Jovan Jackson Second Trial To Move Forward

This morning Jovan Jackson again went to San Diego Superior court for a preliminary hearing on the second medical marijuana trial related to the Operation Green Rx Raids orchestrated by Bonnie Dumanis in cooperation with DEA through the Integrated Narcotics Task Force.

m1San Diego ASA membership turned out in numbers to support Mr. Jackson today filing more than half of the courtroom with supporters.

In December of 2009, Mr. Jackson was dragged through the judicial system on charges related to the first, August 2008 raid on Answerdam, which resulted in a jury trial and Mr. Jackson being vindicated on all five medical marijuana related charges. Chris Lindbergh the prosecutor in the case was scolded by the jury for bringing such a case to trial.

Charges related to the 9/9/9 raid are considered a separate case as this time the “buy” was on a different date then the “buy” in the original case where Mr. Jackson was found not guilty by the jurors.

Today in court in front of Judge Albert Harutunian, the prosecutor Chris Lindbergh argued to have the medical defense excluded for Mr. Jackson even thought Jackson’s physician’s statement was admitted into evidence.

m1Lindbergh also argued that patients who buy marijuana can technically be charged as “conspirators” to an illegal operation and that since Mr. Jackson did not subpoena 1600 people to testify for him today, that he could not prove that this was a collective.

Following the statement in the last paragraph, a chill ran through the courtroom as everyone collectively realized that what Linbergh was saying is that now the DA is considering charging members of collectives (non founding members) as co conspirators to illegal operations.

What happened to Dumanis’ promise not to go after patients?

In the hearing Linbergh also talked about what most in our community have come to understand as the “Group Farm” fallacy. Lindbergh explained that if all 1600 Answerdam patients first actually came together and hung out for a bit with each other (this would satisfy them having to associate), then together decided to grow medical marijuana, all chipped in some with money others with actual labor (this would satisfy the cultivate), then maybe that would be a defense.

Lindbergh confirmed several times that it was definitely the intent of Prop 215 that terminally ill, physically disabled, and immobilized patients participate in the cultivation effort.

We also heard testimony from Detective Mark Carlson who proclaimed on the stand at first to be an expert on medical marijuana laws, then went on to explain that he is a Federal Agent and technically all cultivation is illegal. Carlson was designated as the state medical law expert chief investigator by Lindbergh in this case.

Today’s witness testimony also included the infamous Pierre Tiberius Uggla (aka Mike Mendez) who went to Answerdam and upon completing his membership agreement for the collective, wrote his real name (Mike Mendez) on the form rather than his undercover alias and as a result almost fumbled the DA’s entire investigation into Answerdam exposing to the members the fact that they were continuing this illegal persecution of patients through investigations.

In July of last year shortly after Mendez’s visit to Answerdam and as part of the continued efforts of the Stop Operation Green Rx campaign and San Diego Americans for Safe Access, members of San Diego ASA went to the San Diego City Council and delivered a copy of the form Mike Mendes completed with his real name to the San Diego City Councilmember asking them to intervene in this situation and bring these prosecutions to an end. The video of that speech can be seen here:

Unfortunately our pleas have gone unheard since then. Operation Green Rx is still in full force and today Mendez went on to explain that as part of his duties, he regularly goes to local doctors and lies. He explained that he went to see a doctor in Mission Valley last year, lied about a serious back injury that cause chronic pain which he told the doctor he suffered from. After presenting the doctor with a slew of symptoms related to the injury and receiving a physical examination from the doctor; he was issued a recommendation letter for medical marijuana and has since joined multiple collectives and bought medical cannabis from them on numerous occasions.

We also heard from testimony from cancer survivor, medical cannabis patient, and member of the Answerdam Collective, Paul Ford. Who testified that not only did the cannabis he obtained in Answerdam help alleviate his symptoms, no medicine out there has helped him more than cannabis obtained from Answerdam. Mr. Ford also explained that he was very well aware that he was a member not customer of Anwerdam and it was clear to everyone in the court that all his contributions in exchange for the medicine went directly towards the continued support of the cultivation effort /collective of Answerdam.

Unfortunately the judge ruled that there was enough evidence for Mr. Jackson to stand trial again, and that since this was the preliminary hearing, the prosecution did not have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, just raise potential for guilt. The case was bound over for trial, and Mr. Jackson’s arraignment on the charges in his second medical marijuana trial is scheduled for mid March.

Operation Green Rx continues and today in court it was clear that the efforts of DA Bonnie Dumanis to continue the persecutions and medical marijuana eradication efforts in San Diego are not only continuing, they are escalating, and will continue to intensify as she is gearing up for her next election.

Mr. Lance Rogers, attorney for Jovan Jackson did an excellent job representing his client and fought as hard as he could to get the case dismissed. Although the case was bound over, Mr. Jackson will still get to present and argue the Murgia Motion (prosecutorial discrimination). Hopefully the next judge will see the absurdity of this trial and dismiss it.

Thank You Jovan for continuing to stand up for our rights, and not allow these persecutions to be swept under the rug through plea deals.

The perpetrators of these this continued efforts to subvert state law and persecute patients both in the DA’s office and in the integrated narcotics will not be left unnoticed. The voters and juries will hold you accountable for your actions.

Photographs by: William West

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