Advocates Keep Jackson out of Jail

By: Eugene Davidovich

ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford and defense attorney Lance Rogers successfully argued motion to keep Jackson out of jail pending appeal.

SAN DIEGO – On Thursday San Diego District Attorney (DA) Dumanis and her fierce fight against medical marijuana saw a significant setback. San Diego Superior Court Judge Howard H. Shore granted Jackson’s motion to stay out of jail pending appeal.

Jovan Jackson a medical marijuana patient, Navy Veteran, and former operator of Answerdam a medical marijuana collective in San Diego, was convicted on September 28th, 2010 after he was tried for the second time in less than a year on the same charges of marijuana possession and sale.

He was convicted in his second trial as a result of being denied the medical marijuana defense by Judge Shore, who claimed that although all were legal patients, since all 1600 members of the collective did not express that their “purpose” was to cultivate, that Jackson did not qualify for the medical marijuana collective defense.

On Wednesday, December 15th 2010 Jackson was sentenced to 180 days in jail and a fine. He was scheduled to report to jail on February 1, 2011. Also that day, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country’s largest medical marijuana advocacy group joined the case. Joe Elford ASA’s Chief Legal Counsel was in court officially joining, filing motions, as well as helping Lance Rogers, Jovan’s defense attorney from both trials.

On Thursday, January 27 2011 ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford was back in San Diego in front of Superior Court Judge Howard H. Shore along with Lance Rogers arguing to keep Jovan out of Jail while ASA appeals his case.

Judge Shore heard arguments from Deputy DA Chris Linbergh who claimed that Jovan was a flight risk and should be remanded into custody. Joe Elford fired back with proof that Jackson had made every court date, that the community was behind him, as well as presented compelling case law to support keeping Jackson out on bail while his appeal was being heard.

Judge Shore agreed with the defense and explained that it would not be fair if Jackson was remanded into custody, forced to serve his time, and then later find out that he was victorious on appeal. Judge Shore further explained that this was not a typical drug case, that Jackson was not a threat, that there was no violence or weapons involved, and that this was a case where the defendant appeared to have made every attempt to follow state law.

When the DA realized that there was a chance that Jackson would not see any jail time and that Dumanis’ plan was failing, he begged the court for a bail to be set at 180 thousand dollars. Judge Shore found that to be overly excessive and reduced the bail to 50 thousand.

Judge Shore also agreed with the defense that Jackson was clearly not a flight risk and even took the time to point out that advocates for medical marijuana and other members of the community have been there for Jackson throughout the entire trial, which showed strong community ties and support.

Judge Shore moved the official date Jackson has to report to jail from February 1 to the 15, giving Jackson an extra two weeks to come up with funds necessary to stay out on bail. After the hearing advocates present in the courtroom vowed to raise the $4,500 necessary to keep Jackson out of Jail.

Within the next few months the appellate courts will decide whether to hear Jackson’s case and if the decision comes out that Jackson should have been allowed a defense during trial, his case would likely return to the superior court to be retried in front of a Jury with a medical marijuana defense as it should have been in the first place.

After this hearing the community is certain that court support works, and that the efforts of just a few can significantly impact the decisions Judges make in court and actually keep patients out of jail.

If you would like to help with the fundraising efforts to keep Jackson out of Jail contact sandiegoasa@gmail.com

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