Lafayette judge quits in protest over proposed marijuana penalty |

Lafayette judge quits in protest over proposed marijuana penalty

LAFAYETTE, Colo. (AP) ” A judge has resigned to protest a proposal to impose stiffer city penalties for marijuana possession.

Leon Frieling, a Boulder attorney, resigned Monday as an associate municipal judge, citing an ordinance that would set a fine of up to $1,000 and a jail term of up to a year for marijuana. The existing city fine is $100, the same penalty set under state law.

The City Council tentatively approved the new penalties last week. Final approval could come next week.

“I cannot in good conscience sit on the bench while being unwilling to enforce the municipal ordinances,” Frieling’s letter said.

Mayor Chris Berry said he had not seen Frieling’s letter and could not comment on its contents. Berry said the stiffer penalties were designed to give judges more options, and the maximum would not be mandatory.

“My interpretation was that it would be up to the judge,” Berry said. “A sitting judge could still make (the fine) $100.”

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