Cameron Douglas, son of actor Michael Douglas and grandson of actor Kirk Douglas, was in Santa Barbara Superior Court Thursday at a preliminary hearing on a charge of possession of cocaine. After listening to testimony from Santa Barbara Sheriff Dept. James McKarrell, the arresting officer, Judge Joseph Lodge decided that Douglas could also face an under the influence of cocaine charge, should the defense seek to add it.
The preliminary hearing lasted less than two hours, and featured only one witness, McKarrell.
Douglas – who has appeared in a few films, including one with his grandfather and father – was present, along with co-defendant Christopher Lane. Testimony revealed that at about 2:15 a.m. on July 22 of this year, Lane and Douglas were in sitting in a BMW at Sandyland Reef Motel in Carpinteria. According to McKarrell, he and Senior Dep. Michael Harris drove into the parking lot and observed the vehicle, with Douglas in the driver’s seat and Lane in the front passenger seat, parked in an odd place for the tight parking lot configuration. McKarrell testified that the deputies stopped to make sure the passengers didn’t need assistance, and when he approached the vehicle, noticed “really fresh” blood on Douglas’ hand, as well as smeared blood on his arm. He described Douglas, who provided an out-of-date Bermuda license and a passport, as “a little edgy and nervous.” Douglas allegedly told the officers he had a girlfriend staying at the motel.
McKarrell, who had been on the job as a deputy for less than six months when the incident occurred, later noticed a syringe on the backseat floor, and when he asked Douglas, 28, about it, Douglas allegedly told him that he was a Type A diabetic. The deputy said he became suspicious because he had never heard of such a type of diabetes, and neither had Harris. He described Douglas’s speech as “rapid” and “pretty fast.”
According to his testimony, McKarrell then placed Douglas in the car, after which Lane, 30, informed the deputy that it was, in fact, his syringe, but “never said anything about it being used for medical purposes.” A search of the car yielded no rate monitors, insulin bottles or other materials associated with treating diabetics, McKarrell testified, and the two were arrested. There was .25 milliliters of liquid in the syringe, a little less than half full, and a field test came back presumptive positive for cocaine, according to McKarrell’s testimony. The liquid was later sent to the Department of Justice. The two were taken to Santa Barbara County Jail, where they were booked.
Douglas’s defense attorney, Juan Huerta, suggested McKarrell “failed to do his job” as an officer, not testing the two for drug use, and asked the deputy if he recalled Douglas explaining that the blood on his hand came from playing with a dog, and that Douglas in fact had offered to provide proof the animal was around. McKarrell said he didn’t recall that exchange taking place, which made Douglas shake his head in the courtroom.
When asked if he thought Douglas was under the influence, McKarrell responded in the affirmative. It was also suggested through McKarrell’s testimony that the blood on Douglas’s hand came from a puncture from the needle, although McKarrell testified that he didn’t see any blood on the needle or the syringe.
Lane, who was represented at Monday’s hearing by the public defender’s office, is facing charges of possession of cocaine and possession of a syringe. Douglas is just facing the cocaine possession charge, according to prosecutor Josh Webb. If found guilty the two are eligible for a treatment program, or could face up to three years in prison, an event that isn’t likely to occur, Webb said. The two will be back in court November 16.