February 1, 2010

The Case of Medical Marijuana Dr. David Allen

February 1, 2010

Johnny 1 brought this case to my attention about a week ago. Previous to Johnny 1’s e-mail, I had never heard of the curious case of Dr. David Allen. Dr. Allen was once a prominent doctor at Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula, Mississippi. In November 2007, he moved to California to open a medical marijuana evaluation facility. In February 2009, drug agents raided his home in Escatawpa, Mississippi after receiving a tip that he was growing marijuana on his property (see the attached story, which is the most current one I could find).

“There was marijuana being grown there, there were drugs being shipped in and out of there for profit and that is why the place has been seized,” Narcotics Task Force Commander Curtis Spiers said. Dr. Allen was released from the county jail in April on $100,000 bail. While out on bail, Dr. David Allen was the subject of a five month long investigation, after agents received another tip that Dr. Allen was trying to intimidate witnesses, trying to get them to leave the state or lie for him under oath. “The witnesses in this case were offered money, they were offered jobs, offered free expense flights to another state.” said Narcotics Task Force Commander Curtis Spiers.

While Dr. David Allen was out on bond, he posted a video on YouTube refuting the claims against him. I could not find this video online, which I suspect was taken off the internet as part of a court order. In high profile cases, the judge can put a gag order in place, in an attempt to keep potential jurors from being influenced. The same thing happened during the 9/11 trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, when video footage of the plane crashing into the Pentagon was not allowed to be released until the trial was over. I don’t know if this is a fact in Dr. David Allen’s case, it is merely conjecture.

It is always interesting to me that most gag orders only apply to the defendant, and not the law enforcement officials or prosecutors that are pursuing a conviction. This case is no different. Dr. Allen is not allowed to tell the public his side of the story. However, Curtis Spiers is allowed to talk to the media all he wants. He spoke out against the YouTube video when he stated, “He’s (David Allen) made allegations that we live and die off of what we seize from people, which is absolutely not true,” Spiers said. “The bottom line is if you are a drug dealer, I cannot only take your drugs away from you, but I can get at you financially and economically; that is going to make it that much harder for you to do your job. Allen is no different than any other drug dealer I would deal with.” If you were a potential juror, and you weren’t allowed to hear from the defendant, but you read quotes like this in the paper every day, how would it affect your decision making process at trial???

Dr. David Allen will remain in jail until a grand jury decides this month if he should remain there until the outcome of his trial. Sadly, this is almost guaranteed at this point. The six felony charges of attempting to bribe and intimidate witnesses carry a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison. At this rate, Dr. David Allen should be preparing for the worst case scenario, as it seems that the State of Mississippi is on a mission to make an example of him.



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