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Court: Arizona judge, prosecutor wrong on plea agreements

PHOENIX — A state appeals court said a trial judge and a prosecutor were
both wrong in taking rigid positions on whether plea agreements must prohibit
using marijuana, whether medicinal or not.

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk appealed after Superior Court Judge Cele Hancock deleted a provision against marijuana use from a criminal
defendant’s plea agreement.

Polk wanted to include the prohibitions in all plea agreements, while Hancock
maintains that would improperly tie the judge’s hands.

The Court of Appeals ruled that Hancock was wrong to take a blanket position
and that it was appropriate for the one defendant’s plea agreement to prohibit
marijuana use.

The court also said Polk’s blanket insistence on including marijuana-use
prohibitions doesn’t satisfy the prosecutor’s duty to write plea agreements to fit individual cases’ circumstances.


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