Marijuana charge dropped against woman; civil rights violation suit may follow

By BOB OLIVER
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — A misdemeanor marijuana possession charge against a Detroit woman was dropped by the city after a pretrial hearing in 19th District Court Sept. 26 after 13 months and over 10 hearings.

Shalandra Jones, 41, of Detroit, was cited by a Dearborn police officer during a traffic stop on Aug. 3, 2012.

Jones was traveling in the passenger seat of a 1999 GMC Jimmy when the vehicle was pulled over Officer David Lacey for a taillight being out.

After approaching, Lacey reported smelling marijuana and conducted a search of the vehicle.

Approximately 15 minutes into the traffic stop, Jones informed Lacey that she was HIV positive.

After being informed, Lacey told Jones that she should have told him about her condition before he began searching the vehicle for safety reasons.

In a recording of the stop captured on the officer’s dash-cam, the officer can be heard telling Jones, “Honestly, if it wasn’t for (your HIV status), I don’t think I would have wrote anybody for anything. But that kind of really aggravated me, you know what I mean? You got to tell me right away, ‘I’ve got this. I’ve got that.’ ’Cause at that time, I wasn’t wearing any gloves.”

Jones informed the officer that she had an expired medical marijuana card from the state, but was still issued a marijuana possession ticket.

According to a release from Detroit Legal Services, which is representing Jones, the city pursued criminal charges against Jones despite her proof of defense under Section 8 of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.

DLS added that lawyers involved in the case said the city offered to dismiss the case if Jones would waive her right to sue the city for violating her civil rights.

Attorney Paul Spaniolo, who is one of the attorneys representing Jones, said this was “probably the longest” case that he has been involved with and complimented Jones on her conduct with police officers.

DLS attorney Joshua Moore, who is also representing Jones, said his client will file a civil action against the city for violating her civil rights.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)

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