Pubdate: Tue, 22 Aug 2000
Source: Auburn Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2000 The Auburn Journal
Contact: Jessica Towhey
Address: 1030 High St., Auburn, CA 95603

Author: Jessica R. Towhey, Journal Staff Writer


Acknowledging the charges facing Steven and Michele Kubby are more substantial than a
run-of-the-mill drug case, a judge ruled on Tuesday to allow attorneys to poll potential jurors
on their bias toward marijuana being used for medicinal purposes.

Defense lawyer J. David Nick argued in an almost empty Auburn courtroom that emotions
run high in a case such as the one against the Kubbys, who face a total of 19 criminal counts
of possession and cultivation of marijuana and other illicit substances. And the issue of
medical marijuana, under which auspices the Kubbys claim to have grown their 265 plants,
brings out what Nick termed as "violent responses" from both sides of the issue.

"This is the first law since the 1920s that has allowed anyone to lawfully cultivate and possess
marijuana," Nick said of Proposition 215.

But prosecutors objected to Nick's line of reasoning, stating they have pursued the case
against the Kubbys as they would any drug-possession case.

"It has been suggested - and I disagree - that this case is emotionally charged," said
Supervising Deputy District Attorney Gene Gini. "For some maybe, but not for many

Superior Court Judge John L. Cosgrove, however, disagreed with the prosecutors.
According to Cosgrove, it would be better for any "deep-seated bias" held by potential jurors
to be discovered by the attorneys prior to the matter coming to trial.

Jury selection began Tuesday morning with roughly 300 Placer County residents being asked
to fill out questionnaires. Given the lengthy trial calendar - court is expected to extend into
November - five alternate jurors will be selected.

Additionally, the trial will proceed on a shortened schedule to accommodate Steven Kubby's
medical condition. Kubby suffers from malignant pheochromocytoma, a rare form of adrenal
cancer that causes the amount of adrenaline in his body to rise to life-threatening levels.

Kubby, who possesses a physician's recommendation for medical marijuana, produced a letter
from Dr. David E. Kim, a Laguna Beach internist, who wrote that "unusual levels of stress
would therefore result in potentially disabling symptoms" that could lead to acute cerebral
hemorrhage, among other symptoms.

Michele Kubby holds a physician's recommendation for medical marijuana for irritable bowel

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