Portland NORML News - Saturday, December 27, 1997

Medical-Marijuana Advocate To Make Gubernatorial Bid (Dennis Peron Takes On
Dan Lungren For California GOP Nomination)

Subj: US CA: Medical-Marijuana Advocate To Make Gubernatorial Bid 
From: John W.Black 
Date: Fri, 02 Jan 1998 18:22:47 -0500
Source: Orange County Register 
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com 
Pubdate: 27 Dec 1997


ELECTIONS: Cannabis club founder Dennis Peron will take on Dan Lungren for
GOP nomination.

SAN FRANCISCO-The maverick founder of a San Franciso club that supplies
marijuana to the sick said he would be a Republican candidate for governor
in 1998.

"I will take the high road in this campaign," Dennis Peron, founder of the
Cannabis Buyers Club, said Friday.

"It's about hope, empowerment and compassion. It's also about new
priorities for our state. And it's about, as corny as it may sound, peace
and love, too."

Peron, the gay Vietnam War veteran who led a successful campaign to
legalize medical marijuana use in California, will take on Attorney General
Dan Lungren in the Republican primary next year.

Lungren, a law-and-order hard-liner who has fought bitterly against Peron
and his marijuana club, has raised millions of dollars for his campaign and
is considered an overwhelming favorite.

The two have been skirmishing in the courts over different interpretations
of Proposition 215, the state measure passed last year making it legal for
people with AIDS,cancer and other serious ailments to use marijuana when
directed to do so by a doctor.

Peron, who helped write the bill, has vowed to fight a Dec.12 appeals court
ruling that said California's estimated 20 marijuana buyers clubs were
still illegal because they do not qualify as "primary caregivers."

Lungren, for his part, has vowed to step up enforcement of anti-marijuana

Peron said in August that he was thinking about running for governor, and
registered as a Republican - prompting a dismissive snort from Lungren.

"If Dennis Peron is running for governor on the Republican ticket, he has
smoked more marijuana than even I thought," he told the San Francisco
Chronicle at the time.

But Friday the veteran peace activist said he was ready for the fight, and
already had 1,000 of the 10,000 sighnatures he needed to get on the ballot.

"I knew there would a lot of jokes about me smoking pot, and me being part
of the '60s," Peron told KCBS radio.

"But you know, I'll tell you who I am. I'm a man born of war."

When Breast Feeding Is Lethal (Warrant Issued For Orange, California,
Methamphetamine User)

Subj: US CA: When Breast Feeding Is Lethal
From: John W. Black 
Date: Fri, 02 Jan 1998 19:20:40 -0500
Source: Orange County Register 
Page: Front Page
Author: Bill Rams - Orange County Register
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com 
Pubdate: 27 Dec 97


SOCIAL ISSUES: Involuntary manslaughter charges against an Orange woman
spur a civil rights debate.  

A woman whose infant dies from drinking her mother's drug-laced breast milk
- - as allegedly occurred in an Orange home - isn't necessarily subject to
criminal charges.

Unless she knew that doing so could kill her baby,

"We have to prove that it was not an accident," said Orange County Deputy
District Attorney Elizabeth Henderson. "Did the person act in a grossly
negligent manner?"

Henderson said her office has evidence - including interviews and
toxicological reports - showing that Cynthia Ann Pinson criminally killed
her 6-week-old son by breast-feeding him after taking methamphetamines. But
she wouldn't disclose details.

Pinson, 38, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, and a warrant
for her arrest was issued this week. But authorities haven't found her.

If convicted, Pinson could be the first woman in the country to be
successfully prosecuted for killing her child through her breast milk, said
Walter B. Connolly Jr., a Detroit-based civil rights and constitutional
lawyer who is an expert on child-endangerment cases involving drugs.

Henderson cited the 1994 prosecution of a Bakersfield woman, in which a
jury deadlocked, 11-1, in favor of a murder conviction, but convicted her
of child endangerment. 

In that case, a woman who occasionally snorted methamphetamine to keep
herself from falling asleep poisoned her baby with her breast milk.

Henderson said proving child endangerment is similar to proving involuntary
manslaughter: both require gross negligence, though typically, nobody dies
in child-endangerment cases.

Also, she said, the facts of these kinds of cases must be weighted in the
same way charges would be weighed in a death caused by a drunken driver. 

"Just because you drive drunk (and kill somebody) doesn't mean you're
guilty of second-degree murder," she said.

But if someone was previously convicted of driving under the influence or,
say, took classes warning of its dangers, then he or she could be
prosecuted for second-degree murder, she said.

"Each case must be looked at indevidually," she said. "You have to put all
those facts together and see if the case passes."

Some civil rights attorneys disagree.

"What they are trying to do is impose their constitutional will on people
who have babies (using) a statute that has nothing to do with (involuntary
manslaughter)," Connolly said.

Connolly said women have a right to breast-feed.

Under constitutional law, the state would have to draft a statute that says
women who take drugs and breast-feed their children are criminally liable
for their deaths before a mother could be prosecuted, he said.

There are no such laws on the books in any state, he said.

"There are no such laws on the books in any state, he said. "The worst
thing they can do is prosecute," he said. "It will discourage prenatal
health care for mothers who are pregnant. It will encourage abortions."

But Henderson said if a mother knows something is dangerous and does it
anyway, she deserves to be punished.

"It's not about interfering with a woman's right to do this or that," she
said. "Nothing is set in stone."

Meth In Mother's Milk Killed Baby, Police Say (Another Version)

Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 23:33:45 EST
From: "Carl E. Olsen" 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Meth in mothers milk killed child

Meth in mother's milk killed baby, police say

The Des Moines Register, Saturday, December 27, 1997, Page 5A.


Orange, Calif. - The mother of a 6-week-old baby found dead in his crib
more than a year ago has been charged with killing him with methamphetamine
in her breast milk.

Police were looking Friday for Cynthia Ann Pinson, 38, who was charged
Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter and cruelty toward a child for the
death of her son, Robert Henry Sage.

Orange police Detective Matt Miller said investigators interviewed Pinson
shortly after the death of the baby, who was found unconscious and not
breathing in his crib on Oct. 26, 1996.

"She admitted to using" the drug, Miller said.

She wasn't arrested because toxicological reports weren't completed, he
said. When the reports confirmed that her drug use had caused the infant's
death, Miller said, police got an arrest warrant.

However, Pinson was nowhere to be found. Neighbor Christy Thornton said
Wednesday that Orange city officials had evicted Pinson and her boyfriend,
Robert Earl Sage, 50, from a house on Trenton Street about five months ago.

"I heard the baby died of SIDS and I got very, very suspicious," said
Thornton, a 17-year resident. She said people who visited the house
frequently seemed drunk, and generators powered the home after the
electricity was shut off.

Orange police also went to Pinson's new address in Long Beach, but she had
been evicted from there a month earlier, Miller said.

"Her lifestyle seems to have her moving a lot," he said.

Miller said Pinson may not know that authorities are looking for her.
Neighbors said the couple could be in Hawaii, where Sage has many ties.

"She may have never thought something would come of it.

He said he didn't know how often she had used the drug and acknowledged
that the case is unusual.

"People who have kids usually try to clean up their lives and stay clean,"
he said.

Pinson is not the first woman to face charges in connection with a child
dying from drugs in mother's milk.

In August, a Tucson, Ariz., woman was charged with first-degree murder
after allegedly killing her daughter through heroin use.




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