Medical marijuana claim frees man
June 30, 2005
Juan Mauricio Solis, 32, faced a possible prison term if convicted of possessing the small amount of marijuana Adrian police reported finding in his SUV because he is on parole for a marijuana trafficking conviction four years ago.
The prosecution ran into trouble during the non-jury trial Thursday when defense attorney Anna Marie Anzalone called Solis' former wife as a witness.
Linda Solis testified that she lost the small baggie of marijuana that turned up in Juan Solis' Ford Explorer on March 23. She told the court she has been using marijuana to relieve pain she suffers from thyroid tumors because doctors do not want to prescribe addictive drugs.
As she began saying the marijuana was hers, Judge Timothy P. Pickard warned Linda Solis that her testimony could be used to prosecute her and that she could face up to one year in jail if convicted of first-offense marijuana possession.
'I want to get this over with and admit to my guilt,' Linda Solis responded.
She said she discovered her marijuana was missing from her purse after she went for a ride in the Explorer that her ex-husband brought over to show her and their children the day he purchased the vehicle in March.
She said she realized where she lost the marijuana when she later learned Juan Solis was arrested for marijuana that Adrian police found in his vehicle on March 23.
Police reported finding a baggie with marijuana stuffed between the seats of the vehicle after a traffic stop. They searched the vehicle because it was being towed for not being insured.
Linda Solis said her purse had tipped over on the back seat floor and she was in a hurry when she picked up the contents. After her ex-husband was arrested, Linda Solis said she approached his attorney, Anzalone, to explain the marijuana. She was advised to contact Adrian police.
'I was scared. I'm not going to lie. I'm scared right now,' Linda Solis testified when asked why she waited weeks before going to the police.
When she did contact police, she said, she had difficulty getting them to take a statement. One officer told her it did not matter who owned the marijuana if it was in Juan Solis' possession, she said.
Another officer asked, 'How do we know you're not doing this to help him?' she said.
Under questioning by assistant Lenawee County prosecutor Gregory Grover, she agreed she was aware Juan Solis was in much more trouble than she would be for possessing marijuana because he is on parole.
She insisted she was not trying to help him by falsely taking the blame for the marijuana.
Pickard ruled from the bench that he was convinced that Linda Solis was telling the truth.
Adrian police arrested Linda Solis immediately after the trial. She was released on bond and was to be arraigned today.
Anzalone said her client has been in jail since his arrest in March and should now be released from a parole violation holder. Anzalone said she believed from the beginning of the case that Juan Solis was innocent. He has been steadily employed and passed routine drug tests since he was paroled three years ago from prison, she noted.