Monday, May 4, 2009

Court of Appeals reaffirmed the 10-year mandatory minimum sentence of Bryan Epis

Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed the 10-year mandatory minimum
sentence of Bryan Epis on charges of conspiracy to manufacture
marijuana. Epis' attorney, Brenda Grantland, says she will appeal
for an en banc rehearing of the ruling by the full Ninth Circuit.
Epis was the first California medical marijuana patient to be
prosecuted on federal charges. He was arrested in 1997, shortly
after the passage of Prop. 215, while growing for a Chico patients'
group. He was sentenced to 10 years for conspiring to grow over
1,000 plants - over a period of several harvests - in his Chico home.
Epis's attorney, Brenda Grantland, appealed his sentence to the
Ninth Circuit on various grounds, including egregious prosecutorial
misconduct, improper cross examination, improper denial of
safety-valve relief from the mandatory minimum, and the unclarity of
the law at the time of his arrest. The panel did not bother to hold
an oral hearing, but issued an 11-page ruling denying the appeal.
The panel included the infamous Judge Jay Bybee, recently
indicted as an international war criminal by Spain for having
authored the DOJ's notorious torture memos. Bybee was appointed
before knowledge of his advocacy of illegal conduct by government
agents became public. A petition to impeach Judge Bybee is being
circulated by
Other judges on the panel were Hawkins ( a former federal
prosecutor), and Rawlinson.
Epis' supporters expressed shock at the opinion. California
NORML denounced the decision as "an egregious miscarriage of justice
with no conceivable benefit to the public."

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