Pubdate: Fri, 15 Dec 2000
Source: Auburn Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Auburn Journal
Contact:  1030 High St., Auburn, CA 95603
Author: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Kubby, Steve)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Emotionally Charged Closing Arguments Mark Finale Of Lengthy Trial Proceedings

The jury in the Steve and Michele Kubby marijuana trial will begin 
deliberations today following emotionally charged closing arguments Thursday.

Pumped up after nearly four months of proceedings, attorneys for both sides 
ripped into the opposing case like boxers battling for crucial points in 
the final minutes of a title fight.

Placer County Deputy District Attorney Chris Cattran told jurors that the 
sheer volume of marijuana grown by the Kubbys could be for no other reason 
than for illegal sales. And his voice rose in response to defense arguments 
that prosecution of the Kubbys was a "cynical" attempt to break the 
medicinal marijuana movement and Proposition 215. Cattran said Prop. 215 
"is the law =AD and it is enforced as the law."

"What the Compassionate Use Act doesn't stand for is people like the Kubbys 
profiting from the sale of marijuana," Cattran said.

Defense attorneys Tony Serra and David Nick argued there is no direct 
evidence to suggest the Kubbys were profiting from their grow. Serra's 
mouth was flecked with a pea-sized froth of foam during a particularly 
scorching attack on the prosecution's case =AD something he would joke to 
the jury about later. Nick was a whirlwind of pointed thrusts with his 
forefinger as he conducted a non-stop verbal assault on the prosecution, 
its witnesses and the Kubby investigation.

Serra told jurors that Steve Kubby was a lightning rod for medicinal 
marijuana activism and money poured his way to support his work for the 
cause =AD not from marijuana sales. Steve Kubby was a key player in the 
passage of Prop. 215 in 1996 and ran for governor in 1998 as a Libertarian.

"Medical marijuana for many people is like a miracle drug," Serra said. 
"The big money came to him not because he was running for governor, it was 
because he was, and is, a symbol of medical marijuana =AD and now a symbol 
of false prosecution."

Nick took the Kubby prosecution one step further, describing Steve Kubby as 
a potential "big trophy" for prosecutors "trying to make a name for 
themselves." He said the prosecution was a cynical attempt by "certain law 
enforcement officials" to fight the validity of the voter approved Prop. 215.

"Stop the madness," Nick told the jury. "Stop the crusade. Help the Kubbys 
=8A or the madness will continue."

The eight-woman, four-man jury filed out of the courtroom in the evening, 
and will consider a total of 16 charges against the Kubbys that came after 
a January 1999 raid on the couple's Olympic Valley home. A total of 265 pot 
plants were seized from the Kubbys' indoor grow. They contend the marijuana 
was for their own personal, medicinal use under Prop. 215.

The prosecution's case has included a record of Kubby bank deposits 
totaling $103,000 over 18 months. Many of the sources were anonymous but 
$27,000 came from an Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club official. The Kubbys say 
the money was a gift over time, from supporters, to allow Steven Kubby to 
continue his advocacy work.

"Ladies and gentlemen, do some math," Cattran said, as he used a marker and 
large sheet of paper to illustrate the prosecution's calculation that the 
107 plants coming to harvest in the Kubbys' main grow room could produce 
12,198 one-gram joints. Testimony indicated Steve Kubby smoked six to eight 
joints a day and Michele Kubby smoked a joint every night, he said.

The 12,198 joints would be more than a three-year supply, Cattran said. The 
prosecution is using an estimate of four ounces per plant =AD a figure 
defense attorneys say grossly inflates yield. The Kubby defense team of 
Tony Serra and David Nick produced their own expert witnesses, who pointed 
to a Drug Enforcement Administration-approved study in 1992 that estimated 
a quarter ounce per plant. The defense calculation is the Kubby grow would 
be less than four pounds.

During rebuttal, Cattran would add yet another calculation. Multiplying the 
estimated 26.75-pound yield at the Kubbys by a price of $3,200 per pound, 
he wrote the figure "$85,600" =AD the amount he said the Kubbys could have 
reaped from the grow.

"That's only for production in the east grow room," Cattran said. "You have 
a commercial operation here, ladies and gentlemen. That's what you have."

The main charge against the Kubbys is possession of marijuana for sale. 
Each is also charged with separate counts of: conspiracy to possess 
marijuana for sale; cultivating marijuana; conspiracy to cultivate 
marijuana; possession of magic mushrooms; possession of peyote; possession 
of hashish; and possession of more than an ounce of marijuana. The 
possession-of-more-than-an-ounce charge is included as a "lesser offense" 
Judge John Cosgrove instructed jurors the Kubbys could be considered if 
they are found not guilty of the possession-for-sale charge.
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