Category Archives: Colin A. Daniels In The News!

NOT GUILTY of drug and weapons charges!

In mid-December we went to trial on a case in Detroit, Michigan.

Our client was charged back in late 2012 of Possession of nearly 200 grams of cocaine and felony firearm. If he were convicted, he would have been looking at 5-8 years in prison.

However, we knew he was innocent.

The police had allegedly received an anonymous tip that someone was dealing drugs out of our client’s mother’s house in Detroit. Our client did not live at this house, but while his mother was in Florida, he was taking care of the home. The police busted into the home and found our client in the home in a towel (he was about to take a shower). They arrested him and conducted a search of the home.

At this point the “facts” get muddled. The police claimed that they caught our client walking down the stairs (coming from upstairs) and that when they searched the upstairs bedroom they found several guns, pictures of our client, a large amount of cocaine, paperwork proving our client lived at that house, and some cash. In fact, the police claimed that they found all of that “evidence” in and on top of a small end table on the side of a bed (wrapped up with a neat and tidy little bow too, right?)

However, our client claimed that the police did not catch him coming from upstairs, and that the guns were all legally registered and found throughout the house for protection (I mean it is Detroit after all) and that the cocaine was actually found by the police in the rafters in the basement. Further, he told us that many people stopped by and hung out at the home and that he had no idea that there was a bag of cocaine hidden away in the basement.

In other words, the police found a bunch of illegal items but had no way to actually connect our client to those illegal items (especially since the house doesn’t belong to him.)

Trial prep was arduous. We had to figure out a way to convince the jury that the police were lying about the location where all of the contraband was found, and we had to convince the jury that our client was being truthful about the fact that he didn’t know there were drugs in the home. We developed several lines of cross-examination for all of the officers and in the end Neil gave one of the best closing arguments he has ever given.

It was a 3 day jury trial and after about 2 hours of deliberation, the jury returned a NOT GUILTY verdict ON ALL COUNTS. It was apparent that the jury simply did not believe the police. Instead, they believed our client – when he testified that he did not know that someone was using his mother’s home as a stash house.

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BREAKING NEWS!!! Judge Rules that the Operating With Any Presence of Marijuana Statute is UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

Today, in a case handled by Neil Rockind, P.C., a district court judge has declared that the Operating with the Presence of Drugs (OWPD) statute, as it pertains to Marijuana, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and as a result is unconstitutional.

The opinion is ground-breaking.

For longer than anyone can remember, Michigan prosecutors and city attorneys have been able to obtain convictions against people who are operating and driving vehicles safely, exhibiting no signs of impairment or intoxication but who, it is later discovered, have small amounts of marijuana in their system.

While the law used to require prosecutors to have to prove that a person was intoxicated or impaired in order to convict them of a crime, lab technicians and government experts complained that it was too difficult to offer an opinion on intoxication due to drugs because there was no set level similar to alcohol, e.g., .10 BAC or .08 BAC, where it was presumed that a person was intoxicated due to drugs.  They argued that the presence of any drugs in a person’s system should be sufficient.  As is often the case, the law was modified (in our opinion) to make it easier to convict people.  Out of this amendment was born the Operating with Presence of Drugs Statute (OWPD).  People became sitting ducks if they had any remnant of some controlled substance.

Along comes our client, “N.S.”, who had consulted with two (2) other prominent lawyers regarding a Operating with the Presence of Drugs charge before discharging them and hiring Neil Rockind and Neil Rockind, P.C.  On the date in question, our client was driving his car.  He was not driving erratically.  Nor was he driving dangerously.  He was stopped for a minor traffic infraction and when the officer began speaking with him, detected an “odor of marijuana.”  Our client, in an effort to be honest, admitted to using marijuana.  The officer arrested our client and subjected him to a blood test.  The test revealed the presence of a minimal amount of THC, i.e., marijuana.

At Neil Rockind, P.C., we never give up.  As the saying goes: You have to hate to lose, more than you like to win. We hate to lose so much that it is just not an option for us.  We just can’t accept a loss…and while a myriad of lawyers were telling our client or us to accept it, we didn’t.   Criminal Defense Attorneys Neil Rockind and Colin Daniels noticed a few things about the case and the law.

1) Our client was charged with Operating with the Presence of Drugs in his system;

2) The crime requires a Schedule 1 controlled substance;

3) The drug in question in our client’s case was THC or marijuana;

4)  Marijuana was classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance;

5)  A Schedule 1 controlled substance is one that has no medicinal benefit;

6) The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act was passed in 2008 and enacted in 2009;

5) The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act states that marijuana has a medicinal benefit;

6) A medical marijuana patient would necessarily have marijuana in his sytem;

7) A medical marijuana patient cannot be charged with Operating with the Presence of Drugs in his system but would instead need to be impaired or intoxicated in order to be convicted;

8 ) A medical marijuana patient could have marijuana in his system but not be guilty of a crime absence proof of impairment while a regular citizen using the same amount of marijuana could have the same amount of marijuana in his system but would be guilty of crime just for having that marijuana in his system;

9) Therefore, medical marijuana patients and regular citizens are being treated differently for no reason.  Neither is less safe than the other, yet one could operate with marijuana in his system while the other could not not.

We concluded that this disparate treatment, i.e., inequality, was illegal. Accordingly, we filed an Equal Protection challenge to the Operating With the Presence of Drugs statute.  After we filed our motion to dismiss, the court gave the prosecution time to respond.  Interestingly, the prosecutor chose to focus on extraneous issues.  Upon our return to the courthouse, the Court ruled that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act repealed (by implication) Michigan’s Schedule 1 Controlled Substance Act as it relates to marijuana/THC.   The judge looked at the prosecutor and offered her more time to respond.  We patiently waited as the prosecutor took additional time to deal with this landmark decision — Schedule 1 no longer applied to marijuana in Michigan.  After reading the prosecution’s responsive argument, we knew we were on to something — they chose not to address certain cases and facts again.

At a hearing today, Judge Kirsten Neilson-Hartig carefully and meticulously laid out her opinion and her rationale.  Her ruling revealed a deeper understanding and examination of the law, history, terms and phrases than many more experienced, “higher seniority” judges are capable on their best day.  Listening to the judge, it became clear that we had prevailed, but more so, it was clear that the Judge had issued a wonderfully reasoned and insightful opinion.

MCL 257.625(8), the offense that prohibits Operating With the Presence of Drugs is unconstitutional as it relates to marijuana.  Marijuana is not a Schedule 1 drug because it has medicinal benefit.  Both our client and a medical marijuana user use marijuana.  The former can be arrested for having marijuana in his system – even the smallest, miniscule amount would subject to him arrest and conviction.  The latter could use the marijuana and the prosecution would have to prove impairment in order convict.  The judge said (paraphrasing),

I find the Operating With the Presence of Drugs statute, MCL 257.625(8), unconstitutional and in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.  The case is dismissed.

This is a ground breaking ruling and it was obtained by Neil Rockind, P.C., Southfield, Michigan criminal defense attorneys Neil Rockind and Colin Daniels. Where most lawyers would have thrown in the towel, Rockind and Daniels pushed on.  A bad statute is no more and a good man, our client, is set free.

– Neil Rockind

Neil Rockind and Colin Daniels on Fox 2 News – Discussing the Medical Marijuana Raids in Commerce Township

Medical marijuana company leaves Oakland County after raids

Big Daddy’s Management Group — a big player in the medical marijuana industry — emptied the firm’s Oak Park headquarters on Thursday to leave Oakland County.

The county’s Narcotics Enforcement Team raided sites Wednesday in Commerce Township, where defense attorneys said 34 caregivers grew the drug in 34 leased and locked units.

Adding to the county’s reputation as hostile turf for medical marijuana, the action also showed ratcheting pressure statewide on medical pot.

“We’re going from five locations in the state to four” — in Chesterfield Township, Detroit, Livonia and Burton near Flint, said Big Daddy’s spokesman Rick Thompson. The move from an Oak Park industrial park involves a dozen employees, Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine and a business that marketed indoor cultivation equipment, Thompson said.

In the Commerce Township raids of properties called Absolute Management, about two dozen officers burst into buildings on Ruler Drive and Welch Road, making no arrests but seizing about 500 plants and tens of thousands of dollars in growing equipment from 34 individually controlled growing rooms, defense attorneys said.

The growers were operating in strict compliance with state law, and the resulting legal cases will show that police abused their power, attorney Colin Daniels said.

“There were no sales or deliveries there,” Daniels said.

“These people relied on the section in the law that said patients’ and caregivers’ properties shall not be seized,” attorney Neil Rockind added.

But Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe said the raids were approved by county prosecutors and that officers had search warrants.

“We’ve followed the law, and everything we’ve done has been upheld by the courts” in dozens of previous raids of medical marijuana sites, McCabe said.

“This has nothing to do with medical marijuana. It has to do with breaking the law and profiteering from marijuana,” he said.

via Freep

Police raid marijuana operation in Commerce Township

News that an Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team raided a Commerce Township medical marijuana facility Wednesday has defense attorney Neil Rockind boiling mad.

“Law enforcement does the damndest things and they keep doing it,” said Rockind.

“I’m beyond outraged,” said Rockind, whose client owns the facility on Welch Road.

“I’m sick of the way police are treating caregivers and patients and I’m tired of how police are stepping on the law.”

Rockind did not name his client.

The raid, which started after 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, was at a co-op grow operation, according to Major Robert Smith of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.

“We are investigating whether they were in violation of the state’s medical marijuana statute,” Smith said. “At this time no arrests have been made and no charges have been filed.

Smith said that the officers took 500 marijuana plants from the building.

Rick Thompson, editor of Oak Park-based Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, said he spoke with eyewitnesses who said officers had been on the scene since midnight.

“They cleaned the place out,” he said.

Rockind compared the facility to an apartment building where each tenant has his own lock and entrance.

He said there were two buildings with 17 rooms each. The rooms were locked facilities where patients and caregivers grew plants.

“They weren’t drying, curing, sharing or using marijuana there,” he said. “This was not a collective grow. It was where they kept plants.”

Large signs were posted throughout saying, “Restricted Area, Do not enter under penalty of law.”

“Only the (tenant) had access using a code,” he said.

Colin Daniels, an attorney with Rockind’s firm, was present during the raid.

“People are calling here today asking, ‘How am I going to get my medicine,’” said Daniels.

Michigan voters approved the Medical Marijuana Act in 2008.

Rockind said the people who used the facility thought they were doing it the “right way” instead of growing marijuana in homes or basements.

Rockind said he will take the matter to court but said because the case was so new, he did not have details.

“I’m putting police on notice that this has got to stop,” he said.

via The Oakland Press

Medical Marijuana Grow Operations Raided in Commerce Township

By ANDREA ISOM
WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com

COMMERCE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJBK) – “The police broke the law. That’s what happened last night,” said Neil Rockind.

“They rolled in with about 20, 25 officers, we believe all from Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team.Started smashing down doors,” said Colin Daniels.

“I am sick of the way that police officers are treating patients,” Rockind told FOX 2’s Andrea Isom.

“Had flashlights on them with officers with guns telling them to get on the ground, put their hands behind their back,” Daniels said. “One of the sheriffs was saying there was something about 500 plants, but we think that’s a guess at this point.”

“These people did nothing wrong. All these people did at this facility was try to find a way to grow, cultivate, manufacture marijuana in a facility that was secure, that was protected, and they did so in compliance with the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act,” Rockind explained.

These two guys are the attorneys for Absolute Management, which owns and operates “a number of buildings which lease out rental units to tenants who want to come and lease rental units for medical marijuana purposes,” Daniels told us.

We’re told the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team did some digging. Clearly they thought something was suspicious, so they executed a search warrant and raided not one, but two grow operations in Commerce Township. No one was arrested or has been charged, but lots of weed and equipment was seized because police say what was happening inside was against the law.

“They’ve decided that they do not like medical marijuana. I think that’s the bottom line,” said Daniels.

“I hope the public actually expresses some outrage over what’s happening. They should. They voted for the law, and these people are the cops. They’re the ones that are supposed upholding it, but they’re the ones that are breaking it,” said Rockind.

The Narcotics Enforcement Team stands by every single decision they made Tuesday night and Wednesday morning and says this investigation is far from over.

via Fox 2 Detroit