michigan marijuana
Ending Marijuana Prohibition

Attorney Files Federal Class Action Lawsuit Against MSP, Oakland County Labs

michigan marijuanaKomorn Law has filed a class-action suit in federal court against the Directors of the Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division and Oakland County’s Forensic Services Laboratory over 4th Amendment and due process violations in the way marijuana evidence is being officially reported to Courts by those labs. Also named in the suit: Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard and Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, head of the State Police.

The suit names as Plaintiffs four individuals who have had these questionable lab results on seized evidence used against them in a court of law, and include Max Lorincz, Earl Carruthers, Jason Poe and Brandon Shobe. The full document is available on the Fox 17 website at THIS LINK and via several social media sites.

The suit seeks “Declatory and injunctive relief,” per the Court filing.

“Specifically, Plaintiffs bring this action because of the serious risk of deprivation of Plaintiffs’ liberty interests, rights under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, and right to substantive and procedural due process. These deprivations result from the Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division (the “Forensic Division”) intentionally misrepresenting test results regarding marijuana, at the behest of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan (“PAAM”) and other law enforcement agencies, to support the charging of felonies when none occurred.”

To summarize, this was revealed during the criminal prosecution of Max Lorincz; Komorn Law was able to achieve a complete dismissal in the case and secure the return of Max’s son, who had been taken by Child Protective Services due to his prosecution for alleged marijuana crimes. During the prosecution a FOIA request for correspondence illustrated a connection between prosecuting attorneys and the State’s Forensic Sciences Division that ultimately resulted in changes to the standard reporting procedure for cannabis-containing concentrates submitted by police to the labs as evidence.

Previously the concentrates were reported as THC from marijuana; currently the reporting procedure is to label those same samples as THC of an unknown origin. It’s the difference between a misdemeanor charge and a felony, under Michigan law.

The change in reporting was highly controversial among the laboratory staff, as revealed by the FOIA documents. Heated exchanges, lab staff quitting their jobs and a firm resolve to make the change regardless of scientific validity were all exposed by the email thread. The former Director of the State Lab decried the politicized change in reporting during an interview by a major mainstream media publication.

“The hope, in part, is that police priorities may be redirected toward serious crimes that require the full-on attention of the police,” said attorney Michael Komorn.

The prosecution of the Lorincz case initiated this class action suit. The high-energy defense drew national attention, gained Fox 17 reporter Dana Chicklas a state Emmy nomination and resulted in Komorn receiving the ‘Right To Counsel Award’ from the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan and an award from the Michigan chapter of NORML.

Activists have been supportive of the class action filing and the effort to curtail inappropriate relationships between prosecuting entities and scientific laboratories. This is just the latest in a series of suits raised by marijuana law supporters against Michigan entities who may not be playing fair with proponents of this particular issue.

“There are two lawsuits initiated in Michigan that both point out or expose corruption and lack of accountability in our state government,” said Jamie Lowell of the MILegalize organization and Third Coast Dispensary in Ypsilanti.

MILegalize has filed in the Court of Claims against elections officials who refuse to process the 354,000 signatures submitted by the organization on June 1; in that suit the Plaintiff alleges elections officials are using a 30-year old rule to establish an unattainable standard of compliance to snuff the petition drive which advocates for marijuana legalization.

In addition to the suits filed by Komorn Law and MILegalize, the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan filed suit against the Secretary of State and others to challenge a recent elections law change which permanently removes the rebuttable presumption clause and disallows validation of signatures older than 180 days on initiated petitions. The Attorney General today filed a response that would dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that the anti-fracking group does not have standing to file. A response is anticipated from the Committee and the Court.

Attorney Michael Komorn is the host of the longstanding radio program The Planet Green Trees Radio Show; the program will take an in-depth look at the federal calss-action lawsuit during their broadcast on June 23, beginning at 8pm (or thereabouts). Listen live at www.blogtalkradio.com/planetgreentrees

Source: The Compassion Chronicles