Just when Steve and Michele Kubby thought it was safe for them to gear up for a possible run in the governor’s race that will be held next year in California, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Placer County District Attorney Brad Fennochio have indicated that they are challenging the verdicts and trial judge decisions from the Kubby’s landmark medical marijuana trial, which ended last December.
Police and prosecutors originally charged that cancer-patient candidate for governor Kubby was growing marijuana for profit in his Lake Tahoe home when he was raided by a multi-jurisdictional task force in January, 1999.
After two years of legal proceedings, during which police-prosecutor actions endangered Kubby’s health, bankrupted him, and tormented his family, the Kubbys were almost totally exonerated by a hung jury and subsequent rulings by trial judge John Cosgrove.
Although the Kubbys had originally been charged with nearly two dozen felonies, the jury found only that Steve Kubby may have been in felonious possession of a one inch mushroom stem and four tiny cacti buttons that were allegedly found in a film container inside Kubby’s home during the raid, which was originally authorized only as a search for evidence of crimes relating to Kubby’s medpot garden.
Cosgrove reduced the felonies to misdemeanors and sentenced Kubby to three years probation. Kubby refused to accept probation, claiming that the convictions were bogus, that California’s newly-passed Prop. 36 mandates treatment instead of probation, and that he had suffered enough already and therefore did not need further “punishment.”
The judge told Kubby to appear in court in July to find out if he will be sent to jail for refusing probation, but Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who many California pot activists claim is a friend of Proposition 215, medical marijuana clubs, and rational marijuana policies, injected himself into the controversy by agreeing to assist Placer County prosecutors in contesting Cosgrove’s decision to reduce Kubby’s felonies to misdemeanors.
Kubby says that Lockyer’s actions are not surprising.
“Lockyer’s predecessor, Republican Attorney General Dan Lungren, may well have been an instigator of almost everything that has happened to me and my family,” Kubby said. “Lungren’s gone, but Lockyer’s department provided expert witnesses and other assistance to prosecutors in our case. He refuses to acknowledge that California law says that Prop. 215 is not trumped by federal marijuana law. He refuses to issue strict guidelines prohibiting police and prosecutors from harassing sick and dying people. We were very happy when Lockyer joined others in asking the US Supreme Court to allow Jeff Jones and the Oakland club to continue providing medicine to needy patients. But Lockyer’s actions in my case and others indicates he still doesn’t understand his constitutional duties, and is still willing to see harm done to medical marijuana patients.”
The Kubbys have formed an exploratory committee and campaign staff, preparing for next year’s gubernatorial campaign.
“California is suffering from a variety of severe problems right now, and we want to help. We know that freedom, community involvement, and new leadership are the best prescription for rescuing our great state,” Kubby said. “We look forward to bringing our ideas to the voters. The Republicans and Democrats are going to offer Californians candidates who cannot provide the leadership, vision and innovative strategies that we need. The Libertarian Party can provide the good ideas that the major parties can’t provide. Michele and I have dedicated ourselves to public service, and we are hoping to continue to have the opportunity to serve the people of California.”
Whether Kubby gets that opportunity depends on whether his misdemeanor convictions are reinstated as felonies. In general, convicted felons cannot vote, own firearms, run for public office, or hold public office.
“Some people suspect that Lockyer has political ambitions beyond his current office, and that this effort to turn me into a felon is an attempt to derail the viability of a potent independent party candidate,” Kubby said. “The legal process will allow our side to demand documents that will expose drug war dirty tricks. Michele and I will keep telling the truth, and keep fighting for the rights of all Americans. We will keep on giving until our last breath.”