Category Archives: Criminal Law

Marijuana Patients vs Bloomfield Township Round I | 2.9.2011

Earlier in the week, I filed a lawsuit on behalf of Christopher Frizzo against the City of Royal Oak.  So when we appeared before the Hon. Denise Langford-Morris in the Marijuana Patients vs Bloomfield Township Case on Wednesday, 2.9, before the Hon. Denise Langford-Morris, I had little idea what to expect.  The Marijuana Wars to date have been nothing if not interesting and surprising.  The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act is under siege.  Local municipalities and counties not accustomed to having their powers curtailed or limited are resisting mightily — picture a choking or gasping swimmer flailing in the water and so desperate to stay above the surface that when the lifeguard comes to save him, he starts to push the lifeguard under water. Government hates to have its powers limited and the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act does just that (robs government of its powers).

2.9 was round 1:  instead of a bikini clad woman holding up a Round 1 placard or sign, co-counsel and I got to see William Hampton, the leader of the municipal powerhouse law firm, Secret Wardle, et al.  Hampton is considered part of the old guard in Oakland County .  We’ve had other “encounters” but never in court.  In fact, I don’t think he’s ever seen me in court — certainly he’s never seen me argue a case.  All of these guys have heard the rumors about me — powerful, eloquent, passionate, witty, quick, smooth, gifted, etc. — but they all figure the rumors are overblown, exaggerated or the fawnings of young lawyers.  Guys like Hampton usually think,

I’ll handle him.

Uh, no they (you) won’t.  The powers that be in state government, etc. may try to bring me down (that comes with the territory of being a target or a public figure) but they’ll never bring me down or handle me in an actual trial courtroom.  NEVER.  So, when I get up to argue after my co-counsel Tom Loeb and William Hampton, the importance of the moment is not lost on me.  I am arguing for Michigan Medical Marijuana patients everywhere.  I will not let you down.

Round 1:  Bloomfield Township filed a motion to dismiss our Medical Marijuana Lawsuit challenging Bloomfield Township’s ordinance.  Is it based on law?  No.  Are they saying that our client’s suit is not factually just?  No.  Rather, they argue that our clients, who elected to file this suit in pseudonyms, John Doe and Richard Roe rather than expose their confidential and private names and other information to the police powers, etc., MUST identify themselves in order to have to access to the courts.  Forget long-standing precedent, e.g., Roe v Wade, Doe v University of Michigan and others, argues Bloomfield Township — they want to “out” the patients.  So we are in court.  Bloomfield Township trying to “out” and “intimidate” its residents; Loeb and I to protect the residents.  Bloomfield Township to fight the law, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act; Loeb and I to enforce it.

So when we get done arguing, I look at the courtroom and I sense Hampton’s surprise.  I imagine him saying to himself

Damn . . . this kid can argue.

There were no knockouts in Round 1 but I wasn’t expecting one.  Maybe Hampton or Bloomfield Townshp were but as I said, they know that they are in for a fight. I fight I do not intend to lose.

Medical Marihuana Busts in Oakland County

That’s it . . . I’ve had about all I can stand of the narcotics enforcement teams raids upon and prosecutions of people who are attempting to follow the law in Michigan.  Michigan voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of a bill to legalize and decriminalize medical marihuana.  The same old tired tactics are being used by the same old narcotics enforcement teams and narcotics prosecutors special units.  Don’t stand up and say that you represent the People of the State of Michigan and then go up against the will of the People of the State of the Michigan.

I’m sick of their methods.  I’m tired of their tactics.  I’m sick and tired of their stubbornness and normative judgments.  Sick and tired.   And I can do something about it… trials, trials and more trials.  Its what I do . . . Its what I do well.

See ya court guys.  When we’re done cross examining some of these guys, they’ll need to visit a medical marihuana clinic because I’m going to be in a pain in their a@@.

Don’t Worry . . . I Bite!

Sam Riddle Convicted of Assault with Weapon and Use of Firearm

Regardless of what you think of him, court jester, political consultant or otherwise, Sam Riddle is a convicted felon as of this evening.  A jury, after requesting a dictionary, and being denied that resource, convicted him.  He is convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon and Felony Firearm, i.e., Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony.     His next fight, which will occurr after his sentencing on the assault charge, may occur while he is in prison.

Judge . . . Eh, I Mean, Oakland County Prosecutor Cooper

Historic.  Monumental.  Shattering the glass ceiling.  Inspiring.  All words used to describe the election of the first African-American President, President Elect Barack Obama.  All appropriate and accurate.  Amidst the hoopla and celebration of Obama’s election, much further down the ballot, another historic, monumental, glass-ceiling shattering and inspiring election took place in Oakland County — the election of the first-ever woman to the position of Oakland County Prosecuting Attorney.  The Honorable Jessica Cooper, a former district court judge, circuit court judge and Court of Appeals judge, wrestled the county’s chief law enforcement spot from the stranglehold of the Republican Party whose leaders, Brooks Patterson, Richard Thompson and then David Gorcyca, were entrenched in that spot for decades.  Judge Cooper beat David Law, a Republican who promised to continue many of the traditions of the current prosecutor’s office. While I will not delve too deeply into some the campaign antics and tactics used against Judge Cooper, I must say that she is a better sport than I for having dealt with them so gracefully.

As a former member of this Prosecutor’s Office (many, many years ago) and someone who practices regularly in the Oakland County Courts, I am excited at the idea of change in this most important office.  By no means do I expect that Judge Cooper will be a pushover . . . anyone who has any modicum of experience in dealing with her would know better and I have had my fair share.  But she will bring fresh ideas, fresh minds and fresh perspective to this office.  Who will her assistants be?  Will she keep all of the current staff?  Will she change policies, some of which have been around since the Patterson days?  Will she move division heads and/or more importantly, pay attention to the manner in which some of the assistants treat opposing lawyers?  Time will tell but if I know anything about Judge Cooper it is that she will not continue with business as usual.

For the first time a woman is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in the richest county in the state and one of the richest in the nation.  Another historic, monumental moment in which a glass ceiling was shattered and a sacred cow sacrificed.  Way to to Judge . . eh, I mean Prosecutor Cooper.