Category: Firm News

Criminalizing Your Consciousness: Allison Margolin

The Marijuana Times Presents; Justice. An inside look at the War on Drugs. Episode 1: Allison Margolin, Harvard Law, LA’s Dopest Attorney, discusses how she started practicing Criminal Defense Law as well as her feelings on the War on Drugs. Next Episode: Raza Lawrence, Partner in Margolin & Lawrence.

We are proud to announce new office opening in San Francisco

We work hard to protect our clients’ constitutional rights against government persecution. We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service while forcefully and creatively advocating for our clients in federal, state, and municipal proceedings. We have a long and successful track record of defending our clients against all sorts of criminal charges, including the most serious situations demanding the highest level of advocacy and discretion. While we strive to promote peace, we are always ready to do battle in courts and litigate matters through trial when compromise would not be the just result.

We are especially concerned with the injustice wrought by draconian punishments imposed for non-violent, victimless behavior and the over-criminalization of conduct that could be resolved more effectively through counseling, medical treatment, or spiritual guidance. While our practice is broad, we have a very extensive background litigating and trying serious cases involving marijuana and other controlled substances. In addition to criminal cases, we frequently represent individuals in significant civil disputes that align with our interests and professional experience.

We are pleased to announce that our office is expanding, and therefore we are opening a new location to accommodate this growth. Our new office conveniently located in the heart of San Francisco in Stadtmuller House (San Francisco Landmark #35).

Contact information:

819 Eddy St.
San Francisco,
CA 94109

Phone:(415) 771-6174
Fax: (415) 474-3748

Email: margolinlawrence@gmail.com

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This white Victorian, one block west of Van Ness, was built in the late 1880s and survived the fires of the 1906 earthquake. City authorities dynamited buildings downtown to stop the blaze, and 819 Eddy was on the border of the destruction zone. Story has it that the lady of the house fired rounds at the looters nosing around her property. For over 40 years this building has served as law offices for attorneys.

 

 

Allison B. Margolin Featured On Anderson Cooper 360 Blog

 

Allison Margolin
Criminal Defense Attorney

Charles Lynch, a dispensary operator from Morro Bay, California, who was indicted and convicted in federal court for activities related to selling marijuana to medical patients, received a sentence last Thursday of a year and a day.

John Littrell, Lynch’s attorney, indicated that Lynch received what is known as the “safety valve.” This is a federal statute that allows for a defendant who is otherwise subject to mandatory minimum sentences to have a reprieve and be sentenced outside of them. In order to qualify for the so-called ‘safety valve,’ the defendant cannot be the “leader” of the organization. Littrell indicated the judge would issue a written order amidst objection by the U.S. Attorney to the safety valve in part on that basis.

He also indicated that Lynch was sentenced to 366 days in order to qualify for good time credits that would reduce Lynch’s sentence to around 10 months.

It is refreshing and fabulous that Judge Wu has liberally interpreted the safety valve to help reduce the prison exposure of a defendant who would have a medical defense in state court. Although the attorneys were precluded from mentioning the medical defense during Lynch’s jury trial, it is clear that his medical defense, though not technically available, motivated the court to sentence the defendant far below the 10-year-mandatory minimum that would otherwise apply to his convictions.

I believe that defense attorneys should use this case as well as USA v. Landa, 281 F. Supp. 2d 1139 (2003) , in which the district court contemplated compliance with state law as a basis for a downward departure in the guidelines (although that case lacked evidence of state law compliance), to argue that state law has a place in contemplating punishment when the state and federal law differ and the state gives more rights than the federal government.

I drafted a motion like this for Stephanie Landa on her appeal. For anyone interested, the argument is that the 10th Amendment is violated by the federal enforcement of marijuana’s Schedule I status in the medical states.

A few weeks ago, the New York Times Magazine published an article, “Obama’s Judicial Philosophy Analyzed,” by Charlie Savage, about what the author perceived to be Obama’s judicial philosophy and the one he believed Supreme Court justices appointed by Obama would follow.

The article suggested that Obama is interested in a court who articulates rights that many states (maybe a super-minority) have recognized, and pushes the other states along. That is why the recent legalization of medical marijuana in Rhode Island should be celebrated as a victory and replicated in more states.

Then we can use federal marijuana cases as a vehicle to go back to the U.S. Supreme Court and ask that the use of marijuana for medical purposes be recognized as a right that is held superior to the ban of the conduct by the Controlled Substances Act, the statute that regulates controlled substances and places marijuana in a category that has no medical use, Schedule I.

Editor’s Note: Harvard-educated Lawyer Allison B. Margolin is now a practicing criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles. She is often referred to as ‘L.A.’s ‘dopest’ attorney.

Read article on AC260 website.