Judge rejects new trial for Duluth head shop owner in synthetic drug case

  • Article by: RANDY FURST , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 11, 2013 - 9:35 PM

Last Place On Earth owner Jim Carlson, outside his Duluth shop two years ago, had his conviction upheld Wednesday by a judge.

Photo: BRIAN PETERSON file photo • brianp@startribune.com, Star Tribune

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U.S. District Judge David Doty has refused to overturn the conviction of Duluth head shop owner Jim Carlson, a decision that was not unexpected.

Carlson, 56, was convicted in federal court in Minneapolis of 51 counts, including misbranding, distribution and sale of synthetic drugs at his store, Last Place on Earth.

Carlson is in the Sherburne County jail, awaiting sentencing. Randall Tigue, his attorney, is expected to file an appeal with the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Tigue had sought either a new trial or an acquittal on issues Doty had already ruled on. Tigue challenged two of Doty’s instructions to the jury regarding synthetic drugs and Doty’s decision to bar Tigue from introducing public statements of various public officials and DEA employees concerning the legality of synthetic drugs, which mirror current addictive drugs.

In his decision issued on Tuesday, Doty also rejected motions for both a new trial and acquittal of Carlson’s girlfriend Lava Haugen, 33, who worked at the head shop and was found guilty of conspiring with Carlson. Doty also turned down a motion for acquittal by Carlson’s son, Joseph Gellerman, 35, who was found guilty of two misdemeanors.


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