Monday, April 20, 2020

People v. May (Cal. Ct. App. - April 20, 2020)

I suspect that it's pure coincidence, but this opinion is appropriately published on 4/20.

It's a story from back in 2016.  There's a huge marijuana grow operation in Butte County (near Chico) on an 165-acre property with eight different grow sites.  The evidence, viewed in the light favorable to the conviction, shows that the defendant, Raymond May, (1) was a manager of the marijuana grow operation, (2) slept in a trailer on the property, and (3) possessed an (illegal) AK-47 used to guard the drugs that "had a collapsible stock to make it more compact, a flash suppressor to minimize the explosion from the weapon when fired, a detachable high-capacity magazine holding 30 rounds, and a three-position selector switch [that] . . . . allowed a user to switch the weapon’s setting from safety to fully automatic fire."  So, basically, like your classic marijuana grow in a movie.

So what's the defendant's sentence, you think?

Sure, it's up in Northern California, where these things are not hugely uncommon.  Though, still, the events predate the most recent legalization moves.  And the illegal firearm is a big deal, as is the fact that it's being used in connection with a large scale drug operation:  a classic no-no.

Mr. May's sentence?

Probation.  No jail time at all.

Not what I would have guessed from the facts.

As I said at the outset:  a case appropriately published on 4/20.  One that gives hope, I suspect, to a variety of drug operators who similarly tend their fields with illegal fully automatic weapons.