A Thurston County Superior Court judicial assistant pleaded not guilty to a charge of unlawful manufacture of marijuana Wednesday.
A judge from Mason County ordered Debbie Requa, 60, released on recognizance, meaning she did not have to post bail. Superior Court Judge Amber Finlay came to Thurston County to hear Requa’s case because Thurston’s Superior Court judges recused themselves, avoiding the appearance of a conflict of interest.
According to court papers:
Requa was charged with unlawfully manufacturing marijuana after a sheriff’s deputy found 26 growing marijuana plants at her Long Lake Drive home. A deputy went to her home Nov. 24 after receiving an anonymous tip about potential drug activity there.
The deputy smelled marijuana from the home, and Requa initially denied that she was manufacturing, selling or using pot. However, she later told the deputy she and her sister had been smoking marijuana in the home and that she had a small amount of marijuana, but did not have a medicinal authorization. The deputy saw two marijuana plants near the back sliding doors.
The deputy later obtained a search warrant and seized the plants.
Requa’s attorney, Saxon Rodgers, said he is investigating a possible defense based on whether a tenant of Requa’s who had a medical marijuana authorization was legally manufacturing marijuana in her garage. Authorities have been unable to locate Requa’s tenant, who has a warrant for his arrest, Rodgers said.
“He’s pretty much disappeared at this point,” Rodgers said.
Requa is on paid leave from her job, Superior Court Administrator Marti Maxwell has said. Requa is the judicial assistant for judges Lisa Sutton and James Dixon.
A prosecuting attorney from Lewis County has been appointed to prosecute the case because of the potential for a conflict of interest.