|Photo: Pennington County Sheriff|
The defense attorney in a dismissed medical marijuana case in Michigan said drug enforcement task force officers raiding medical marijuana patients are being “overly aggressive.”
“The way police are doing investigations needs to change,” said Michael Komorn of Southfield, Mich., attorney for Gregory Pointer of Clarkston, reports Carol Hopkins of The Oakland Press.
Pointer was charged with “unlawful manufacture of marijuana” contrary to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, but his case was dismissed last week in Genesee Circuit Court.
The case began when Pointer, a legal medical marijuana patient, was robbed of his cannabis in a Clarkston restaurant parking lot on October 26, 2009. Pointer reported the robbery to the police, and Komorn said his client cooperated with the robbery investigation, which resulted in four people being arrested and charged with armed robbery and gun charges.
But then Pointer’s barn was raided by the gung-ho Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET).
|Photo: The Oakland Press|
|Attorney Michael Komorn: “The way police are doing investigations needs to change”|
”An interesting twist to all of this was that the entire witness list for the prosecutor was the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team, yet the venue for the trial was Genesee County,” Komorn said.
Judge Geoffrey Neithercut of Genesee County Circuit Court dismissed the case against Pointer — who has a Michigan medical marijuana card — on January 14, ruling that prosecutors failed to show evidence that Pointer had more than 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis.
According to the judge, instead of presenting the marijuana in its “processed and usable form, the prosecutor brought in a very large quantity of unprocessed marijuana well in excess of 2.5 ounces, and said a jury could infer a percentage of usable material.”
“There was no need of the jury to infer the weight of usable (marijuana),” Judge Neithercut said. “The prosecutor and law enforcement had the unprocessed marijuana and could have processed it down to a usable form… and presented that as evidence.”
|Photo: Chetly Zarko|
|If you’re a dirty cop who got caught stealing during a drug raid, don’t worry; it’s OK! Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard will hire you for his “Narcotics Enforcement Team,” where you’ll fit right in!|
”(The) prosecutor made a tactical decision to sway the jury with large bags of unprocessed and legally meaningless marijuana refuse instead,” the judge said.
“The judge looked at this case from the patient’s perspective,” Komorn said. “Stems, stalks and seeds are not usable.”
The case shows how the current medical marijuana environment is “confusing for law enforcement and patients, but that fault shouldn’t be on the patients,” Komorn said.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard, who oversees the Narcotics Enforcement Team, is a real hot-dogger. Last year the Sheriff infamously dismissed the concerns of medical marijuana patients and disrespected the will of state voters — 63 percent of whom voted in 2008 to legalize medical marijuana — by saying “This is Michigan, not some Cheech and Chong movie.“
As an illustration of the kind of hiring decisions made for the Narcotics Enforcement Team, Richard M. Craze, a Madison Heights police officer who was fired two years ago for stealing (and spending) a $125 Home Depot gift card he found during a drug raid, understandably lost his appeal for reinstatement — so he was assigned to the NET.
Good hiring choice, Sheriff Bouchard! Dirty cop gets caught stealing during a drug raid, put him on your team. He’ll fit right in.