A Ventura attorney accused of possessing LSD was not the victim of an illegal search and seizure, a Ventura County judge ruled Monday.
Ventura police arrested attorney Douglas Andrew Palaschak at his office May 9 and charged him and a secretary, Jessica Jobin, with possession of LSD.
In a two-day hearing that concluded Monday, two police officers testified that they went to the office after another employee reported that Jobin, 18, and Palaschak, 42, had taken LSD. The informant said she feared that Jobin might be sexually assaulted, the officers said.
Palaschak's attorney, Steve Pell, argued that the informant, a juvenile with a theft conviction, was not a sufficiently reliable informant to justify a warrantless search. Once inside the office, Pell said, the officers saw that Jobin was safe and should have dropped their inquiry. Instead, the officers said they asked Jobin where the LSD was and she handed them her purse, which allegedly contained about 46 doses of the drug.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Kim George Gibbons said the officers would have been remiss had they not checked on the informant's tip. Nor should they have accepted Jobin's assurances, Gibbons said, because they believed that she was under the influence of LSD.
Superior Court Judge James M. McNally agreed. He also ruled that Jobin was not coerced into giving the officers the LSD.
Palaschak's trial, which had been scheduled to start today, was postponed until Dec. 16. The case against Jobin, who is cooperating with prosecutors, is pending until after Palaschak's trial. Both are free on their promises to appear in court.