Lost Evidence at Issue in Medical Marijuana Concentrates Case

February 27th, 2016

By Terrie Best – San Diego Americans for Safe Access

San Diego, CA – Before the superior court in El Cajon is a medical cannabis concentrates case which comes down to this single question for the jury: “Was butane gas used in the defendant’s manufacturing process or wasn’t it?” All of the typical traps San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis drums up in her fierce fight against medical cannabis patients in courts will not be present in this case. There will be no need to prove that legal patient John Mazula had a valid doctor recommendation to use cannabis, there will be no plant counts for Dumanis’s NTF to exaggerate, in fact, Matt Carberry, the DDA on the case doesn’t plan to disqualify John as a patient at all. Carberry will simply try to prove butane gas was used in John’s extraction process and Michael Cindrich, John’s attorney, will try to prove Co2 was used to obtain the small amount of medical cannabis concentrate found at John’s house.

The two sides of the case were in Judge Lantz Lewis’s courtroom to argue pretrial motions on Thursday. The trial is set to begin on Monday the 29th, directly after jury selection. During the hearings, lasting all afternoon, Carberry called to the stand several hazardous materials technicians from Hazmat to explain to the judge and defense what happened to key pieces of evidence that are not available for the defense to examine. The defense argued for dismissal with good reason as Mr. Cindrich pointed out the butane canister, two c02 canisters and an atmosphere test which tested negative for butane were exculpatory evidence and should have been provided to the defense. The prosecution fumbled through fighting the motion to dismiss and was mostly given the benefit of the doubt by the court. Though the motion was denied, the prosecution is vulnerable to embarrassment when the jury learns of the missing evidence. Particularly, when the criminal behavior the DA points to is centered around which of the canisters contents, if any, were used to manufacture concentrates on John’s property.

While in court we learned that in September of 2014, John’s house in Lakeside was raided, Hazmat was brought in when five canisters were found on-site. Hazmat staffer, Brad Long testified to being called to evaluate the area for safety, testing the contents of the canisters and removing them to a Hazmat location. He said he then called the distributors phone numbers which he found on labels on the canisters, and asked them to retrieve their cans, knowing it was evidence in a criminal case. It is not clear if Hazmat was given the clearance to give away this evidence by law enforcement or not. In any event Mr. Cindrich called it bad faith and argued that much could have been learned from the canisters contents and attachments but the benefit of that is lost to his client.

Mr. Cindrich lost his motion and will now be tasked with exposing this bad faith on the part of law enforcement and our district attorney to a jury. John Mazula is a victim of a corrupt DA’s office that only wants to win, even at the expense of justice. He needs our help. The trial he will endure will last all week in Dept. 8 of the El Cajon Superior court at 250 E Main St, El Cajon, CA 92020. Please wear your green ribbons of support, come down and join San Diego ASA as we stand with John Mazula against Dumanis and her dishonesty.

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