Former Geneva doctor gets 8 years for indoor pot farm ahead of rape trial
A former Geneva doctor was sentenced to eight years in prison Friday after pleading guilty to operating an indoor marijuana grow operation in his St. Charles home while free on bond on sexual assault charges, which he will go on trial for in July.
Mark G. Lewis, 58, pleaded guilty this year to felony charges of possession of cannabis with intent to deliver and possession of a firearm with an expired FOID card.
Lewis was arrested May 7, 2015, after agents from the North Central Narcotics Task Force, a unit of the state police, executed a search warrant at his former home on the 0-99 block of Squire Lane and discovered in the home's basement a sophisticated grow operation of more than 100 plants, a maze of fans, grow lights, filters, irrigation systems and some 24 pounds of marijuana.
At the time, Lewis had been free after posting bond on charges filed in 2014 accusing him of sexually assaulting a woman he knew at his home in November 2012.
"He set out on a purposeful journey to violate his bond," Judge John Barsanti said, also imposing a $137,720 drug fine. "This takes planning, this takes money."
On Friday, attorneys argued before Barsanti on what Lewis' punishment should be; Lewis had entered a "blind" or "cold" plea in which he admitted guilt but did not have an agreement with prosecutors on a prison term.
Assistant State's Attorney Kelly Orland argued for a 10-year sentence, saying Lewis' grow operation was going for months before he was caught.
"The defendant was accused of a felony and while on bond for that offense, chose this," Orland said. "His character was such that he violated a court order."
Defense attorney Tim Mahoney argued for the minimum six-year term, saying his client had no previous convictions before the marijuana case. Mahoney said Lewis' wife has advanced cancer and they have two children with health issues.
"He made a ruin out of his life. That should be punishment alone," Mahoney said.
Lewis also addressed Barsanti, saying he inherited the gun from his father, used it for personal defense and didn't know his Firearm Owners' Identification card had been revoked. Lewis pointed to other states that have legalized pot and said his crime was more of a "licensing issue" than a moral one.
"No one has been harmed more by my actions other than myself and my family," Lewis said. "I still have a lot to contribute and I can still do a lot of good when my incarceration is over," he said.
Under state law, Lewis can have his prison term halved and gets credit for nearly three years held at the Kane County jail after his bond was revoked over the drug arrest.
Lewis' sexual assault trial is scheduled for July 16. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison and registration as a sex offender.