On July 2, 2012, the jury returned a verdict of NOT GUILTY in favor of my client who transported 83lbs of marijuana in her mini-van from Douglas, Arizona to the Phoenix area. She was relieved and overjoyed. I was overjoyed too, but left wondering how many like her are living in cages for unknowingly driving a relatively harmless plant destined for adults who want it. The outrageous aspects of this case are too numerous to describe in one article. However, one point is clear; so long as the Drug War persists, no person is safe.
On July 19, 2010, fifty-three year old Maria Carillo-Tremillo was traveling with her autistic daughter from Douglas, Arizona to Phoenix. She was expecting to meet a woman who would assist her in purchasing used clothing from various locations to resell in Mexico at a modest profit. Her mini-van was pulled over by an officer for allegedly following too closely. Maria disputed this allegation. The officer did not see or detect any odor of marijuana. After issuing Maria a warning, the officer commenced a conversation with Maria in English despite knowing Spanish was her primary language. Maria is not literate in English. Both a bi-lingual officer and a phone application to interpret were readily available but not offered. After advising her of her right to refuse, the officer asked and immediately received unrestricted consent from Maria to search her mini-van.