Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

This time, Pasco man's marijuana fashion statement goes unchallenged

Alfred Robinson, left, stands next to lawyer Michael Minardi before Circuit Judge Mary Handsel on Monday in New Port Richey. In January, a different judge threatened to hold Robinson in contempt if he wore his marijuana shirt to court again. 

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times

Alfred Robinson, left, stands next to lawyer Michael Minardi before Circuit Judge Mary Handsel on Monday in New Port Richey. In January, a different judge threatened to hold Robinson in contempt if he wore his marijuana shirt to court again. 

NEW PORT RICHEY — The last time Alfred Robinson wore his pot shirt to court, he was put in handcuffs.

So, understandably, he was a bit more trepidatious when he got dressed Monday morning for another hearing in his cultivation of marijuana case. Still, he wore the shirt, with its large green marijuana leaf on the back and the slogan "I'm a patient, not a criminal" on the front.

But he had a backup plan. While he sat there waiting for Circuit Judge Mary Handsel to call his lawyer's name, the purple collar of a button-up shirt peeked out around his neck.

Just in case.

"I was a little nervous about wearing the shirt (again)," Robinson said. "But somebody has to stand up to this."

The 57-year-old self-described "medical marijuana missionary" was arrested in July after Pasco County sheriff's deputies found two marijuana plants on the 5 acres where he lives in Shady Hills. He had more plants, he said, but he burned them before deputies arrived.

Robinson, who's had several marijuana arrests dating back to 1979, said he uses the drug to alleviate his severe back pain. He has degenerative disc disease, and the court file says he also suffers from anxiety, sleeplessness, depression and chest pains.

"I don't know if the marijuana kills the pain or makes me forget the pain," he said, "but it doesn't matter whether it does. It just does."

At his last hearing in January, Circuit Judge William Webb had Robinson put in handcuffs and threatened to hold him in contempt if he wore the marijuana T-shirt to court again. His lawyer, Michael Minardi, filed a motion to disqualify Webb, citing First Amendment concerns and a fear that Robinson wouldn't get a fair trial.

That motion was granted, so Minardi and Robinson found themselves in front of Handsel on Monday.

Minardi moved to suppress the evidence — namely, the two marijuana plants because of the way deputies entered Robinson's property. The arrest report said the Sheriff's Office got Robinson's consent. Robinson and Minardi say there's a no-trespassing sign.

Minardi also moved to have the charge dropped, citing the passage of measures in other states legalizing medicinal marijuana use.

Before he left the courtroom, Robinson teared up as he talked passionately about the reason he supports the legalization of marijuana.

"I want it to be legal so I can help other patients who need it," he said. "I'll grow it for them, and I'll give it to them."

If Handsel noticed Robinson's shirt, she didn't mention it. She scheduled a followup hearing for June 14 to consider both of Minardi's motions.

Outside the courtroom, Minardi said he was pleased with the outcome.

"We've gotten a new judge who obviously didn't threaten to hold him in contempt," he said.

"And that's a positive," Robinson added.

Contact Jon Silman at (727) 869-6229, jsilman@tampabay.com or @Jonsilman1 on Twitter.

This time, Pasco man's marijuana fashion statement goes unchallenged 04/22/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 7:45am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.
  3. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire

    Criminal

    PORT RICHEY

    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, relies on the help of her mother, Tranda Webb, 62, as she recovers from the burns covering her body..
  4. Florida starter under center still under wraps

    College

    GAINESVILLE — With two weeks before Florida opens its season against Michigan, the Gators' three-way quarterback battle remains wide open.

    Luke Del Rio, right, is in the mix to start against Michigan in the season opener … as is Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks.
  5. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.