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Judge refuses to delay Kubbys’ trial

JESSICA R. TOWHEY

AUBURN – Medical marijuana proponents Steven and Michele Kubby appeared in an Auburn courtroom Monday seeking to delay a trial to prosecute them on charges of possession of marijuana for sale.

However, Judge James L. Roeder denied two motions to continue, saying the case has dragged on for more than a year and has hit several bumps along the road to trial. Furthermore, Roeder assigned the case to himself and both parties will appear Feb. 22 to begin the trial phase.

Assistant District Attorney Chris Cattran told Roedner that Monday’s request for a continuance would set back a case that is already more than a year old.

“We’re ready to go and don’t see the need to drag this out any further,” Cattran said.

Most recently, Steven Kubby filed on Feb. 10 for a counselor substitution to replace Dale Woods with J. Tony Serra, a well-known San Francisco attorney, to represent Steven Kubby.

Michele Kubby will continue to be represented by Joe Farina, who was not present in Auburn Monday. According to Woods, who spoke on Farina’s behalf, Farina had to appear in a Sacramento courtroom for another case.

With more than 3,000 pages of information gathered by the Placer County District Attorney’s Office to be used against the Kubbys, though, Serra petitioned for additional time to review the material. “I was asked to come in,” Serra said. “Maybe I have a greater appetite where there is voluminous discovery.”

Although Serra said after Roeder squashed the motion to delay trial he wouldn’t completely rule himself out of the case, Woods indicated in the courtroom that Serra would probably be the most effective attorney.

“Without question, this is one of the most vigorously pursued marijuana cases I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Mr. Kubby is under the belief that Mr. Serra is better suited. Frankly, under the circumstances, I agree.”

Although Roeder said he understood Serra’s concern about digesting the information, he pointed out that up until last week, the same two attorneys had been on the case, which was originally set to be tried last May.

With Roeder’s decision to press on with the trial, Serra’s representation of Steven Kubby looks questionable. Serra said his calendar would preclude him from Appearing in Auburn until April.

Although several hundred pages of documents have been released by the District Attorney’s Office on Jan. 13 and Jan. 27, 2000, Cattran said the information in the stacks were part of the seizure from the Kubby’s Olympic Valley home on Jan. 19, 1999.

Cattran said the information was mostly phone and bank records and approximately 300 pages of medical records.

Kubby, an unsuccessful Libertarian California gubernatorial candidate in 1998, maintains his consumption of marijuana has held in check malignant pheochromocytoma, a rare form of adrenal cancer from which he suffers.

During the Jan. 19, 1999 raid on the Kubbys’ home by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, 265 marijuana plants along with the Kubbys’ computerized financial files were seized. Both Kubbys maintain they followed a physician’ s recommendation in growing the plants.

The trial will begin at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22, in Department 4 at the historic courthouse on Maple Street in Auburn.

Jessica R. Towhey is a reporter for the Auburn Journal.


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