GEORGETOWN, TX — A 19 year old Texas teenager facing life in prison for possession of a 1.5 pound pan of pot brownies was in court Thursday, while hundreds of supporters rallied outside.
Jacob Lavoro, the teen from Round Rock, TX, whose brownies contained hash oil and marijuana buds, also possessed a pound of marijuana, digital scales and baggies filled with marijuana when he was arrested in April, police say.
Lavoro’s father, Joe Lavoro, told CBS, “I don’t understand it…. I’m a law-abiding citizen. I’m a conservative. I love my country. I’m a Vietnam veteran, but…this is wrong!”
Lavoro was originally charged for the total weight of the pan of brownies, which was enough for a first-degree felony, and not the weight of the smoke-able marijuana used to make the brownies.
In court Thursday, Lavoro turned down a plea deal to reduce the charge to a second degree felony, punishable from two to 20 years in prison. His lawyer, Jack Holmes, wants to see the charge dismissed, reduced to a misdemeanor, or go to trial.
Attorney Holmes filed a motion to suppress evidence in the case, saying police entered an apartment illegally. Holmes says Round Rock police had announced that they were maintenance men when they knocked on the door of an apartment where Lavoro was staying.
Holmes contents that the search was illegal because police said they smelled marijuana when the door was opened, but didn’t see anyone in the apartment trying to get rid of any illegal substance.
“I hope for my charges to be dismissed. That’s the ultimate hope,” Lavoro said.
Lavoro’s case was postponed until August 6th, when lab results are expected to come back on the tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, content of the brownies. The hearing on the motion to suppress evidence is also expected on that date.
His penalty of 5 to 99 years in prison is more severe than manslaughter.
“This is a prime example of how our criminal justice tax dollars are going to waste,” said Tristan Tucker, Deputy Director of Dallas-Fort Worth National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “Rather using out law enforcement officers to fight real crime, we’re using them to keep brownies off the streets.”
In response to the harsh penalty, Texas citizens have demanded “Justice for Jacob” and have expressed their outrage through fundraisers, and a rally held today.
From 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, people gathered at the Williamson County Courthouse on the corner of 4th Georgetown, Texas to rally for a more lenient penalty for Lavoro.
Rally attendees were able to purchase a “Justice for Jacob” T-shirt for $20 to raise money for Lavoro’s defense fund. The rally rose up to $370 for Lavoro, and more than 477 people RSVP’d on the “Rally to Support Justice for Jacob Lavoro” Facebook page. Shirts can be purchased online for $25, including shipping.
The next fundraiser for Jacob Lavoro, “Bowl out Injustice”, will be June 22nd at Fiesta Lanes on Onix Road in El Paso, Texas. The event will be put on by El Paso National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and will be $10 per person for two hours of bowling and shoes. For more information or to RSVP, click here.
You can also donate to Lavoro’s defense fund at gofundme.com.