A review of court documents reveals more about the three-strikes defendant
who will be resentenced today in South Lake Tahoe.
Jeffrey Howard Gautier, 35, will appear before El Dorado County Judge
Suzanne Kingsbury after he was granted a petition for a writ of habeas
Gautier was sentenced in 1998 to 25 years to life in prison by Superior
Court Judge Eddie T. Keller. Gautier was found guilty of a felony --
smuggling 5.9 grams of marijuana into the El Dorado County Jail -- when he
reported to serve his sentence Oct. 29, 1997, for driving with a suspended
[continues 312 words]
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday approved random drug tests for many
public high school students, but the chief of the Douglas County School
District said the vote will not likely affect pupils next school year.
John Soderman, superintendent of Douglas County schools, said he has no
immediate plans to begin drug testing students.
"It's something we can take more time to consider," he said.
Athletes, band players and speech and debate club members are school
activities students and must sign a substance abuse policy contract,
[continues 227 words]
Expect new possession guidelines for medical marijuana patients and their
providers by mid-July, said El Dorado County District Attorney Gary Lacy.
Lacy, who is running for re-election this fall, and a sheriff's captain met
with medical marijuana advocates in Placerville on Monday night for a third
time to discuss how much pot would be too much for patients and caregivers,
or pot providers, to possess.
"We have just about got guidelines for indoor and outdoor," Lacy said.
"We're awaiting Dale Schafer's proposal that will apply to caregivers."
[continues 132 words]
To Mr. O'Reilly
As we all know, the movement toward drug law reform has been taking shape
with increasing speed.
It will succeed, hopefully sooner than later. That is why I'm writing you.
Your positions on the subject of substance use has become increasingly more
desperate, counterproductive, and serve as a general disservice to your
You know there are options between legalization and prohibition. Any of
these options would work better than our current system of zero tolerance
prohibition, the system you support, the system that creates the crime,
corruption and general disorder you claim to be against.
[continues 185 words]
El Dorado County law enforcement met twice with medical marijuana advocates
in the last several months to re-evaluate how much pot possession is legal
to treat the sick.
A third meeting is planned for mid-June. Gary Lacy, El Dorado County
district attorney, Sheriff-elect Jeff Neves and Erik Schlueter, deputy
district attorney, attended the meetings. Lacy said his group plans to
consult with colleagues before they present new medical marijuana guidelines
to the advocates in a few weeks.
The Compassionate Use Act, which passed in 1996, did not specify how much a
patient or provider could legally possess. Right now, guidelines specified
by Lacy allow someone with a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana, or
someone who provides marijuana to a sick person with a recommendation, to
possess six plants and/or two pounds of processed marijuana.
[continues 280 words]
This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Rockefeller drug laws in New
York State. The statutes' most severe provision requires that a judge impose
a prison term of no less than 15 years to life for someone convicted of
selling two ounces or possessing four ounces of a narcotic substance.
Now there is an outcry by some to revoke those laws. The argument goes like
this: "Drug dealing is a non-violent offense, and the perpetrators need drug
treatment since they are often addicts themselves. We are throwing away
valuable lives by imposing draconian penalties on drug-involved offenders."
[continues 557 words]
To the editor
The just-released U.S. Justice Department figures on numbers of prison and
jail inmates are a reminder of how California has benefited from its sane
and sensible marijuana laws.
After years of rising prison populations in California and nationwide, the
state has now reversed the trend, showing a 0.3 percent decline in the
state's prison population between June 2000 and June 2001. Surely much of
the credit for this goes to the combined effects of Prop. 36, which
substituted treatment for imprisonment for many nonviolent drug offenders,
and California's long-standing decisions to decriminalize marijuana
possession and legalize medical use of marijuana.
[continues 62 words]
SECHELT, British Columbia (AP) -- A medical marijuana activist and former
California gubernatorial candidate wanted in Placer County for failing to
serve jail time has been arrested, Royal Canadian Mounted police officials
Steve Kubby, 55, a 1998 Libertarian candidate for governor and a force
behind the passage of a California proposition that legalized pot clubs, has
been living in Canada in violation of a court-ordered 120-day jail stay. He
was arrested Tuesday.
Kubby was convicted of two misdemeanor drug-possession counts in December
2000, but failed to surrender to the Placer County jail as ordered on July
[continues 149 words]
A West Slope couple accused of growing 40 marijuana plants illegally in
their backyard will not be in court this week as expected.
The trial of Lisa and Keith Whitaker has been pushed back until March 25.
The delay is necessary because Erik Schlueter, the deputy district attorney
prosecuting the case, said he has to attend to family matters.
The Whitakers are charged with cultivation and offering to furnish
marijuana. If convicted of both charges, Lisa, 35, could be sentenced to
four years in prison. Keith, 33, could get sentenced eight months longer
than his wife because of a 1999 conviction for growing marijuana.
[continues 104 words]
Compared with the sheriff's race, the contest for El Dorado County district
attorney has been pretty low-profile. That doesn't make it any less
Three candidates are seeking the job, only two of whom merit serious
consideration. The dark horse in this race, Dale Schafer, has built his
campaign upon cannabis. That's not an appropriate platform for the county's
top law enforcement officer.
If pot isn't a platform, however, it certainly qualifies as a valid issue
for criminal defendants and law enforcement. Hundreds of county residents
have obtained physician clearances to use medicinal marijuana under terms of
Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act. Cops and prosecutors have
struggled to sort potheads from legitimate patients.
[continues 535 words]
Quieter than the sheriff's race but louder than the one for assessor, the
contest for El Dorado County district attorney is entering the final phase.
Incumbent Gary Lacy plans to continue his duties with a bit of campaigning
on the side. Deputy District Attorney Erik Schlueter is in the midst of a
two-week break from the office. Attorney Dale Schafer is giving a radio
interview Friday and making television commercials.
The mud is starting to fly.
"I'm going to work to get elected but not at the expense of the office or
services to the public," Lacy said from his Placerville office.
[continues 641 words]
To the editor;
Now that the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative has resumed its fight for
the right to distribute medical marijuana to patients using it legally under
California law, it is important to keep in mind what last May's Supreme
Court ruling did and did not do.
The court's decision in United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers'
Cooperative et al did not prevent states from taking action to protect
patients who use marijuana for medical purposes. All eight medical marijuana
statutes enacted since 1996 remain in full force and effect. The court
merely said that distributors of medical marijuana couldn't use a "medical
necessity" defense under federal law.
[continues 147 words]
To the editor:
Deputy District Attorney Lisa Serafini says that Patrick McMahon's marijuana
"will not be returned even if 215 is a viable defense because federal law
prohibits possession or cultivation of marijuana." Law enforcement officials
of El Dorado County, as well as the county's voters, need to understand that
deputy district attorneys have sworn specifically to uphold California state
law, not federal law. Therefore, Serafini's statement does not hold water.
How do voters feel about a district attorney in El Dorado County, charged
with upholding state laws, who switches when it is convenient to do so in
order to enforce his narrow interpretation of the law? Is this the man they
want for DA?
[continues 75 words]
The Drug Enforcement Administration still has the records of Dale Schafer
and Dr. Molly Fry -- minus 65 boxes.
DEA agents on Friday returned the boxes to Schafer and Fry, a married couple
who operate a medical marijuana clinic in El Dorado County. The portion of
files sent back are related to Schafer's previous law practice that dealt
with worker's compensation issues, not medical marijuana. The rest of the
records, which include medical files on more than 7,000 patients, about 400
of which are from South Shore, remained sealed but still in the hands of the
[continues 290 words]
El Dorado County Sheriff's deputies confiscated 12 marijuana plants in
October from a South Lake Tahoe motorist who said the plants were for
medicinal use. Two months later, the marijuana remains in an evidence
Patrick McMahon, 30, of San Mateo, Calif., was ticketed for transporting
marijuana after a deputy got a tip from another driver that McMahon's red
Blazer was carrying suspicious plants.
McMahon's Dec. 3 court date was vacated and he has not yet been charged with
a crime because El Dorado County District Attorney's Office is still
investigating the incident. They want to determine if McMahon is eligible
for protection from the law under Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use
Act, which passed in 1996.
[continues 201 words]
WHOA! The problem is the premise. We are having one of those circular
arguments about how many civil liberties we can trade away in order to make
ourselves safe from terrorism, without even looking at the assumption-- can
we can make ourselves safer by making ourselves less free? There is no
inverse relationship between freedom and security. Less of one does not lead
to more of the other. People with no rights are not safe from terrorist
Exactly what do we want to strike out of the U.S. Constitution that we think
would prevent terrorist attacks? Let's see, if civil liberties had been
suspended before Sept. 11, would law enforcement have noticed Mohamed Atta?
Would the FBI have opened an investigation of Zacarias Massoui, as
Minneapolis agents wanted to do? The CIA had several of the 9-11 actors on
their lists of suspected terrorists. Exactly what civil liberty prevented
them from doing anything about it?
[continues 701 words]
When U.S. Sens. Boxer and Feinstein vote on the confirmation of John Walters
for drug czar, I hope they remember the desires of the citizens of
California, who overwhelmingly voted by referendum to allow patients to use
marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Our founding fathers feared a strong federal government and spelled out the
federal government's responsibilities and restrictions in the Constitution.
The Tenth Amendment specifically reserved all other responsibilities to the
states. Self-determination with regards to medical use of marijuana should
be the sole responsibility of each state and its citizens.
[continues 136 words]
A street law forum about methamphetamine and marijuana sporadically turned
into a verbal street brawl between presenters and audience members.
The forum drew about two dozen people to an El Dorado County courtroom
Thursday night. It was intended to educate the audience regarding aspects of
drugs and their effects.
"This is an educational forum, not a podium," Deputy District Attorney Lisa
Serafini said as noise escalated.
Jackie Long, a special agent with the California attorney general's office,
travels around the country explaining the effects of drugs to high school
students and community members. A law enforcement officer with a background
in biochemistry, he felt his presentation cut short.
[continues 314 words]
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE -- A district court judge in Sacramento ruled last week
that records of at least 400 South Shore medicinal marijuana patients could
be examined by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The DEA seized more than 5,000 records from the California Medical Research
Center on Sept. 28 saying its medical marijuana recommendations to patients
may represent acts of "aiding and abetting" marijuana sales, according to
U.S. Attorney Anne Pings.
The research center is a two-year-old medical marijuana clinic in Cool, a
town at the northwestern edge of El Dorado County, that has hundreds of
clients from South Shore.
[continues 186 words]
The confiscation of Patrick McMahon's plants and personal medicine in El
Dorado County, in spite of his presentation of his cannabis card to the
police shows a continuing pattern of harassment on the part of certain law
enforcement officials toward medical marijuana patients five years after
Proposition 215 was passed in California. What a coincidence that El Dorado
County is where the current district attorney turned loose the DEA against
his opponent Dale Schafer, who just happens to be opposing the incumbent.
What is even more telling is that no arrests or charges have been filed in
[continues 120 words]