Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rally to support MMJ grower facing life in prison

Posted By on Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 12:10 PM

The case of Chris Bartkowicz is fairly well-known, but for a refresher, he's a Highlands Ranch grower who took Denver's 9NEWS on a tour through his basement grow, stating on-camera that he was making some $400,000 per year. This piqued the Drug Enforcement Agency's curiosity, and they raided and arrested Bartkowicz.

Recent developments show a legal side scrambling for options. Within the last couple weeks, Bartkowicz's lawyer Joseph Saint-Veltri had a request to deny evidence seized by DEA agents due to apparent non-consent from Bartkowicz thrown out by U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer.

Here's the Denver Post:

But Saint-Veltri said the 9NEWS story, which agents did little to corroborate before contacting Bartkowicz, wasn't enough to justify Bartkowicz's detention, calling it essentially "an unverified tip." If the agents illegally detained Bartkowicz, Saint-Veltri said, that tainted the rest of their interactions with him.

Assistant U.S. Attorney M.J. Menendez said agents acted properly throughout the investigation and never threatened Bartkowicz or tried to trick him.

Brimmer ruled that the 9News story was sufficiently credible for agents to act upon and noted they did some investigating to make sure they had the right guy before confronting Bartkowicz.

In response to the situation, MMJ advocates like Sensible Colorado and Americans for Safe Access have scheduled a courthouse protest in support of Bartkowicz. A release says it's happening the same day "as Bartkowicz's attorney makes the most important arguments of the case — whether all charges should be dismissed because Bartkowicz was following Colorado law."

"Mr. Bartkowizc has a right to tell his side of the story," says Sensible Colorado's Brian Vicente in another release. "Without truth, there can be no justice, and the U.S. attorney is attempting to obscure the truth in this case by preventing the mention of the words 'medical marijuana.'"

Look for the group at 8 a.m. tomorrow, Sept. 22, at the Alfred A. Arraj Courthouse, west entrance.

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