Prosecutors have dismissed drug charges against a woman who says she was growing marijuana to help with her cancer.
District Attorney Richard Flores confirmed Monday that he dismissed the charges last week because of “potential” problems with the search that resulted in the discovery of the marijuana plants at Vicky Harvey’s house in Holman.
He stated in an e-mail that District Judge Gerald Baca had ruled that the search was not valid.
“I could have still gone forward, but in the interest of justice, I thought it fair to dismiss because Judge Baca’s ruling, in essence, means we cannot introduce the marijuana as evidence” during trial, Flores said.
The trial has been scheduled for Monday and today. Harvey, 53, had been charged with possession and distribution of marijuana.
A year ago, the Mora County Sheriff’s Department received a tip from Harvey’s landlord that she has been growing marijuana in her back yard. According to a criminal complaint, authorities found four potted marijuana plants there. The complaint also states that officers found plastic baggies with marijuana as well as a scale and a smoking device.
Harvey had contended that she was entitled to grow and smoke marijuana under the state’s law allowing the use of medical marijuana, which took effect last July.
She has said that she went to state government offices in Santa Fe after the new law took effect but couldn’t find the right officials to get the certificate for a medical exemption to state laws banning marijuana use.
Two months after her arrest, she got the proper certificate.
Her attorney, David Silva, has contested the allegations, saying that prosecutors hadn’t proved that his client had any criminal intent.
Silva has previously argued that Mora County Sheriff Roy Cordova conducted an illegal search. Silva said she signed a written consent form for a search after she had already been arrested and the plants were seized.
Cordova has disagreed with that contention, saying that Harvey gave verbal and written consent.
Flores had offered to place Harvey into a pre-prosecution program, which is designed for nonviolent, first-time offenders. Under such a program, she would never have been considered convicted as long as she abided by the program’s conditions.
Harvey didn’t accept. Flores said last month that he had tried to do everything he could short of an “outright” dismissal to resolve the case.
Harvey said Monday she was happy that the charges were dismissed.
“I really thank the judge for that,” Harvey said Monday. “These cops need some good training because they don’t know what they’re doing.”