My wife, Atsuko, and I were in the Mendocino County Courthouse charged with cultivation. Our son, Milo, was two-years-old and nursing. Atsuko breast-fed him right behind the DA’s desk and that unnerved her. She kept turning around and going nuts. Milo was enjoying himself and so was I.
Keith Faulder was my lawyer. Ron Brown was the judge. (Alas, cancer got Ron.) He was a sane judge, but the hearing for cultivation was a circus and I played it like a circus. At the hearing, Judge Brown had to listen to the prosecution and the defense and decide if there’s enough reason to go to trial. Keith and I did a pro-active defense. I invited medical patients with cancer, Glaucoma and MS to come to court and testify that I had in fact given them for free all the weed they needed, with the understanding that they would show up in court and testify on my behalf, if need be.
From the start, I knew that DA Kathryn Houston couldn’t withstand that kind of testimony from sick people, some of them dying. People in wheelchairs, and hooked up to respirators, came to the courthouse. The judge made them wait in the hallway outside the courtroom so that each individual couldn’t hear the testimony of anyone else, and so there would be no possibility of conspiracy and collusion. One of the patients was Antoinette Wiener who had too many afflictions to list on a single sheet of paper. Faulder calls Antoinette to the witness stand. Then, he looks right at DA Houston and says, “They call her Kitty.” Well, as I learned later, Kitty is also Houston’s pet name. DA Kitty says to Kitty on the witness stand, “I can’t find your recommendations for medical cannabis.” Cannabis Kitty says, “I can’t find them, either.” Ron Brown says to the DA, “She can’t find them.” Antoinette says, “I’ve looked all over my house.” Brown says, “She’s looked all over her house.” The DA says, “No further questions.” Brown says, “You may step down.”
All this time, my wife, Atsuko, is nursing our two-year old, Milo. Then she’s called to the witness stand because she was arrested with me, named as a co-conspirator and charged with cultivation, though she had nothing to do with the garden. She keep house. I keep yard. But PG&E was in her name. I took Milo in my arms when Atsuko was on the witness stand. The court wasn’t able to find a Japanese-speaking interpreter closer than San Jose. This interpreter had to come the night before she was scheduled to be in court. She was paid travel time and for her hotel room and meals and court time, too. Oddly enough, Atsuko only testified for five minutes. At the end of the hearing, Judge Brown says, “I see no evidence of any criminal activity. Go home.” The whole circus cost the prosecution, the state and taxpayers more money than the average person in Mendo makes in a whole year. In my view, the whole thing was a fishing operation on the part of the DA.
If we had lost the case, Atsuko would probably have been deported to Japan; she didn’t have American citizenship. If she was deported, I would have gone to Japan with her. All my patients would be without their medicine. Believe me, growers who give weed away for free are few and far-between in the marijuana business. In yet another hearing, which took place in San Francisco, I was charged with selling. I was trying to deliver a small bag of marijuana to Ralph Harvey Bay, an angry, one-eyed, epileptic Muslim. Cops arrested me on Christmas Eve. In court, the DA says that I had been charged with cultivation all over the state and had never slowed down. Randall Martin, the public defender assigned to my case, says to the judge, “The fact that my client has had every single case against him dismissed is overwhelming evidence of his abiding by the rules.” Judge says, “Case dismissed.” Later I asked Faulder, “Why do they keep coming after me?” He said, “They don’t like being soundly beaten in court.”