Pubdate: Thu, 04 Aug 2011 Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA) Copyright: 2011 SF Newspaper Company LLC Contact: http://www.sfexaminer.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/389 Author: Ari Burack, Examiner Staff Writer POT GURU'S PORN CASE TOSSED OUT DA says evidence was not good enough to convict Dennis Peron Child pornography and drug possession charges against gay activist and medical marijuana guru Dennis Peron were dismissed Wednesday after prosecutors admitted the evidence against him was weak. A year ago today, police raided the bed and breakfast where Peron lives, seizing suspected methamphetamine, Ecstasy and marijuana and computers they said contained images of child pornography. In June, prosecutors were ordered to make a seized computer hard drive available for defense examination, but as of Wednesday Peron's team had not received it. At a hearing Wednesday at which prosecutors were expected to explain the delay, Assistant District Attorney Leslie Cogan told Superior Court Judge Gerardo Sandoval that all charges were dismissed. "After completing further investigation," Cogan said, "the people have determined that we are unable to sustain our burden of proof." Peron's attorney David Wilton suggested that prosecutors dismissed his client's case "because they have a cop problem." The case was investigated by officers from the Police Department's juvenile crimes unit and Mission Station. Several of the cops from the Mission have been accused by Public Defender Jeff Adachi of involvement in the theft of valuables from suspects during drug raids. They and other officers accused of illegal entry and falsifying police reports are still under federal investigation and have not been charged. However, prosecutors have dismissed more than 100 cases because of officer credibility issues. District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Erica Derryck said Peron's case was dismissed due to "additional investigation" that included computer forensic evidence. Derryck said the child pornography charges were the primary part of the case against Peron, and if he only had been charged with drug possession, her office would have dismissed those at the time of the misconduct allegations. The 66-year-old Peron said after the hearing that police have been after him for years because of his advocacy for gay rights and medical marijuana. "There was no case," Peron said after the hearing. "It was only designed to tarnish my name. Kiddie porn, that's the worst thing you can accuse someone of." The computer was located in a guest room, and Peron adamantly denied he downloaded the images, saying that he doesn't enjoy pornography and noting that, as a gay man, girls don't interest him anyway. He also claimed the confiscated drugs were not his. His lawyer said he was allowed to view the 33 images on Peron's computer in the presence of police, and most were of girls. Some were pictures of "fully clothed" children, some were not illicit, and "some of it was potentially what they said it was," he said. However, Wilton added, "We've always said from the beginning that Dennis did not have sole access to that computer." As to Peron's allegations that San Francisco police were targeting Peron because of his political stands, Derryck responded that "the child pornography case initially came to our attention because of an investigation by law enforcement from out of state." Nonetheless, Peron said he's now thinking of suing the Police Department. "They dragged me through the mud, and now I'm going to make them pay for it," he said. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.