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Premature prosecution 

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’m considering taking a much-deserved vacation. My first choice, of course, is Cancun, where the tequila flows like manna from heaven and you only get kidnapped if you look like you have money.

Bakersfield looks nice as well. And it might fall within my price range, assuming I hitchhike and find someone willing to put me up for the night. And maybe buy me a nice dinner. Really, it’s the least you can do. I’ve been sitting in the same swivel chair, slaving away over a keyboard, for so long that my assprint will still be here thousands of years from now. Archaeologists will examine these prints to unlock key clues about how humans lived in the 21st century. And it won’t be pretty.

From what I understand, I’m not the only worker bee in need of a vacay. SLO police department officer and NTF agent Jason Dickel—as a testament to my state of creative exhaustion, I’ll forego the handful of limericks that would typically be forthcoming—is so tired from running around chasing bad guys that he’s planning a little getaway of his own. I suppose that statement could be a little more precise. Not “chasing” so much as ambushing them unexpectedly at their homes. And not “bad guys” so much as business owners and families.

But let’s not tell Dickel that. If he wants to play the hero and throw parents into jail for growing pot for sick people, well, who are we to stand in his way?

The DA’s Office apparently contacted the defense attorney to ask if the first of the Doobie Dozen defendants wouldn’t mind postponing his trial until the fall. They gave several pseudo-legitimate reasons for the request. Something about being really booked with priority trials for people stewing in jail. And then something about Dickel wanting to go on vacation. You can’t blame the guy for wanting to wallow in a sand pit somewhere, sucking down cosmos and scanning the beach for signs of nefarious behavior. A guy with a “legalize it” shirt? Well, he’s just begging for a bruising from Dickel, aka Captain Justice, who fights for truth, justice, and stringent enforcement of really confusing laws that no one really knows how to interpret. Give that man a beret and a French accent and he’d be a dead ringer for Javert.

For some petty reason, Miller refused to push his trial back so that one of the people responsible for raiding his home, seizing his property, and publicly presenting him as a shitbag drug dealer could wiggle his little piggies in pristine white sand. Petty behavior on Miller’s part, if you ask me. Sure, his life’s on hold. Sure, he’s waiting for the nightmare to end so he can get his stuff back and reclaim some measure of normalcy. For me, it’s a bathtub full of Cheetos and a stack of Harlequin romance novels. … I know what you’re thinking, but I read for the articles, pervert!

For a second there, it looked like Miller’s case might get dismissed altogether—not for lack of trying, mind you. The DA’s hammering away at Miller like, well, like a good ol’ boy trying to save face for his buddies at the NTF. And he’s having a tough time of it.

First, there’s a last-minute judge swap. Estrada-Mullaney’s out and Barry LaBarbera’s in. LaBarbera was the former head honcho DA, pre-Gerry Shea. Which sounds great for the DA, right? Apparently not. See, LaBarbera’s one of those common sensical type people. He doesn’t seem to have much patience for the fact that nobody—DA included—has any idea how the hell they’re supposed to be interpreting medical marijuana laws. This judge, it seems, is not going to play ball with the DA. Not kickball. Not handball. I don’t know how he feels about racquetball, but I’m guessing that’s gonna be a big fat no as well. 

So, the DA’s office argued that only a patient’s primary caregiver could sell medical marijuana. Miller never claimed to be a primary caregiver, but the operator of a collective. Barbie pointed to the amended version of the law from 2003, which expands that responsibility to members of a collective. With this decision, the DA’s office went back to the drawing board, and it looked like they’d simply declare they couldn’t proceed, then appeal Barbie’s decision in the District Appellate Court in Ventura, a process that would drag these shenanigans out for several more years. All the while, the cops would be allowed to hold onto the defendant’s property. Think: “Dad, Mom said the medical marijuana defense is valid, but I don’t really have any other argument. Will you tell Mom to go to go to hell?”

Only in this version, appealing to Dad costs tens of thousands of dollars and requires several year’s time.

Meanwhile, Assistant DA Sandy Mitchell, who looked like she was about to begin smacking her head against a wall, was ordered by her higher-ups to see if she could salvage some sort of trial.

Think: “Your honor, while we were following the defendant in a desperate bid for some real evidence, our crack team witnessed him eating a Hot Pocket this morning. And as everyone knows, your honor, Hot Pockets are stoner food.”

With a deadline of 4:45 p.m., Mitchell returned to the courtroom at 4:43 and declared she initially believed she would be unable to proceed, but “at the last minute—literally a few minutes ago” she received new evidence from an NTF investigator. Eat your heart out, Law and Order!

And way to fly by the seat of your pants, Mitchell! I always admire those studious college kids who have a paper due at 9 a.m., pop some Adderall at 3 a.m., and start banging away at the keyboard. I mean, they’ve only had six months to prepare for this trial.

Next week I’ll be writing about the DA’s attempt to use Bobo, the singing and tap-dancing monkey, to convey their message that pot is evil and Miller is really Satan incarnate. Godspeed, Bobo.

Shredder will perform an interpretive dance on the courtroom steps. Send fluttering leaves to

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