A press conference on behalf of Navy veteran and medical marijuana patient/provider Dexter Padilla has been set for Tuesday, May 22, at 12:30 p.m., in front of the Hall of Justice at 330 West Broadway, San Diego, California. The press conference was arranged by the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access.
A jury was selected last week and Padilla’s marijuana trafficking trial began on May 16 in Department 27 of San Diego Superior Court for the Honorable Laura Parsky.
Throughout the last week, the prosecution presented its side in the criminal trial of District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis v. Padilla, a Navy veteran, medical cannabis patient and president of Therapeutic Healing Collective (THC), a San Diego-based nonprofit medical marijuana cooperative.
The prosecution’s entire case consisted of two witnesses from D.A. Dumanis’ Cross Jurisdiction Task Force. The Task Force, which is strongly supported by Dumanis, was formed to commandeer local law enforcement in an effort to help the federal government circumvent California’s medical marijuana laws.
In the D.A.’s case, San Diego Police Officer Paul Paxton and DEA Agent Lindsay Bellomy testified exhaustively to the existence of Therapeutic Healing Collective, a fact not disputed by the defense. Paxton also testified to the existence of marijuana at the collective’s two sites, another fact not in dispute.
The prosecution then rested, having failed to prove the illegality of anything THC did, or even raise one instance of where Padilla was out of compliance.
Dumanis’ contention is that marijuana existed, therefore a crime was committed — a position held by the federal government, not the state of California, where the case occurred and is being tried.
The defense, represented by attorney Michael J. McCabe, included expert witness Chris Conrad, who testified to the nature of THC’s crop, the expected yields and his expert opinion of the collective’s needs.
Also, taking the stand for the defense was THC’s General Counsel Attorney Mark Wuerfel. According to Mr. Wuerfel’s testimony, on June 17, 2010, DEA Agent Beau Bilkek led a warrantless raid on the offices of the Redwood Law Group, Wuerfel’s firm in northern California, and stole attorney client privileged records
of THC’s patient files.
In his testimony, Wuerfel described the theft, and also Mendocino County Superior Court’s subsequent court order to the DEA to return the documents, the actual return of the documents and their destroyed condition.
Also described by Wuerfel were the great lengths to which THC went to comply with state law in forming the cooperative. During his testimony. Wuerfel introduced THC’s articles of incorporation, the organization’s board meeting minutes, CPA reports, tax records and the only complete patient file returned by the DEA.
Dexter Padilla himself is scheduled to take the stand on Monday, May 21.