Lori Duckworth's new attorney confident of acquittal

Judge lifts order barring contact with children

A new attorney for a woman who ran a Medford medical marijuana dispensary raided by police said he is pleased with what he is discovering about the case against his client.

Justin Rosas appeared in Jackson County Circuit Court Monday representing Lori Duckworth. The 48-year-old grandmother and her husband, Leland Duckworth, 49, were arrested in a series of medical marijuana dispensary raids in May. The couple are facing racketeering and a host of other charges, including 11 counts each of conspiracy to deliver marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school and 11 counts each of manufacturing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school.

The Duckworths face added charges of a single count each of racketeering, three counts each of money laundering and a single count each of possession of substantial amounts of marijuana in excess of 150 grams, said Leland Duckworth's attorney, Leland Berger.

The Duckworths have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Lori Duckworth, a vocal proponent of medical marijuana, is the executive director of the Southern Oregon chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Rosas said he is confident his client will be found innocent.

"I am pleased with the information we have received in discovery," Rosas said. "I expect the court will see that Ms. Duckworth was complying with Oregon medical marijuana laws."

The SONORML office on West Sixth Street in Medford was one of four medical cannabis dispensaries raided by police on May 23.

The Jackson County raids made headlines across the country and prompted an outcry from local medical-marijuana advocates, who claim police were doing little more than trying to prove a point that they disapprove of the Duckworths in particular and the medical-marijuana community in general.

Police allege the dispensaries were storefronts for illegal marijuana sales. Officers said they seized nearly 12 pounds of marijuana, 94 plants, $2,752 in cash, documents, computers and edible marijuana products from SONORML. Police said they believe the money is from illegal drug sales. Police also said they seized 22 pounds of marijuana from the Duckworths' home.

The Duckworths' landlord evicted SONORML from the site, saying that it broke federal laws by using the property as a front for marijuana sales, according to an eviction notice filed in Jackson County Circuit Court.

In June, Berger successfully argued the couple should have the no-contact order lifted against each other, which resulted in a tearful reunion between them in the courthouse lobby. Monday afternoon, Rosas asked Circuit Judge Timothy Barnack to lift the no-contact order barring the Duckworths from being around minor children other than their son and grandchildren. Barnack agreed.

The Duckworths smiled at their son outside the courtroom. Lori Duckworth said she is grateful she will be able to attend sporting events and school activities with her child.

"That is a huge relief," she said. "My husband and I will be able to participate in our last child's last year in high school."

David James Bond, 44, of Puffin' Stuff in Medford, was also arrested in the raids. He faces eight counts of conspiracy to deliver marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school and a single count of racketeering and money laundering, as well as being a felon in possession of a weapon. He has also pleaded not guilty.

Barnack scheduled a preliminary hearing for all three defendants on Oct. 21.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email sspecht@mailtribune.com.

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