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Man Is Freed In Pot Case Appeal


420 Staff
Judge Determines Grower Can't Be Sent Back To Prison.

A Sacramento federal prosecutor has conceded that a 3-year-old court of appeals order means marijuana defendant Bryan James Epis should not re-enter prison before his appeal has been decided.

Epis, 40, is the first person associated with a California cannabis buyers' club to be tried in federal court for growing marijuana.

In July 2002, a jury found Epis planned to eventually grow 1,000 marijuana plants and that he did grow at least 100 plants in the spring of 1997 at his Chico residence.

On Aug. 10, 2004, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Epis released pending appeal after he had served 25 months of the 10-year mandatory minimum sentence imposed by U. S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. in October 2002.

The three-judge circuit panel directed Damrell to reconsider the sentence in light of a U. S. Supreme Court ruling in a similar case.

Damrell resentenced Epis last month to the same 10-year term and set a hearing for Monday on defense attorney Brenda Grantland's motion for bail pending appeal.

But last week, Assistant U. S. Attorney Samuel Wong agreed with Grantland that the circuit's 2004 order freed Epis "pending the final resolution of the issues." Damrell entered an order Friday in accord with the attorneys' written stipulation and canceled Monday's hearing.

Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Section: Page B-3
Copyright: 2007 The Sacramento Bee
Contact: opinion@sacbee.com
Website: Northern California local news and information from The Sacramento Bee - sacbee.com
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