Oakland to pay $15,000 in medical pot case

January 04, 2005

Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle

Oakland will pay $15,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a couple who claimed police illegally confiscated their medical marijuana while investigating a burglar alarm.

Officers Kwang Lee and Alexander Conroy wrongfully seized an unspecified amount of medical cannabis May 27, 2000, while investigating a burglar alarm at what was then the Shafter Avenue home of Daniel Hagen and Lynda O'Neil, the couple said.

Hagen and O'Neil weren't home, but a neighbor watching the residence let the officers in and told them that Hagen was permitted to use medical marijuana, according to the couple's suit in Alameda County Superior Court.

Nevertheless, 'defendants Lee and Conroy dismantled and destroyed plaintiff Hagen's cannabis cultivation,' said the suit. Criminal charges against the couple were later dropped.

The city admitted no wrongdoing and settled the lawsuit 'due to the risk of an adverse jury verdict,' Assistant City Attorney Randolph Hall wrote in papers submitted Tuesday to the City Council.

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