All Charges Dropped Against Joe Byron & Joe Grumbine

Categories: Bong Blotter

grumbinefree.jpg
Joe Grumbine (center) and Joe Byron (right) outside the courtroom
More than a year after Joe Byron and Joe Grumbine--who were featured in this Weekly cover story--were convicted of selling marijuana in Long Beach, a Superior Court judge in that city dismissed all charges against the two men. A courtroom observer tells the Weekly that the courtroom hearing was supposed to be a routine scheduling meeting. But while Grumbine's defense attorney was trying to negotiate a reduced plea for his client, Judge Arthur Jean called both sides to the bench. He then suddenly announced that he was dismissing the case in the "interest of justice."

The Weekly reached Grumbine shortly thereafter. According to Grumbine, after the lawyers met at Jean's bench for a few moments, prosecutor Jodi Castano announced that her office had decided not to proceed with the case. "I'm still processing it," he said. "I was ready to take a misdemeanor and be done with it. The juries in California are terrible."

As the Weekly originally reported the two Joes were arrested and charged with selling marijuana in Long Beach despite the fact that the city was allowing other dispensaries to operate. After a controversial and lopsided trial that was heavily covered by the Weekly, a jury convicted the two Joes in December 2011. However, the judge in the case had to recuse himself from sentencing because he'd privately sent a letter congratulating the prosecutor for her work in the trial. Another judge then agreed with defense attorneys that the prior trial had been unfair, granting the two Joes a second trial.

All that is history now. "The judge said 'case dismissed' and we walked out smiling," said Grumbine, who added that the courtroom where this took place was number 4200, or, he said, "420 with an extra zero."

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Email: nschou@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @NickSchou. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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14 comments
dianalejins
dianalejins

These are the heroes we will one day celebrate along with the likes of Ceasar Chavez, Rosa Parks and Susan B. Anthony who all spent time in jail fighting for a just cause.  Bless them both!

rsteeb
rsteeb

"Liberty and Justice"  --What a concept!  Congratulations!

FlyingTooLow
FlyingTooLow

Incredible waste of law enforcement time and resources. 

Great to see these two gentlemen being left in peace. 

Anytime in prison for a plant is wrong...whether it's 20 years or 20 minutes, it is wrong.

KimFischer
KimFischer

Great News! Very Happy for both Joes.  However, Joe Byron couldn't be more thrilled.  Love you from the Sunset Dr. Girls

Otis Denim
Otis Denim

I was also suprised they were selling dope in the court !

wdoo5
wdoo5

Good news.  Sad how much taxpayer money was wasted on this. Is this how they justify the existence of public pensions and waste.

Jon Garcia
Jon Garcia

Wait, they were convicted of selling pot in court or convicted in court of selling pot? Your sentence structure is confusing. Sorry.

Jonathan Taylor
Jonathan Taylor

Great job Nicholas Schou and OC Weekly for publicizing this case.

elmoby59
elmoby59

"420 with an extra zero" -Joe Grumbine

Was that extra zero Jodi Castano or Judge Sheldon?

They are both WORTHLESS!

grumbinejoe
grumbinejoe

point of clarity, DA decided not to move forward and the judge then dismissed the case.... important point


20ftjesus
20ftjesus topcommenter

Hey Nick,  Do you know what Joe G. plans to do next?  (And don't say, "going to Disneyland.)

FormerUnitDshopper
FormerUnitDshopper

Finally, a little bit of justice for the 2 Joe's.  Congratulations to both, but especially to Joe Grumbine.  This is great news to hear during this holy week,

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