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Rory Murray/OC Weekly

​Sentencing for medical marijuana defendants Joe Grumbine and Joe Byron — convicted of cannabis sales in relation to a pair of dispensaries in Long Beach, California and another in Garden Grove — has been delayed. In an unexpected, 11th-hour move, Long Beach Superior Court Judge Charles D. Sheldon removed himself from the case Wednesday morning, citing allegations of his biased behavior in the courtroom and admitting he made a serious error in sending a complimentary letter to the prosecutor prior to sentencing.

Judge Sheldon — who throughout the trial, put on one of the most unseemly displays of anti-marijuana bias in memory — denied the allegations, reports Nick Schou of OC Weekly. “The court is not biased in favor of any party or counsel,” he claimed, responding to a recusal motion by defense attorneys Christopher Glew and Allison Margolin. The recusal motion included a laundry list of Judge Sheldon’s objectionable statements. 

The Weedly News
Joe Grumbine, above, and Joe Byron were found guilty of all counts Wednesday by a jury in Long Beach, California

Long Beach Kangaroo Court Yields Insane Jury Verdict

After what was reportedly one of the worst, most farcical and biased trials in history, led by an octogenarian judge who openly and repeatedly expressed his bias against medical marijuana — at one point even ordering a screen to be erected between the jurors and courtroom visitors — Joe Grumbine and Joe Byron, who operated Long Beach dispensaries, were found guilty Wednesday of all 13 counts.

The two are scheduled to return to Long Beach Superior Court on January 11 for sentencing. Superior Court Judge Charles Sheldon allowed the men to remain out on bail over the holidays.

Grumbine and Byron were raided and arrested two years ago this month, reports Nick Schou at OC Weekly, resulting in a long legal nightmare which culminated in today’s convictions. The jury found both men guilty of selling marijuana, tax evasion, and electricity theft.
The charges, according to supporters of the two Joes, are nothing more than an attack by overzealous police and prosecutors in violation of California’s medical marijuana law, reports Tracy Manzer at the Long Beach Press Telegram.

Catrina Coleman
Joe Grumbine, The Human Solution: “We operated a collective. But the jury will never hear that part.”

​Medical marijuana patient and provider Joe Grumbine is currently fighting for his freedom, facing 13 felony counts in a Long Beach, California court.
Grumbine, who founded the activist group The Human Solution to provide court support for medical marijuana defendants, now needs that kind of support himself, as the clueless judge in his case barred him from using the medical marijuana affirmative defense.
The jury won’t be allowed to even hear that Grumbine was operating legally under California law; I predict 12 very angry jurors when they learn the truth.
Unless and until more medical marijuana providers are willing to stand up like Joe Grumbine has for medicinal cannabis laws and the patients they are designed to protect, innocent people will keep being caught up in legal nightmares like this one.
Toke of the Town had a chance to chat with this hero of the medical marijuana movement.