Computer evidence in child-porn case to be handed over 

Child-pornography evidence against San Francisco medical marijuana guru Dennis Peron will be released by prosecutors to an expert for his defense attorney, a Superior Court judge ruled Friday.

The 66-year-old Peron, whose residence was raided by police in August, insists that the pornography found on hard drives at his residence depicts females, not males. That’s relevant, Peron says, because he has been openly gay since 1968.

A court affidavit says a confidential informant paid for working with police identified the pornography as depicting males, but the document does not specify the nature of the contraband. Police who investigated the case are now under investigation themselves for misconduct allegations, based on surveillance video released recently by Public Defender Jeff Adachi.

In 1996, Peron spearheaded Proposition 215, which paved the way for legalizing medical marijuana in California. He said because of that, along with his connection in the late 1970s to the slain gay icon and former Supervisor Harvey Milk, police have been “out to get” him for decades.

Peron runs the “Castro Castle,” a bed-and-breakfast establishment where he says guests were the ones who downloaded any porn found on the several laptops available for use at the house.

On Friday, Assistant District Attorney Lisa Culbertson argued that releasing the evidence might lead to its duplication, but Judge Lucy Kelly McCabe said unless the prosecution has reason to believe the evidence expert would spread it, the pornography in question should be shared with the defense.

An additional motion to reveal the identity of the confidential informant was dismissed by McCabe, who said it would have to come before the judge who signed the search warrant.

Peron said he’s not a big fan of porn of any kind. According to the search warrants affidavit, authorities also found several types of drugs at the house, including marijuana, Ecstasy and methamphetamine.

“I don’t know what they’re talking about,” Peron said. “They said the rooms where they found the drugs and stuff was my room, but it wasn’t.”

On Wednesday, San Francisco police Capt. Greg Corrales said the evidence in the case “speaks for itself,” and that his Mission Police Station officers were only assisting the juvenile crimes unit in a related investigation. More than two dozen felony cases — involving some of the same officers on the Peron case — were dropped by prosecutors last month due to questionable behavior presented in the surveillance videos.

A discovery hearing in the Peron case was scheduled for Aug. 3.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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