Thursday, December 5, 2013
A recent complaint filed by the Illinois Administrator alleges:
In late December 2012, Respondent traveled to California to visit some friends for the New Year’s holiday. During the visit, Respondent purchased 7.25 pounds of "sour diesel" marijuana from a friend, two pounds of which he intended to distribute to other friends in Illinois and a friend in Denver who had given Respondent money for the purchase. Sometime after January 1, 2013, Respondent began traveling from California in his grey Subaru Outback to his residence in Mount Morris, Illinois.
At or about 9:40 a.m. on January 3, 2013, Respondent was traveling eastbound on Interstate 80 through Winnemucca, Nevada, with the 7.25 pounds of marijuana, referred to in paragraph one, above, in his car. At that time, Respondent was stopped by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office for speeding.
When approached by the officer, Respondent handed him the vehicle registration and his business card, which identified Respondent as an attorney. The officer smelled marijuana in Respondent’s car and asked Respondent if he could search the vehicle. Respondent denied the officer’s request. When the officer then explained that he had a drug-sniffing dog in his car, Respondent stated that he did not have any drugs in the car.
Respondent’s statement to the officer was false. As Respondent knew, he was carrying 7.25 pounds of marijuana in his car and his statements and refusal to consent to a search were intended to conceal from the officer that he had 7.25 pounds of marijuana in his car.
The officer then brought a trained drug-sniffing dog from his police car and walked the dog around the perimeter of Respondent’s car. The officer told Respondent that the dog had detected marijuana in Respondent’s car. The officer then asked Respondent if his car contained drugs, to which Respondent stated, "not that I know of." The officer asked Respondent again if he could search the car and Respondent consented to a search of two pieces of luggage in his car but not to a search of the entire car.
Respondent’s statement to the officer that he did not know if his car contained drugs was false. As Respondent knew, he was carrying 7.25 pounds of marijuana in his car and his statements and refusal to consent to a full search were intended to conceal from the officer that he had 7.25 pounds of marijuana in his car.
The officer then obtained a warrant by phone to search Respondent’s entire vehicle. After searching the vehicle, the officer found a vacuum-sealing machine, supplies for the machine, vacuum-sealed brownies containing marijuana and eight separate vacuum-sealed bags of marijuana (totaling 7.25 pounds of marijuana) and $1,050 in cash. The officer then arrested Respondent.
On or about January 8, 2013, the Humboldt County District Attorney charged Respondent in the Justice’s Court of Union Township, Humboldt County, Nevada, with a felony count of transporting a controlled substance, and another felony count of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of sale. (State of Nevada v. Richard C. Folk, case number 13 CR 00016) A copy of the complaint is attached as Exhibit One.
On January 24, 2013, the Humboldt County District Attorney filed an amended complaint against Respondent which dismissed both felony counts described in paragraph seven, above, and charged Respondent instead with one misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana. On or about February 15, 2013, Respondent pled guilty in case number 13 CR 00016 to possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor, in violation of NRS 453.336(4)(a) and agreed to forfeit ownership of his Subaru to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s office.
On March 26, Judge Letty Norcutt entered an order in case number 13 CR 00016 sentencing Respondent to 19 days in jail with credit for time served, and ordered Respondent to pay a $250 fine. A copy of the docketing sheet order entry is attached as Exhibit Two.
Obviously, there are serious disciplinary violations here if the alleged facts are proven.
Notably, the Administrator alleges that lying to the police violated Rule 4.1. As the rule requires that the false statement be "in connection with the representation of a client," that may be an overcharge. (Mike Frisch)