On July 7, dozens of attorneys filled the seats of a small San Diego courtroom. The attorneys were attending a hearing for one of their own, Jessica McElfresh, a San Diego lawyer experienced in cannabis law.
McElfresh is facing multiple felony charges.
What drew most attorneys to court that day was something they consider sacred: the attorney-client privilege of McElfresh and her past clients was at risk. Prosecutors wanted to look through all of her records, not just the ones pertaining to the charges she was fighting. Prosecutors and the defense have agreed on a method that would protect the confidentiality of McElfresh and her clients, though Judge Laura Halgren has only dubbed the agreement a “starting point.” A lot of lawyers remain concerned about the direction of the case.
The prosecution comes at a time of increased uncertainty over how law enforcement will treat the marijuana industry in San Diego – and it’s being taken by some as a sign that it will not be permissive.
In late May, then-District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis filed a slew of criminal charges, alleging that James Slatic, a medical-marijuana entrepreneur, and his business partners sought to illegally manufacture and sell hash oil across the country. The defendants were also charged with money laundering and obstruction of justice.
The DA alleged that Slatic’s lawyer, McElfresh, was in on the scheme, saying that she hid evidence of the hash oil from city inspectors during an April 2015 inspection of Slatic’s Med-West facilities in Kearny Mesa.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
This can also be seen as attorneys closing ranks around a bad apple, running whatever they can up the rhetoric flagpole.
I appreciate that attorneys have excellent verbal skills which they generally apply well to the law, but when they actually believe that "what's legal" is a decent moral system, we should worry.
Let the case proceed.
Bonnie's disciples and heirs - a worthless lot-continue her practices. These are the people who persecuted the brother of a murdered daughter and his friends.