Pubdate: Tue, 03 Jul 2001
Source: Redding Record Searchlight (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Redding Record Searchlight - E.W. Scripps
Author: Maline Hazle, Record Searchlight
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Attorney Challenges Probation Search That Turns Up Pot Plants

A medical marijuana user acquitted of growing 240 pot plants last year was 
booked into Shasta County Jail, this time after Redding police say they 
found 20 plants in his back yard.

Sunday's arrest of James B. Hall, 40, of Redding was based on what police 
said was a probation search. But attorney Eric Berg said Monday that Hall 
is not on probation, pending his appeal of the charge he was convicted on 
last year -- conspiracy to cultivate marijuana.

Redding police arrested Hall after a search of the Tidmore Lane home where 
he lives with his mother, Lydia, 63. Lydia Hall also was her son's 
co-defendant in last year's trial. During that trial, jurors acquitted the 
pair of growing marijuana and Jim Hall of growing marijuana for sale, but 
found them guilty of conspiracy to cultivate marijuana. She was not 
arrested Sunday.

Officers, acting on a tip from a citizen, said they searched the Hall house 
and found 20 marijuana plants and a small amount of processed marijuana.

Officer Brian Berg said Monday afternoon that the confiscated marijuana 
plants were about 3 feet high and were in pots.

"According to our records, he's (Hall) on probation for cultivation of 
marijuana," Berg said.

Though police said Hall was booked on suspicion of marijuana cultivation 
and a probation violation, a jail spokesman said Hall was booked only on 
suspicion of cultivation. Bail was set at $10,000.

Hall and his mother were sentenced May 5, 2000. James Hall was sentenced to 
75 days in jail and Lydia Hall to one day, which she already had served. 
Both were given three years' probation.

But at the same time, Shasta County Superior Court Judge Bradley Boeckman 
suspended those sentences and told the Halls they could smoke marijuana for 
medicinal purposes if they obtained updated doctors' recommendations.

Eric Berg said Monday that James Hall did just that.

"I think he can legally grow marijuana by law and the judge specifically 
said he could," Eric Berg said, citing the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

The attorney also said that the Shasta County Probation Department was 
notified that the Halls are not on probation. The probation department did 
not return a telephone call seeking comment.

Officer Berg acknowledged that Hall told officers that he is not on probation.

Since the Halls are not on probation, attorney Berg said, the search that 
led to officers finding the plants would be legal only if the Halls had 
given officers permission to search the house.

Hall, who was released from jail without bail Monday night, said he did not 
give officers permission to search his home.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager