Pubdate: Thu, 05 Jul 2001
Source: Contra Costa Times (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Contra Costa Newspapers Inc.
Author: Maline Hazle


REDDING -- Disabled trucker and medical marijuana user James Hall is 
promising a fight against Redding police, who confiscated his crop, food 
stamps and pictures and arrested him Sunday after searching his house 
without a warrant.

"They've got themselves a battle," Hall said less than 24 hours after a 
call from his attorney, Eric Berg of Redding, to Shasta County assistant 
district attorney Greg Gaul resulted in his release from jail without bail.

Hall had been jailed in lieu of $10,000 bail since his arrest on suspicion 
of cultivating marijuana.

Police said they arrested Hall, 40, after a probation search of the home 
where he lives with his mother yielded 20 potted marijuana plants in his 
back yard.

Although police said Hall was arrested on suspicion of a probation 
violation and marijuana cultivation, a Shasta County Jail spokesman said 
Hall was booked only on suspicion of cultivation.

Hall and his mother, Lydia, 63, were convicted of conspiracy to cultivate 
marijuana in February 2000, but their sentences were stayed and their 
probation was inactivated pending an appeal of that conviction.

The same jury acquitted the two of marijuana cultivation and James Hall 
also was acquitted of possession of marijuana for sale. Their defense was 
based on Proposition 215, the 1996 law that allows patients with doctors' 
recommendations to grow and use marijuana.

Hall suffered severe back injuries in a 1993 on-the-job accident and his 
mother used marijuana for glaucoma symptoms. Both had doctors' 
recommendations for marijuana.

Both James and Lydia Hall said they repeatedly told police Sunday night 
that they are not on probation.

"I told them to get out of my house," Lydia Hall said Monday. "We did not 
give permission to search.

Lydia Hall said "a bunch" of police officers searched the house and that 
five or six patrol cars were parked outside.

"It got kind of wild," she said. "They walked in my room; I was in my 
nightshirt. I said, 'Is this really necessary, especially since I'm not on 
probation?' and he (an officer) said, 'Maybe you don't want to be, but you 

She said officers threatened to handcuff her as they later did her son.

James Hall said he answered the door after 9 p.m. Sunday and faced several 
police officers.

The officers told him that a neighbor had reported marijuana plants at the 
house and asked if he were James Hall.

"I said, 'Yes, sir, I am, and as you know, I have a prescription'" for 
medical marijuana use, James Hall said.

Hall said the officers asked to see his doctor's written recommendation and 
he asked them to wait at the door while he went to get it.

"By the time I got back to the living room the house was full of cops," he 
said. "They had no warrant. They said it was a probation search.

James Hall said he continued to argue that he is not on probation while 
officers searched. He said they removed the 20 plants outside and also took 
food stamps and some "very personal pictures" of a girlfriend from his room.

He also contends that the officers took the personal pictures door to door, 
asking his neighbors if they recognized the woman in them.
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