The Supreme Court in the state of Wyoming has admonished an attorney in Cheyenne for permitting a DCI agent to make a false testimony in a case against hemp growers.
Last year during a hearing of the case, Special Agent Jon Briggs of the Division of Criminal Investigation gave a false testimony about an exchange he had with one of the defendants when officers conducted a raid on the operation. The defendant, a contract farmer by the name of Brock Dyke, presented to the agent test results that showed that the hemp crop was legal during the raid, which took place in 2019. However, during preliminary hearings, Briggs asserted that the tests possibly showed that the hemp was above the legal limit of THC, which was false. The case sought to prosecute hemp growers as cannabis traffickers.
Hemp has been legal in Wyoming since 2017. However, under the state’s law, hemp plants shouldn’t have a concentration of more than 0.3% THC.
David Singleton, the senior assistant district attorney in Laramie County, was the presiding prosecutor in the case.
After the hearing, Tom Jubin, who was the defendant’s attorney, asked Singleton and Briggs to correct the record. However, the two tried to reinforce the false testimony once more in a court hearing a few months later.
The order of public censure released by the Supreme Court shows that during this hearing, which was held in August, Briggs not only reiterated his false testimony but also stated that he was not aware of the request by the defendant’s attorney. For his part, Singleton acknowledged that he violated the state’s judiciary rules of professional conduct and agreed to pay administrative fees to the Wyoming State Bar.
Brock Dyke revealed in an interview that during the raid, which occurred in November 2019, the DCI seized more than 600 pounds of hemp, noting that law enforcement officers armed with rifles and in tactical gear carried out the operation.
Singleton was trying to charge the hemp farmers whose operations were raided with drug trafficking charges. However, the attempt was thwarted after Antoinette Williams, the circuit court judge in Laramie County, dismissed the charges during the hearing in August.
It is yet to be confirmed whether Briggs will be charged for giving a false testimony. Additionally, Forrest Williams, director of the DCI, hasn’t responded to a request for a comment.
This Wyoming case highlights some of the challenges that cannabis sector players face as they conduct lawful activities and shows how much additional reforms are needed before cannabis entities such as Chalice Brands Ltd. (CSE: CHAL) (OTCQB: GLDFF) can say they are treated equally with other legal industries.
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