Hedges backs down to court, will return pot

April 30, 2008

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

Sheriff Pat Hedges will return a small baggie of marijuana to its rightful owner today.

The lawman had refused to return the medical marijuana to Arroyo Grande’s D. Craig Steffens even after an order issued by San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Martin Tangeman. Hedges was to appear in court Thursday to explain why he should not be held in contempt for ignoring Tangeman’s instruction.

The pot was seized after Steffens was stopped for a traffic infraction. When it was determined that the pot he possessed was lawfully prescribed, charges were dismissed and Hedges was told to return the small quantity of weed to Steffens. Hedges refused. With his current change of heart, Hedges sidesteps any court appearance. The pot is to be returned at Sheriff’s Headquarters at 3 p.m.

San Luis Obispo attorney Louis Koory said Hedges had “no right” to keep the medical pot.

“The courts have been very clear on this issue,” said Koory this week.

Hedges was stalling for time to allow the state supreme court to hear a similar case prompted by an Orange County man. The high court indicated recently that it has no intention of taking up that case. Thus California law, which presently allows patients with prescriptions to use marijuana for medical purposes, will stand. The sheriff has asserted that he is bound by federal law to enforce marijuana prohibitions.

A California appeals court recently ruled against a group of California cities and law enforcement agencies claiming that federal law trumped state law. The court held that the return of medical marijuana by law enforcement agencies was “compelled by principles of due process.”


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5 Comments

  1. ccn_debate says:

    Member Opinions:
    By: Anonymous on 6/4/08
    The Sheriff is wrong. He said that he was bound by Federal Law. He is in a county office, within a state, which is in the confines of the United States. His first duty is to enforce the laws of the jurisdiction in which he holds office, in this case, SLO county. His second duty is to enforce the laws of the State of California. If he wants to be a Fed, then he is in the wrong job.
    By: Anonymous on 6/4/08
    The Sheriff is wrong. He said that he was bound by Federal Law. He is in a county office, within a state, which is in the confines of the United States. His first duty is to enforce the laws of the jurisdiction in which he holds office, in this case, SLO county. His second duty is to enforce the laws of the State of California. If he wants to be a Fed, then he is in the wrong job.
    By: Anonymous on 6/4/08
    The Sheriff is wrong. He said that he was bound by Federal Law. He is in a county office, within a state, which is in the confines of the United States. His first duty is to enforce the laws of the jurisdiction in which he holds office, in this case, SLO county. His second duty is to enforce the laws of the State of California. If he wants to be a Fed, then he is in the wrong job.
    By: Anonymous on 6/4/08
    The Sheriff is wrong. He said that he was bound by Federal Law. He is in a county office, within a state, which is in the confines of the United States. His first duty is to enforce the laws of the jurisdiction in which he holds office, in this case, SLO county. His second duty is to enforce the laws of the State of California. If he wants to be a Fed, then he is in the wrong job.

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  2. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 5/2/08
    Our jails are full because of POT convictions.Please write our legislators to legalize POT.It is hemp,and has many more uses.This could bolster economic strife,creating jobs,lessen crowded prisons.Prohibition was tried and it created mayhem in the 20's.http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=1017
    Guns,gas guzzlers,BLM closures, whats next?
    By: Anonymous on 5/1/08
    We all know how dangerous marijuana is, but we've also just seen the consequences of LSD use: a life tragically cut short at the age of 102. I understand Hofmann's gateway drug was coffee, which is now being pushed on every streetcorner in America.
    By: Anonymous on 5/1/08
    Watch your back, it's gonna happen.
    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    "Jerry in Arizona" is not the real Jerry from Phoenix people hear on KVEC. FYI.
    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    P.S, to Sheriff Hedges, because I KNOW you are reading this, it is about time you start getting in the flow with this.

    You're fighting a tsunami and seemingly WANTING to mill more people through the justice system, keeping the jailers and lawyers with plenty of work, and plenty for you to lord over. Then you go against a COURT ORDER? Not the best example for the folks who believe in law and order.

    Granted, we haven't quite figured out as a society how to regulate marijuana trade, but your way, going against a tsunami of users and sympathizers who simply do not want to spend time, money and good will putting people in jail for choosing marijuana as their herb/drug/intoxicant of choice.

    Prohibition, whether it be against alcohol or marijuana, breeds widespread distrust of law enforcement officers in general. Ask your grandparents. And throwing people in jail or even fining them for growing a plant and partaking of it, is, agreed by most reasonable people, ridiculous.

    So, quit fighting the tsunami and instead take the lead in the state in figuring out a way to channel it into the best, most progressive, and most satisfactory way of deregulating medical and recreational use of the herb.

    Then you and whoever else wants to can put energy into explaining why it is so bad for us. Just leave the jails and courts and cops and lawyers out of it, thank you very much.

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  3. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    Jerry, most people who live in California would not want to have a sheriff of low consciousness and callousness.

    Arizonans, like you, may feel differently, and I'm glad they have found a state where they can live like that, churning out hatred and violence into the streets with every jail release.

    Hedges definitely has his problems—don't know much about them actually—but he is a FAR BETTER SHERIFF for San Luis Obispo County than Joe Arapio. I've lived in Arizona. Joe Arapio is a cartoon character who has found an audience at the expense of the betterment of humanity.

    Arizona!!? F that! This is CALIFORNIA, Dude! Keep Arizona IN Arizona!
    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    Wow! Sherrif Joe Arpaio in Arizona would never be bent over the couch like Hedges was!
    That loon would be in front of judge post haste and the pot confiscated!
    I know the Centreal coast is full of lefty loons but the sheriff? Wow!
    Looks like he needs to grow a pair and get take sheriff Joe lessons.

    For those that don't know Sheriff Joe look here for a quick snapshot!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Arpaio

    btw Karen & Dan, great site, keep up the good work
    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    Hey! Hedges can I get my baggie back too? It's the lil black plastic bag…there! in the corber, see it? It's about the size of a king size comforter rolled up! Yea! That one! See…I am really sick and I really need that much…
    Thanks pal!
    I will send you your cut as a campaign contribution!
    peace out!
    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    I hear MJ now leads to Meth Addiction and murder for hire.

    Thanks Pat for Keeping the Streets and Backroads of our fair cities under close gaurd!

    Dick
    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    RIGHT ON…
    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    semi infrmd cit

    Thank you for your comment
    Yes it is more like Sate vs. Federal Gov. More important CIVIL RIGHTS ABUSE by a local cop who takes it upon himself to decide how the law should be carried out.
    This is not a liberal or conservative issue. It is a CIVIL LIBERTY issu. If we don't stand up to these selfproclaimed rightous "keeper of the gate" no one is safe.
    GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH"

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  4. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    Medical marijuana patients are as much 'druggies' as a prescription painkiller patient. May I add a few facts for those interested in the issue?

    Mr. Steffens was prosecuted for misdemeanor, though he presented a county-issued, STATE medical marijuana identification at the time of citation. This government id was intended to give 24/7 verification to law enforcement of a patient's status, without violating a patients right to medical PRIVACY.

    The court process has taken a total of 6 months: 3 months for dismissal of the misdemeanor and another 3 for return of property.

    The case upon which the argument for contempt of court was made is "The City of Garden Grove v. the Superior Court of Orange County, Respondent; Felix Kha, Real Party in Interest. [No. G036250]" AGAIN: FEDERAL prosecution is best left to federal enforcement, where they chose; county law enforcement should enforce STATE law.

    Where there is NO CRIMINAL findings, that return of property is the RIGHT OF THE CITIZEN under due process (upholding state section 11473.5).

    An act has been presented before congress (HR 5843) by Rep. Barney Frank as a step in closing the loophole which law enforcement has repeatedly argued in order to avoid upholding STATE law (H&S code 11362.5). SOMEONE ON THE FEDERAL LEVEL IS RECOGNIZING THAT STATES HAVE A RIGHT TO DECIDE MATTERS THEMSELVES.

    Patients are disadvantaged in enduring hassles and long litigation, as they already endure pain and disease. (Remember: compassionate?)

    Mr. Steffens should be commended for taking a stand. Not on a marijuana issue but on a CIVIL RIGHTS issue, which affects us all, the suffering and well alike.
    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    Right you are, Passo Guy. Our brave county Sheriff risks a contempt of court citation in order to protect our stone sober citizenry by bogarting the most dangerous narcotic in the dope fiend's arsenal. So what? Nothing to see here. Move along folks, show's over.

    Have you folks seen what marijuana does to kids? Have you? Just yesterday I saw a white 22-year-old blonde woman listening to Lenny Kravitz on her iPod. Preliminary toxicology suggested that she might have even been a non-virgin.

    Of course the Liberal Media doesn't cover the real news. Last week Sheriff Hedges presided at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new taser charging station. Not one camera crew. Not one print reporter. Only a blogger from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  5. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    I find it very interesting. Our constitution does separate state from federal law on these types of issues. I also find it interesting that Hedges would have the nerve to thumb his nose at 70% of the voters in California and a judge because he thinks he knows better. The board of supervisors should replace him. Great Story
    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    Paso Guy,

    This is interesting because the Sheriff's office took private property from a private citizen, which is also known as stealing. What makes the allegation worse is that it was committed under the color of authority. It was committed to further Hedges & Cos PERSONAL agenda of hassling druggies. It was committed in defiance of a court order demanding the return of the stolen property.

    That is why it's interesting.

    Why the TT slept through it is anyone's guess.

    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    paso guy

    so what? You just don't have to read it. Others have different opinion.
    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    again, why is this interesting…the subject is boring…makes no difference who reports on it. Both of you say it is interesting because it is reported here. Lame at best.
    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    Hey Paso Guy:

    Wanna bet the local television folks and the other newspapers, notably the Trib, will also report this? After it happens, natch! And wanna bet none will mention the pioneer reporting of this story here…???
    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    This is interesting because it's on this site. Paso Guy reflects the Fibune attitude which is, It's not news unless we say it is, and unless it passes the Good Old Boys test, as in, Print Nothing That Irritates or Unsettles The Local Powers. When a sheriff tells a judge to stick it, that's news. No?
    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    and this in interesting why?
    By: Anonymous on 4/30/08
    There is no reason to keep marijuana illigal. If it is legalized or decriminalized, the coutry would be better off. Organized crimes, law enforcements (who has a lot to gain by assets seisuers) legal professionals want to keep it that way. Legalize, educate tax it. With a simple action we could eliminate number of jails sparing expenses and get big brother out of our lives. BTW. I only tried pot 25 years ago and didn't care for it. I am not user of nor do I advocate it.

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down

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