In November 2011, Margolin and Lawrence conducted one of the most tumultuous trials in Long Beach history. On repeated occasions, the trial court Judge refused to allow the medical marijuana defense for one of the most distinguished medical marijuana dispensaries in Long Beach. Finally, through an extraordinary alternative writ of mandate, the Court of Appeals ordered the trial court judge to allow the the medical marijuana defense.
The trial court judge, rather than affording more time to prepare for trial after the alternative writ of mandate, ordered an immediate commencement of the trial. Trial lasted for a grueling three week period with Margolin and Lawrence calling in medical marijuana experts and even a tax specialist from the California Board of Equalization. Unfortunately, the jury convicted both defendants. The cards were definitely stacked against the defendants, though.
This was not the end of the story. Margolin and Lawrence brought a motion to disqualify the judge for actual prejudice and a motion for new trial. Before sentencing the judge recused himself and the case was reassigned. A retiring judge was assigned the matter as her last case. After fully reviewing the defense’s motion for new trial and hearing argument from both sides, the court ruled in favor of the defendants and granted the motion for new trial – almost unheard of in a criminal trial.
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