It's been almost a month to the day since Joe Grumbine was arrested at the Long Beach downtown courthouse
when he showed up for a regularly scheduled trial conference hearing. Along with his partner Joe Byron
, Grumbine had run a pair of Long Beach pot dispensaries as well as Garden Grove
's Unit D collective until the shops were raided in Dec. 2009. Both men were tried and convicted of several counts of selling marijuana (Byron was also convicted of stealing electricity). But the charges were overturned for judicial misconduct
after Judge Charles D. Sheldon
recused himself from the case for writing a congratulatory letter to prosecutor Jodi Castano
before the trial had actually ended.
Grumbine was apparently arrested on Nov. 13 because prosecutors got wind that he'd been pulled over near his home in Riverside County a month or so earlier with a large amount of marijuana. Presumably because Grumbine is a card-carrying medical cannabis user who had a valid doctor's recommendation and the amount of pot totaled less eight ounces or less, he wasn't even arrested. However, nearly a month later he remains behind bars for that incident,
Although a wealthy supporter of Grumbine has put his Newport Beach mansion up as collateral for Grumbine's bail, a county bail official testified at a trial hearing today that there were still five missing details regarding homeowner's insurance for the property. According to courtroom observer Larry King, the official was also overheard saying that in his experience, this level of detail has only been required once before, on a defendant who had already jumped bail.
"Joe looks worse each hearing, both physically and mentally," King reports. "When the deputy raised him to leave, he turned to slowly face his friends, family, and backers and seemed to look each one in the eye as if to say thanks. At that slow-mo moment, you could feel him strenthen his resolve in the deliberately slow walk to the inmate door as he fed off the love, and admiration(as in my case) and stood tall."
A large group of supporters (see the photo above) were on hand today to show their determination to see justice served. Grumbine's next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 24, 2013.