The city of Dearborn dismissed a misdemeanor marijuana charge against Detroit resident Shalandra Jones, after a year of court battles. The move came during a final pre-trial hearing in the case on Sept. 26.
Jones was driving in Dearborn on Aug. 3, 2012, when she and a companion were pulled over by Officer David Lacey of the Dearborn Police Department for a burned out taillight. The stop was documented in a police video released by the American Independent News Network.
Jones' companion admitted to having marijuana in the car and an outstanding traffic ticket.
When Lacey discovered Jones was HIV-positive, he told her he was giving her a ticket because he was irritated Jones hadn't immediately informed him about her status during a search of the vehicle.
In the recording, the officer can be heard telling Jones, “Honestly, if it wasn’t for (your HIV status), I don’t think I would have wrote anybody for anything. But that kind of really aggravated me, you know what I mean? You got to tell me right away, ‘I’ve got this. I’ve got that.’ Cause at that time, I wasn’t wearing any gloves.”
At the time of the incident, Jones had an expired medical marijuana card.
The city pursued criminal charges against Jones despite her proof of defense under Section 8 of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. Jones' lawyers said the city offered to dismiss the case if Jones would waive her right to sue the city for violating her civil rights.
“This is probably the longest case I’ve been involved in,” said Paul Spaniolo, one of two attorneys who handled the case. “(Jones) followed the law to the ‘t.’ She couldn’t have followed it any better.”
The case involved more than 10 hearings, including an appeal to the Wayne County Circuit Court.
Joshua Moore of Detroit Legal Services is also representing Jones and said his client will file a lawsuit against the city for violating her civil rights.