When Libertarian candidate for governor Steve Kubby got arrested for growing medical marijuana in January 1999, he already knew that America’s criminal justice system was unpredictable and capricious.
When he was doing research for his book, “The Politics of Consciousness,” Kubby studied the constitution, drug war tactics and statistics, and the corruption of the judicial system. He discovered that judges, prosecutors, police and juries often made decisions that violate the constitution and basic human rights.
Now, Kubby and his wife Michele, facing a trial in Auburn, California, describe the justice system as a “roller coaster.”
The Kubbys, who were driven into bankruptcy because of the arrest, and forced to flee their Lake Tahoe home to live with relatives, thought their trial would start in March.
Then, one of the Kubbys’ attorneys became ill; another found himself buried in hundreds of pages of documents produced by the spies who’ve investigated the Kubbys.
Judge James Roeder decided that this wasnt a good enough reason to delay the trial, but Kubby provided another one: he fired his attorneys.
“Not because of incompetence, our attorneys were great men,” Kubby said, “but because we told them about our efforts to provide ourselves with medicine every step of the way, and it is very likely that they would be witnesses at trial, which would make it hard for them to also be our attorneys.”
Roeder granted the Kubbys wish to dismiss their two previous attorneys; he also stipulated that the trial would now start in May. The Kubbys say they are elated to find two new attorneys, Eric Allen Berg and Tony Serra, to represent them.
Berg is a rising star among pot lawyers: he recently won acquittal for medical marijuana growers in rural Shasta County, where the sheriff and many citizens refuse to believe that Prop. 215, the medpot law passed by California voters in 1996, actually applies to their county too. Berg is suing the sheriff and other officials there, forcing them to comply with the voters will.
Serra is a veteran marijuana lawyer who has represented pot heroes like Dennis Peron.
The Kubbys almost didnt need a lawyer. Before Roeder ruled on their request to dismiss their attorneys, he held a closed court session in which the Kubbys’ lawyers asked him to instruct the prosecutors to drop all charges.
“There are so many irregularities with how Placer County police, jailers and prosecutors have dealt with this case, that the entire search warrant and all evidence should just be thrown out, which means they have no case against us.” Kubby said.
The prosecutors refused to drop the charges, and offered a plea-bargain arrangement whereby Steve Kubby would be guilty of two felonies; Michele would have been found guilty of a misdemeanor. The couple could have expected as much as five years of probation, but no jail time, from the agreement.
The Kubbys rejected the offer, saying that living on probation is similar to being in jail.
Roeder did not order the charges dismissed, but he did tell prosecutors that he felt they might be prosecuting the Kubbys for personal and career reasons, rather than because the Kubbys were criminals.
Steve Kubby threw a curve ball at the court when he asked for the right to use medical marijuana during the trial. He introduced evidence that he will suffer medical harm if he cannot use his medicine, which he says is the best medicine to treat the rare from of cancer that he has had for nearly 20 years.
But prosecutors objected to Kubby’s request, and revealed that they intend to attack his doctors and his medical condition at trial. Instead of accepting the word of statured medical professionals who have treated Kubby for several years, prosecutors will spend thousands of taxpayer dollars to call expert medical witnesses who will tell the court that medicines other than marijuana might treat his cancer.
Michele Kubby, who is still nursing her baby daughter Crystal, has also been targeted by prosecutors and negatively affected by some of the court’s rulings.
“At first, they were trying to ban me or my baby from the courtroom,” Michele said. “They actually said they would fine me large amounts of money if my baby was present. They didn’t want me to breast feed the baby, which I can legally do in public in California. It is very strange to live in a country that is allegedly so ?pro-family’ and see the money and time spent to destroy my family.”
Michele Kubby also expressed dismay with the inherent disparities in the criminal justice system.
“This is supposed to be a fair trial, with a jury of our peers, and with us having the opportunity to present our case and confront witnesses against us,” she said. “But the way it’s set up, and I think this is true of most efendants except people like O.J., we don’t have the money or other esources that anywhere near match what the prosecutors have. They spent ens of thousands of dollars spying on us before they arrested us, and much ore than that since they arrested us. They have all the money in the world to pay prosecutors, investigators, expert witnesses, and narks. We have no money. We have been driven into bankruptcy because they stole everything from us when they arrested us. They want to force us to bring our medical doctors to court several times; how can we or our doctors afford that? The whole system is stacked against defendants.”
Steve Kubby said that the same spirit that infuses his book is providing spiritual and practical guidance as his trial date nears.
“Most people who are idealists, who try to change this corrupt system, will undergo persecution,” he said. “We knew when we got involved in politics and medical marijuana that the drug war is a real war. Their intent is to kill the plants that give us new consciousness, and to kill those of us who seek a better way than the corrupt old paradigm that destroys the earth and human rights. It’s not fun to go through what we are going through, but it’s necessary. If we want change, we have to be prepared to suffer and sacrifice. Michele and I are becoming experts at that!”
THE KUBBYS NEED DONATIONS TO HELP WITH THEIR LEGAL EXPENSES. CONTACT THEM VIA EMAIL AT STEVE@KUBBY.ORG.