Pubdate: Mon, 30 Jun 2003
Source: Auburn Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2003 Auburn Journal
Author: Ryan McCarthy, Journal Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Kubby, Steve)


An attorney sharply criticized a state appeals court ruling reinstating a 
felony conviction for Steven Kubby, a former Libertarian candidate for 
governor who was convicted of mescaline possession in a trial that followed 
a search of his Placer County home.

J. David Nick, who represented Kubby at his criminal trial in Auburn, 
called the Third Appellate District "nothing more than a rubber stamp for 
the prosecution."

Judicial appointments by then-governors Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian 
have turned the appellate court in Sacramento into "nothing but prosecutors 
wearing black robes," Nick asserted.

"The fairness of this court is in question throughout California," Nick 
said Friday. "This court has gone to great lengths in making political 
statements in certain opinions."

The appellate court in its ruling issued Monday reversed a decision by 
Placer County Superior Court Judge John Cosgrove in March 2001 reducing to 
a misdemeanor Kubby's conviction for mescaline possession. The appellate 
court said the felony conviction did not violate the California equal 
protection clause or represent cruel and unusual punishment.

Nick said Cosgrove's decision to reduce the conviction to a misdemeanor was 

"This judge is not a lenient, liberal judge who gives the defense anything 
they want," he said. "Judge Cosgrove is a very honest and intelligent judge 
who is not a rubber stamp for the defense."

Cosgrove's decision reducing the charges was over the objections of the 
District Attorney's office, which appealed the reduction to a misdemeanor 
as an unlawful sentence.

Christopher Cattran, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case, 
has welcomed the appellate court ruling. He said the felony conviction for 
Kubby "accurately addresses his conduct."

Sheriff's deputies searching Kubby's home in Squaw Valley in 1999 found 
marijuana plants, along with mescaline -- a drug that produces 
hallucinations -- and psilocyn, known as "psychedelic mushrooms." Jurors 
deadlocked on the marijuana charges.

A representative of the appellate court in Sacramento said she doubted any 
comment would be forthcoming on Nick's responses to the court's ruling.

Nick said, "The reputation of the Third District Court of Appeals as being 
a court of injustice continues to grow in leaps and bounds with this case."

"We are in a different era than the one they were born in," he said of the 
appellate court judges. The public does not want to turn people like Kubby 
into felons, the San Francisco attorney said.

Nick said the appellate court ruling would likely conclude the legal matter.

The attorney said the felony conviction of Kubby will have considerable 
personal consequences, including the one-time Libertarian candidate for 
governor being unable to run for public office.

Kubby moved to Canada following his conviction in Placer County.
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