Lodi man back in court over medical marijuana

June 03, 2004

Layla Bohm, Lodi News-Sentinel

Though the conviction was overturned by a state appeals court, the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office will once again seek to try a Lodi man for marijuana possession and sales.

Brian Bader, however, said Thursday that he still intends to run for City Council.

In November, the Third District Court of Appeals overturned the conviction of Bader, who was found guilty of both charges after a spring 2002 jury trial.

Bader returns to court today, where Deputy District Attorney Phil Urie expects to set a new trial date.

He said Thursday that, unless Bader wants to discuss a plea deal, the case will likely head back to trial.

Bader was arrested in May 2001 after Lodi detectives allegedly found 147 marijuana plants growing at his home.

His Berkeley doctor had prescribed the drug for pain, but prosecutors charged him with cultivation and intent to sell, due to the quantity of plants.

A jury convicted Bader on May 3, 2002, and he was then sentenced to 120 days in the county jail and placed on five years of formal probation. That summer, a judge delayed the sentence because the case was likely to be reversed.

Last November, a three-justice appeals panel did just that, citing a bad jury instruction.

They ruled that, because Bader had to prove his case by a 'preponderance of the evidence,' his side would have to be more compelling than that of the prosecution.

Bader said Thursday that he is not expecting to undergo another trial, but even if the case does continue, it will not hinder his political aspirations. He expects to file City Council candidate papers when they become available June 12.

Bader ran for the position in 2002 and received the least amount of votes of eight candidates.

At that time, he was a convicted felon, and questions were raised regarding whether he could even take office if elected.

'I had the two felonies hanging over my head. Now I don't have that,' he said Thursday.

In the meantime, Bader said, he plans to rebuild his roofing business, which he said took a hit because of his arrest.

And, if he does face another trial, Bader plans to represent himself. The last trial, he said, cost $40,000 in attorney fees.

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