Man Arrested for Marijuana Possession Sees Judge
Brown County jail inmate Christopher Diaz appeared in the 35th District Court on Thursday requesting release from what he and his supporters consider unlawful imprisonment. Diaz and his court appointed attorney Fred Franklin were both present for the hearing.
Franklin told Judge Steve Ellis that his client had instructed him to remain silent and not to make any statements. The Judge asked Diaz if he wished to present his own case and the defendant informed the court that he fired his attorney. Diaz then exercised his right to be silent.
“I now stand mute,” stated Diaz.
Franklin told the court that he had no objection to representing Diaz, but he has had difficulty communicating with his client.
Judge Ellis denied the request for Franklin to be removed as Diaz’s attorney.
“Since nothing else has been presented, your request to have Mr. Franklin removed is denied as he has done everything any able attorney would do,” said Judge Ellis.
A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper arrested Diaz on June 27 when he was charged with Possession of Marijuana (less than two ounces) and Manufacture of Controlled Substance, over four grams and under 4oo grams. Prosecutors claimed in court that Diaz was in possession of 14 grams of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or “hash” (a more potent form of marijuana), which has a street value of $2400. Supporters of Diaz have explained that the marijuana was in his possession due to a prescription from California and is used as medication for relief from asthma.
It was noted in court that Diaz has no prior offenses, but has not provided any identifying information since his arrest.
Judge Ellis concluded the hearing by maintaining Diaz’s bond and sending him back to Brown County Jail.
“Reasons given, what’s not been presented, the $35,000 bond is not reduced and remains in place,” Ellis said. “Return him to the Brown County Jail until the Grand Jury has convened.”
Diaz has recently been in the news since his arrest with a group calling themselves “I am Sovereign” protesting his detention. They have expressed their belief to authorities that the drugs found on Diaz were bona fide prescriptions for asthma issued to him in California. They have also claimed that Diaz has been denied treatment for his asthma and access to his organic diet while in custody.
“We provide very good medical attention to all the inmates and he is in good hands until he leaves,” said Brown County Chief Deputy Bobby Duvall.
The Grand Jury will hear Diaz’s case this week and determine if there is enough evidence to indict him on the charges.
Photo: Diaz is escorted out of the Brown County Courthouse on Thursday morning.