By Ribhu Singh
The preliminary hearing of Paul and Maricel Fullerton commenced in Yolo County Superior Court on July 22, 2016. Both Mr. and Mrs. Fullerton are jointly accused of three felony counts of the possession of marijuana for sale, child endangerment, and the importation of a large-capacity rifle magazine. Mr. Fullerton is also charged with selling marijuana. The couple is represented by Martinez-based defense attorney Joseph M. Tully of the firm Tully & Weiss.
The criminal proceedings against the couple began on February 29, 2016, following an extensive undercover criminal investigation by the Yolo Narcotic Enforcement Team, or YONET. The YONET team had received information that Mr. Fullerton was allegedly selling marijuana out of his Woodland, CA, business, and then arranged for an undercover YONET informant to purchase marijuana from Mr. Fullerton.
Upon completing a sting purchase, the enforcement team then executed a search warrant of the Fullerton’s property in Woodland and discovered sufficient material to instigate the filing of criminal charges. The couple was arraigned in Yolo County Superior Court on March 18, 2006, and both of them pled not guilty.
Upon arriving for the July 22, 2016, preliminary hearing, Mr. Tully filed for a motion of continuance, stating that both he and the prosecution needed time to review an earlier motion filed for the purposes of unsealing an affidavit from the undercover agent who purchased the marijuana.
Mr. Tully alleges that the warrant filed for the search of the Fullerton’s property was invalid.
He argues in a motion to unseal the affidavit and quash the search warrant that “the probable cause asserted in the warrant rests upon an unnamed confidential informant.”
According to the affidavit, during the months of January and February, Mr. Fullerton allegedly sold marijuana to an undercover YONET agent, but that information is sealed to “protect the identity of any confidential informant(s), undercover police officer” etc.
Mr. Tulley is requesting that Judge David Reed grant a motion to both void the search warrant and divulge the identity of the undercover YONET informant who purchased marijuana. Mr. Tully argues that there was insufficient probable cause for the execution of the search warrant, stating that the undercover informant’s affidavit does not contain enough information to merit a search of the Fullerton’s property.
According to the Fullerton’s motion to unseal the affidavit and quash the search warrant, the affidavit of the undercover officer contained “no particular information relating to the investigation of Mr. Fullerton other than a description of his home and business.”
According to the law, an affidavit for a search warrant “must contain facts demonstrating a substantial probability that evidence of a crime will be located in a particular place.”
The district attorney’s office conceded that more information was needed, and the prosecution agreed that a motion for a continuance of the preliminary hearing was necessary.
Mr. Tully believes that the district attorney has little basis to prosecute the case, and believes that there is insufficient evidence to continue with the case without knowing the identity of the informant. He stated to the Vanguard that “there is no case,” and he thinks that the state is wasting “time and money” in trying to prosecute Mr. and Mrs. Fullerton.
Mr. Fullerton is a former UC Davis Fire Department captain who now owns a Woodland business.
Mr. Fullerton faces felony counts including marijuana sales, possession of marijuana for sale, cultivation of marijuana, child endangerment and importation of a large-capacity rifle magazine. The felony marijuana possession and cultivation charges also carry enhancements, since the defendants were armed with the large-capacity rifles.
The search in February turned up about 22 pounds of marijuana, found at the residence with another seven that was seized from the business. Given that neither location was licensed as a dispensary, prosecutors have proceeded with the case.
However, that is a matter of dispute. The defense has previously argued that under Senate Bill 420, which was recently passed to expand the 1996 Compassionate Use Act passed by the voters, medical marijuana users are allowed to associate with each other so as long as there are no profits, and no transactions are done in the case.