It's been almost a month to the day since Joe Grumbine was arrested at the Long Beach downtown courthouse when he showed up for a regularly scheduled trial conference hearing. Along with his partner Joe Byron, Grumbine had run a pair of Long Beach pot dispensaries as well as Garden Grove's Unit D collective until the shops were raided in Dec. 2009. Both men were tried and convicted of several counts of selling marijuana (Byron was also convicted of stealing electricity). But the charges were overturned for judicial misconduct after Judge Charles D. Sheldon recused himself from the case for writing a congratulatory letter to prosecutor Jodi Castano before the trial had actually ended.
“Joe looks worse each hearing, both physically and mentally,” King reports. “When the deputy raised him to leave, he turned to slowly face his friends, family, and backers and seemed to look each one in the eye as if to say thanks. At that slow-mo moment, you could feel him strenthen his resolve in the deliberately slow walk to the inmate door as he fed off the love, and admiration(as in my case) and stood tall.”