A 19-year-old Texas youth, Jacob Lavoro, accused of baking a batch of pot brownies, was back in court last week as his lawyers attempted to get him out of a possible life sentence -- a punishment Lavoro is facing even though he has no previous criminal record.
Lavoro was arrested back in April after a neighbor complained that smoke from Lavoro's apartment was causing her to feel ill. When cops showed up, they found the Round Rock, Texas, teen baking a batch of pot brownies. But because Lavoro used hashish oil in the recipe, under Texas law baking the pot brownies was a first-degree felony.
And under the law, the cops were allowed to weigh not only the drugs but the entire tray of the brownies -- sugar and eggs and all -- and count the total toward the charges against Lavoro.
As a result, Lavoro was found to be in possession of 660 grams — about 1 1/2 pounds of illegal drugs.
Lavoro, who described himself as "worried" and "nervous," waited out Wednesday's pre-trial hearing. His dad, Joe Lavoro, resorted to an online GoFundMe campaign to raise money for his son's defense. The young man's lawyer says that, after a number of court delays, he finally has the lab report showing how much of the illegal hash oil was actually contained in the pot brownies that cops found in Lavoro's apartment.
According to attorney Jack Holmes, the total amount of THC -- the active ingredient in marijuana -- recovered from Jacob Lavoro's apartment was about 2.5 grams.
"That's about the equivalent to two and a half of those sugar things you find at a restaurant when you sit down," the lawyer said. "Why we're proceeding, you know, with a trial on this is kind of beyond me but (the prosecutor) advised me that he wasn't going to go away with the case."
Holmes is now asking for the charges against Jacob Lavoro to be reduced to a second degree felony, which could carry anywhere from two to 20 years in prison, but based on Lavoro's previously clean police record, may end up with probation only for the accused teen.
Holmes also says that the officers who found the pot brownies entered Lavoro's apartment posing as building maintenance workers, with no warrant, and that Lavoro did not consent to allow a search of his apartment.
If a judge upholds those claims by Holmes, the lawyer says, "the case is over," because the pot brownies themselves will have to be thrown out as evidence.