By Terrie Best – San Diego Americans for Safe Access Court Support Coordinator
San Diego, CA – Jovan Jackson a medical cannabis patient, Navy veteran, and former operator of Answerdam, a medical marijuana collective in San Diego, was in court yesterday to learn his prosecutorial fate after the Fourth District Court of Appeals issued an order to the district court sending him back there, this time armed with his medical marijuana defense.
It has been a long road for this friendly and personable man. Jovan endured his first trial in November of 2009. It was heard before Judge Cynthia Bashant and resulted in an acquittal by a jury of twelve.
Then, Dumanis filed new charges stemming from a second raid on Answerdam. The second case was heard before Judge Howard Shore, who denied Jovan his medical marijuana defense on the grounds that all of members of Answerdam Collective must have participated in growing the cannabis used to serve its members.
Because he was denied his defense in that case Jovan was found guilty at his second trial and his attorney, Lance Rogers, with the help of Americans for Safe Access chief Counsel, Joe Elford, filed and won an appeal to that conviction in the Fourth District Court of Appeal (People v. Jackson Cal. Ct. App. – Oct. 24, 2012).
After the landmark appeal victory, which ruled among other things, that Judge Shore erred in denying Jovan’s medical marijuana defense, Jovan and his supporters hoped the DA would use prosecutorial discretion and not pursue his case further.
Unfortunately, that did not happen and yesterday, in an in-chambers discussion, Chris Lindberg, the prosecutor in both Jovan’s trials, revealed that the DA would try their meager case against Jovan over again.
Jovan has always had a lot of support through San Diego Americans for Safe Access and the community at large. That didn’t change yesterday in court. More than ten cannabis advocates and SDASA members listened in horror as the Judge and counsel on both sides calendared the new trial for May 1, in Department 15 of the San Diego Superior Court.
Chris Lindberg would not respond to questions regarding why Bonnie Dumanis would waste taxpayer money since her case against Jovan fell apart when he won his appeal and his medical marijuana defense in court.
After the proceedings, and on a happier note, at the suggestion of cannabis supporter and City Hall regular, Adela Falk, Jovan and all his supporters walked over to City Hall in time for non-agenda public comment at the City Council meeting. We stood at the podium surrounding Jovan and three speakers shared the minutes to talk about Jovan’s case and Mayor Filner’s new medical marijuana proposal.
Even more pleasant was a report by Adela that the Mayor’s office emailed her a note of thanks for supporting the Mayor’s proposal in front of the Council.
The Mayor’s proposal is tentatively scheduled to be presented to Council on March 25, 2013,
Jovan Jackson’s trial is set for May 1, 2013 at 9:00AM in Department 15 of the San Diego Superior Court at 220 West Broadway, San Diego CA, 20101