Appeals Court Rejects Appeal of Michigan Pot Farmers Convicted of Drug Trafficking

In June and August of 2011, Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy Ian Glick conducted searches on property owned by a family with licenses to grow a specific amount of marijuana to be used for medical purposes under MMMA (Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act). Gerald Duval Jr., one of the property owners, is classified as a patient under MMMA; Duval’s two children are registered under MMMA as both caregivers and patients, according to Courthousenews.com. canabis-indica-429469-m

The investigation revealed that the Duval’s were growing more than 211 marijuana plants on the property, located in greenhouses within barbed wire and chain link fences. Ashley and Jeremy Duval, Duval’s children, are allowed to grow up to 72 plants each as patients/caregivers. Duval himself is permitted to grow as many as 12 plants. News reports indicate that Gerald and Jeremy Duval tried to suppress evidence obtained in the searches, maintaining that they were permitted to grow a certain number of marijuana plants under MMMA. The June search of the property resulted in the discovery of 144 live marijuana plants; after receiving a tip, the property was searched again in August, when an additional 67 plants were found. Ultimately, it was determined that 211 marijuana plants were being grown, more than allowed under the MMMA.

Gerald and Jeremy Duval were eventually charged with drug trafficking and convicted. Gerald was sentenced to 10 years in prison, while Jeremy was sentenced to 5 years. The Duval men appealed the conviction, claiming that because Glick and other law enforcement officials had visited the farm on other occasions for other purposes, they were aware the marijuana was there, making the search warrants invalid. The defendants also challenged the origin of the search warrants, claiming that the state magistrate granted the warrants, which should have been obtained from a federal magistrate.

On Friday February 7, the appeals panel disagreed with the Duval’s arguments, upholding their convictions. The judges found that Glick could go to either the state or federal magistrate for the search warrant, given Jeremy Duval’s criminal history. Jeremy Duval was previously convicted of felony drug charges; under MMMA guidelines, this fact now prevents him from being a caregiver under the law.

Appealing a conviction with the Michigan Court of Appeals is a complex process which requires the skill and dedication of an experienced Michigan criminal appeals attorney. Even with the support of lawyer, it is a rare occasion when a conviction is overturned. This is why it is imperative to choose an attorney with a proven track record for obtaining positive results for clients.