Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sentencing for Charlie Lynch delayed

The sentencing for Charlie Lynch was delayed. Judge Wu wants to take time to review information from the Justice Department, in light of Attorney General Eric Holder's statement that persons distributing medical marijuana are only to be prosecuted federally if they have demonstrably broken both state law and federal law.

This makes Lynch's situation strange, for a few reasons. In his trial, prosecutors only relied on federal law, which was all they needed to secure a conviction. By Bush's protocol, state law was totally irrelevant. Lynch's attorneys tried as hard as they could to demonstrate that Lynch broke absolutely no state law, but that was irrelevant to any of the charges for which he was actually convicted. It's unclear what information is on the record that demonstrates either how Lynch was totally compliant with state law, or how the prosecution lacked and ignored any evidence of Lynch violating state law. State law was officially irrelevant to both the prosecution and the defense when the trial took place.

Lynch is technically still in the process of being prosecuted, so Wu could read the recent shift in federal policy as grounds to dismiss this case altogether now. He might not do that though, because there doesn't seem to be any actual law that Wu could refer to. Wu may interpret the recent change to apply only to protocol for the DEA to initiate a case, but not to cases that have already commenced. That would seem like an unfair reading, since the prosecution would have had to prove in trial after the DEA raid that that raid was only conducted because of violation of state law. Again, the prosecution never bothered with this because it was irrelevant, and the DEA certainly didn't conduct their raids on Lynch's dispensary or home with state law in mind, because state law was irrelevant.

If Littrell and Cohen provide Wu sufficient documentation that the federal change in policy applies to prosecution at any stage, there's a chance that this whole nightmare for Charlie will be over soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

my faith in our government has never been higher. Given enough time, the American people will ultimately correct injustice. Pres. Obama and his team realize that the so-called war on drugs has only cost us incalculable amount of wasted money and ruined lives. Thanks Seth for being an advocate of Charlie Lynch. npg