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Compton Council Postpones Pot-Nuisance Case for a Week

December 18, 1986

COMPTON — A discordant City Council granted a one-week delay Tuesday in the longstanding public nuisance proceeding against Francesca Houpe, who is accused of growing three marijuana plants in her backyard.

At one point, Councilman Robert L. Adams even suggested that the case be "dismissed in the interest of justice."

City Atty. Wesley Fenderson Jr. initially sought a delay until January so Houpe's attorney could work out scheduling conflicts that prevented him from attending Tuesday's meeting. But Councilman Maxcy D. Filer complained that the matter had been postponed several times before, and he asked that the council decide the case once and for all this week. Councilwoman Jane D. Robbins agreed.

Adams and Mayor Walter R. Tucker sided with Fenderson, noting that their schedules were already crowded with holiday plans. Adams made a motion to drop the case altogether because the council seemed unable to reschedule it. But that died for lack of a second.

Councilman Floyd A. James, meanwhile, abstained because Houpe has accused him of triggering the nuisance action, the first step in a process that could ultimately lead confiscating her house.

Houpe is a witness against James in a felony election-fraud case pending in Superior Court. Compton police reported finding the marijuana plants in Houpe's yard shortly after she testified against James at a preliminary hearing. Houpe has denied knowing about any marijuana, and the Los Angeles County district attorney has twice declined to file charges against her.

But the council has proceeded with its civil action, which has included testimony from a witness who declined to take a lie detector test when questioned by district attorney's investigators.

When the council deadlocked, Tucker called for a five-minute recess, after which he appealed to Filer and suggested that the hearing be held next Tuesday.

"That's fine with me," Filer answered, "but I won't go any farther."

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