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Attorneys Defending Clients' Medical Marijuana Charges Pleased About Developments

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Michigan--Using the word "breakthrough," attorneys defending clients fighting medical marijuana-related drug charges stemming from a raid last year left an Oakland County Circuit Court hearing Wednesday sounding pleased about developments.

"I'm glad the judge is giving us a chance," said Neil Rockind, who represents Matthew John-Drinnon Miller of Waterford.

Specifically, Judge Phyllis McMillen has agreed to hold evidentiary hearings in the case, allowing defendants to testify before her.

"The defense wants to introduce that police officers pretended to be medical marijuana patients," said Loren Dickstein, a defense attorney.

"It's critical that the evidence comes in."

McMillen would then decide whether the cases would go on to a jury.

If defense attorneys disagree with her decision, they could take the case to the Court of Appeals.

Five defense attorneys were before McMillen for Wednesday's pre-trial in the complex case.

Their defendants include: William Teichman, Brian Vaughan, Miller, Kirk Alan Swafford and Jennifer Zuck, all of Waterford; and Andrew Nater of Ferndale.

Effort to split up the defendants fails

Because McMillen recused herself from the case of defendant Candace Teichman earlier this year – McMillen said they are former neighbors and used to be in a golf league together and McMillen's attorney husband worked on Teichman's divorce case – defense attorneys Wednesday argued their clients' cases should also be separated and heard before a different judge.

Rockind argued because his client, Matthew Miller, was connected to Candace Teichman, Miller should be either separated from the pack or tried with Teichman.

Other attorneys stepped forward with the same request.

McMillen didn't buy it.

"It was the luck of the draw, bad luck, so now I have these cases," said McMillen.

She said she wasn't going to "dump this on Judge (Rae Lee) Chabot" (who is now the judge in Candace Teichman's case).

"I would be shirking my duties," McMillen said.

"I'm not going to do it."

Candace and her husband, William, operated Everybody's Cafe and Herbal Remedies in Waterford Township. The facility was raided Aug. 25, thrusting the couple from White Lake into the center of a public dispute with the Oakland County law enforcement community involving the state's medical marijuana law.

A drug task force also raided in August a medical marijuana club called Clinical Relief in Ferndale, making several arrests. Earlier this year, deputies raided a medical marijuana dispensary in Oak Park.

In court Wednesday McMillen admitted the many medical marijuana cases "are weighing heavily on me," she said, adding she wanted to find a "fair way to deal with them."

She even stated she hadn't studied so many case law for guidance and background since law school.

"We are dealing with a new law and not a lot of direction or direct rulings from the Court of Appeals," she said.

She described finding a Michigan case – People v. D'Angelo, 1977 – which provided a similar set of circumstances to what is now in Circuit Court.

She then told the attorneys evidentiary hearings would be held.

"You will present what you want," she said.

Both attorneys and the judge used the metaphor of "throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks."

The next special pre-trial in the matter will be held June 27.


News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: dailytribune.com
Author: Carol Hopkins
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: The Daily Tribune
Website: Attorneys defending clients' medical marijuana-related drug charges pleased about developments
 
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