Lawyer Quits and Judge Denies Motions in Cissell Case, Sentencing July 11

dickeys top CATER2Lawyer Quits RB_04and Judge Denies Motions in Cissell Case, Sentencing July 11 (video)

(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 17, 2016)

Oak Park, MI – As Andrew Cissell faces up to nine months in prison and a felony record for marijuana related crimes, he claims that the system has failed him and wants his story to be heard.

Cissell agreed to a plea deal with the Oakland County Prosecutor’s office, but says that once he left the court last week he realized what he signed was different than what he thought he’d agreed to.

“Most recently, because my back’s so against the wall, I decided to take the option of a plea deal.  Now the plea deal I was offered had four things by my lawyer and those four things did not happen,” Cissell said in an interview with oc115.

“One I was offered there were going to be two misdemeanors… They did not offer me this.  They rushed me into signing.  I did not get a chance to read the papers all the way through. I trusted my lawyer.  I did not make an intelligent decision.  I did not know what was going to happen because I trusted my lawyer and she rushed though the signing and basically I was swindled into a deal that I did not approve of.”

NewWay_Jazz_TuesdaysThe investigation that led to Cissell’s arrest began after successfully turning in enough petitions to get a marijuana legislation bill placed on the ballot in Ferndale, and announcing his run for State House of Representatives for the 27th District.

At the end of July 2013 Cissell turned in the petitions, which ultimately led to the voter-supported change in local ordinance making it legal for adults age 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana on private property. (Since that time he’s also led similar efforts in Oak Park, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge and Hazel Park.).  The petitions also led to a charge, and conviction, of using a false address on a petition.

In September the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team conducted a sting operation, wherein Cissell sold pot to an undercover informant.  Cissell was pulled over in Ferndale and arrested.  Oakland County NET then executed warrants on three homes.  Two in Oak Park contained grow MBREW draft oneoperations and at the third, located in Ferndale, had belonged to his father.  Because the Ferndale address is the one Cissell used to file the petition, he was guilty of using a false address because Ferndale City Charter requires a petitioner to be a resident of the city.

According to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office report, NET investigators seized 120 grams of marijuana from Cissell’s vehicle, and $405.  From a home on Renselaer in Oak Park they seized 47 marijuana plants. According the report, “the plants were located in 3 different areas of the residence- 21 plants in a small room located on the main residence floor, the plants were in pots with an indoor lighting and watering system, 17 marijuana plants located in the candlewickshoppeADbluebasement, also growing in pots with an indoor lighting and watering system and 9 plants growing outside the address inside the fenced yard.” Police also found digital scales, a “large amount” of packaging, marijuana paraphernalia, and two small safes that contained 838 grams of high grade marijuana, a gold necklace and $50. Another house in Oak Park was included in the investigation. According to the report, on Rosewood Street investigators found “58 marijuana plants growing inside the residence. The plants were located in two different areas of the address. 22 marijuana plants were located upstairs growing in pots with an indoor watering and lighting system along 36 plants growing in the basement also with an indoor lighting and watering system.” The report also listed documents, paraphernalia, packaging material and digital scales as part of what was taken for evidence.

Cissell’s defense includes that he is a registered medical marijuana caregiver m1_two toneand patient and that the purchase took place in Detroit, not in Oakland County.  He hopes that if the plea is withdrawn he can go to trial.

On Tuesday Judge Harla Jarbou heard motions including the motion to withdraw the plea, which Cissell had prepared and filed himself, and denied them.

Cissell’s attorney, upset over Cissell’s independent actions and his quotes to another news source about feeling deceived.

Cissell has retained new counsel that he says plans to file another motion to have the plea withdrawn.  Sentencing is currently scheduled for July 11.

dickeys bottom CATERThe 28-year-old Oak Park resident also recently led a petition drive in Hazel Park that would require police to wear body cameras.  Hazel Park City Council has rejected the petition for several reasons including a lack of funding mechanism.  Cissell plans to ask the court to compel the city to put the measure on the ballot.

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