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Filing error causes 'Doobie Dozen' dismissals

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A pair of felony cases stemming from the infamous medical marijuana raids of late 2010 have been completely dismissed after a county prosecutor missed a deadline to file an appeal.

Co-defendants Shelly and Rianna Allred are officially off the hook after San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Kelly Manderino failed to meet an April 17 deadline to file an appeal with the state.

MISSED IT BY THIS MUCH :  The SLO County District Attorney’s Office failed to meet a deadline to appeal the dismissal of the marijuana-related charges against mother and daughter co-defendants Rianna (left) and Shelly Allred, members of the so-called “Doobie Dozen.” - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • MISSED IT BY THIS MUCH : The SLO County District Attorney’s Office failed to meet a deadline to appeal the dismissal of the marijuana-related charges against mother and daughter co-defendants Rianna (left) and Shelly Allred, members of the so-called “Doobie Dozen.”

The DA’s Office received its notice of failure to meet the filing deadline on April 20, a day typically considered to be a marijuana-related holiday.

After a year and a half of hearings, the pair’s case never made it to trial. SLO Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Duffy dismissed felony charges of selling and possessing marijuana for sale in February after the DA’s Office argued it couldn’t proceed based on a set of jury instructions approved by the judge that would have undoubtedly favored the defense.

At the time, Deputy District Attorney Craig Van Rooyen told New Times prosecutors planned to appeal each dismissal in state appellate court and hopefully force the courts to clarify what is and is not legal under 1996’s ubiquitous Compassionate Use Act.

According to state law, the DA’s Office had 60 days to file its notice of appeal. Appeals for most of the other remaining Dozen were filed in March, and could take years to clear.

Of the original Dozen, only one case remains active, though it’s expected to be similarly dismissed and appealed in the coming months. Three of those arrested had their cases rejected by a SLO judge for lack of evidence during their arraignment in early 2011. Cases against eight other defendants were dismissed in January of the same year.

“I am happy for my clients,” the Allreds’ attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu, told New Times. “They are wonderful people, and justice prevailed here.”

The news came as some vindication for Rianna Allred, who said she hopes the dismissal will clear her name in the community. She has lost her job and house over the bad press and legal fees, she said.

“It’s taken a big emotional toll, for sure,” Rianna told New Times. “In the community, people saw me as a drug dealer, and that title was weighing heavily on me.”

“We just want people to understand that if [law enforcement] had just come talk to us in the beginning and not just assume that we were breaking the law, then it never would have come down to them spending all this taxpayer money throughout this whole process, which they’re still doing,” Shelly Allred told New Times. “We only hope that the rest of the ‘SLO 12’ have as good an outcome as we had.”

Neither Manderino nor a spokesperson for the DA’s Office returned requests for comment.

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