Woosung man facing cannabis charges wants GPS, home detention conditions lifted

Joshua T. Anderson

OREGON – The attorney for a Woosung man charged with unlawful possession with the intent to deliver more than 5,000 grams of cannabis is asking an Ogle County judge to modify conditions imposed on his client as his case proceeds through the court system.

Joshua T. Anderson, 38, appeared in court Monday with his attorney, Aaron Buscemi of Rockford. Buscemi told Judge John “Ben” Roe that he had filed a motion asking that Anderson’s pretrial release conditions be altered.

Anderson was arrested April 10 after the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Unit executed a search warrant at his home in the 700 block of South Central Street in Woosung.

Police said they seized more than 46 pounds of cannabis with an estimated street value of more than $200,000 after what they described as a lengthy investigation.

He is charged with unlawful possession with the intent to deliver more than 5,000 grams of cannabis, possession of 20 to 50 cannabis plants, and possession of less than 15 grams of a substance containing the painkiller tramadol.

Anderson has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges and testified May 1 that he has a medical marijuana card and was growing the plants for his own use.

During Anderson’s May 1 preliminary hearing, Judge John Redington ruled that probable cause existed to continue the case after hearing testimony from Deputy John Shippert, a member of the Special Operations Unit for the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office, and Anderson.

Shippert said 27 cannabis plants taller than 6 inches were seized during the search as were vacuum bags, a bag sealer and scales. He said those items indicated to him that there was an intent to deliver the cannabis. He said ledgers also were found but not investigated.

Anderson testified that he has had a medical marijuana card for at least eight years, and some of the plants were slated to be destroyed after the strongest ones were selected to complete their growing cycle. He said the ledgers kept track of his “cannabis-consulting clients” and all of the cannabis found was slated for his personal use.

Buscemi said Anderson had a valid medical marijuana card and maintains that the cannabis found was for his own personal use.

Ogle County State’s Attorney Mile Rock argued that the charges against Anderson were detainable and he should not be released from custody.

Redington agreed and continued an earlier decision made by Roe after Anderson’s April 11 detention hearing. At that hearing, Roe agreed to release Anderson from custody with the additional conditions that he be placed on home detention and be subject to GPS monitoring and random drug and alcohol testing. He also ordered Anderson to refrain from the use of illegal drugs and alcohol.

During detention hearings, a judge determines whether to release a defendant from custody as the case proceeds through the court system. Criteria used by judges to make that decision include the nature of the alleged offenses, whether the defendant’s release would pose a “clear and present danger” to the community or certain individuals, and whether the defendant is considered to be a “flight risk” and likely will not appear again for scheduled court cases.

Buscemi’s motion, filed Monday, asked that the home detention and GPS conditions be lifted.

“The detention or release order entered on April 11 does not state any basis for the court’s finding that GPS monitoring or home confinement is necessary,” Buscemi said in the motion.

Buscemi also argued that according to state statute, electronic monitoring and home confinement only should be ordered if the defendant is a flight risk or to protect a person from imminent threat of serious physical harm.

“The order for electronic monitoring, GPS monitoring or home confinement is in direct contravention of the clear and unambiguous language of the statue,” Buscemi said in the motion.

On Monday, Rock said he had received the motion that morning and needed time to file a response. Roe set a motion hearing for 10:30 a.m. May 28.

Monday was Anderson’s fourth court appearance since the charges were filed.

The possession with the intent to deliver charge is a Class X felony punishable by six to 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections and a maximum fine of $200,000.

Possession of the plants is a Class 3 felony punishable by two to five years in prison with a maximum fine of $25,000, while the controlled substance charge is a Class 2 felony that carries a one- to three-year sentence with a $25,000 fine.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen Hinton

Earleen creates content and oversees production of 8 community weeklies. She has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.