Friday, April 9, 2010

Tiffani Kjeldergaard’s “RETURN OF PROPERTY MOTION”

By: Tiffani Kjeldergaard

Medical Marijuana patient and “Pot Farmer” (as the San Diego sheriffs office stated in their press release June 20, 2009), Potrero resident Tiffani Kjeldergaard went to court, April 2, 2010 to request her medical marijuana medicine be returned from San Diego’s District Attorney.

Kjeldergaard was arrested on June 20, 2009 for growing and using her medical marijuana while on probation. During a probation check at her residence, Kjeldergaard was awakened from her Saturday afternoon nap by 7 sheriff officers and 2 probation officers entering the bedroom. She was instantly handcuffed and the home was searched. Officers saw Kjeldergaard’s smoking utensils and some marijuana and a small garden of 7 plants under 2 inches tall. Several clone cuttings were also present but law enforcement does not consider them plants unless they have a root ball.

Kjeldergaard has had her physician Dr. Sterner’s and his verbal and written recommendations dating back to 2005. She has been a patient of his since then and her disease would never decrease in the painful stages, it is a progressive disease resulting in physical disabilities.

Kjeldergaard was taken to Las Colinas women’s facility in Santee where she remained on a “No Bail Hold” which means her duration was unknown. After several court appearances, a lockdown of Swine Flu that cancelled court dates 30 days, represented by a public defender named Michael Berberich, Kjeldergaard was coerced to plead guilty by her attorney.

San Diego East County court has a strange way of doing things, you are to plead guilty first and they will tell you your consequence after. No knowledge of your fate is given prior to your plea. That seems wrong and illegal.

Mr. Berberich convinced Kjeldergaard to comply. She pled guilty. She was then disclosed that the San Diego probation department was recommending 3 years in a state correctional facility…that meant prison!

Kjeldergaard suffers from several injuries that are horse related, she has an auto immune disease called Rheumatoid arthritis and she has a shoulder replacement that troubles her daily. Kjeldergaard is also on Methotrexate (a chemotherapy drug for the disease) and suffers digestion and appetite issues.

Kjeldergaard suffered in the jail for 132 days. She was not given her Marinol, vicodin and trazadone as prescribed by her physician Dr. Peter Hein of Kaiser- Bostonia, nor was she given her Methotrexate or Plaquenil as prescribed by her physician Dr. Motomedi of Kaiser- Baker Hill. Her health deteriorated in the cold and damp cells and she had pain every minute of every day.

After several weeks of court dates and continuances Kjeldergaard had been spending her time in the law library at the jail. She discovered enough legal support of innocence to provide her attorney Michael Berberich, at that time she requested to withdraw her plea of guilty and requested that the judge be able to review her new findings, and possibly release her dropping all charges. Berberich refused.

Kjeldergaard fired Mr. Michael Berberich and retained James Pasto Esq. He presented the information to the judge yet, the judge ordered Kjeldergaard’s release date is October 29, 2009 as a sentence.

Upon release Kjeldergaard went to all her doctors for continued pain she started having in the jail. Excruciating body aches like she is bruised all over and she loses the use of her arms for periods of time because the pain to lift them is excruciating. Kjeldergaard’s physician Dr. Motomedi is a rheumatologist for Kaiser and she diagnosed Kjeldergaard with Fibromyalgia which is a terribly painful chronic problem that will never go away. Kjeldergaard requested a motion to the San Diego Superior Court for a probation modification that would allow her the use and possession of medical marijuana, pursuant to the People v Tilehkooh case. Kjeldergaard was granted the right to have medical marijuana with the condition that San Diego probation department finds the recommendation valid.

Upon meeting with probation immediately after court, Kjeldergaard was told by her probation officer Jo Lane that the recommendation was not considered valid. Lane explained that if Kjeldergaard has any prescription medication without a prescription, it is illegal. Lane stated that the recommendation was only considered valid if Kjeldergaard had a county MMJ card. Although the card is a voluntary program, Kjeldergaard was forced to have to retain one in order to be able to use her healthiest pain medicine.

Kjeldergaard was suffering and continuously getting sick from only having opiates as a pain relief. She does not like the effects that the opiates have on her thoughts and concentration, her concern that the drugs are causing damage to her kidneys, stomach and liver or enlarging her heart are all valid. Her worries about an increasing need for more and more pills to help her pain and how it would become too much on her low immune system and she’d become very ill and die. Medical Marijuana did for her what all the vicodin could do and without the damage to organs in her body or risks to her life.

Kjeldergaard received her county card and brought it to San Diego probation department and was instructed by Jo Lane the she was now allowed to have her medical marijuana possession and medicate once again. Yet she was legal and within her rights on the day of her arrest. Kjeldergaard requested her bongs, pipes, and marijuana be returned at which point the probation department scheduled a day and handed over her bongs and pipes. Probation said the marijuana was not available to hand over and I would need a court order to get it back from the DEA.

Kjeldergaard has enjoyed her victory of getting her bongs and pipes back. She is still terrified to own or grow any medical marijuana for fear of another arrest. Kjeldergaard stated, “People tell me, Tiff you should grow a big garden and smoke all you want you are legal now you got your card!” I tell them, “Hell I was legal the day they took me away for 4 months! I don’t fricken believe them”

Kjeldergaard’s home and ranch have been raided 3 times since her release and she has not been taken into custody. Kjeldergaard believes, “It is a violation of our 8th Amendment Bill of Rights that myself and other patients are being subjected to “cruel and unusual punishment” in that we are forced to suffer without our medical marijuana. Forced to take opiates, use alcohol, maybe other drugs, that in a not so far off future will kill us or destroy our lives.”

On April 2, 2010, Kjeldergaard return of property motion was granted for all items with the exception of the marijuana. Kjeldergaard received her grow equip, books, medical recommendation, and other Proposition 215 and SB420 papers and guidelines all of which were seized. No plants or dried product was returned. Kjeldergaard’s attorney Mike Dealy is filing a writ, to appeal the return of cannabis plants and dried cannabis.

On another note, Judge Deddeh did not feel comfortable determining if it was a violation of Kjeldergaard’s civil rights when probation added the "Not to use marijuana with or without a recommendation". The Judge supported that it was not lawful just in the fact he would not rule that it was legal.

Kjeldergaard’s attorney was pleased and felt there is enough on the record to be reviewed.

Visit for more information about Tiffany’s case!

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