Marijuana: Is Denver adding charges to keep minor pot cases alive after Amendment 64?


As you'll recall, DA Morrissey opposed Amendment 64, appearing at an October press event sponsored by Smart Colorado, the leading No on 64 organization, in the company of Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, Broomfield Chief of Police Thomas Deland and Vicki Ferrari, boardmember of the Colorado Drug Investigators Association (and former American Gladiators contestant). Afterward, Smart Colorado released the following quote from Morrissey:
mitch morrissey.jpg
Mitch Morrissey.
"Amendment 64 would amend our overburdened Colorado Constitution and cause endless litigation. Amendment 64 will cost Colorado taxpayers money because of this litigation, and because it's a constitutional amendment it can't be fixed by the legislature. Drug policy does not belong in the Constitution."
Do these opinions imply that Morrissey is reticent to dismiss minor marijuana cases despite the post-election policy announcement? Denver DA's office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough rejects that theory.

"There's not necessarily a policy or practice to do that in every case," she says. "Every case will be decided based on its own facts."

Kimbrough notes that the DA's office doesn't directly prosecute such cases. "The City Attorney's Office handles lower-level petty offenses under a longstanding agreement with our office. The city attorneys are specially deputized under that agreement to prosecute offenses that are still violations of the state statute, as opposed to a city municipal offense."

With that in mind, she continues, "Mitch directed the City Attorney's Office to look at the facts of these cases" -- approximately seventy of them -- "and consider the charges" that would be legal under Amendment 64. "And if there were other charges or other circumstances, the City Attorney would consider dismissal."

In other words, "the city attorney would look at dismissing the cases where possession of less than an ounce by an adult would be the only charge. But it would not necessarily apply to other charges, such as public consumption. And we really wanted to get the word out that public consumption is still against the law."

Could this goal explain why the new charge was added?

"It's not uncommon to amend charges during different parts of the process to more accurately reflect the actual event," Kimbrough replies. "It would not be uncommon to have reviewed that case and seen that the possession charge and the paraphernalia charge were no longer appropriate, but a public consumption charge might be appropriate."

The attorney doesn't buy this explanation.

"If there was a good reason for that charge, which in my client's case is debatable, it would have been made originally," he says. "So why are they spending resources and finding ways to add charges? To me, it suggests that they are willing to spend prosecution dollars even if someone is only charged with less than an ounce. And that's unfortunate."

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Denver DA Mitch Morrissey joins law enforcers denouncing Amendment 64."


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26 comments
stevebeast
stevebeast

well, it is still going to be illegal to smoke in public, he was smoking in public. thats what you get haning out in "public".

PamelaBrown
PamelaBrown

Too many kids will start smoking marijuana because of the laxing of the laws. It would be better if we stick to the simpler things. http://kilos.notlong.com

betweenthelines
betweenthelines

New York has a 'Stop And Frisk' policy.....They search you without cause....Find weed....Arrest you for 'public' consumption...Been doing it for years......I imagine the Denver DA and law enforcement wouldn't need much 'convincing' to conjur up a similar scam.... :)

Justin Jones
Justin Jones

Prop 101 for a safer denver was supposed to eliminate pot possession charges in the city, this guy should have never been cited to begin with!

Daniel Hamilton
Daniel Hamilton

I wouldn't doubt it. DA Mitch Morrissey is just as crooked as his Good Buddy Billy Ritter was. They both have let the illegals go and over charged the citizens!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 "confusion among the public about what exactly A64 does."

How can there possibly be any confusion?

Is it because the Stoners were too fucking stupid to even read, much less comprehend what the amendment proposed?

Is it because the Lying Liars who promoted A64 just couldn't stop lying to and deceiving the public as to what the amendment would actually do?

Is it because a Lazy and Compliant Media simply regurgitated the LIES and DECEPTIONS fed to them by the Frauds who were promoting A64?

If Stoners aren't pig-ignorant bong-sucking imbeciles, how could there possibly be any confusion?

coloradommjpatient
coloradommjpatient

How DUMB can these people be? We have voted for this over and over again(medical, decrim, lowest priority, a64). Leave cannabis alone! 

Take all of these cases to jury trial. The only way they will learn is through their pocketbook! 

ancientcyberian
ancientcyberian

Besides, if it's dismissed, they can't get a fine (city needs money) or put this guy into "rehabilitation" or "classes" that generate revenue for that industry, so closely tied to the courts.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Haters gonna hate, and enforcers gonna enforce. I'm sure they think they're being "lenient," doing the will of the people and all. What I'm wondering is whether the same guy would have been busted in the first place, if it had been a beer. I know some people may think this is outrageous, but I think public drinking goes unenforced a lot, and I'm not exactly worried about it. In fact, when I moved here quite a long time ago, the AAA guide to local laws said there was no "open container" law here. I considered that quite refreshing, since to have one open and in hand is not to be drunk in public and/or behind the wheel.

After all, there ARE laws for "drunk in public," "public indecency," "loitering," and of course various forms of contempt of cop. I think they've got the fascism thing covered pretty well.

Bob_Smith
Bob_Smith

Now I understand why Mitch Morrissey needs a raise so badly - he's got to work so much harder to screw with pot smokers. 

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

The dude shouldn't have been smoking in public.

weldcountysucks
weldcountysucks

@PamelaBrown This is a total myth kids arent goin to just start smoking pot because its now legal if they want to do it they will no matter the law what you want makes life long felons out of  sum kids whos worst crime theyll ever commit is having a bag a dried flowers this is ignorant,oldfashioned,reefer madness way of thinkin.

Monkey
Monkey

@betweenthelines NY is crazy. You can't even sell a big soda pop, and It's illegal for women to be on the street wearing “body hugging clothing”, but they can be topless in public, providing it is not being used as a business.

D0NKEYH0TAY
D0NKEYH0TAY

@DonkeyHotay LOL you crack me up.  Did you curl up on the floor in the fetal position and cry when it passed?  Bet you laid there kicking your feet for quite some time.  Good Times!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@coloradommjpatient  ... A64 specifically declares that Public Display and Use shall remain illegal.

That's EXACTLY what you voted for, that's exactly what you GOT!

@coloradommjpatient "Take all of these cases to jury trial"

There is NO JURY trial available for offenses where the potential penalty is less than six months in jail.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@ancientcyberian  ... Good thing that the Authors of A64 specifically excluded 10s of THOUSANDS of marijuana users and growers from any legal protection, eh?

Kevins_Mom
Kevins_Mom

@BackOffImStarving as Donkey says stupid stoners are as stupid stoners do.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

"but they can be topless in public"

I ♥ New York

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@D0NKEYH0TAY ... another confused stoner ... who doesn't even know his own identity.

D0NKEYH0TAY
D0NKEYH0TAY

@DonkeyHotay  Good thing citizens can posses an ounce outside of their houise and not worry about police.  Millions of citizens now have protections against arrest for minor possession.  No more feeding the system.

CoreyDonahue
CoreyDonahue

@michael.roberts @Cognitive_Dissident Where is the 6 min conversation between Nixonlooper and the Federal Government. What kind of half ass tabloid do you run? The pulitzer prize was won for watergate coverage because they acted as the public watch dogs. You are a tabloid and you are letting the brass ring of journilism slip through your fingers. But hey at least the cannabis advertizments will keep village voice in the black.

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

@Kevins_Mom At least go big if you're planning on getting caught.  Try hitting the 4-footer on the corner of 13th and Delaware.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@CoreyDonahue @michael.roberts @Cognitive_Dissident 

"But hey at least the cannabis advertizments will keep village voice in the black."

Not so much anymore, ad revenue from The Dope Show is down 80%+ from its peak of just 24 months ago ... WW is back to earning its $$$ the hard way ... via Prostitution and Alcohol.

Remember -- Regulation Works!! ... and thank Westword for spreading that BigGovernment Mantra.

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