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Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

On Tuesday, March 8th, legal proceedings started in the trial of Roger Mentsch, local medical marijuana provider and in-home caregiver. After waiting nearly two years to stand trial, Mentsch is facing several charges that could possibly result in over ten years in prison. Local medical marijuana patients and humanitarian activists are rallying around Mentsch, claiming the charges are the result of a witchunt by the District Attorney looking to make an example out of Mentch despite his status as a certified medical marijuana provider.

On June 6th 2003 the home of Roger Mentch was raided by the Santa Cruz County Sheriffs drug task force. A warrant was issued because the money smelled funny, Monterey Bank stated. At 7:30am guns were drawn on Mr. Mentch as well as his girlfriend and 8 year old daughter.

Audio: Listen to a streaming FRSC interview with Roger or Download the mp3
Please help stop this abuse of power. Please come to my trial and support and protect our civil rights.

Medical Marijuana Patient/Caregiver trial begins Tuesday March 8th at 10:00 am Dept 4 Santa Cruz County Superior 701 Ocean Street. Honorable Judge Stevens presiding.

Final Arguments are Friday, March 10th at 10:45am in Department 4 of Santa Cruz County Superior at 701 Ocean St.

On June 6th 2003 the home of Roger Mentch was raided by the Santa Cruz County Sheriffs drug task force. A warrant was issued because the money smelled funny, Monterey Bank stated. At 7:30am guns were drawn on Mr. Mentch as well as his girlfriend and 8 year old daughter.

Valid medical marijuana documents were clearly placed on the doors leading into the grow room. Roger spent the next 5 days in jail with bail raised from $5000 Friday morning to $50000 that afternoon on a bogas meth charge. He was not arraigned within 72 hours and released the day the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors approved the County Medical Marijuana Card program. The trial has since been postponed 5 times and will go forward March 8th 10:00am.

Mr. Mentch is also a patient that suffers from back pain from compressed fractures to the lumbar, suffers from collitis and PTSD. He is also a state paid caregiver for two disable in home patients. These procedings have been extremely stressful to all of us but more so for one of the patients that suffer from severe PTSD (Post Tramatic Stress Disorder). The 2nd in home patient was in a head on collision 8 years ago and has been in extreme pain from head, back and body injuries and disabled ever since.

Financially it has ruined my savings and retirement. They confiscated all the grow equipment and distroyed the medical marijuana plants and our house, leaving us medical crumbs. They also left 3 mother plants. I didn't know the sheriffs could practice medicine without a license, but they think they can.

Roger is also a former General contractor, Sales manager and IT worker. His last profession was a Sr. Unix Systems Administrator for Cypress Semicondutor before his position was outsourced and became a caregiver. He is now managing director of The Hemporium, LLC., a Professional Caregiving Service.

Please help stop this abuse of power. Please come to my trial and support and protect our civil rights.

Here are a few phone numbers and emails of officials.

DA Santa Cruz Bob Lee
831-454-2400
dat015@co.santa-cruz.ca.us

Supervisor Mark Stone
831-454-2200
mark.stone@co.santa-cruz.ca.us

Mayor Mike Rotkin
831-423-4209
mrotkin@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us

Vice Mayor Cynthia Mathews
831-423-8977
cmathews@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us

Ryan Coonerty
831-420-5020
rcoonerty@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us

Tim Fitzmaurice
831-420-5020
tfitzmaurice@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us

Tony Madrigal
831-420-5020
tmadrigal@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us

Emily Reilly
831-420-5020
ereilly@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us

Ed Porter
831-420-5020
eporter@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us


Thanks for all the Support.
Roger Mentch
 
 


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Comments

Re: Medical Marijuana Trial begins Tuesday in Santa Cruz

Roger Mentch is the best caregiver I have ever had. His kindness and attention to detail has made all the difference in my quality of life. Without him, I would be in constant, crippling pain.
For taxpayer money to be spent on harassing this man is the REAL CRIME. For us legal users of medical marijuana, to lose such an upright and law abiding organization like The Hemporium would set us back decades.
Stop harassing sick people.
Drop the case!
Please call the people in charge and express your concern!
Peace and good health,
Mark B. Jordan
28 year resident of Santa Cruz
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Trial begins Tuesday in Santa Cruz

Hllo. I am interested in doing a story on this. Who is Mr. Mentch's attorney? Can you give me contact information?

Also, at what stage is the trial in?

Please get back to me.
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Trial begins Tuesday in Santa Cruz

Mr. Mentch's trial began today with jury selection. I don't know who his attorney is.
Please direct any questions about the case to him, or his attorney, through Roger's email:

rmentch (at) sbcglobal.net

Thanks,
Mark B. Jordan
 

Jury Chosen; Prosecution Presenting Witnesses

Roger Mentch, interviewed after the first day of his trial, noted the trial will resume at 9:30 AM Wednesday.

He also may show up at the HUFF meeting between 8 and 9 AM if he has time (Baker's Square 1107 Ocean St.).

I'll be playing the interview on Free Radio's Bathrobespierre's Broadsides show Thursday night 6:15 PM at 101.1 FM. Roger may also call in with updates then.

He continues to encourage people to attend his trial--he faces a possible decade or more in prison if convicted.

As I understand it, the core of the trial concerns whether he "sold" or "gave away for reasonable compensation" the medical marijuana he grows and distributes.

Dept. 4, where the trial is being held, is the fourth courtroom on the left after you go through the medical detector in the courthouse building.

I understand no WAMM patients or activists are attending the trial. If anyone wants to invite someone from that group, please do so.
 

Jurors Quickly picked.

The jury was selected quicker then expected and they kicked off questioning of their first witness around 3:00. First up was Mark Ines, lead officer in charge. He stated their was no resistence from me. He stated that their were Valid medical recommendations posted outside the grow rooms. Stated that he arrested me because I said I sold to 5 medical marijuana patients. They finished that part of questioning and will move onto evidence tomorrow for about 3 hours. My in house state paid patients (IHSS)and witnesses will testify around 3 or 4. I expect OUR expert witness Chris Conrad to testify Thursday for all areas of the growing/using aspects of Medical Marijuana. At this point I expect to testify. I have nothing to hide nor had I.

Hope to see you there.
Roger Mentch
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Trial begins Tuesday in Santa Cruz

What's up with that guy Ines? I thought that marijuana was legalized in Santa Cruz. Sorry what happened to you Roger. I'll be there to support you.
 

New Problems for Roger and Others Who Distribute Marijuana Medically

It's puzzled me why D.A. Bob Lee has gone after Roger for "selling" marijuana to those with valid medical marijuana cards, since Prop 215 allows you to get fair compensation for the herb.

Now, Roger reported to me earlier today, Judge Stevens is challenging his right to bring into court an expert witness (Clay Conrad) to testify as to the need to use medical marijuana.

Stevens is demanding, as I understand it, that Roger's overworked and not-terribly-experienced-in-these-cases Public Defender suddenly present legal precedent. The precedent (which may not exist yet) has to prove that Roger is distributing marijuana medically for "health, housing, and safety" of his clients in order to be qualified as a "caregiver". Otherwise his medical marijuana defense collapses and its off to state prison for years.

Show up tomorrow at 9:30 AM (or maybe 10 AM) to support Roger and/or call the numbers he suggests above. There's also been no media coverage of this case (thanks, Metro, Good Times, and Sentinel).
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Trial begins Tuesday in Santa Cruz

Wednesday, the DA finished question the lead detective as well as the Teller in the bank. The officer either lied or has very selective memory regarding the discussion of the limited liabilty company (The Hemporium LLC) that I created with the State of California in May of 2003. Told him it was a consultantcy and caregiving company. From the Teller not much said except that the money smells funny.
My witnesses and patients Laurie and Lee testified. Stating that Roger was there sole source for there Medical Marijuana in 2003.
It appears that the Judge wants to disqualify me as a caregiver at that time. Remember I was released from Jail the day they approved that Medical Marijuana Card Program here in Santa Cruz. I have held a valid caregiver card since Sept 2003 for those exact patients Laurie and Lee.
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Trial begins Tuesday in Santa Cruz

You can call the Santa Cruz Co. D.A.'s office and ask to leave a message of support for medical marijuana caregiver Roger Mentch @ 454-2400. You might mention that you prefer they concentrate on heroin and meth arrests. And leave sick people alone.
Please call the local papers and radio and T.V. stations and ask that they cover the trial. Thank you!
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

and the feds are upset that the marijuana money isn't all in their hands. check the pdr ( physicians desk reference ) dronabinol .
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

At the very least, cases such as these need to be as publicised as possible, so when the next D.A is elected, they will know the public would prefer that our limited resources be directed at real crime.
 

Interview with Roger Mentch downloadable

Roger Mentch and his son Sean were on Free Radio last night. The show (about 75 minutes) can be downloaded or streamed from www.huffsantacruz.org/brb.html (click on "05-03-10")

Roger was optimistic about his chances with the final defense and prosecution arguments coming this morning. Chris Conrad was allowed to testify as an expert, but, as I understand it, Judge Stevens declined to allow "caretaker" instructions as part of the jury instructions.

An interesting and inspiring note is that Roger says he has continued to provide medical marijuana to patients in the last year and a half since he was busted (in June of 2003).

And he hasn't been newly arrested or charged with additional counts for it.

One point his Public Defender brought up when he was in court was that the testifying detective who spent hours on the stand and hours more on the investigation, bust, and pre-trial prep is part of a federal DEA grant, which also funds a prosecutor in Bob Lee's office and a staff person.

If anyone's interested in researching the rise (or--less likely--) decline of the Drug War under Bob Lee, I'd like to help.

Mentch may be taken into immediate custody if the jury finds him guilty on any of the numerous felony counts.
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

Roger has been convicted if at least 1 charge.

Bob Lee called me to "explain" that this case was about money. After telling me he was taking time out on working on murders to call me, he threw in a 'I was born and raised here.' 1958 Santa Cruz was a redneck stronghold. Black folks kept to the "circles." No homeless. No hippies. The 'good ole days' to Santa Cruz natives.
All of 47 years old, he said it would be fine if his 80 something parents wanted to smoke. Gee, how openminded.
We need to remove him from office. NOW.
If Mr. Mentch had been in for the money, Mr. Lee, then why did he qualify for a public defender. When you heard the verdict, why did you insinuate to me that the jury agreed with your views? 80% of Santa Cruz voters want medical marijuana.
As I told you, good luck running for re-election. You're history.
 

Victory for Fear and Bigotry

THE VERDICTS
Roger Mentch called me with the verdicts--which came at 2:45 PM this afternoon.

After about three hours of deliberation, Mentch was found guilty of two felonies (cultivation of marijuana and possession with intent to sell marijuana) with special gun enhancements. Mentch had two .22 caliber rifles, both unloaded, on inoperable. Also guilty of misdemeanor possession of psilocybin mushrooms.

He was found not guilty of two other felonies--manufacturing or possessing for sale hash oil.

A juror questioned afterwards said that the jury was evenly divided until Judge Stevens repeatedly ruled that Mentch was not a caregiver and that they could not again view the Proposition 15 text.

He will return for sentencing on May 2nd, with his public defender to do an appeal. It’s not clear at all whether he will be allowed to be free pending appeal.


SOME QUESTIONS WE NEED ANSWERED

Why has Bob Lee’s office spend a year and a half going after Mentch?
How many other Drug War cases has he wasted taxpayer money on during this time?
How many people are locked in jail, local jail, as Drug War prisoners?
Where’s the ACLU, WAMM, and other fearless advocates in throwing some publicity on these abuses?



SOME POSSIBLE COMMUNITY RESPONSES

Jury nullification flyering outside the courthouse. A “not guilty? verdict from one juror can stop this whole machine dead in its tracks (require a new trial). See www.greenmac.com/eagle/ISSUES/ISSUE23-9/07JuryNullification.html . Jurors need to understand the responsibility they have when they “follow orders? from Drug War judges like Stevens. They bear responsibility for tearing apart families, stealing property and liberty, and imperiling the health of medical marijuana patients. They can’t escape this responsibility by saying “the judge told us to do it.? EVERY JUROR HAS THE POWER TO SAY NO and cannot be called to explain or justify her or his verdict.

It may be time to systematically and exhaustively begin giving out leaflets explaining to members of the public their rights in this regard and encouraging them to exercise them.

D.A. Lee, the Board of Supervisors, and the Sheriff’s office can all be called and asked for stats on their drug war shenanigans. We can demand an end to all local prosecutions. Through letters, calls, e-mails, and protests (as at May 2nd when Roger Mentch returns for sentencing).

We all live in fear until the day that every Roger Mentch is free.
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

That is really no good.

Anyone know why NORML's attorneys were not involved?

Why was the ACLU's Santa Cruz anti-drug war program (and its attached attorneys) not involved?

What are the sentencing requirements for the charges he was convicted on?
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

Well I quess it is time for the appeals prosess too begin.
Due to the incorrect interpation of law by Judge Stevens, the jury did not recieve proper intructions concerning Medical Marijuana Caregivers.
Although I had two witnesses stating that I was their Caregiver, I also took the stand stating that I provide consultancy information too patients concerning grow methods and practices, also providing guidance in the instruction of the uses for extracts and well as a safe enviroment to obtain medical cannabis.
(I inadvertantly left out the fact that The Hemporium,LLC is a delivery service)

Also The Hemporium LLC was created prior to my arrest and prior to the card program, it now operates and has since as a Professional Caregiving Service. I have held a valid Caregivers card from Santa Cruz County since the inseption of the card program., 2 months after my arrest.

Guilty ...Count 1 ..Cultivation of marijuana/special gun charges apply now.

Guilty ...Count 2 ..Possesion of Marijuana for sales/special gun charges apply now.

Guilty ... Count 5 ..Possesion of 2 grams mushroom

Not Guilty ...Count 3 .. Manufacturing of concentrated cannabis (honey oil)

Not Guilty ...Count 4 .. Posession of concentrated cannabis (honey oil)

I can not believe, that jury did not see reasonble daught or non intent.

My public defender did a Great Job, and many thanks to her ....Aimee Buentello. Many thanks to her staff also.
Aimee had the Judge put her objections on record concerning the non use of the Caregiver instructions, and that I was not given a fair and impartial trial.

Sentencing will be May 2nd. Please keep the complaints coming to the authorities for Santa Cruz county and the City.

My family has been tore apart from these on-going injustices to our civil liberties and basic rights. My girlfriend suffers from severe childhood trauma and PDST, the likes I have not seen. After the verdict, she had to be escorted out.

Peace @ Appeals,

Roger Mentch
The Hemporium, LLC
A Professional Caregiving Service!
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

I was one of the jurors on this trial. This was an extremely difficult decision. The mushrooms decision was easy. It was counts 1 and 2 that were difficult. It was obvious to everyone that you were not making much money with your business. We knew you were receiving small amounts of cash from your patients. We wanted to apply this to "covering your costs" and we asked the judge twice concerning this. Both times we were told that not only were you unable to receive any money, but you were unable to give the medicine away for free.

The cultivation charge was made in that the lbs. you were able to produce where of a much greater value than the amount you would have been able to consume. If we had to caregiver information in our instructions, we could have applied this extra medicine to your patients, but we couldn't.

I wish you the very best in your appeals.
 

Questions for the Juror

I appreciate the anonymous juror's taking the time to post her/his thoughts.

Perhaps the juror read my comments above ("Victory for Fear and Bigotry").

I wonder, did any of the jurors indicate they understood their right to "just say no" to the judge's jury instructions in the interests of justice? Was there ever any discussion of this? Was there any understanding or discussion of the many years of prison that Mentch faces?

"juror": would you have voted differently if you had known their right to say "not guilty", simply in the interests of justice--whatever the views of the judge?
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

I would say the jurors did not understand that they could say "just say no". We were told from the prosecutor, judge and defense that we were there to strictly follow the letter of the law. We were also told that we were not to take into account the punishment that may be given. Would I have voted differently if I had known my right to say "not guilty" simply in the interests of justice...I'm not sure. I may have voted differently taking into consideration a compassionate care giver.
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

I was the only jurror kicked off the case and I'm heartbroken to hear that you have been found quilty.
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

I was the only jurror that the prosecution kicked off the case. Within a minute of pointing out that the prosecution was wrong when he suggested that you can can prove someone quilty for reasonable doubt, I was asked to leave. I'm glad that I stood up to the prosecution, but I'm still sorry to hear that Mr. Mentch was found quilty.
 

Poll the Jury Panel?

It's intimidating and confusing for jurors, faced with a powerful judge and two fast-talking attorneys.

I'm wondering if other jurors also might have decided differently, if they truly understood their options.

If enough jurors petitioned the judge to change their verdict, it might make the papers, even if the demand was turned down. Then the next juries (and this evil Drug War juggernaut is going to go on and on--make no mistake about it) would be educated.

Defense lawyers might be embolded (they're forbidden to mention "jury nullification"), and prosecutions of this sort discouraged.

I wonder how the other jurors feel about being manipulated into what may be a jail sentence of many years for helping others get medical marijuana. And whether they might not be willing to sign a statement repudiating their decision--as a jury up in San Francisco did in a similar case last year.

I include a commentary in that case in the post that follows.
I still feel a regular literature distribution effort at the courthouse about the right of jury nullification (as applied to the Drug Prohibiton War) would have a significant impact.

For those interested in the subject, google for "Jury Nullification" and check out the wealth of articles and experiences elsewhere.
 

Ed Rosenthal Case

CounterPunch (www.counterpunch.org)

February 1, 2003

American Journal
US Judge Railroads Ed Rosenthal in Fed's War on Medical Marijuana...
by ALEXANDER COCKBURN

Cowed by a federal judge, a reluctant jury found Ed Rosental guilty last Friday afternoon. Rosenthal remains free on bail, pending sentencing in June. The defense will appeal. Rosenthal faces life in prison.

Within hours of finding famed marijuana expert Ed Rosenthal guilty on three felony counts of conspiracy and marijuana cultivation, a sobbing juror was overheard saying she and others jurors had been terrified that US District Judge Charles Breyer would throw them in prison if they had found Rosenthal innocent, although she herself had had a strong disposition to do so.

Jury foreman Charles Sackett (a building contractor) told the press after the verdict that he hoped the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court would reverse the verdict and another juror, Marney Craig (a property manager), said "It seems like we made a horrible mistake. I should have stood up and said, 'I'm not convicting.'"

Throughout the trial in US District Court in San Francisco, Breyer had refused all efforts by the defense to disclose to the jury that Rosenthal was growing marijuana as an "officer" for the City of Oakland's medical marijuana program, authorized under California's Proposition 215, passed by the voters in 1996. (See my report the Right Not to Be In Pain.)

Breyer effectively denied Rosenthal the most basic right of all, that of being able to confront his accusers. The inability to confront your accuser means in essence you have to endure the accusations of the state, without the ability to respond. That's what happened to Rosenthal.

The Feds, in the form of the DEA, accused Rosenthal of being a big time marijuana grower, and at no time did Breyer allow Rosenthal or his defense team to explain to the jury that Rosenthal believed his actions to be entirely legal under state law. Among many other outrageous rulings Breyer refused to allow DEA Agent Mike Heald to testify in California at the time of Rosenthal's bust, his federal task force north of the Bay Area "was trying to make the 215 law work," as he told the defense team. "We didn't want to interrupt state legislation."

Of course the jury, like all juries, had the right to consult their consciences and set the law aside, but such is the deplorable state of civics instruction today, and such is the dictatorial propensity of judges and the hostility or indifference of elite opinion that the fundamental principle of jury discretion, the foundation stone of freedom is barely known. Hopefully Breyer's brazen rulings and the public support for 215 in California will bring the issue of jury discretion, or nullification, to the fore. (For more info the issue of fully informed juries, see FIJA's website.)

If a jury picks up on an overwhelming public sentiment, it will often find the courage to do the right thing despite an overbearing judge. There was public sympathy for Rosenthal, but though his supporters worked their hearts out, the wave of necessary outrage on this fundamental issue of states rights and the rights of the accused was not there in necessary force.

After dismissing the jury, Judge Charles Breyer said that he would be conducting his own "independent inquiry" into determining whether he could make a "downward departure" on the sentencing, meaning impose less than the minimum sentence mandated by law. Such an inquiry would be to determine Mr. Rosenthal's eligibility for an extraordinary exception to normal sentencing

Breyer noted the extraordinary circumstances of the case in rejecting the motion of Assistant U.S. Attorney George Bevan, Jr. to have Rosenthal placed in immediate detention. Breyer granted Defense Counsel Robert Eye and William Simpich an additional 30 days beyond the normal ten to file their request for a new trial.

Breyer also set the sentencing date as June 4, much farther out than is normal. The nearly six months until sentencing should allow enough time for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to decide the appeal of another of Judge Breyer's cases that dealt with a similar question of immunity from prosecution in the context of medical marijuana distribution.If the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturns Judge Breyer's interpretation of the federal statute, as he himself said they very well might, it would guarantee that Rosenthal's conviction would be overturned.

While he was found guilty of all three counts, the most serious chazrge had related to conspiracy to grow more than a thousand plants, and on that count the jury found that he had conspired to grow more than a hundred but less than the thousand the indictment had specified -- a finding defense attorneys counted as a victory. That leaves his conviction for cultivation of more than a hundred plants as the offense with the stiffest penalty, with a sentencing range of from 5 to 40 years and a fine of up to $2 million dollars.

Ironically, the jury did set the law aside in declaring Rosenthal guilty of even that number of plants. The defense had introduced as expert witness Dan Weaver of Humboldt county, who testified that the physical evidence offered by the prosecution consisted of plant cuttings without viable root systems. A cutting or even a slightly more developed clone, is not a plant and plants are what the federal statute concerns itself with. The jury inferred that Rosenthal had plants, even though plants were not part of the state's evidence.

STATEMENT of ED ROSENTHAL

Statement of Ed Rosenthal on the Medical Marijuana Trial Verdict January 31, 2003

"I am disappointed in this verdict for several reasons. "This was an unconstitutional prosecution. It should never have come to trial.

"Once it did, I was not afforded a jury of my peers. They had to bring in 80 people to come up with 12 who would agree to set aside their beliefs on this issue.

"Even so, they would have acquitted me if they had been permitted to hear my story. But I did not get the chance in this trial to defend myself and explain my actions.

"Federal prosecutors made extraordinary efforts to block the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Because the truth is that I was deputized by the City of Oakland to legally grow marijuana for medicinal use by sick or dying patients under California's Prop 215, the Compassionate Use Act, the law that is supposed to guarantee safe and legal access to medicinal marijuana.

"The City of Oakland showed courage in working to come up with a safe, open, and legal system to harmonize California's medical marijuana law with federal law. And I was acting as an official of the city, implementing their program to help patients.

"Had the jury known about the City's attempts to give immunity to their people, including me, it would have acquitted me today.

"The other victims of today's decision are patients -- people who are extremely ill or dying and who are soothed by medicinal marijuana -- because I am only one of many people that they are trying to put in jail for helping sick people, as allowed under our laws.

"For these reasons, we will be asking for a new trial. This verdict will not be allowed to stand.

"The federal government silenced my courtroom defense, but it can't silence the court of public opinion. The opinion of the American public is one of overwhelming support of medicinal uses of marijuana.

"The federal government needs to get this message.

"My case clearly demonstrates that it is time for a national debate on the issue of medical marijuana. California voted to make medical marijuana legal, but the federal government is trying to block that law. The federal government is choosing to prosecute and imprison individuals instead of working directly with the State of California and local cities to resolve the conflicts in medical marijuana law.

"Our elected officials must have the courage to discuss this issue publicly, and then resolve this conflict.

"Because helping sick people should never be a crime. "For my entire family, thank you all for your support." --Ed Rosenthal.

The Rosenthal defense team is in desperate need of money to pay for the expenses of the trial and to lodge appeals. Please visit green-aid.com to learn how you can help.
 

LOCAL Complicity in the face of Proposition A

The particularly frightening thing here in Santa Cruz county is that we're not dealing with "the evil feds", but with LOCAL Judge Sam Stevens, LOCAL prosecutor Bob Lee, and LOCAL Sheriffs,

Likewise, the silent onlookers to this obscenity are the LOCAL medical marijuana organizations, LOCAL doctors, the LOCAL Board of Supervisors (Mardi Wormhoudt, where are you?), and the LOCAL much-ballyhooed ACLU Drug Policy Group.

Ours is the County where voters overwhelmingly decriminalized medical marijuana four years before Proposition 215 as Proposition A (see below).

For evil to triumph, all that is necessary is that good people remain silent.





Santa Cruz County Measure A
Marijuana For Medical Use Initiative [Passed in 1992 with more than 75% of the vote.]

The people of the County of Santa Cruz do ordain as follows:

SECTION 1. TITLE: The title of this ordinance shall be: The Santa Cruz County Medical Marijuana Ordinance.

SECTION 2. PURPOSE: The purposes of this ordinance are:

1. To express the compassion of the people of Santa Cruz County for the medically challenged in our community whose sufferings would be alleviated by the use of medical marijuana.

2. To express the strong support of the people of Santa Cruz County for the restoration of Cannabis / Marijuana medical preparations to the list of available medicines which can be prescribed by licensed physicians.

3. To direct the elected officials of Santa Cruz County to take whatever actions may be within their power to support the availability of Cannabis / Marijuana for medical use.

SECTION 3. DEFINITIONS: For the purposes of this ordinance, Cannabis / Marijuana medical preparations shall mean: all products made from cannabis or marijuana, in any form intended or used for human consumption, for the treatment of any disease; the relief of pain; or as an adjunct to any medical procedure for the treatment of Cancer, Glaucoma, or AIDS; or for any other medical or healing purpose defined within the bounds of the doctor/patient relationship.

SECTION 4. FINDINGS: The people of the County of Santa Cruz make the following findings:

1. Safe And Effective Medicine. Scientific and medical studies by the National Academy of Science have shown Cannabis / Marijuana to be a safe and effective medicine with very low toxicity compared to most prescription drugs. It has been shown to be effective in the treatment of glaucoma; epilepsy; muscle spasticity; arthritis; the nausea, vomiting and appetite loss associated with chemotherapies; anxiety and depression; and the symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol and narcotics.

2. Doctors And Patients Need The Cannabis / Marijuana Option.Studies show that one-third of all cancer patients discontinue potentially life-saving chemotherapy due to the severe and debilitating side effects. The same is true for many AIDS patients receiving AZT or other similar therapies. Most physicians surveyed said that they would prescribe Cannabis / Marijuana if legally available. Half of all cancer specialists surveyed said that they have already encouraged at least one of their patients to break the law and use Cannabis / Marijuana to ease the violent nausea and vomiting associated with their current treatments.

3. United Nations Approves Prescription Marijuana. In May of 1991, the United Nations Narcotic Control Board voted overwhelmingly to reclassify Cannabis / Marijuana, placing it back on Schedule 2, and making it available by prescription. The United States Representative to this board voted in favor of rescheduling.

4. Federal Court Orders Prescription Marijuana. Despite a Federal Court Order recognizing the "clearly established medical value" of Cannabis / Marijuana, and mandating that it be reclassified to Schedule 2 and available by prescription, the federal government continues to deny access to this safe and effective medicine.

5. Politics Before Patients.By its own admission, the federal government continues to deny access to Cannabis / Marijuana for political rather than medical reasons. Using patients as pawns in the ever-escalating War on Drugs, current policies place message before medicine, convenience before compassion, and politics before patients.

SECTION 5. IMPLEMENTATION.

1. Within 90 (ninety) days of the certification of the November 3, 1992 General Election, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors shall transmit the text of this ordinance to the President of the United States, the Governor of the State of California, and the Federal and State Legislative Rep- representatives of Santa Cruz County and urge them to take whatever actions that may be in their power to:

1. Restore Cannabis / Marijuana medical preparations to the list of available medicines which can be prescribed by licensed physicians.

2. Provide for by law and institute such mechanisms as may be necessary to insure a safe and affordable supply of Cannabis / Marijuana for medical use.

2. The Board of Supervisors shall request the Sheriff and the District Attorney to adhere to the spirit of this ordinance in setting their priorities and to exercise whatever discretionary powers they may possess to minimize the negative impacts of current Cannabis / Marijuana restrictions, where medical use is apparent.

3. The Board of Supervisors shall direct the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency to monitor developments in the field of Cannabis / Marijuana medicine, including research projects, trial studies, or current governmental programs and to make available, upon request by any doctor or patient, accurate and timely information regarding the efficacy of Cannabis / Marijuana for various medical conditions.

SECTION 6. SEVERABILITY. If any of these provisions are held to be invalid, all remaining portions of this ordinance shall remain in full force and effect.

SECTION 7. EFFECTIVE DATE. This ordinance shall take effect as provided by law.
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

Well hey, he was convicted of trying to make a buck and of owning a gun. Guilty of exercising his 4th and 2nd amendment rights.

The War on Drugs is enforced everywhere. In conservative lands, conservative dogma and their agenda are used to persecute people like this.

In liberal lands such as Santa Cruz, liberal dogma and the liberal agenda are used to persecute people like this.

He was making money - ooh, capitalism! Evil!
He had a gun to defend his crop and money and person - ooh, guns! Evil!

This is why he gets railroaded in Santa Cruz, why he gets no grass roots support, why the ACLU doesn't speak up. Because with the money and guns issue, he ran afowl of political correctness in this communist-pacifist cess pool.

Because of the liberal agenda, he found himself alone when the War on Drugs came to his door.

Good job, people. Way to stand up for people's rights.

To the jurors:
If you hurt someone by accident, wouldnt you feel bad?

Well, you just hurt someone very badly.

I don't care what lies you were told, or how intimidated you felt. You did this. You convicted him. You signed your name and your sacred honor to that verdict.

You fucked him, for whatever your reasons and excuses. You fucked him. Congratulations. I hope you never sleep soundly again, for what you've done to a man who harmed no one.

Maybe you'll learn a lesson from your guilt. Maybe others will learn a lesson from your guilt.

That is, if you even have the common decency to face the wrong you've just committed.

All you had to say was "not guilty", to help defend one innocent man from the persecution of the Morality Police. That's all you had to do.

But like Judas, instead you betrayed him.
 

Jurors should vote to acquit every time a marijuana charge comes up in a Santa Cruz Court!!

Attention future jurors!!
If you want to stop this kind of persecution for using a plant God gave us, then....

regardless of the amount, allegations of sales, or profits, VOTE TO ACQUIT EVERY TIME!!

Jurors have much more power than voters. This jury just endorsed persecution, politically motivated prosecutions, and violated our rights under Prop 215, SB 420.

I don't understand the gun charge at all. There was no testimony that he used the gun in connection with his marijuana. The 2nd amendment gives him a right, especially in his own home, to protect himself and his family.

Shame of DA Bob Lee for this prosecution!!
Vote him out next time!!
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

One of the most disturbing elements that I see here, was the lack of support for this cause, this cause IS not mine alone.

I'm not talking about some patients that I caregive to, which where on the front lines in the PROTEST in FELTON and SANTA CRUZ March 5th an 6th. THANK YOU ALL !!
I'm talking about NORML, SAFE ACCESS, ACLU, MPP and the NRA and like Caregiving organizations.
I'm a MEMBER of all the above political
organizations.

Clearly my CIVIL RIGHTS guaranteed by the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES have been violated as my attorney stated on the record.
We WERE NOT permitted our defense.

I do hope the PAPER MEDIA (Sentinel, Metro, ETC.)
will find this story worthy and print.

THANK YOU ....KZSC ..88.1 FM
FREE RADIO 101.1 FM.
_WWW.santacruz.indymedia.org
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

The NRA wouldnt support you Roger, because they're also a single-issue organization, and their conservative Christian core stands behind the selective demonization of plants. So I'm not surprised.

Likewise, the "progressive" core of ACLU members are waging their own war against 2nd Amendment rights, so they abandoned you as a second-class citizen over the firearm charge.

Appologists for these groups will say they're just choosing their battles. But I say they're playing politics with our rights.

It's not a right unless everyone gets it. Defending Constitutional rights for only select favored groups while abandoning others, destroys the very meaning of the Constitution.

These are fundamental problems with our civil rights movements, on both the left and the right. These problems prevent us from moving forward and gaining ground.

Until Americans fucking grow up and realize the need to defend EVERYONE'S rights, those of our friends AND of our enemies alike, the system will always win. Because the system plays us against one another like this, for its own benefit.
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

THE LAW IS BOTH UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND PLAINLY IMMORAL!

If the law said "Black people can be shot on sight", would you support that as a juror too?!

Jesus H. Christ on a pogostick, listen to yourself! Just doing your job for der Furher, eh Herr Another Juror?

It's called JURY NULLIFICATION.

www.greenmac.com/eagle/ISSUES/ISSUE23-9/07JuryNullification.html

It means that a jury can, and morally MUST, render "not guilty" to any charge there the law itself is repugnant to common sense and common decency.

It is the LAST BASTION OF JUSTICE, the final check-and-balance in the system.

www.fija.org/
"The recognition of the authority and right of jurors to weigh the merits of the law and to render a verdict based on conscience, dates from before the writing of our Constitution, in cases such as those of William Penn and Peter Zenger. Should this right ever be suppressed, the people will retain the right to resist, having an unalienable right to veto or nullify bad and oppressive laws, and in fact then would be morally compelled to do so."

Thomas Jefferson said, "I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."

BY WHICH A GOVERNMENT CAN BE HELD TO THE PRINCIPLES OF ITS CONSTITUTION!

Thomas-mother-fucking-Jefferson said this! The Founding Fathers, AUTHORS of the US Constitution, have said it!

As a juror in Roger's case, you had a moral obligation to declare him NOT GUILTY because he had done NO WRONG. He was a GARDENER who sold DRIED LEAVES, the gun he LEGALLY OWNED was MERELY SITTING THERE IN THE HOUSE.

*** WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! ***

With jurors like you, who needs terrorists?! America is being destroyed from within, by its own god-damned citizens.

I help friends when they're down, I pick up hitch hikers when it's convenient, stop for stranded cars, feed stray animals, even hold the door for strangers and give up bus seats to the elderly. I'm no saint, but I'm a decent person.

But whoever you are "another juror", if I met you on the street now, I would spit on you. You SUCK.
 

More thoughts

I appreciate the two jurors and would-be juror going public with what happened. I also admit I'm in sympathy with "broke the law" who has it right.

If the jurors involved could contact other jurors for their thoughts and they'd post them, we'd get a better picture of what went down in the jury room (and how justice was suborned).

Were there any holdouts for "not guilty" until the last minute?

Does anyone (Roger included) have any sense of the range of sentence he faces on May 2nd?

Would any juror be interested in polling other jurors (you can get the list of the jurors through the defense attorney) on whether they still feel they'd vote the same way?

Is anyone interested in a jury nullification flyering project at the courthouse?
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

I'm in agreement with Robert in the above post.

Thank you, jurors, for going public. It really sounds like they were bullied or told how to act by this judge. For him to tell them how they should think or act in this case is, in my opinion, unethical.

Though I agree with many of the points that "broke the law" raises, why would you want to spit on anyone? Even though the jury made a wrong decision, they were the only ones who cared enough to show up. What about all the people who purposely try to get out of jury duty? Like all of us, they are people who probably get their pay docked for fulfilling their civic duty. They chose to lean on the advice of the judge instead of hashing out the decision by themselves. If I were them I'd be kicking myself.

Also, it is important to note, that there was *no* methamphetamine found, according to everything I've heard thus far. An above post seems to insinuate that there was.

Why in the hell shouldn't any person living in the country not be allowed to own guns? I don't even understand the logic of a law that prohibits someone from having registered shotguns. If you're growing medical marajuana, all the more reason for him to have them.

Sounds like it is time for a jury nullification flyering project at the courthouse, Robert.
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

MS,

Someone who gets out of jury "duty" (which is not a duty at all) harms no one.

Someone who sits on a jury and renders a Not Guilty verdict in defiance of an evil law, has prevented harm from being done.

But someone who sits on a jury and condemns an innocent citizen for violating an evil law, is complicit in causing harm to one of his fellow citizens.

Such people deserve our contempt for their actions. They should be held accountable by society. They should be shunned and scorned.

I don't care what their reason. It might be because the evil of the laws lies also in their hearts.

Or maybe they are just cowards, doing what a judge tells them for fear of the judge's retalliation (judges have been known to retalliate against jurors and even whole juries, after all). But cowardly self-interest is no consolation to a man then wrongfully convicted of an evil law.

No one is free of responsibility for their own actions. Ever.

Unfortunately for Mentch, moral innocence provides no protection from the Morality Police and their crusade against peacefully-armed citizens and against the more potent of medicinal plants which threaten to fairly compete with the overpriced and monopolized American "pharmaceutical" (DRUG!) industry.

Publically promoting the principal of jury nullification is long overdue, owing to this and countless cases prior to it for years now.. decades!

Flyering for JN in front of the courthouse though, that's a sure way to get harrassed and arrested. Historically many activists across the nation have had their lives destroyed by police and politicians for taking that particular fight to the very doors of the enemy like that. It seems to be a particularly sore spot for the system.

Probably because it's one of their points of greatest vulnerability.
 

Risks of Flyering the Public at the Courthouse

Actually, I and other have done jury nullification flyering before at the courthouse.

We were careful (a) to give out the flyer to everyone in the public rather than targeting juries, and (b) to avoid mentioning specific upcoming cases. We did mention the drug war, the right to nullify, the advisability of keeping your opinions to yourself until on the jury, etc.

I'm involved in a number of other projects (too many!), but I would be willing to support such an effort and spend some time doing it, as well as help put together the flyer (if we want to do a local effort).

As mentioned before, I think it would be most helpful if we can get some stats from Bob Lee about how many drug war cases he's prosecuted in the last year or two, how many come up in an average week, etc. It would also be helpful to make available some sentencing guidelines so the public--which may be called to sit on a jury--will have some notion of how many years they're throwing an herb grower into jail for.

I just spoke with Richard Lee of the Fully Informed Jury Association up in the Bay Area and that's what FIJA (now called the American Jury Institute) was largely doing as direct action.

He noted that, of course, it's always a crapshoot with judges as to when they'll object to what. He encouraged distributors to make it generic jury information.

In the early 90's when I and others distributed "jury nullification" literature out, we mentioned four categories of cases: drug war cases, psychiatric commitments, anti-war protest, and homeless civil rights cases, without particularity as to the defendant. We were never charged or prosecuted.

It seems pretty clearly First Amendment-protected activity to give out truthful information to the general public (that is, not directly addressed to jurors in a specific case) outside the courtrooms--and perhaps on the steps of the courthouse.
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

Mr Devon,

A Harley and a house are hardly "hiding profits" - they are both high-profile, on-the-record items.

But that aside, if they're his profits then what is wrong with hiding them?

In a bad neighborhood, you don't advertise your money. You don't walk down the street with your wallet in your hand. You don't stack expensive DVDs and a pricey home theater system in the front window, screaming "steal me" to the world.

The fact is that all of America became a crime-ridden bad neighborhood, when the Morality Police began their obscene War On (some) Drugs, and their unconstitutional "civil asset forfeiture" thievery.

So Mr Mentch was only declaring $18k/yr on his taxes? You have access to his IRS filings apparently.

Assuming the figure is accurate.. so what? Did you ever consider that the IRS COMPELLED HIM NOT TO DECLARE HIS INCOME AS A GARDENER? Because the IRS would have just released that info to the Morality Police, and they'd have come after him for sure then.

So of course he hid it. What choice did the IRS leave him? If I had an accountant with mob connections and I knew he'd leak my info to local thieves who would come to rob my house, I'd lie to him too. (Actually I'd fire the disloyal prick, but we don't hire the IRS in this country - they force themselves on us.)

Mr. Mentch did nothing wrong. He was growing an herb with medicinal and recreational value, and selling it to willing customers. He was a gardener, and an independent businessman.

What he was doing, is called SMALL-BUSINESS CAPITALISM. What he was doing, was making an honest living.

What he was doing, was being an ordinary, everyday, real American.

The Morality Police need to get themselves honest jobs, instead of this parasitic thuggery of Prohibition law enforcement.
 

Man arrested for flyering on Jury Nullification in front of court house

The system only retalliates like this, when it's afraid.

www.fija.org/raag.htm

Power-Damaged Judge G. Ross Anderson Promotes the American Gulag

In a disturbing case from Anderson, South Carolina, FIJA activist David Erskine “Bud? Cummings was entrapped, arrested, held for 8 months in various federal detention centers and in a mental institution, and then finally released. His “crime?? On December 1, 2003 he was distributing FIJA brochures in front of the federal courthouse in Anderson. Local patriots had come to the courthouse to observe a trial that they thought might be of interest to them, where they endured uncalled-for harassment from the federal judge, G. Ross Anderson, a known power-damaged government employee. Bud was among those being harassed. At one point, he went outside to distribute FIJA literature to people entering the courthouse. In an act of entrapment, the prosecutor and federal marshals lured Bud into the building, where they asked for a sample of his literature, then arrested him for passing out literature inside the building, which they called contempt of court. A copy of the flier can be seen here: www.patriotnetwork.info/FullyIJ.htm.
... more
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

I suspect that the one juror writing bull-shit was not one.

THERE WAS NO METH FOUND OUT MY HOUSE. "NO WHERE"

It must be a cop writing this shit!

I don't own a house either. Thanks to the DA my retirement savings is no longer.

The Harley I bought in 2001 was when I was making $90,000 dollars a year as a Sr. Unix Systems Adminstrator. Is someone jealous?

I was not hiding from anyone. I admitted selling "recovering cost and reasonable compensa tion"
I Incorporated, my taxes are filed as a "CAREGIVER".
I showed income from the operation as well as an additional $2,000 from being a STATE PAID live-in aid.
A fundraiser is being put together for my appeal as I speak.

We will WIN on appeal!
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

I have a local TV station that will interview me
March 23rd. We would like a Juror to sit in if possible. Contact person is Becky Johnson.

Robert, can you help me out with her contact information?

Where is Cemi Asolace from UCSC? She wanted to do an interview earlier but I think she/he got gun shy?

The Judge instructed the jurors that my guns were PERFECTLY LEGAL. Only if they could find away to convict me on the marijuana could the guns be added.

For those who seen and heard the reaction from my girlfriend / patient at the reading of the verdict. Is there anyone who doesn't think that smoking her MEDICAL MARIJUANA would not help that condition.
I should of stood up and asked, does anyone have a joint. I don't think some of the jurors would of got it.
She RAGES to the extent of being wisked away yesterday by the Sheriffs and taken to Dominican.
The local Sheriffs I must say have been treating us ok.

I do wish they would prosecute the robbers that broke into here Feb 2004. They know I had a VALID CAREGIVERS card then.


I have been a recovering alcoholic and smoker now for 17 years. Using a AA for about 14 of them. I want to thank government for shoving alcohol and tobacco down our throats all these years.

I was on a battle-ship in Viet Nam when I was 17 years of age. I wonder where Bob Lee was?

That so called juror must be the Santa Cruz SHERIIFFS SPOKESPERSON. They out right lied to the Sentinel when I was arrest concerning the meth.

It angers me of these lies!!
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

the only REAL crime here is that the goverment cant put a meter on it to tax it! we only have selective rights. keep up the fight roger, it is worth it. my prayers are with you, dianna
 

WAMM website & Another Mentch Radio Interview

WAMM has a new testimonial website, inc ase you want to post your experiences wtih medical marijuana: The website is www.medical-marijuana-testimonials.org The e-mail address is web team (at) medical-marijuana-testimonials.org .

WAMM has also declined to publicly come out and denounce D.A. Bob Lee's local Drug War as far as I know. Perhaps a few words to encourage them to address local injustices like this might not be out of place.

Roger was on my radio show last Thursday again. You can download the show at www.huffsantacruz.org . Click on Bathrobespierre's Broadsides on the main website and go to the March 10 show. Roger's segment is about half-way through the show.
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

Roger mentch is a lifelong friend of mine. The hardship that it has created in his life is beyond telling. I hope that all who post here support Rog and the crime which was done against him. Roger - I'm there for you bud - call me if I can help you out.
 

Introducing new Medical Marijuana Testimonials website

Many people have survived life threatening illnesses by reducing pain and nausea using medically prescribed marijuana. This site (www.medical-marijuana-testimonials.org) provides some testimonials from patients and the experience of doctors.
santacruz.indymedia.org/newswire/display/17149/index.php
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

When we were protesting in Santa Cruz we meet Aaron from R-evolution productions and he offered to do a benifit for my/our cause.

It is a Reggae Western Medicine Tour and a legal defense fundraiser for my appeal.

Featuring: ROOKER T .... SOUL MEDIC..... R-EVOLUTION SHOWCASE.

Location: VETERANS HALL 846 Front St. Santa Cruz
Doors open 8:00pm - 12pm

Tickets: $10 Adv. $15 - $20 at the door.
GLASS ROOTS River St. Santa Cruz
CHOPSTIX Restaurant HWY 9 Felton
 

Good Luck at the Benefit

The benefit's a good idea. You might want to invite Matt Hilliar of the Pacific Coast Cooperative that the Planning Dept closed down three days ago--the one mentioned in the current Good Times (see recent article on indymedia).

Also, what's the day and the date?

Let me know if you hear of any other marijuana prosecutions by that crusading liberal Bob Lee.

I also encourage others who follow this thread to call Mayor Mike Rotking (420-5023) and demand immediate city action to reopen the Pacific Coast Cooperative.
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

The benifit is Friday April 22nd at Veterans Hall basement and outside area. I have had emergencies
lately, so I apoligize for not updateding very often.

This letter is from the Mayor of Santa Cruz on my behalf. If anyone feels the same please show up at my sentencing May 2nd, I will update on time.

Dear Judge Stevens,

I am writing with respect to the case of Roger Mentch whose case is before your court for sentencing on a charge related to marijuana sales. It is my understanding that while it would not be appropriate for you to consider my views with respect to the trial phase of Mr. Mentch’s case, that it is appropriate for me to write you as a character witness for Mr. Mentch and to ask you to have my comments entered into the record of the sentencing phase of the trial.

In general, I believe that the local criminal justice system has been quite judicious and wise in its handling of medical marijuana cases. I am well aware that these cases pose a great deal of difficulty for the police or sheriff, the District Attorney, and the courts. I am also aware that there are those who would claim to be involved in the distribution of medical marijuana who are, in fact, primarily involved in the profit-making business of selling marijuana indiscriminately to anyone who will pay for it and with little or no concern for whether or not their “customers? are or are not patients who use marijuana for medical purposes.

As I have said above, generally, I feel that the local criminal justice system, including the courts, have done an admirable job of distinguishing between legitimate medical need cases and other forms of marijuana distribution. However, in the case of Roger Mentch, I feel that an injustice is occurring and I hope you can find a way to address it as the judge in charge of sentencing Mr. Mentch.

I have met with Mr. Mentch and spoken with him about his case. I found him a very reasonable and gentle person whose views about the need for medical marijuana were thoughtful and persuasive. I feel that some of the circumstances of the arrest may have led the sheriff’s office and the D.A. to a misunderstanding of Mr. Mentch’s situation. For example, it often the case that the presence of weapons in the home of someone arrested on drug charges creates a reasonable presumption that the person was prepared for a violent defense of a marijuana operation and, for that reason, more serious charges are often filed in such cases. And it is true that Mr. Mentch had guns in his home. However, I believe that the court should take into account the fact that the guns were either without ammunition in the house or locked in a safe with an additional trigger lock – not the usual scenario for one intending to use the guns for an armed defense of a commercial marijuana operation.

More significantly, it is clear that Roger Mentch is, in fact, an actual medical marijuana provider. He has a patient living in his home and I understand that he is has been providing home care for this individual as well as another individual for some time now. I also have received phone messages from two medical marijuana patients (who included their card numbers in their messages), telling me that they were among those receiving medical marijuana from Roger Mentch before his arrest.

You will, of course, have a more complete record in front of you as you consider an appropriate sentence for Roger Mentch. But from the information that I have received and based on an in-depth conversation with Roger Mentch, I hope that you will be as lienient as possible in your sentencing of Mr. Mentch.

Thank you for your consideration of my views on this matter.

Sincerely,


Mike Rotkin
Mayor
 

Free Radio Show Sunday on Medical (and non-Medical) Marijuana

Sunday April 17th from 11 AM to 1 PM, over half of Bathrobespierre's Broadsides (which runs from 9:30 AM to 1 PM) will be taken up with a discussion of the City's virtual ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, new directions in fighting marijuana prohibition, and access to marijuana for the poor.
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

I want to thank eveyone involved in the benefit at the Veterans Hall. Although it did not raise
enough money to cover cost, it was extremely beneficial in terms of getting the word out about the injustice.
Many Thanks To ALL!!

We have more support letters coming in everyday. I am happy to submit another letter of support from CANORML.
__________________________________________________

April 24, 2005

Judge Stevens
701 Ocean St. Dept 4
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Dear Judge Stevens:

I am writing to you regarding the case of Roger Mentch, charged with illegal cultivation of marijuana.
We first heard from Mr. Mentch before his arrest, when he called our office about establishing a medical marijuana facility. He made it clear that he wanted to operate legally in accordance with Prop. 215 and H&SC 11362.7. Like many similar defendants, he was unclear on the extent to which current law protects caregivers of medical cannabis.
We were unable to clear up this uncertainty, due to the fact that different courts have come to sharply conflicting conclusions in such cases. For instance, in one case a Sonoma County jury acquitted two men for growing over 900 plants as caregivers for a San Francisco cannabis dispensary; in another, an Orange County patient was sentenced to state prison for providing less than an ounce of medical marijuana.
It was our impression that Mr. Mentch always intended to operate legally. When he first called us, he expressed interest in setting up a patients’ caregiver facility in Mountain View. He went on to cancel this plan when local authorities indicated that they wouldn’t permit it.
Given the drastic uncertainly in current law, it would be inappropriate to give Mr. Mentch a harsh sentence. We urge your clemency in this case.

Sincerely,


Dale H. Gieringer, Ph.D.
Coordinator, California NORML
(415) 563-5858 -FAX (510) 849-3974


Sentencing May 2nd at 8:30am --RALLY for Mentch at 8:00 in front of the court house steps. 701 Ocean St. Santa Cruz.
 

Re: Support letters for Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

To Whom It May Concern:


RE: Mr. Roger Mentch

As way of introduction, I am Rev. Marcus Brown, D.D., Ph.D., (Emeritus), a retired Catholic priest, professor and psychologist. My retirement came at the expense of my health, as I am 100 % disabled as classified by the Veterans Administration, the Social Security Administration and other agencies. Wounded 4 times (head, right shoulder and both knees, major surgeries- nuero, ortho, et al) in Viet Nam, as a member of Special Forces Aviation and the Cambodian Invasion of 1970; serious auto accident 1996 with complications leading to major surgery (thorocotemy, discectomy and spinal cord repair) 2001, genetic malformation of the matrix, both hands and feet, (infectious ingrown nails, protruding through back sides of digits) 2005, complex dual team surgery tentatively scheduled for May 2005, etc. None-the-less, my major diagnosis from several sources is "Chronic Pain." !!!

I have been prescribed many things, over three dozen different medications over the 30 plus years, and cannabis, medical marijuana, is one of the only remedies that help at this point in my search for relief.

Among those who produce, manufacture, distribute, sell, or use this
controversial remedy, Mr. Roger Mentch, was and has been a God send! I have been taken advantage of by other legal distributors charging 33% more for the same high quality product. By-the-way, in my research, only the premium grades have the lasting, and only a few hours, at that, of pain relief. When I use this medication, in combination with the other prescribed regimen, I am able to function, still with pain, but muted so I can have a little relief, at least for a little while. Not only has the cost been prohibitive, now being solely on government disability benefits, but the access also. Here again, for almost a year now Mr. Mentch has gone out of his way to be accommodating, communicative and helpful as a caregiver!

I have found Roger Mentch to be trustworthy, compassionate and principled man who has a desire to help others that are hurting, but has demonstrated such time and time again. I see Mr. Mentch, more as a professional, filled with a comprehensive base of knowledge about cannabis and the medical benefits as well as the horticultural expertise. He may have had years experience, before legalization for medical purposes, yet it has come to the aid of so many of us who turn to him to help supply a this medically approved prescription.

He has been professional, polite and even transparent, to the point of
asking me for my advice and help as a clinician to help his friends or
family. He and his service are a vast benefit to myself and many others I'm sure.

If I may be of any benefit to your decision process, please feel free to contact me.

Respectfully submitted,


Marcus L. Brown, D.D., Ph.D.
Psychologist, professor and priest (Emeritus)


MLB/bm
Enc. 0
 

Re: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz

To Whom It May Concern:,

I am writing in regards to the case of Roger Mentch. He is awaiting sentencing for the matter of Marijuana possession. If you wouldn’t mind hearing me out, I would like to tell you of my experiences with Mr. Mentch.

I first met Mr. Mentch about a week after I had surgery to repair a herniated L5 disk in my lower back. It had herniated into the S1 nerve and I was experiencing severe nerve pain all the way down to the bottom of my foot. At the time, I had been taking “legal? prescriptions pain medications. These meds caused me to become chemically and physically addicted to them. But I really had no choice as I needed to be able to function to do my job. I am a Storage Design Architect with a major computer and storage manufacturer. Due to my knowing that I was becoming physically addicted to these legal prescription drugs, I became aware of the California Medical Marijuana Law. I was looking for a non-addicting way to manage my pain. Medical Marijuana was just what I needed. Now just so you know, I have not smoked marijuana in over 20 years. I was not looking to find a way to smoke legally. I had/have very real pain that needs to be managed. With marijuana, I am able to dose myself to exactly where my comfort level needs to be. With the “legal? prescription drugs, I can’t do that. I am always risking an overdose due to having a high resistance to pain meds. With the medical marijuana, I won’t overdose and I can moderate how it affects me. Now that I have passed the hard part of surgery and my pain is not quite as constant, I can smoke only when needed and only at home. It helps the residual chronic pain that I have. This is far better than the solid week that I had to detoxify myself due to the legal prescription medications. That week was horrid and I look forward to never doing that again. If I had gotten my recommendation from the doctor sooner, I would never have had to go through that in the first place!

Mr. Mentch was a God send. He provided me with a way to keep myself safer and ease my suffering. I would strongly urge you to look at Mr. Mentch as a provider of a natural way to manage pain and suffering and not as a criminal. This I know as he would not even deal with me until I had physically showed him my recommendation from the doctor to prove that I was legal for him to deal with as a care giver. This is not the act of a “drug dealer? but as a person who is in the business of trying to comfort his clients. He acted as a responsible person within the limits of what I know the law to be.

Please, if you would, enter my comments to record for Mr. Mentch. I would stand up for him at any time. And please have compassion for a person who is helping others, not dealing drugs.

Thank you for your consideration of my views on this matter.

Sincerely,


Matthew Roth
 

Letter to Judge Stevens from Robert Norse

Judge Samuel Stevens
701 Ocean St., Dept. 4
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Dear Judge Stevens:

I am a broadcaster for Free Radio Santa Cruz as well as an organizer for HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom). I have been concerned with the lack of access to medical marijuana in the City of Santa Cruz--which for the last five years has had no medical marijuana dispensary open and accessible to the public.

Due to a restrictive City ordinance passed in 2000, 3000-4000 county residents have no access in the City to any medical marijuana other than WAMM and Med-Ex, as far as I know. WAMM is a small closed cooperative of 200-300 people with a long waiting list; Med-Ex serves less than 50 people as a delivery service. The situation, ironically, is worse today than it was prior to 1996 when even the medical use of marijuana was technically illegal but the Maple St. Santa Cruz Cannabis Buyers Club openly made marijuana available for medication on the premises for their disabled and ill patrons, with the knowledge of the local police agencies and politicians.

I first met Roger Mentch in a demonstration on Pacific Avenue several days before his prosecution began several months ago. I interviewed him extensively, attended parts of his trial, and have spoken with him since his conviction in your court. This conviction, I believe, was largely due to your finding that he could not be considered a caregiver and hence was not entitled to the protections of Proposition 215.

After conversations with established local caregivers and activists such as Andrea Tishler of the Compassion Flower Inn, I have concluded that Roger Mentch’s “Hemporium? distrbutary for medical marijuana was a legitimate and important source of marijuana, particularly considering the five-year absence of medical marijuana clubs in Santa Cruz (as well as in neighboring San Jose, I might add).

I believe that virtually every prosecution for possession and sales alone of illegal “drugs? and/or herbs to adults is a cancer on our police and court system that fills prisons, corrupts police department, spreads violence, and encourages still more black-market activities. This is particularly true for marijuana, the prosecution of which, as you know, has sent more than ¾ of a million people to jail in the last year nationally. It is even more of an abuse when “medical marijuana? is targeted--apparently to keep state and federal grants for the District Attorney’s office and police rolling in. When this happens, I believe it is the responsibility of the community to make sure that justice is done--for the patients, for the caregiver, and for the general public.

While I cannot fathom how you found Roger Mentch’s sale of medical marijuana to authorized patients with valid cards a violation--as a matter of law, I believe you have the opportunity to limit the damage this prosecution and trial have done. With the absence of any marijuana dispensary in Santa Cruz, it is important to reassure those in the County who want to legitimately supply marijuana that their efforts will not be punished. I would like to see Roger Mentch’s agony end. Nor should anyone else face home invasion by police authorities, an abrupt trip to jail, property confiscation, high bail, lingering prosecution over a year and a half, expensive court costs, destructive publicity, and prison for trying to meet a community need.

Please use your power to return Roger Mentch to the community and lessen the damage that has been already done.


Sincerely,

Robert Norse (831-423-4833 rnorse3 (at) hotmail.com)
 

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