Courts are not about justice or helping, their main focus is solely to collect fees and fines.
Call any court at any time and the information provided on the automated phone system is exclusively about how to stream line payments. Any other concern or question of the court requires you to go through an endless and bottomless rabbit hole of phone tree tag. If , by some miracle you do get through to a live voice, it becomes immediately apparent that the person behind the phone is neither user friendly or ready with answers for the reason why you have called.
When did this practice become the norm? When did this unhelpful court attitude become acceptable? Who has empowered these civic employees to be rude and dismissive? What happened to the old adage that the customer is always right? Who told these people that they have an allegiance to anyone other than the people who have business with the court?
Think they treat lawyers or law firm employees any differently? HAH! I have to use the same phone numbers and go through the same hoops that any person does when interacting with the court. Except I have to use their voice mail systems. Imagine having to contact a court for a client only to get a voice mail and wait for the system to tell you to leave a message after the tone, only to hear “mailbox is full”. This only happens every day to me, in multiple courts with multiple judges, prosecutors, clerks and even police officers!
Courts, prosecutors and Judges all take lunch breaks, but so do all of the clerks, all at the same time. Don’t even bother trying to call anyone from 11:30-1pm. Likewise, Court is over at 4pm, everyone including the clerks leave. There is no automated answering service, just voice mail with full mailboxes after 4pm.
There is a small window of time when you are able to get a live person at a court. Between 9:00-11:00am and then 1:00pm-3:45pm.
The probation and drug testing industrial complex has taken over the courts.
I Represented Client/Medical Marihuana patient in a probation violation today in court. I was not her lawyer at the time she plead guilty and was sentenced to probation. The allegations of the probation violation were that my client had continued to test positive for THC, in violation of the court's order.
“Your client can't use medical marijuana while on probation. The Certifying physician is not in the probation departments list of approved doctors.”
Generally speaking the court is looking to the following main issues when setting bond;
- is the accused a danger to the community
- is the accused a flight risk
With these legal principles in mind the judge or magistrate where there's an allegation of a domestic violence case, or an alcohol-related driving case, will conclude for purposes of setting bond they have an interest in protecting the community from a person who consuming alcohol. In that scenario despite being presumptively innocent, allegations of assault and battery or something worse, the court in the interest of protecting the community or because of the defendants “danger to the community” would set a bond with the condition of no contact with the alleged victim.
Each of these examples draw from allegations, or the facts set forth in the complaint that resulted in the issuance of the charges. Their intent associated with the elements of the crime or certainly socially with alcohol which is a substance that is not medicinal, and is exclusively perceived as being recreational and subject to abuse, within the court system.
In other words the use of alcohol is routinely perceived as the roots or reason or identifiable concern by the court, independent of whether it is needed, identified, or even alleged, is something almost every single court prohibits a person on bond from doing even in cases where alcohol may not be involved.
These were the facts...
Client was put on probation for an alcohol driving offense. Judge sentenced her to 2 years probation, 10 days in jail immediately, followed by 2 years probation. Outpatient treatment, Alcoholics Anonymous, fines and costs.
At the time of her sentencing and prior to commencing the 10 days she paid a $2300 fine.
The additional terms of probation were:
- Report to the probation officer.
- Complete an intensified outpatient treatment program at Dawn Farms,
- Participate in alcoholics anonymous,
- Complete two years of probation.
It is important to note, that the court at the time of sentencing entered/ ordered the traditional terms of sentencing which include
- Upon release from the jail after completing 10 days in jail, the client reported to the probation department as directed to by the court.
- Upon appearing at the probation department and going through the intake process, my client interacted with her probation officer's assistant. At that time she presented to the assistant to her probation officer her medical marijuana card which was copied and entered into the file.
Over the next year ( the first year of her 2 year probation) she proceeded to complete the inpatient treatment program. She enrolled in AA and another Secular program similar to AA called SMART. In fact after enrolling in these 2 programs, she habitually attended 2 times a week for the next 2 years.
Additional terms of her probation included write in or non-reporting probation, which required her to call or write in to her probation officer monthly.
All of these requirements were completed as ordered by the Court.
At approximately the one year mark of her probation, my client got a call from her probation officer, directing her to take a drug test. Of course being a medical marihuana patient, she tested positive for THC. To my client, this was not a suprise because she had let the probation department know was in fact a medical marihuana patient. In her initial intake at the probation department she had made it clear of this status. Furthermore, she believed she had a right to engage in the medical ise of marihuana.
333.26424 Sec. 4. (a) A qualifying patient who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card is not subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for the medical use of marihuana in accordance with this act, provided that the qualifying patient possesses an amount of marihuana that does not exceed a combined total of 2.5 ounces of usable marihuana and usable marihuana equivalents, and, if the qualifying patient has not specified that a primary caregiver will be allowed under state law to cultivate marihuana for the qualifying patient, 12 marihuana plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility. Any incidental amount of seeds, stalks, and unusable roots shall also be allowed under state law and shall not be included in this amount. The privilege from arrest under this subsection applies only if the qualifying patient presents both his or her registry identification card and a valid driver license or government-issued identification card that bears a photographic image of the qualifying patient.
My client’s probation officer however didn’t see things the same way...
Upon learning of the drug test results, the probation officer told my client that she was in violation of the terms of her probation.
Your client can’t use medical marijuana while on probation. The certifying physician is not in the probation departments list of approved doctors.
This is frankly disgusting. A probation department telling a person which physician they can or cannot go to for treatment? What kind of justice is that?
This was all done in the last two weeks of probation for my client. They wanted and waited to violate her right at the end of her probation.
Client hired me, I was able to argue the law, got her off the hook for the Violation of Probation VOP and she was able to finish her probation in the mean time, and has been alcohol free for two years and has really changed her whole life around. Although I can’t take credit for that, I am glad happy to see that her right to be a medical marijuana patient was recognized by the court.