A Linda couple will have to wait another week to find out if they'll get
their medical marijuana back.

Doyle and Belinda Satterfield have filed a motion in Yuba County Superior
Court seeking the return of the marijuana, which they use as medicine to
treat their ailments.

The Satterfields were arrested last August and charged with illegal
marijuana cultivation. The charges were dropped in January.

"They were complying with the medical marijuana law at the time it was
seized," said Jud Waggoman, attorney for Belinda Satterfield.

"We were able to show to the DA's Office to prove it was being possessed
and used for medicinal purposes in compliance with the Compassionate Use
Act (Proposition 215). As a result of it being dismissed, then the law
requires that it be returned," Waggoman said.

The Satterfields were in court Monday for their hearing. Judge James Curry
rescheduled the matter to next Monday to allow District Attorney Pat
McGrath more time to respond in writing to their motion.

McGrath said requests like the Satterfields' are becoming more and more
common throughout the state.

This is the first time such a matter will be heard by a judge in Yuba
County, he said.

These types of cases demonstrate the bind Proposition 215 puts law
enforcement agencies in, McGrath said.

If a judge orders them to return the marijuana and they refuse they are in
contempt, McGrath said. If they comply, they are in violation of federal
law, he said.

Similar cases throughout the state have met with different results. In some
cases the judge has ruled the marijuana is contraband and has refused to
order its return, McGrath said.

In others, the judge has ordered the marijuana returned and the seizing
agency has gone to federal court to obtain a seizure order, which
supercedes rulings by the local judge, or the agency has returned the
marijuana to the judge rather than the party it was seized from, he said.

However, there may be little left for the Satterfields to collect should
the ruling go their way.

When a marijuana garden is seized, the law allows the seizing agency to
take five representative samples from different plants and to destroy the
rest, McGrath said.

"It's typically done in every type of case that involves marijuana
cultivation," he said. "I would be surprised if NET (Yuba-Sutter Narcotic
Enforcement Team) had not done that."

Doyle Satterfield needs the marijuana for his insomnia and arthritis,
Waggoman said. His wife uses it because she has chemotherapy treatments for
breast cancer.

"All we're doing is asking the court to order law enforcement, the person
holding it, we're asking that law enforcement return to them what's
rightfully theirs," Waggoman said.

Harold Kruger reports on people and events happening in Yuba and Sutter
counties and courts.

Pubdate: Tue, 05 Mar 2002
Source: Appeal-Democrat(Marysville CA)
Copyright: 2002 Appeal-Democrat
Contact: laura_nicholson@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1343
Author: Harold Kruger, Appeal-Democrat