

After some back and forth on the record, the Judge granted only a part of Linbergh’s demands, ruling that although supporters would be allowed inside the courtroom, any shirts with the Americans for Safe Access (ASA) logo on them would not be allowed inside.

The following morning on Friday, five Jackson supporters, were peacefully and quietly standing outside department 15 along with at least 40 potential jurors that were waiting to be let into court. The supporters were wearing their ASA t-shirts outside of the courtroom, in full compliance with the Judge’s ruling from the previous day. Less than fifteen minutes after the proceedings began, the head of Dumanis’ PR team, Paul Levikow was seen scurrying down the hall. Cheeks red with frustration, he rushed passed the supporters and into the courtroom. Minutes later he emerged, along with the courthouse’s Chief Bailiff and eight deputies, surrounded the supporters and escorted them away from the potential jurors.

The supporters were told that Judge Shore issued a new order mandating that ASA shirts were not allowed even outside of the courtroom in the public hallways of the courthouse. The five supporters were forced to turn their shirts and ASA tote bags inside out and hide everything displaying the ASA logo.
After the demoralizing demands were satisfied, with shirts and tote bags inside out, supporters resumed their posts quietly standing outside of the courtroom doors. The gross censorship could not have gone unnoticed by the waiting jurors.

For a second time, the bailiffs came out and approached the supporters this time telling them even the inside out shirts were banned. Again, the supporters complied with bailiffs’ demands and promptly removed their ASA shirts.

Finally as the potential jurors were being let inside the courtroom, the supporters were stopped short again, and told that yet another ruling had just come out of Judge Shore. The bailiffs said that this time the Judge decided the public would not be allowed in at all that day.

Concerned citizens, patients, and advocates from across the state are calling on Dumanis to stop this egregious violation of civil rights, and the bias driven persecution of legitimate patients in San Diego County. Mr. Jackson’s second trial is expected to last two weeks with the public tentatively allowed to attend each day.

Further Information:

ASA Press Release about Denial of Medical Marijuana Defense:
http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=6086

Amicus brief filed by ASA in support of Jovan Jackson:
http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Amicus_Jackson_Trial.pdf

Jovan Jackson Jury speaks out after first trial:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO-je9vvn-o

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