Lawyer Suspended Over Pot Clinic Takeover
(CN) - An Oregon lawyer who advised his client to stage a takeover of the medical marijuana clinic where she worked has been suspended for 90 days by the state Supreme Court.
Rochelle Leveque was asked to leave her job at The Hemp & Cannabis Foundation, which helped patients sign up for the state's medical marijuana program, in October 2005.
She was about to file legal action against the clinic, but she feared that the state attorney general would shut the clinic down, jeopardizing the health of its clients.
One day, Leveque, her attorney, Frederick T. Smith, and others entered the clinic before it opened and changed the locks. They told the arriving employees that they were taking over.
The clinic's office manager told Leveque's group to leave, and the police later appeared. When Smith saw a faxed copy of the lease with the corporation listed as the lessee, he advised his client to leave.
Smith was operating on the theory that the corporation had been dissolved for five years and that his client had as much right to run it as the clinic's operator, Paul Stanford. But Smith's information was erroneous, as the clinic had only been dissolved for two weeks and could easily be reinstated.
The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that Smith should not have advised his client to take over the clinic.
"The accused knew that the positions he took in the course of representing Leveque were frivolous," the justices wrote.
"The accused lied to various individuals at the clinic, telling them that he had some written authorization permitting Leveque and her associates to take over the clinic. That supports the Bar's position that the accused knew that, without some such authorization, he and Leveque had no right ... to take over the clinic," the court concluded.