Peninsula DA fed up with purported Rasta minister 

click to enlarge Robert Simmons
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • Robert Simmons' jury trial on marijuana charges was postponed Monday so he could be examined by doctors, but the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office says he's competent to stand trial.

Self-proclaimed Rastafarian minister Robert Simmons is bogarting the justice system, according to prosecutors.

The San Mateo County District Attorney's Office is none too irie about a judge's decision Monday to postpone a jury trial so doctors can examine the 34-year-old Simmons, who is charged with selling marijuana.

Prosecutors are complaining that Simmons — who claims a divine right to hawk weed because the plant is a "core tenet" of the Rastafarian religion — is simply not taking responsibility for his misdeeds while clogging up the courts with a 2-year-old case.

"The defense had not shown substantially changed circumstances since [Simmons] was last found competent to stand trial," Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti said Tuesday.

Simmons' attorney, Jeff Hayden, denied his client was blowing smoke.

"Unfortunately he's facing more demons," Hayden said.

Simmons has successfully delayed the jury trial multiple times, according to prosecutors, since his two arrests in 2011 for operating an illegal marijuana delivery service.

Last year, Simmons spent five months in Napa State Hospital after his lawyer questioned his competency to stand trial. Upon his release, prosecutors moved to retry the case.

Then last month, when Simmons was offered a plea deal that would have had him serving 60 days behind bars, he failed to show up in court and later claimed he had suffered an anxiety attack.

In response, a judge rescinded the plea deal and ordered Simmons to stand trial. Because he declined the plea bargain, he now reportedly faces a maximum of eight years in prison if convicted.

In an interview with The San Francisco Examiner, Simmons said he was torn on whether to take a plea bargain that goes against his principles. As a minister of the Rastafarian religion, Simmons said, he has a First Amendment right to possess marijuana without a medical recommendation and sell buds.

Simmons said he converted to the religion due to the influence of his pals in a reggae band and was ordained as a minister online for free.

Simmons is in custody on a $50,000 bail bond. The results of the medical evaluation are scheduled to be revealed Aug. 2, Guidotti said.

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