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Thu Sep 6, 2012, 11:56 AM

I went to jail on my 58th birthday

Let me start this out by saying I smoke marijuana. It makes me feel comfortable in a way no anti-depressants or pharmaceuticals can. I am very discreet and I don't flaunt it. I smoke at home and try to enjoy my days.

I am an Army veteran with a disability on my knees. I have hepatitis C and high blood pressure. Marijuana calms me. I am unfortunate that I don't live in a state with medicinal marijuana. I am in Mississippi.

On July 22, I went to work on my 58th birthday. Towards the end of my shift, I was approached by some drug agents who said there was something going on at my house concerning my family. They said they had reason to believe an acquaintance of mine had stored a large quantity of drugs at my house and could I come with them as I was the only member of the household in town at the time. (Family on vacation)

To keep things low-key and to not cause a scene at my employment, I made arrangements with my manager to leave. As I was leaving, the agents asked me for my phone. They said they would give it back when I got to the house. I'm not knowledgeable in what my rights were in this case, so I gave it to them. They let me drive my car and followed me to my house. When I got there, I found they had gone through my text messages and found something they deemed suspicious. They told me to let them in to search or I would be facing dire consequences if they broke down the door and found the drugs they were looking for. I refused because I am only a renter of a room in the house and not the owner. They went to get a search warrant while I waited with the other police for several hours.

The detective comes back with a warrant. I asked to look at it and the detective refused. Only said that this was a judge's signature and that's all I needed to know. I let them in. I had told them that I was a marijuana smoker, but only in small amounts. As they searched, they found some weed which was about a quarter ounce. They also found an amount of "legal herb" that I had bought online about 4 years ago and never threw away. They called it spice. It was not. The stuff was what they sell with pipes when you buy them at a novelty store. They said that was illegal in this state. They brought the drug dog in and went through the garage and house. The one agent said he had no problem kicking the shit out of my dogs if they were not contained (which they were).

After searching everything, everywhere. They found two tiny seedlings of marijuana. They never found any large amount they were looking for. Mainly because it was a lie that was told to them by my acquaintance's girlfriend who he had just broken up with two nights before.

However, they take me to jail and charge me with marijuana possession, possession of spice (later changed to cannabinoids (?) and with cultivation. The cultivation is a felony. The other two were misdemeanors. I was given a $25,000 bond. I was in jail for two days and unable to take any of my prescription medication. My blood pressure was through the roof by the time I got out. Had I been in there much longer I probably would have had a stroke.

At this point, I have been unable to find a lawyer I can afford. I go to court on Sept. 27th for the misdemeanors. I am about to request a public defender. In Mississippi, I've heard that is gonna be risky. I'm really worried about the felony. I think if I had a decent lawyer I could beat this.

Anyway. Any thoughts or suggestions on what I could do to get out of this mess I'm in?

Edited to add: I am a grandmother and work as a waitress.

Second edit: I have a lawyer for my misdemeanors and he is a good one and I'm paying him with what I come up with so far. He can't do my felony, however, unless I come up with about $3500. Still working on it.

Incidentally, the family friend's girlfriend who created this mess has written and notarized a statement saying she lied about the whole thing and that letter is now in lawyers hands. I don't know if that will help in my case or not.

14 replies, 1841 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 14 replies Author Time Post
Reply I went to jail on my 58th birthday (Original post)
HeeBGBz Sep 2012 OP
NBachers Sep 2012 #1
Animal Chin Sep 2012 #2
Animal Chin Sep 2012 #3
Voice for Peace Sep 2012 #5
Voice for Peace Sep 2012 #4
tblue37 Sep 2012 #6
HeeBGBz Sep 2012 #7
limpyhobbler Sep 2012 #8
enough Sep 2012 #9
Rhiannon12866 Sep 2012 #10
HeeBGBz Sep 2012 #11
HeeBGBz Sep 2012 #12
DreamSmoker Sep 2012 #13
HeeBGBz Sep 2012 #14

Response to HeeBGBz (Original post)

Thu Sep 6, 2012, 12:12 PM

1. My sympathies- I turned 40 in the federal joint; doing a long stretch of cocaine time

I got too caught up in Miami activities

Your life is an unjust nightmare right now. Let me assure you- you will survive this. The day will come when it's all over, and days will come when you will wake up and be glad you're alive.

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Response to HeeBGBz (Original post)

Thu Sep 6, 2012, 12:16 PM

2. I am sorry you're experiencing this.

You should be allowed to take the medicine you need/want in the privacy of your home, but that's another story.

If a public defender is all you can afford, it's better than nothing. Although risky, one strategy is to take this to trial...refuse to plea bargain on any of the charges. I have read lately about how jury nullification (where a jury recognizes that the defendant is guilty, but for moral or other reasons, refuses to convict) is becoming a serious concern to prosecutors of possession cases. Basically, people have gotten used to the idea that MJ is not crack cocaine and even has benefits. When a jury sees a case like yours, involving possession of a small amount for personal use, they get pissed that the state is spending its resources prosecuting it and refuse to convict. I have read of recent cases in Montana, Arizona, Michigan and Connecticut where this has been publicized.

As I said, it's risky (maybe more so in Mississippi as rural, conservative jurists may be more inclined to apply the rule of law no matter what), but it is definitely worth discussing with your lawyer, public defender or not.

I'm assuming there was no "intent to sell" charge, that your property is not close to a school or public housing and that no contraband was found in your car. Any of those (and probably other) factors might change the analysis...talk to a lawyer!

Good luck and after you've resolved this, consider moving to a more enlightened state.

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Response to Animal Chin (Reply #2)

Thu Sep 6, 2012, 12:28 PM

3. Read about this case

http://reason.com/blog/2012/07/19/more-evidence-of-growing-citizen-resista

I wonder if there is a NORML office or some other organization (ACLU) that might be able to help with lawyers.

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Response to Animal Chin (Reply #3)

Thu Sep 6, 2012, 12:38 PM

5. those are excellent suggestions nt

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Response to HeeBGBz (Original post)

Thu Sep 6, 2012, 12:37 PM

4. I don't have any legal knowledge to offer but I can kick the thread

and offer sympathy.

Hopefully there are knowledgeable DUers from MI here and they'll find this thread.

Think hopeful outcomes, on all horizons.

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Response to HeeBGBz (Original post)

Thu Sep 6, 2012, 12:50 PM

6. k&r

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Response to HeeBGBz (Original post)

Thu Sep 6, 2012, 12:55 PM

7. Thanks

Thanks for ideas. I'm at work and will
write more later.

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Response to HeeBGBz (Original post)

Thu Sep 6, 2012, 12:56 PM

8. Consider a plea bargain.

Maybe you can get the felony charges reduced to a misdemeanor in exchange for a guilty or nolo plea.

These are just some ideas, don't take it too seriously.

Call around and do free consultations with a few different lawyers to get an idea of what strategies would be possible. Many of them will do free consultations either on the phone or in person. You don't have to tell them you can't pay. Just do some free consults to get info about what is possible. Bring a list of questions with you and take notes.

Call a local law school. Sometimes they have a legal clinic where law students can offer legal help.
Try calling the Mississippi Bar Association to see if they have a referral service. Maybe they can recommend a lawyer or point you to a legal clinic that works according to your income. The public defender could be good too maybe.

Talk to other people in your town who have faced similar problems to find out what they have done.

Ask your lawyers if you can or should request a continuance (postpone the court dates). Sometimes pushing the date back a couple times can give you more time to prepare. I don't know if it helps you get a better plea bargain.

I'm sorry anyone has to go through what you are facing.

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Response to HeeBGBz (Original post)

Thu Sep 6, 2012, 01:16 PM

9. I'm going to repeat Animal Chin's suggestion about contacting NORML and the ACLU.

They may be able to help you with finding a lawyer. Also they should know about this case, which seems even more fishy than usual.

A public defender is better than nothing, and some of them are truly dedicated inspired individuals. Part of what's going on here is that they seem to be taking advantage in a big way of the fact that you have no legal advice.

So sorry this is happening to you. Please keep us posted.

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Response to HeeBGBz (Original post)

Thu Sep 6, 2012, 04:37 PM

10. K&R for more exposure...

Here's hoping that you get some more helpful suggestions here. I am so sorry that this happened to you.

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Response to HeeBGBz (Original post)

Thu Sep 6, 2012, 11:25 PM

11. I will try to talk to some people on my days off

The misdemeanors are no biggie. Just a fine if I had pleaded guilty. I can't say I'm guilty for those without damaging defense on the felony. I've talked to a couple of lawyers who mentioned a few reason's why I could probably beat this. There is one lawyer that I really like, who would kick ass, but he is so busy and I don't know if I could afford him. He's a lawyer from California who came here to help after Katrina and stayed. He used to be a public defender, but now isn't. He is very knowledgeable about marijuana laws and such.

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Response to HeeBGBz (Original post)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 02:33 PM

12. Court date coming and can't get a public defender

I went out in search of answers on getting a public defender. I was told at the courthouse that they won't give public defenders on misdemeanors. They said I could get one for the felony that might work both issues. However, I can't get one for the felony until I am indicted and/or have a court date. Soooo. Do I defend myself on the misdemeanors? I have several reasons to believe it was an illegal search.

I am still trying to get this one lawyer to talk to me but he's always in court and I really don't know if I can afford him or not.

If I am not allowed to see the search warrant, wouldn't that constitute an illegal search?

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Response to HeeBGBz (Original post)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 07:07 PM

13. You have been railroaded Big time by Law Enforcement...

Those Detectives have done this exactly the way they wanted by design and purpose...
I just hope you get a decent defense as this was unjust and so wrong...

This was taking their training to a whole new level..
Its designed so they may find a crime and property to confiscate and profit from later.. They most likely went after You in this same way...

If you loose your case????
They WIN....
That's the Game they are playing..
Guilt has nothing to do with it either...
This is American Justice today..

Its Bullshit and so Wrong..


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Response to HeeBGBz (Original post)

Tue Sep 18, 2012, 07:25 PM

14. Yay, I got the lawyer I wanted!

He's only working with me on the misdemeanors and is charging me a fee I can afford. We are in limbo with the felony and I will worry when that time comes. I was really afraid I would have to go to court alone and I really needed someone to check into all the iffy parts of the police procedures.

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