The question of Steve and Michele Kubby's guilt or innocence on possession-of-marijuana-for-sales charges could go to a Placer County Superior Court jury as early as today.

Into its fourth month, the Kubby trial ran out of witnesses Wednesday, with the prosecution resting its case

Jurors arrived for what was anticipated to be a potential day of cross-examination of retired state Department of Justice special agent Mick Mollica on estimated marijuana plant yields a key component of the county
District Attorney's Office case. Instead, Michele Kubby defense attorney J. David Nick and Steven Kubby attorney J. Tony Serra told Judge John Cosgrove that they had no questions.

The jury was excused for the day, minutes after being seated in court. Taken aback, one juror exclaimed "I drove 45 minutes to get here."

Earlier, some jurors applauded after learning that closing arguments and juror instructions today could result in deliberations beginning Friday.

"I'd like to give you a high five on that, judge," called out one juror.

"I'll take it too," Cosgrove replied.

The Kubbys were arrested after a January 1999 raid on their rented Olympic Valley home netted 265 marijuana plants, plus small amounts of hashish, magic mushroom and peyote. After several stops and starts, their trial started in September, took a break and then resumed in earnest in October.
The lengthy proceeding has been arduous, with Michele Kubby breaking down in tears and having to leave the courtroom two weeks ago when it became apparent the trial would last much longer than expected.

The sheer number of plants alone would have boosted the trial's profile, but Steven Kubby's political resume turned it into a cause celebre for medicinal marijuana advocates. Supporters, including many medical marijuana users, filled many of the seats in the North Auburn courtroom for much of the trial.

Steve Kubby was a key player in the passage of Proposition 215 four years ago. In 1998, the Libertarian Party chose him as their gubernatorial candidate and he hammered both major-party candidates on their medicinal
marijuana positions. Less than three months later, he was behind bars on a multitude of drug charges.

Steve Kubby's advocacy of medicinal marijuana is more than a political stance. He has been diagnosed with a rare form of adrenal cancer and maintained on the witness stand that smoking large amounts of cannabis keeps him alive.

Witnesses for the defense said the Kubby garden would produce less than 4 pounds of pot. Mollica testified that each plant would yield from 3 to 6 ounces.

Like her husband, Michele Kubby possessed a doctor's recommendation to grow and use marijuana under Prop. 215. Hers was for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.

The prosecution's contention is that money received by the Kubbys from Oakland and San Francisco cannabis buyers clubs was for marijuana sales.
Both Kubbys argued the cash and money orders were gifts to fund Steve Kubby's medicinal cannabis advocacy role.

After the jury left Wednesday, prosecutor Chris Cattran was unable to have a
cannabis club grower's contract with Steve Kubby's name written on it in ink
included in evidence. Both Serra and Nick argued the contract had never been
introduced in evidence during the trial. Cattran said the prosecution had assumed that it was being included as evidence in a packet of books on drugs confiscated from Steve Kubby's library. Cosgrove said he wouldn't allow the contract as evidence because there was no opportunity for Kubby to be questioned on who wrote the name in.

"It's prejudicial and you had your chance I'm not going to allow it as evidence," Cosgrove said.

The sampling of Kubby's library selected by prosecutors as evidence also sparked a dispute in the courtroom Wednesday. The books in question were "LSD Problem Child" and an instructional volume on mushroom growing.

Serra lobbied for more books dealing with marijuana cultivation, saying the
selections weren't representative of the charges. He said he felt both the peyote and mushroom stem found in the Kubbys' house weren't useable amounts.

"This is not an LSD case," he added. "This is tilting the scale to psychedelics when they're not the main thrust of the case."

Cosgrove decided to look through the pile of books himself and selected "Hemp for Health" and a marijuana cultivation guide to accompany "The Psychedelic Source Book," issues of High Times magazine, "The Psychedelic Experience," "Plants of the Gods," "Psychedelic Macropedia," and other
books.



Pubdate: 14 Dec, 2000
Source: Auburn Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2000 The Auburn Journal
Contact: ajournal@foothill.net
Address: 1030 High St., Auburn, CA 95603
Website: http://www.auburnjournal.com/
Author: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Phone: (530) 885-6585