Monday, October 18, 2010 · by Tamara Aparton
San Francisco, CA — Following a four day trial, a jury acquitted a 49-year-old disabled man of trying to sell his pain pills to an off-duty officer in the Tenderloin, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today.
Clint Hunt of Oakland, who suffers chronic pain from a cracked skull, damaged back and a bone condition, faced up to 17 years in state prison, said his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Phoenix Streets. The jury convicted Hunt late Friday afternoon on the lesser charges of drug possession and violating his probation.
Hunt, who admits he is addicted to the narcotics he uses to control his pain and manage his anxiety, had successfully completed San Francisco Drug Court two years ago. Despite having been accepted to a drug rehabilitation program, Hunt was sentenced Friday to three years in state prison by Judge Ronald Albers, who oversees Drug Court.
“I’m pleased that Mr. Hunt was able to avoid 17 years in prison. However, I am disheartened that he will spend any time behind bars instead of being allowed to complete the treatment Judge Albers once endorsed,” Streets said.
Hunt was arrested July 15, 2010 after an off-duty officer saw him carrying a small plastic bag of pills near the corner of Golden Gate Avenue and Leavenworth Street in the Tenderloin.
In a preliminary hearing in September, the off-duty officer testified that Hunt asked him, “What are you doing walking around here?” The off-duty officer then testified that Hunt walked away after the off-duty officer asked him what kind of drugs he was selling. The off-duty officer then called a patrol officer, who immediately arrested Hunt.
Hunt, who was found with a small amount of the painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone and the anxiety medication diazepam, insisted he had purchased the pills for personal use.
“The fact is that the police never saw Mr. Hunt commit a crime. However, they still handcuffed and arrested him. This is outrageous conduct and should not be tolerated in a free society,” Streets said.
During the four-day trial, the off-duty officer testified that he no longer recalled his verbal exchange with Hunt.
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said the jury’s verdict was just.
“This was an extremely weak case. The jury recognized that there simply was no evidence that Mr. Hunt was planning to sell the pills in his possession,” Adachi said.