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Medical Marijuana Proponent Is Jailed Pending Bail Hearing

Drugs: Court will determine if Todd McCormick violated terms of his release on conspiracy conviction.

January 04, 2000|From a Times staff writer

Medical marijuana advocate Todd McCormick, who is awaiting sentencing for a federal drug conspiracy conviction, was jailed Monday pending the outcome of a hearing on whether he violated the terms of his bail.

The U.S. attorney's office filed papers in Los Angeles federal court seeking to revoke McCormick's bond because of his arrest in November after a 90-mph freeway chase in Orange County.

A California Highway Patrol officer testified during a hearing before federal magistrate James W. McMahon that McCormick, 29, threw a small item out of his car before stopping.

The officer also said he detected a strong odor of what he thought was marijuana coming from the vehicle.

McCormick, who admitted he did not have a driver's license, then sped off with the CHP officer in pursuit, the officer said. Stopped again a few miles away, McCormick was arrested and taken to the Orange County Jail, where he was booked and released on his own recognizance.

A federal prosecutor said the Orange County district attorney's office is deciding whether to file formal charges against McCormick.

But McMahon indicated after Monday's three-hour hearing that he will probably base his decision not on the car chase--since those allegations have not been adjudicated--but on another government claim that McCormick violated his bail conditions by failing to tell authorities that he had moved out of actor Woody Harrelson's mountain home near Big Bear Lake.

Harrelson has posted $500,000 bail for McCormick's freedom and stands to lose some of that money if the government's bail revocation motion is granted.

The proceedings will resume Wednesday with testimony from Harrelson's mother, who has been living at the Big Bear-area home, and from a federal employee who supervised McCormick's bail release.

McCormick was arrested in 1997 when authorities found more than 4,000 marijuana plants growing in the Bel-Air mansion that he rented. He pleaded guilty in November after a federal judge barred him from using medical necessity as a defense.

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