Ruling Keeps Carlson Out Of Jail Before Trial

Posted at: 07/22/2013 7:41 PM | Updated at: 07/23/2013 1:13 PM
By: Laurie Stribling
lstribling@wdio.com

A judge ruled Monday that Last Place On Earth owner Jim Carlson will not be put in jail until his September trial. The U.S. Attorney's Office tried to revoke his pretrial release because of alleged violations.

"I'm just glad I don't have to spend the next two months in jail waiting to be found not guilty in our case coming up," Carlson said.

During the Monday court hearing, the prosecution said Carlson violated his pretrial release by allegedly misbranding products violating the Food and Drug Act. Assistant U.S. Attorney Surya Saxena also said Carlson violated the Duluth city ordinance requiring a license for the sale of synthetic drugs.

Saxena tried to prove his case using video and photographs of products allegedly bought at Carlson's store last week by undercover police officers.

When the judge denied the motion to revoke Carlson's pretrial release, he said the ordinance violation was a civil matter and didn't constitute a crime.

"I think the judge was absolutely right doing what he did," Carlson's attorney Randall Tigue said. "Not only did the judge make the right decision on the revocation, but he absolutely showed why we were absolutely right about why Duluth's ordinance is unconstitutional."

The judge also said the alleged FDA violation, which may be a misdemeanor, was not enough to put Carlson back in jail until the September trial. The judge said Carlson is not a flight risk and has shown up for all of his court hearings. 

Carlson's battle is far from over though; he's set to be in court again on Tuesday in Duluth where a temporary restraining order on his store will be evaluated.

"I'm like an alcoholic; I live day by day," Carlson said. "What happens tomorrow, we'll know tomorrow."

Carlson said if the TRO is lifted he plans on reopening his shop.

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