Pubdate: Sun, 07 Dec 2003
Source: Auburn Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2003 Auburn Journal
Author: Gus Thomson


Placer County Fugitive Kubby Seeks Refuge, Drops Lawsuit Against County

Fugitive medical marijuana advocate Steve Kubby -- who has said the 120-day 
jail term he has been ordered to serve in Placer County on misdemeanor drug 
charges would be a death sentence -- expects to learn Monday whether he's 
entitled to permanent refugee status in Canada.

A resident of the Canadian province of British Columbia since 2001, the 
medical marijuana advocate and former Libertarian candidate for governor 
said Friday that he's "cautiously optimistic."

Kubby failed to show up at North Auburn's Placer County Jail in July 2001 
to start serving a 120-day sentence on convictions for possession of small 
amounts of peyote and magic mushrooms. After a four-month trial, Kubby was 
acquitted in 2001 on charges he grew 265 pot plants at his Olympic Valley 
home for personal profit. Kubby has been diagnosed with a rare form of 
adrenal cancer that he says heavy, regular marijuana use controls.

Now a co-anchor for the Internet's Pot-TV news program with his wife, 
Michele, Kubby said he expects the Canada Immigration and Refugee Board 
decision to come Monday. Both he and his wife contend they are entitled to 
permanent refugee protection in Canada. Kubby stated that the decision, if 
it goes his way and is not reversed on appeal, would be unprecedented in 

"We're cautiously optimistic that this will be a historic win," Kubby said. 
"But we have no indication at this time of the actual decision."

Meanwhile, Placer County officials -- including Sheriff Ed Bonner and 
District Attorney Brad Fenocchio -- are expressing satisfaction with the 
dismissal of a civil rights lawsuit filed by the Kubbys in federal court 
over their treatment by the county. Kubby maintained that he nearly died 
while being incarcerated in the Placer County Jail after the Jan. 19, 1999, 
raid on his home.

A federal judge dismissed much of the lawsuit last year and Michele Kubby 
recently agreed to dismiss remaining portions of the suit. Federal District 
Court Judge Morris England signed the order of dismissal. The judge's 
decision disallows the Kubbys from filing another claim.

"We always believed this case had no merit, as this outcome has 
demonstrated," Bonner said.

"The Kubbys' civil suit has finally and completely resolved for exactly 
what it was worth -- nothing," Fenocchio said.

The suit named several county officials, including prosecutors Gene Gini 
and Chris Cattran, and Deputy Mike Lyke, who prepared the affidavit that 
led to the drug conviction. Gini was recently appointed a Superior Court 
judge in Placer County.

Deputy County Counsel David Huskey, who handled the case for the county, 
said the Kubbys never really pursued the case after filing it.

"Judge England did the right thing because there was no evidence of any 
wrongdoing by anyone associated with the arrest and prosecution of the 
Kubbys," Huskey said.

In a phone interview Saturday, Steven Kubby explained why he did not 
proceed with the complaint.

"We dismissed (the case) because Placer County refused to accept any 
testimony from us unless it was done in person," he said.

Kubby said he feared that if they returned to this jurisdiction, his wife 
would be arrested and prosecuted for providing aid to him and others who 
need medical marijuana to stay alive.

"We had a gun to our heads," he said.

Journal News Editor Rick Tuttle contributed to this report.
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