Joe Byron and Joe Grumbine Trial: Judge Recuses Himself For Alleged Bias

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Looks likes sentencing will have to wait for Joe Byron and Joe Grumbine, who were convicted last month of marijuana sales in relation to a pair of marijuana dispensaries in Long Beach as well as Garden Grove's Unit D collective. Instead, Long Beach Superior Court Judge Charles D. Sheldon removed himself from the case this morning, citing allegations of his biased behavior in the courtroom which have been extensively reported by the Weekly both in print and online.
Sheldon denied those allegations. "The court is not biased in favor of any party or counsel," he asserted, in response to a recusal motion by defense attorneys Christopher Glew and Allison, which included a laundry list of his objectionable statements. However, Sheldon acknowledged that he hadn't helped his case by sending a Jan. 4 letter to Sally Thomas, head deputy of the Long Bech branch of the Los Angeles district attorneys office, in which he offered glowing praise for prosecutor  Jody Castano.

"Frankly, I made a mistake," Sheldon observed. "I wasn't thinking when I sent a commendatory letter to the district attorney." That said, Sheldon quickly added, "I meant what I said in the letter."

In the letter, Sheldon stated that he couldn't remember the last time he was "moved to writing a letter commending" a prosecutor but that he was "moved to do so" in this case. "Ms. Castano, despite operating in the courtroom, often full or almost full of persons overtly favoring the defense side,  was unflappable, composed, steady, organized, and totally professional from beginning to end," Sheldon wrote. Her "extraordinary preparation and excellent meticulous and painstaking presentation of evidence was a pleasure to observe . . . In short, I just want you to know you chose the right lawyer to handle this difficult case."

Glew and Margolin had already prepared a motion to disqualify Sheldon before they got wind of his letter. After Sheldon recused himself, Glew asked if this meant that Sheldon's previous gag order against speaking to the media was now lifted. "I'm not making any other orders because of what I just said," Sheldon responded. "I'm off the case."
 

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11 comments
David Lizama
David Lizama

Sheldon, you're mother is calling. You're father called too, Sheldon, and said, "Stop being stupid, you moron." 

@mmpcollective
@mmpcollective

I lost my case using the same lawyers and law firm... :(

Malcolm Kyle
Malcolm Kyle

Worldwide, tens of millions of people, both users and non-users, have either been killed, maimed, incarcerated or had their lives seriously disrupted. Prohibitionists are overwhelmingly responsible for an immense increase in violent crime, organized crime, international terrorism and official corruption. Add to all that, an AIDS Pandemic and a serious undermining of international security and development. 

Corporate greed and individual bigotry have accelerated us towards a situation where all the usual peaceful and democratic methods, which can usually be employed to reverse such acute damage, no longer function as envisaged by our Founding Fathers. Such a political impasse, coupled with our great economic tribulation, is precisely that which throughout history has often ignited extreme social upheaval and violent revolution.

There appears to be just one last avenue left to us – Jury Nullification. If we choose not to use this peaceful means for change then a violent solution may be forced upon us: 

“To function as the founders intended, our republic requires that the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William Stephens Smith, November 13, 1787

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” - John F. Kennedy

Jury Nullification is a constitutional doctrine that allows juries to acquit defendants who are technically guilty, but, due to their actions involving consensual adults only, do not deserve punishment.  All non-violent 'drug offenders' who are not selling to children, be they users, dealers, and even importers, clearly belong in this category. 

If you sincerely believe that prohibition is both a dangerous and counter-productive policy, then you don’t have to help to apply it. When it comes to acquittals, you, the juror, have the very last word!

Create what you can no longer afford to wait for - PLEASE VOTE TO ACQUIT!

hanna
hanna

@864b5edbef0a0aa5094ff6bd53e83092:disqus .........Would you like to work from home? Read more here: LazyCash4.com and you will find out how to get a nice income every month.

Tim Morton
Tim Morton

This demonstrates my naivety, I thought maybe he had a relative who was using medical cannabis.

Onmyknervzzz
Onmyknervzzz

They should take the millions they allegedly made and flee the country.  Why subject themselves to more blatant judicial misconduct and corruption?

I do hope this is a beginning to the end of the nightmare these two men and their families have been put through.

Kathy B.

Fern
Fern

How did the defense find out about the letter?

Paul Lucas
Paul Lucas

They get to live and fight another day. excellent!

Dustin Ringer
Dustin Ringer

This is amazing new Captain Kangaroo Judge Charles D. Sheldon is off the case.

Allison Margolin
Allison Margolin

that wasn't my firm. @2e2f4d815e94753585a3e1d899c81095:disqus mmpcollective

Nschou
Nschou

That's the funniest part. A day after he sent the letter, Sheldon apparently realized the potential import, so he sent a copy to the defense.

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