(April 25, 2019) - In a sentencing hearing in
Dickinson County District Court today (Thursday), Judge Julie LaCost sentenced
disabled veteran and MS patient Justin Graham to 90 days in jail, and five
Under the terms set forth in the sentencing, Justin will be incarcerated for 45 days beginning immediately. The other 45 days will be suspended upon successful completion of the probation.
Once again, Judge LaCost disputed not only the validity of Justin's medical marijuana cards, but the credentials of the physicians who authorized them.
Contrary to the report issued recently by Governor Whitmer's Task Force, the Judge continued to expound the dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana. The report declared unequivocally that in an experienced user, marijuana has no effect on the user's physical dexterity. In her ruling, the judge discounted the medical value of marijuana, was critical of the physicians who had prescribed medical marijuana, and basically said that she knows more about the effects of marijuana than the Governor's task force. One cannot help but wonder on the basis of what experience or studies the judge has formed this opinion.
In delivering her sentence, Judge LaCost went through a list of problems that Justin has had with substance abuse, as though to justify what she was about to do to him. We were aware of all of this when we decided to tell Justin's story.
Rather than justifying her actions, the Judge clearly showed that she neither knows, nor does she appear to care, about the effects of PTSD. Of course, Judge LaCost is not alone in this. Across the Country, judges regular punish PTSD sufferers. Kind of like: Don't you dare have another heart attack, or we're going to jail you. There is no difference. They are both illnesses over which the victim has little or no control.
Rather than justifing his sentencing, the Judge's history only amplified his need for help, not for being locked in a cell.
She also ordered that Justin submit to regular drug screening while on probation, and prohibited from using medical marijuana during the probationary period. This means that Justin will have to suffer for another six months or more without the only medication that has actually helped both his multiple sclerosis and PTSD symptoms.
We are not personally familiar with Judge LaCost. We can only judge her on her actions. She has shown herself to be single-minded, uninformed on the entire subject of Canbabis, and sadly, lacking in compassion.
This is not to say that Justin has not made mistakes. First of all, he went and got sick. That was obviously a dumb thing to do. Then Justin made the mistake of visiting Dickinson County, something he will never do again. (Lesson learned) Next, he made the mistake of being far too honest in speaking with authorities. But instead of looking upon this honesty as a cry for help, it became a typical Dickinson County "Gotcha" moment, getting us to where we are today.
Justin has already been through seven months of hell. Those who know him call him a kind and gentle person, always willing to lend a hand. Today, Judge LaCost decided to extend Justin's trip through hell, when all he wants is to get out of Dickinson County, and back to a more civilized community, Colorado.
Nothing we saw or heard in court changed our mind: This arrest was not necessary, and the entire court procedure has been an experience in Draconian torture.
Justin told us that he wishes to thank everyone for the support he has received. He said it means more to him than anyone will ever know.
Editorial Commentary by DCNews Online Editor, Dave Lee