Michigan State Police Forensic Crime Lab Marijuana Scandal

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I received the following press release:

Reefer Madness

The Law Firm of Michael Komorn has learned that the Michigan State Police (MSP) Forensic Science Division crime labs have falsified lab reports on marijuana, statewide. The new MSP crime lab policy allows prosecutors to charge cannabis users with felonies they didn't commit.

The discovery stems from a client Komorn represents pro bono in Ottawa County, Max Lorincz, who is facing two years in jail. The state has also removed his six-year-old son from the home, and placed him in a foster home due to the charges.

"The extensive emails and documents we received through the Freedom of Information Act show the prosecution are relying on the lab to report these substances so that they can escalate these crimes from misdemeanors to felonies," said Komorn.

His client was first charged with possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor in Michigan. When he would not plead guilty--because he is a registered medical marijuana patient and has immunity for the tiny quantity he possessed--the prosecutor withdrew the charge and recharged him with synthetic THC.

A hearing is set for Thursday November 5. Komorn Law has filed a brief to dismiss all charges against the client.

The policy change began in 2013 and was prompted by Mr. Ken Stecker of the Attorney General's Office. Stecker also serves as the Traffic Safety Resources Officer for the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan. He instructed the Lab that it could report marijuana edibles and oils as Schedule 1 synthetic THC, a felony. This was counter to both law and science as plant based edibles and oils are categorized as marihuana under Michigan law and their possession punished as a misdemeanor.

These revelations come at a time where the AG's crusade against marijuana patients has clogged the crime lab such that 40% of its daily workload is marijuana. It took the lab five years to clear a backlog of rape kits during the same timeframe. "Maybe legalization will help us out," said Director Michaud of the Forensic Science Division recently to the Wayne County Criminal Advocacy Program.

In other words, if legalize marijuana, we'd have the resources to go after rapists in a timely manner. Currently, Michigan police only make arrests in 15% of reported rape.

The news of the statewide lab scandal comes on the heels of a report that statewide marijuana arrests are on the rise. Between 2008, the year Michigan passed the Medical Marijuana Act, and 2014, arrests for marijuana possession or use went up 17 percent statewide, while arrests for all crimes dropped by 15 percent.

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