Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jun 2012
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2012 The Sacramento Bee
Author: Peter Hecht


A Butte County prosecutor Monday presented testimony in hopes of 
bringing a felony child abuse trial against an Oroville mother whose 
newborn baby and 14-month toddler were allegedly in a home with 
marijuana buds, hash and residues.

The case of Daisy Bram, 30, stirred the ire of medical marijuana 
advocates after an audiotape went viral of Bram shrieking in tears as 
child welfare officers took away her children during a raid on a pot 
garden last Sept. 29.

The story took another twist Monday as a prosecutor opened a 
preliminary hearing with authorities describing marijuana plants and 
pot concentrates  or hash  cultivated and produced by Bram's husband, 
Jayme Walsh. A police witness also said Walsh told officers he 
snorted an anti-anxiety drug in a bathroom where they found syringes 
in a bag in a cabinet beneath the sink.

However, it was Daisy Bram  not her husband  who faced the 
preliminary hearing for felony child abuse and misdemeanor child endangerment.

Bram, who claims she and her husband used pot for medical purposes, 
suggested she was being targeted Monday for the video and blasts at 
the district attorney and child welfare officers for taking away her 
children for four months after the marijuana raid.

"I think it's obviously because I've made such a public stink," Bram 
said of the case.

Butte County Superior Court Judge Stephen J. Howell threw out child 
abuse and endangerment charges against both parents in November but 
ordered Walsh to stand trial for marijuana manufacturing and both 
parents to be tried for possession of marijuana for sale.

District Attorney Mike Ramsey refiled the child abuse counts only 
against Bram, who asserted she was being signaled out for 
breast-feeding toddler Thor and newborn Zeus while using pot.

Before resting the prosecution case Monday, Deputy District Attorney 
Jeff Greeson presented no evidence or assertions about breast-feeding.

Instead, former Butte County DA investigator Eric Clay, who 
participated in the marijuana raid, testified that the home presented 
a danger to children because the place was strewn with marijuana buds 
and Pyrex dishes of hash, some of which could be reached by Thor.

Clay testified there was an additional danger to children because the 
marijuana garden, including 38 outdoor and 58 indoor plants, could 
draw armed robbers.

Defense attorney Michael Levinsohn challenged a prosecution document 
from a Kansas laboratory and testimony by a Butte County narcotics 
deputy that asserted hair samples from Thor tested positive for THC, 
the psychoactive ingredient in pot.

Citing contradictory dates for when the hair sample was taken and 
claiming the sample custody wasn't protected, Levinsohn said, "We 
have no evidence as to what happened with the sample and what 
happened as to some unrelated sample that was tested halfway across 
the country."

Butte County Judge James Reilley threw out the lab document but ruled 
testimony on the test results could stand.

The case drew marijuana advocates, including Ed Rosenthal, a famed 
author of pot cultivation guides who was called by the defense but 
didn't take the witness stand on Monday.

In court, doctors dueled over whether Thor could have tested positive 
for THC by eating raw marijuana that could have been in the house.

Dr. Angela Rosas, chief of pediatrics of Sutter Memorial Hospital in 
Sacramento, testified for the prosecution that the marijuana in the 
house, including hash made from potent marijuana resins, presented an 
implicit "hazard to the children" if they ate it.

Dr. William Courtney, a Humboldt and Mendocino County medical 
marijuana physician who advises patients to juice pot into medicinal 
shakes for therapeutic or analgesic relief, testified that pot 
releases no detectable THC unless it is heated. He said the toddler 
would have had to devour a mass of raw marijuana larger than a 
softball to test positive for psychoactive elements.

"The amount you would have to eat would be physically impossible," 
Courtney testified. He added: "It tastes horrible."

Reilley ordered the case continued on June 26.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom