FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Joe Grumbine
High Court Orders Judge Sheldon to Reverse Decision
LONG BEACH, CA – On November 23, 2011, the 4th District Court of Appeal ordered Long Beach Superior Court Judge Charles D. Sheldon to reverse his ruling denying two medical marijuana defendants the ability to present a medical defense against the 13 felony counts facing them.
Joe Grumbine and Joe Byron, the former operators of two legal medical cannabis collectives in Long Beach and Garden Grove have been embroiled in a legal battle that has been dragging on for nearly 2 years, stemming from a December 2009 raid involving 120 armed SWAT officers, helicopters, and drug sniffing dogs. Ironically a Riverside judge found Grumbine to be in complete compliance with California’s medical marijuana laws just 5 weeks before the raid took place.
The two were confident they did nothing wrong, and consequently refused all plea offers the prosecution tried to convince them to take. “We knew a jury would see that we operated a legitimate not-for-profit collective that helped sick patients and provided valuable services to the community including a food bank, clothing drives, and free wheelchairs for patients in need,” says Grumbine.
But then Judge Charles Sheldon ruled that the jury would not be allowed to hear a word about medical marijuana, meaning the defendants would be presented in court as ordinary back alley drug pushers and not compassionate medical marijuana providers. Prospects looked bleak for the Joes.
That’s when defense attorney Allison Margolin stepped in, filing a writ appealing Sheldon’s outrageous decision with the court of appeals. In an unusual move, the appeals court wasted no time and returned a ruling just in time for the defendants to have a Happy Thanksgiving: Grumbine and Byron will be allowed a medical defense, unless Judge Sheldon opts to go before the court to explain himself and his ruling.
The defendants return to court on Monday for the start of jury selection with a trial expected to last approximately three weeks beginning immediately after. Supporters are planning to be at Grumbine and Byron’s sides in the courtroom, as they have during the twenty-plus court hearings the pair has already attended.
Those wishing to participate in court support, or donate to Joe Grumbine and Joe Byron’s legal defense funds can do so at The Human Solution’s website (www.the-human-solution.org) or phone 951-436-6312 for additional details.
Dispatches from the Field