Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Judge Throws Out Hamburg Medical Marijuana Case; Mendocino County Sheriffs Department “ommited truth”

Laura Hamburg stood up Against the Bio-tech Giant Monsanto, helped to pass Measure G the famous Anti-GMO Bill in Mendocino County. And this is how the County of Mendocino thanks her!

And this is what we get out of the people who are supposed to protect us?

From the Press Democrat:

Former county prosecutor Keith Faulder, Hamburg’s attorney, accused sheriff’s deputies in court Thursday of deceiving a local judge who was convinced to sign a warrant to search her home on property owned by her parents, former Rep. Dan Hamburg, D-Ukiah, and his wife, Carrie.

Faulder said authorities had “wildly inflated” the amount of processed marijuana found

UKIAH — Prosecution of community activist Laura Hamburg on felony marijuana charges is in doubt following a Mendocino County judge’s decision to quash a search warrant in the high-profile case.

The ruling means evidence seized during a raid on her home can’t be used against her, and it raises the possibility that the pending criminal case could be dropped. That prospect Thursday buoyed Hamburg’s family and friends, as well as supporters of county medical marijuana policies.

Hamburg said after her court victory that widespread publicity surrounding her case has unfairly branded her as a criminal.

“People think I’m some kind of big-time grower, but I’m not. It was just a family operation,” said Hamburg after Thursday’s hearing.

Former county prosecutor Keith Faulder, Hamburg’s attorney, accused sheriff’s deputies in court Thursday of deceiving a local judge who was convinced to sign a warrant to search her home on property owned by her parents, former Rep. Dan Hamburg, D-Ukiah, and his wife, Carrie.

Faulder said they failed to disclose in their sworn statement that Laura Hamburg had provided them with valid county-issued medical marijuana documentation showing that two other individuals — her sister Elizabeth Hamburg and neighbor Jean North — were also involved in the pot-growing operation.

Judge James Luther, a retired Superior Court judge presiding over Thursday’s hearing, agreed.

Luther ruled that the documentation was crucial because the number of pot plants growing at Hamburg’s home appeared to be within county guidelines if three people were in fact involved.

“Based on the evidence presented today, I don’t believe the search warrant would have been issued,” said Luther.

Deputy District Attorney Scott McMenomey said Thursday he was unsure whether he will try to prosecute Hamburg, given the diminished evidence.

“We’ll have to wait and see what happens,” said McMenomey. Luther ordered another hearing to be held March 13.

At the time of the raid in October, sheriff investigators said at least 50 mature pot plants, about 50 pounds of processed marijuana, and $10,000 in cash were found on the Hamburg property. Faulder said authorities had “wildly inflated” the amount of processed marijuana found, a volume which could have been worth $150,000 or more in the underground pot market.

Hamburg’s pot-growing case has been high-profile from the beginning, when top sheriff’s department brass, 11 drug agents and at least two deputy district attorneys went to the family compound last fall after being alerted that marijuana was being cultivated.

Deputies were seeking to serve a warrant on Hamburg’s brother, Matt, for violating a civil restraining order when they noticed the growing pot.

“I initially welcomed the first two officers onto the property because I knew we were in conformance with county law,” said Hamburg.

But Hamburg said she became increasingly “fearful” as the number of law enforcement officers swelled.

“I’m not some criminal,” she said.


Other towns in Mendocino County include: Willits, CA , Laytonville, CA , and Ukiah, CA .

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