A federal appeals court in San Francisco has upheld the forfeiture of $345,000 from the sale of an Oakland warehouse where marijuana was grown.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday in an appeal filed by the warehouse owner, Thomas Grossi, 64, of Lafayette.
Grossi was convicted in federal court in Oakland in 2006 of maintaining a property where marijuana was grown. The property was a warehouse at 2638 Market St. in Oakland.
The following year, he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and ordered to forfeit his ownership interest in the property, which amounted to $345,000.
Grossi claimed in his appeal that the forfeiture was an unjust fine in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids excessive fines.
But a three-judge panel of the appeals court said the forfeiture was constitutional, because it was less than the maximum fine allowed under federal law for Grossi’s crime.
The court said, “Grossi’s offense was clearly both serious and quite extensive.”
The panel said, “The Market Street property yielded thousands of dollars in profits before it was shut down.”
The prosecution of Grossi and several associates stemmed from a raid conducted on the warehouse in 2004 by the California Highway Patrol, acting on a tip from a citizen.