By Eugene Davidovich, Chair of the San Diego Americans for Safe Access Advisory Board.
Over ninety jurors were screened and made available for two weeks, all motions filed by both sides, and today in a surprising turn of events, less than a week before trial was to begin a resolution was reached between the US Attorney’s office and the defense in the James Stacy Federal medical marijuana case.
On Monday of this week, the US Attorney’s office made another plea bargain offer to Stacy. The deal included six months of jail time as opposed to the original one year jail time the US Attorney’s office was offering a year ago. Stacy refused the offer.
After internal meetings and conferences the US Attorney came back with another offer a few hours later. This time, the offer was much better; no jail time, drop all charges against Stacy except one count of manufacturing marijuana, for which Stacy would get three years probation.
After consulting with his family and defense attorney’s Stacy decided to sign the deal.
Today at 11am Stacy was due in court for his last motion hearing before trial, instead of hearing arguments about pre trial motions, the details of the plea agreement were discussed. In front of a courtroom filled with Americans for Safe Access Members and James Stacy supporters, Judge Moskowitz accepted the agreement and set a sentencing date for January 7 at 10:15am.
Stacy was raided on September 9, 2009 the same day over a dozen other medical marijuana dispensaries were raided in San Diego County as part of District Attorney (DA) Bonnie Dumanis’ fierce fight against medical marijuana patients, dubbed by her office as “Operation Green Rx”.
The reason for his case going to federal court where he had no defense versus state where he would have been found in clear and unambiguous compliance with state law, still remains a mystery, and is a question the U.S. Attorney prosecuting Stacy has refused to answer.
After this turn of events in the Stacy case, it seems that the US Attorney’s office finally realized that if they were to take this case to trial, a conviction would be very difficult to achieve and the public outrage at the waste of resources on such a prosecution would create a public relations nightmare for the office.
Advocates are hopeful that now Dumanis will think twice before sending another dispensary that is in full compliance with state law to federal court in San Diego.
San Diego Americans for Safe Access
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