Judge Moves Dennis Peron's Trial Back to Oakland: But Peron says he'll not be convicted in any venue 2/13/98

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On Monday, (2/10) California's 1st District Court of Appeals ruled that the criminal trial of the state's most outspoken medical marijuana advocate would be held in Oakland, where it was brought, rather than san Francisco, where the majority of the alleged offenses occurred. Peron was indicted in Oakland by state attorney-general Dan Lungren, despite the fact that his Cannabis Cultivators Club operated in San Francisco, and that the raid from which the criminal charges arose took place there.

Peron's club had operated for years with the implicit consent of city authorities. The raid, which was criticized by many as politically motivated, was executed by Lungren's (state) agents in August of 1996, just a few months before proposition 215 would be voted on (and passed) by the citizens of California. Lungren was an outspoken critic of Prop 215 during the campaign. In perhaps the most bizarre twist to this ongoing bit of political and legal theater, Peron is currently running against Lungren for the Republican nomination for governor of California.

The case was originally transferred from Oakland to San Francisco by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Dean Beaupre last October, who ruled that there was almost no connection between the charges against Peron and the city of Oakland (Alameda County). Beaupre also noted that there was "an appearance of improper forum-shopping" by Lungren. Upon the new ruling, moving the case back to Alameda, Peron told reporters, "I really believe we're going to win no matter where we are."

A source close to the situation, who asked not to be identified, told The Week Online, "Lungren is so pissed off about the whole Peron thing. He knows that he shot himself in the foot by busting Dennis in the first place. All the publicity, all of the patients on the news, it turned out to be the best thing that happened to the 215 campaign. Then he goes and holds a press conference to debate a cartoon character (the Doonesbury comic strip ran an entire week's worth of material supporting 215 and criticizing Lungren, who in turn called a news conference about the matter) which made him look like an embarrassment. He knows that he would have never, ever gotten a conviction in San Francisco, so he made sure the case stayed in Oakland. If you ask me, with the way Lungren's luck is running when it comes to Dennis, I wouldn't be shocked if the case ends up creating a political miracle and Peron makes him sweat in the primary. Wouldn't that be a kick in the ass."

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Issue #29, 2/13/98 ONDCP 1999 Drug Strategy to be Released This Saturday: Another "ten year plan" but a lot more of the same | 69th Anniversary of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre | Canadian, American Officials Meet to Discuss Smuggling: But which way are the drugs flowing? | Judge Moves Dennis Peron's Trial Back to Oakland: But Peron says he'll not be convicted in any venue | Penn State Professor Continues Marijuana Civil Disobedience for Fourth Consecutive Week | Cooperation, Certification,and Corruption -- US, Mexico, and Drug War Relations | Olympic Snowboarder Still High on Nagano Gold: Rebagliati gets to keep his medal | Allegations of Corruption Leveled Against Australian Anti-Drug Police Unit | Editorial: Give us just one good reason why the Olympic Committee is testing athletes for marijuana

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