Palisade man in pot farm case to represent self at trial
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado Ã¢a¬a Despite a judgeÃ¢a¬a¢s recommendation, the trial of a Palisade man accused in an alleged marijuana cultivation case is proceeding with the defendant representing himself.
Luis Luna-Flores, 32, told 9th Judicial District Court Judge Gail Nichols through an interpreter, Tuesday, that he canÃ¢a¬a¢t afford an attorney and just wants to get the case over with.
Ã¢a¬Å”I donÃ¢a¬a¢t really care about this anymore,Ã¢a¬ï¿1/2 Luna-Flores said. Ã¢a¬Å”I just want to get through with this.Ã¢a¬ï¿1/2
Luna-Flores fired his court-appointed attorney, Carbondale attorney Kathy Goudy, in July and said that he would be getting another attorney. However, he said Tuesday that he has been unable to find another attorney, because he cannot afford one.
Ã¢a¬Å”IÃ¢a¬a¢m going through a really tough financial time,Ã¢a¬ï¿1/2 he said, adding that he has five daughters to provide for, and is currently going through a separation from his wife, and has recently lost his job.
Still, judge Nichols expressed her dislike of Luna-Flores representing himself in the case.
Ã¢a¬Å”You are putting yourself in a very difficult position without an attorney and going to trial,Ã¢a¬ï¿1/2 Nichols said.
Regardless, Nichols set the case for a two-day trial in January.
A previous trial date set for Aug. 3 was canceled after Luna-Flores fired Goudy in July.
Luna-Flores pleaded not guilty on March 10. He is charged with cultivation of marijuana, conspiracy to cultivate marijuana, possession of more than 8 ounces of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute, all felonies. He remains free on $7,000 bond.
Luna-Flores was arrested in Nov. 28, 2008, along with two other men, for allegedly operating a marijuana farm on private land near Battlement Mesa.
The three were arrested after Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT) confiscated around 890 plants in a canyon south of Battlement Mesa, after a landowner tipped off authorities. An arrest affidavit stated that Ã¢a¬Å”the height of the larger plants indicated that this grow operation has been operating for multiple years.Ã¢a¬ï¿1/2
Two other accomplices in the case, Humberto Bautista-Flores, 37, and German Ortiz, 27, pleaded guilty to possession of 8 ounces or more of marijuana in February and have been given sentences.
Bautista-Flores is currently serving an 18 month prison sentence, while Ortiz received three years unsupervised probation.
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