If you appear in Clark County Family Court Department T, in front of Judge Gayle Nathan, the answer is NO. Judge Nathan is enforcing a zero tolerance policy for the Defendant, Keith Patton. Judge Nathan is on a mission to show this medical patient “how miserable it can get” if he follows his doctor’s recommendation.
Keith Patton suffered a severe head trauma in 2003 and dealt with migraines, vomiting, and sleepless nights. All prescribed pharmaceutical medications had severe side effects. He now uses medical marijuana not only to alleviate the symptoms but also as preventive medicine. He is a fully functioning honor student at ITT Technical Institute.
Keith moved to Las Vegas in 2012 from Northern Virginia, 2,400 miles across the United States of America, to live closer to his son. Prior to his first appearance in front of Judge Nathan, he received a medical recommendation from a qualified physician, and now holds a
valid Nevada State-issued medical card.
Keith appeared in Clark County Family Court as the Plaintiff, Erin Bersell, and mother of his then 3-year-old child, Aiden, would not allow him visitation. Ms. Bersell’s attorneys, Andrew Kynaston and Edward Kainen, submitted an Instagram photo of a glass bong Keith had
sold to a medical patient as evidence of his “emersion in the drug culture.” This “evidence” was not in the pleadings, but Judge Nathan allowed it to be entered and ordered Keith to test for drugs. Keith was not allowed to speak and had not entered his prescription into
evidence prior to the hearing since listing medications currently in use is not on any court form and this allegation was not in the pleadings.
He tested positive for his prescribed medication and returned to court on December 6, 2012. Photographs of Ms. Bersell under the influence with a marijuana bud tucked neatly behind one ear were presented to the court and found to be not relevant. The request to test Ms.
Bersell was denied by Judge Nathan. The court ordered that Keith was to “NEVER EVER drive the minor child anywhere until there is a further ORDER of this court.” There is no evidence that Keith cannot care for, or that he is a danger to, Aiden; he has not even had a speeding ticket, and has no DUI.
Should all medical patients be prohibited from transporting their children anywhere because something MIGHT happen, or just those who have a Nevada State-issued medical card?
Perhaps all parents involved in any moving violation with a minor in the car should then be charged with reckless endangerment.
Judge Nathan ruled that Keith “is NOT to use Marijuana in the presence of the minor child at any time and shall NOT consume Marijuana within forty-eight (48) hours of having SUPERVISED VISITATION with the minor child. If Court should find competent evidence that father has done so, his SUPERVISED VISITATION shall be VACATED.”
Ironically, Keith’s medical card is issued by the DMV. Does the court not require evidence to take away his right to drive his son or to implement supervised visitation?
At the intimidating “suggestion” of the Court, Keith completed a 12-week Options Program and drug counseling. Keith was not under the impression that this was optional, but hoped to prove to the court beyond any doubt, that his medication was taken as needed; used, not
In Court, Edward Kainen, Esq., stated that if Keith could go 12 weeks without his medication, he did not need it. During the 12 weeks, Keith took other medications which were less effective and caused side effects.
When did judges and lawyers become experts on which medications parents can and cannot take? Should Keith ignore his doctor’s recommendation because Judge Nathan and attorney Edward Kainen think it isn’t necessary? If a heart patient doesn’t die in 12 weeks without his or her prescribed heart medication, is it no longer needed? If a woman does not get pregnant in 12 weeks, does she no longer need to use birth control? Does the use of any medication make a parent unfit?
If we answer yes, this country is in big trouble.
Even with positive patch results Ms. Bersell allowed Keith to spend time with Aiden. Keith attempted to pick Aiden up for their scheduled Father’s Day visit in 2013, and his visitation was denied.
After several attempts to spend time with Aiden as outlined in the agreement signed by both parents and the Judge, Keith filed a Motion to Enforce.
Upon returning to court, Keith was ordered to test at ATI for THC and allowed supervised visitation until the court could review the results. Why are tests for his prescription being ordered? Keith tested positive for his medication with a 12 ng/ml THC level.
The Court refers to the Treatise provided by ATI and used by the Court to interpret THC levels. The level of 12 ng/ml, using the same document the Court uses, shows “Low =25-50 based on an occasional user.” “A regular user of marijuana stores the metabolite in the fatty
tissue of the body and may have a baseline of 600 ng/ml for weeks even when not using.
Once a person resumes use, the level found in the urine will rise from that baseline and it may take months of abstinence before dropping below 25 ng/ml.” A 12 ng/mg could in fact
be residual. This provided evidence to the Court of less than low use and not abuse. Supervised visits at Donna’s House were ordered by the court based on this less than low level.
To date Keith’s visitation with Aiden is limited by court Order to Donna’s House, a safe haven for children of abuse. Aiden often cried when having to leave and begged Donna’s House supervisors to stay longer. Due to the harmful emotional impact of these visits, Keith has chosen to discontinue the Donna’s House visits. He felt the need to protect the child rather than subject him to the sadness he was suffering. Court matters are not permitted to be discussed, leaving Aiden confused as to why he can only see his “da-da” at Donna’s. Does
anyone believe that Donna’s House is better than Da-da’s house?
Marijuana use, medical or recreational, is still a Federal crime.
Clark County Family Court is a Nevada State Court, not a Federal Court, and therefore should follow state law. Medical Marijuana was legalized in Nevada 14 years ago. The Nevada State Constitutional right under Article 4 Legislative Department Section 38 allows the use of the plant Cannabis for medical purposes. Judge Nathan asked why Keith doesn’t take the pill form. Is Judge Nathan familiar with the Nevada State Constitution?
Judge Nathan is using the “best interest of the child” excuse, albeit this is only valid if the rulings and orders ARE actually in the best interest of the child. Having both parents in his life is in Aiden’s best interest. Ruling based on EVIDENCE is in Aiden’s best interest.
Keeping parents and children separated for using an organic plant prescribed by a licensed physician and following a doctor’s advice is not in anyone’s best interest.