Paul Fullerton, who a year ago took a plea agreement in his charges that he sold cannabis to an undercover YONET agent in February 2016, returned to court on Thursday attempting to get his product returned. However, Judge David Reed ruled against his attorney’s motions, in a ruling they believe runs contrary to state law.
On January 3, 2019, Judge Reed ordered Yolo County Deputy DA Kyle Hasapes to return the cannabis to Mr. Fullerton. On Thursday, that order “was rescinded.”
In the raid with at least 16 agents involved with YONET, around 29 pounds of medical cannabis were seized from Mr. Fullerton. The defense asked for roughly 18 pounds of that back – six each for Paul Fullerton and two other collective members.
On Thursday they offered to take back 12 pounds for Mr. Fullerton, which represented a one-year supply, as noted in the doctor’s note provided to the court.
“Mr. Fullerton and Mrs. Fullerton were not provided with any of the cannabis,” Attorney Ashley Bargenquast, who represented the Fullertons on the matter, told the Vanguard. “This was contrary to the order from January 3 and was based on a case that I don’t believe should have ruled the day in this case.”
She said that the judge ruled based on case law provided by the DA that said “the compassionate use act did not give the judge authority to return cannabis.”
She argued, “Cannabis is returned all over the state of California every day. But in this case, the judge chose to use that case – People v. Chavez – as the ruling case rather than subsequent case law because there was a disposition in this case, rather than a full dismissal.”
She noted that there was in fact a full dismissal against Mrs. Fullerton. This, she said, “was not treated any differently than the outcome for Paul (Fullerton).”
The Vanguard learned that there is a March 14 hearing where they have filed a motion with an order to show cause (OSC) about how the January 3 order “was treated.” The defense believes that Mr. Hasapes acted improperly in how he treated Judge Reed’s order from January 3, where it was believed Mr. Hasapes unilaterally told the evidence handlers not to release the cannabis despite the valid order from January 3.
She said they are still deciding how to respond to the decision not to return Mr. Fullerton’s property – and whether to file an appeal with the appellate court.
Paul Fullerton, whose saga started three years ago last month with a raid on his shop and his home, was even more outspoken.
Mr. Fullerton noted that, on Thursday, “I was supposed to submit a letter from a doctor stating the amount of cannabis that I need. The doctor from UC Davis medical group stated due to my injury to my spine I would need 1/2 to 1 pound per month, the amount of cannabis that was (needed).”
Mr. Fullerton noted that he had a state certified collective and his paperwork was in order and valid at the time of the raid.
Paul Fullerton had been a decorated captain at the UC Davis Fire Department when a work-related injury led him to use medical cannabis in order to manage his pain.
He told the Vanguard that “my injury was so severe that I am not able to work as a firefighter and (was eligible) to get a full disability pension.”
Along with his attorneys, he believes that the case law shows that the cannabis should have been returned.
He told the Vanguard, “Again this was a witch hunt and every action by the DA and the judge prove that it was just that … it’s sad with all the research that is done on cannabis that Yolo County is so behind the times … 8,000 weed cases have been reversed in the last year and I’m still fighting in Yolo County …”
Last year, rather than continue to fight the case, he took a misdemeanor plea agreement that surprisingly led him to serve 90 days of house arrest and three years of formal probation.
He got caught up in a sting operation when an undercover agent convinced him to sell him a small quantity of cannabis to a man who had convinced him that his wife was dying of cancer.
In an interview last year with the Vanguard he said, “Helping the cancer patient got to me. I’m a very empathetic guy. I’m passionate because of what I did my whole life.”
But, as Mr. Fullerton pointed out, between his full disability pension and a court settlement of nearly three-quarters of a million he received for his workplace injury, why would he need to risk it by selling a small quantity of cannabis?
—David M. Greenwald reporting