Judge Shore to decide Tuesday if Jovan Jackson gets medical marijuana defense in state court

Dumanis Continues Attempts to prevent medical defense in Second Trial
By: Eugene Davidovich

SAN DIEGO – Despite being acquitted by a jury late last year of charges stemming from a 2008 arrest on marijuana possession and distribution charges, medical marijuana patient and provider Jovan Jackson is being tried by San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis for a second time in less than a year in connection with Operation Green Rx, an undercover sting operation targeting all medical marijuana collectives in San Diego and resulting in multiple raids and dozens of arrests.

In the weeks leading up to the second trial, Chris Linbergh the prosecutor in Jackson’s case, filed a motion with the court under Evidence Code § 402 to preclude the medical marijuana defense. According to Lindbergh, telling the jury that Mr. Jackson’s was a medical marijuana patient and that he participated in a legal collective, including cultivating cannabis for the collective, would be a potentially confusing matter and should be kept secret.

The prosecution maintains that all sales of medical marijuana are illegal and that only a group farm is allowed under state law, where all patients participate in the cultivation of marijuana, and associate only for the purposes of cultivation, rather than for the purposes of facilitating transactions between members, as the California Attorney General’s Guidelines define a collective to be.

Two weeks ago, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country’s leading medical marijuana patient advocacy group filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief in support of Jackson’s defense, refuting the District Attorney’s allegations that sales are illegal. The court refused to accept the brief and forced the defense to present additional evidence of cultivation.

Today, Jackson was back in court for the evidentiary hearing and the proceedings began with Detective Mark Andrew Carlson taking the stand. Detective Carlson was one of the undercover operatives and chief investigator in Jackson’s case. Although very hesitantly, the Detective through the excellent questions presented by Lance Rogers, did end up testifying that he saw both cultivation equipment in the collective and evidence of cultivation in the paperwork seized.

Shockingly, this was not enough for Judge Shore to allow a defense in. The Judge forced the defense team to call more witnesses. Lance Rogers, Jackson’s attorney called the next witness who was a member of the collective. Following the member’s testimony which was brief, Jovan Jackson himself took the stand.
Jackson testified today that he was in fact a member of Answerdam and helped rent a space in a commercial building for the purposes of cultivating medical marijuana. Together with other members of the collective, he cultivated cannabis, harvested the medicine, and brought it to the Answerdam collective for distribution to other members.

Lindbergh kept Jackson on the stand for over three hours questioning him about every detail of the cultivation. At one point, Lindbergh’s face turned red, he raised his voice and began shouting at Jovan in what appeared to be frustration. The Judge had to stop Linbergh several times throughout the proceedings and instruct him on proper court etiquette including how to properly form a question for a witness. This questioning and badgering of Jovan Jackson on the witness stand went on as Dumanis’ #1, Steve Walters, along with five other prosecutors sat in the courtroom, intimidating Jackson and helping the prosecution.

In a previous statement regarding this case, Joe Elford, ASA Chief Counsel said “To deny a medical marijuana provider the ability to defend himself in court based on an argument that what he did was illegal, not only ignores relevant medical marijuana law, but also smacks of circular logic, Dumanis appears against the wall in trying to prove her ill-reasoned legal theory and is attempting anything that will give her the advantage at trial.”

Although the Judge initially seemed determined to keep the medical marijuana defense out, it appeared that after having heard all the testimony, and realizing that he would be making a serious mistake and committing a grave injustice, Judge Shore decided to hold off on making a decision until the following day.

Jovan Jackson is due back in court on Tuesday at 9:00am to hear Lindbergh’s final attempts at keeping him from having a fair trial and to hear the Judges final decision.

This will be a pivotal moment in the case and your support in the courtroom is needed. Please come out and help us show the Judge that the community supports Mr. Jackson, and expects a fair trial in state court.

WHAT: Jackson Medical Defense Decision
WHEN: Tuesday, 8/31/2010 – 9:00am
WHERE: San Diego Superior Court 220 W Broadway, San Diego CA 92101 – DEPARTMENT 15

Further Information:
Amicus brief filed today by ASA in support of Jovan Jackson:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *