Michigan Medical Marijuana Case Resolved After 1,500 Days

The case of Bob Redden and Torrey Clark ends in victory for the embattled patients
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BY RICK THOMPSON

7 year felonies reduced to non-reporting misdemeanors in Michigan’s toughest venue

OAKLAND COUNTY- They were the first to be charged under Michigan’s new medical marijuana law, and their case has the distinction of being the longest-running medical marijuana case in the state, but now it’s over. Attorneys Michael Komorn and David Rudoi announced that Bob Redden and Torey Clark have agreed to plead guilty to minor misdemeanors and end the case that has hounded them since March 2009.

Michigan voted to make marijuana legal for medicinal use in November of 2008. Shortly thereafter Redden and Clark received their recommendations to use cannabis from licensed physicians- Redden for a degenerative bone disease and Clark for cancer. In March 2009, according to court records, an anonymous tip led Madison Heights police to execute a search warrant on the house they shared. Police found 21 plants, each barely 3 inches tall and growing in small drink cups under a single light, in a bedroom closet;under Michigan law the pair were allowed to possess up to 24 plants.

The Redden case (as it became known), was originally dismissed at the preliminary exam, in Madison Heights. It then progressed through county courts and eventually was heard by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Appellate Judges remanded the case back to the original court and heavily criticized Redden and Clarks certifying physician. After more legal wranglings the team of Komorn and Rudoi picked up the legal responsibilities for defending Redden and Clark, who had used a series of attorneys during previous court hearings.

Despite Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper and Assistant Prosecutor Beth Hand’s continued insistence that this was a serious crime and there must be a price paid, the tactics used to perpetuate the case eventually were their downfall. Cooper’s policy in Oakland County has been to ignore the illness and attack the doctor; to that end prosecutors intimidated two different physicians from testifying on Redden and Clark’s behalf by threatening the physicians with criminal charges.

This past Thursday arguments were alleged  regarding prosecutorial misconduct and proceedings went smoothly Friday morning, with Hand offering to drop the 7 year felony charges to misdemeanors for both  Clark and Redden, something rarely done in Oakland County. Komorn and Rudoi refused- accepting a felony plea was never an option for Redden. Instead of proceeding with a Section 8 medical marijuana defense hearing, as was scheduled, Cooper and Hand consulted privately and agreed to reduce charges on both defendants to low misdemeanors.

“We had seven motions filed, all ruled upon adversely to us by the judge. We had challenged the limited issue of whether the search warrant was present at the time (of the raid),” attorney Komorn said. “Surprisingly today the prosecutor’s office made an offer that reduced the seven year felony charges to a misdemeanor with an agreement of non-reporting probation for six months… I think that everyone on the defense team… believed in our hearts that no jury would convict (Redden and Clark), but at the end of the day, the clients wanted relief from the 4 years of abuse. At this point of the proceedings, when the offer came it was an opportunity to dispose of the case with no penalty and was something that Bob and Torrey considered a victory after all that they’d been through.”

Source: The Compassion Chronicles

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