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United States v. Noah Kleinman (2011-present)

posted Jun 2, 2014, 12:13 PM by The Editor   [ updated Jun 2, 2014, 12:22 PM ]
The Obama administration's tactic against medical marijuana in California has been to have US Attorneys send letters threatening landlords with property forfeiture for renting their property to dispensaries deemed too close to "sensitive areas" such as schools and parks. In October 2011, as another round of federal assaults on medical cannabis providers was launched, a criminal indictment was unsealed against the operators of the North Hollywood, CA medical marijuana collective NoHo Caregivers. The dispensary was closed at the time of the indictment; the actions of the defendants had been monitored via a set of government-owned encrypted Blackberry devices during 2008 and 2009. Co-defendants Paul Montoya, Kathy Thabet, James Stanley, and Bryant Watson agreed to testify for the prosecution in exchange for a plea deal on a reduced set of charges.

Knowing his actions to be legal under state law, (namely, the voter-approved California ballot initiative Proposition 215), Noah refused cave to federal pressure to accept a plea deal. Read his own words below:

As of April 8th the government has offered me this crazy deal basically sign a guilty plea and get a 10 years in federal prison  (btw they actually are recanting this email they sent to my defense team saying they made a mistake, if I sign they can ask for more than 10 years as ten years is the mandatory minimum)  or go to trial and if I lose get  292-365 months 24.3- 30.41 years.  Below is a copy of the letter.

April 8, 2014
VIA U.S. MAIL; E-MAIL
Allison Margolin
J. Raza Lawrence
8484 Wilshire Boulevard
Suite 440
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Re: United States v. Noah Kleinman,
CR No.11-893(A)-ODW

Dear Ms. Margolin and Mr. Lawrence:
In the event that your client pleads guilty under the terms previously discussed with you,the government would propose and advocate that he receive a sentence of ten years imprisonment (the statutory mandatory minimum), pursuant to the draft plea agreement.

In the event that a trial takes place and he is convicted, here is the sentencing guidelines calculation for which the United States will advocate:
Base offense level: 32 (U.S.S.G. 2D1.1(c)(4) (more than 1,000 kgs)
Role adjustment: +4 (U.S.S.G. 3B1.1(a) (organizer, leader)
Specific offense characteristics: +2 (U.S.S.G. 2D1.1(b)(12)) (maintaining premises for the purpose of distribution)
+2 (U.S.S.G. 2D1.1(b)(14) (livelihood, pattern of conduct)
Total adjusted offense level: 40 = 292-365 months (Criminal History Category I)

This is a huge difference "“ more than twice the amount of time the government is offering -- and I wanted to make sure that this is understood in the context of the proposed plea agreement.

In addition, because this appears to be a point of contention, it is important that your client understand that it is clear from the case law that defendant need not be the sole organizer or leader of the drug trafficking organization in order to warrant the upward adjustment so long as he is one of the organizers or leaders with respect to five or more individuals. The facts here, as illustrated by the email evidence and the testimony of the witnesses, will demonstrate that your client played a supervisory role regarding more than five people. For this reason, we believe that he will be subject to the four-level enhancement in his guidelines range as shown above.

By this letter, I am specifically requesting that you make clear to your client the possible consequences of the failure to accept the plea offer.
If you believe that this calculation is in error, have any questions, or wish to discuss it further, please feel free to contact me.
Very truly yours,

ANDRÉ BIROTTE
United States Attorney

/s/

JULIE J. SHEMITZ
Assistant United States Attorney
Organized Crime Drug Enforcement
Task Force Section

Noah Kleinman is currently in jury trial at the Untied States Federal Courthouse, 312 N. Spring St., Los Angeles. Community support for our brother bravely exercising his Constitutional right to a jury trial has been strong. Please join us this week.

Last updated June 2, 2014 by Lex Libreman for United States v. Marijuana.

Sources:

Clough, Craig. "Feds Raid North Hollywood Area Pot Shop and Charge 6 From Another With Drug Trafficking." North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch. Patch.com, 8 Oct. 2011. Web. 02 June 2014. <http://northhollywood.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/feds-raid-north-hollywood-area-pot-shop-and-charge-6-20223672c1>.

Kleinman, Noah. "Help End Federal Marijuana Prohibition!" Go Fund Me. GoFundMe.com, 15 Apr. 2014. Web. 02 June 2014. <http://www.gofundme.com/endmarijuanaprohibition>.

"OBAMA ADMINISTRATION RAMPS UP WAR ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA, ATTACKS DISPENSARIES IN "SENSITIVE AREAS" WITH PROPERTY FORFEITURE." California NORML. CANORML.org, 6 Oct. 2011. Web. 2 June 2014. <http://www.canorml.org/news/fedMAMM.html>

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