John Balazs is an attorney in Sacramento, California, specializing in criminal defense, including appeals, habeas corpus, pardons, expungements, and civil forfeiture actions. After graduating from UCLA Law School in 1989, he clerked for Judge Harry Pregerson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. John was an Assistant Federal Defender in Fresno and Sacramento from 1992-2001. Please email EDCA items of interest to Balazslaw@gmail.com. Follow me on twitter @balazslaw.
This blog is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice. The law can change rapidly and information in this blog can become outdated. Do your own research or consult with an attorney.
Another surreal federal court experience. Today, I watched a federal prosecutor attempt to convince Judge Damrell to give jail time to a guy who apparently sold a pet fish on a fishy-ebay site. The defendant had pled to offering to sell an endangered fish in interstate commerce in violation of 16 U.S.C. §§ 1538(a)(1)(F) and 1540(b)(1), a class A misdemeanor. He gave a particularly eloquent acceptance statement (in my humble opinion) and received probation and a quite-hefty, 400 hours community service.
The Sacramento Bee reported on a change in policy in EDCA misdemeanor medical marijuana possession cases on federal lands, such as national forests and national parks. According to Larry Brown, the U.S. Attorney's Office will not pursue prosecution of small amounts of marijuana on federal lands where the individual has a valid medical marijuana recommendation under California law. This formalizes the policy that had been developing after the U.S. Attorney had dismissed medical marijuana misdemeanor possession cases in recent months, see8/23 Crittle Dismissal Post.
But Brown emphasized that this is not an absolute policy and that prosecution may be warranted if, for example, the marijuana user is creating a disturbance, smoking in front of children, or driving under the influence.
The Vacaville Reporter reports that a sausage maker was sentenced to probation and fined $50,000 for misdemeanor counts of mislabeling chicken sausage that had too much fat in it. According to the prosecutor,
the firm, which produces Le Pique-Nique Chicken Linguisa with garlic and white wine, and Le Pique-Nique Lemon Chicken Sausage, added chicken skin to its sausage formula from 2002 to 2005.
That increased the amount of fat in the products but Engelhart never retested nor relabeled the newly formulated, higher fat sausage products, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
On Friday, August 21, 2009, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento moved to dismiss the misdemeanor marijuana possession charge against Jordan Crittle, which was scheduled for jury trial starting tomorrow, Monday, August 24, before Judge Hollows, as I wrote about in my last blog post. Congratulations to AFD Lauren Cusick and certified law student Jared Stephenson for their work in securing the dismissal.
Flying under-the-radar is an interesting federal jury trial starting Monday (8/24) on a single charge of misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Jury selection begins at 1:30 p.m. before Judge Hollows in courtroom 24 on the 8th floor. In U.S. v. Jordan Crittle, No. 09-23-GGH, the government alleges that Crittle possessed marijuana in the Eldorado National Forest and its Trial Brief suggests a run-of-the-mill 1/4 ounce of marijuana case.