------------------------------------------------------------------- City police continue drive to expand force (The Oregonian notes the police state just got a little bigger in Portland, though Chief Moose had to comb through the reject pile.) The Oregonian Contact: email@example.com 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ City police continue drive to expand force * Re-examination of some previously rejected applicants has raised concerns for some officers Friday, January 8 1999 By Maxine Bernstein of The Oregonian staff The Portland Police Bureau swore in 11 new officers Thursday, raising the number of recent recruits to 25 as the department rushes to fill two February academy classes through an accelerated hiring program dubbed "Operation 80." Although police administrators say they are optimistic that they will reach their goal of hiring 80 for the bureau-run classes by Feb. 15, personnel division Capt. Dennis Merrill said the numbers might fall closer to two classes of 30, instead of two 40-member classes. The bureau's intensive recruiting drive, which sent some Portland police to Hawaii to woo Honolulu officers, has begun to pay off, with four of Thursday's hires relocating from there and another 10 expected. But the effort to hire such a large number of officers at one time has not been without controversy. Some changes in the way the bureau handles background investigations on applicants has stirred complaints from officers, who have cited concerns that the process is being compromised to meet the bureau's short-term hiring goal. Merrill said there has been some internal strife about changes in the process and acknowledged that one background investigator in his division sent his superiors and an assistant chief a nine-page letter outlining specific concerns. The letter questioned why background investigators were asked to re-examine files of applicants who had been rejected in the past year and cited at least two cases in which the chief overturned recommendations by investigators and their superiors not to hire candidates. Merrill and Chief Charles Moose dismissed the concerns and defended the bureau's hiring process, calling it fair and equitable. "I know there was some concern about it internally," Merrill said. "All that letter does is vent some frustration on the process, and the investigators got a little bit sensitive that we were questioning their judgment and giving them more work. Just because we have some internal friction, that's not news in our book." Assistant Chief Dave Butzer, who retired this week, instructed background investigators to pull more than 100 closed files on prior applicants who were weeded out of consideration within the past year after failing the background phase. Top police administrators re-examined the closed files and some were sent back to background investigators with a request to consider the applicant further. This was done despite standard rejection letters the bureau already had sent to some suggesting that they not reapply for three years. Merrill said the review was to determine whether the bureau was applying consistent standards in its background investigations. Merrill said some people complained after being rejected and the bureau wanted to make sure it was being fair. Standards unchanged "It's a little unusual, but we were trying to be fair and consistent throughout," Merrill said. "Just to 'sanity check' our process, we looked are we shafting people unnecessarily? None of our review resulted in any change. The bottom line is we haven't lowered our standards." Greg Pluchos, president of the Portland Police Association, said "it is absolutely unheard of" for the bureau to review files of recently rejected applicants. "The bureau has always had checks and balances in the whole backgrounding process to make sure the process is fair," he said. "Why that would have changed at such a coincidental time is beyond me and raises some suspicions in anyone's mind." An applicant reaches the backgrounding phase after passing both a written and oral exam. Under state law, people cannot cannot become a police officer if they are younger than 21, do not have a driver's license or have been convicted of a felony. In addition, under Portland guidelines, the bureau is not likely to hire anyone who has a poor driving record, a history of financial troubles, has misrepresented themselves, not paid taxes, been involved in long-term criminal activity, had past employment problems, or has demonstrated serious integrity or character flaws. A background investigator provides a recommendation to pass or fail an applicant. Supervisors either concur or reject the recommendation. If the applicant passes the background phase, a conditional job offer is sent pending successful completion of both a medical and psychological exam. Pluchos said the union wants to ensure that the hiring standards are not compromised, and is sending a letter today to the chief outlining its members' concerns. The union has no qualms about the integrity of the 25 recruits hired, he said. Merrill said he knew of one case in which a background investigator and the officer's superiors recommended an applicant not be hired based on the person's employment record, but the chief overturned the decision and the person was hired. "They're not decision-makers, they're fact-finders," Moose said of the background investigators. "If they're not comfortable with that, maybe they shall go find another job. I've not violated anything." He added, during remarks at the hiring ceremony, "We're not cutting any corners. We're not hiring any slouches." Pluchos, though, said concerns should be addressed. "Standards in hiring are of great concern to our membership and should be of great concern to the public as well," he said. "The standards of the hiring of the police they attract here dictate to what kind of police they have protecting the citizens."
------------------------------------------------------------------- What's Not To Like? (LA Weekly says Dr. Kathleen Boyle of the UCLA Drug Abuse Research Center has a problem. The social psychologist began a two-year study last July into the use of medical marijuana by people with AIDS. The university-funded project seeks to document both the satisfaction and dissatisfaction of medical-marijuana patients and their issues and concerns. The hitch is that Dr. Boyle can't find anyone who's used it and says it doesn't work for them.) Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 13:30:28 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: What's Not To Like? Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: DrugSense Source: LA Weekly (CA) Copyright: 1999 Los Angeles Weekly, Inc. Pubdate: 8-14 Jan 1999 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.laweekly.com/ Author: Michael Simmon WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE? Dr. Kathleen Boyle of the UCLA Drug Abuse Research Center has a problem. The social psychologist began a two-year study last July on the use of medical marijuana by people with AIDS. The university-funded project seeks to document both the satisfaction (or not) of med-mar users and their issues and concerns. The hitch is that Dr. Boyle can't find anyone who's used it and says it doesn't work for them. Boyle has been holding focus groups with members of three groups: the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center (a local cannabis club) as well as Being Alive and the Women Alive Coalition, two community-based AIDS organizations. She's found that patients find pot wonderfully efficacious for relieving nausea due to drug therapy and pain management, and adds that "they also notice a psychological benefit, i.e., relief of depression and anxiety." The primary concerns of users are driving after medicating, the potential side effects of smoking any substance and, not surprisingly, getting busted. Although medical weed is technically legal in California with a doctor's recommendation, that hasn't stopped law enforcement from arresting sick people. While Boyle placed an announcement in the AIDS Project Los Angeles newsletter and put up signs at the community orgs, not one dissatisfied customer has stepped forward. "It would lead you to the conclusion that everyone who's tried it has liked it," says Boyle. "I don't think that's possible. There's nothing that everybody likes or works for everybody. I'm reluctant to come to that conclusion. I feel like if I hand in a report that says it works for everybody, it would be unbelievable." If you have AIDS, have tried medical marijuana, and it ain't, shall we say, your bowl of tea, you can reach Dr. Boyle at (888) 333-1764, Ext. 241.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cop Plays Rebellious Student To Set Up School Drug Busts (The San Jose Mercury News says a 19-year-old prohibition agent on her first assignment spent four months undercover at San Benito High School setting up 25 students in what apparently is the largest drug sting in the school's history. Police netted one-third of a pound of methamphetamine, 2,500 hits of LSD, and 20 vials of what's believed to be Ecstasy. Hinton played her role to the hilt, with a new Mustang, baggy clothes, slang, and her willingness to spend money. She got into trouble with school officials so often she spent hours on trash patrol. She was suspended once and expelled once and was issued numerous detentions for not completing assignments, playing hooky or cussing out teachers or the vice principal.) Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 21:09:36 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Cop Plays Rebellious Student To Set Up School Drug Busts Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: 8 Jan 1999 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Copyright: 1999 Mercury Center COP PLAYS REBELLIOUS STUDENT TO SET UP SCHOOL DRUG BUSTS Her attitude and dress fooled all After four months of undercover work by a 19-year-old rookie on her first assignment, police have arrested 25 San Benito High School students, two of them adults, in what apparently is the largest drug sting in the school's history. More suspects were arrested off the Hollister campus, bringing the total to 23 juveniles and nine adults. "It's a tragedy for those kids and families. They will suffer greatly as a result of this, and I am sorry, but the whole campus has to be taken care of," Principal Tim Shellito said. Two of the adults, Jesus Alejandro Cordova and Felipe Vallejo, both of Hollister, were being held in lieu of $100,000 bail after the mass arrests at the school Wednesday. The names of the other adults were not immediately available, and the Mercury News is not identifying the juvenile suspects because of their ages. All were arrested on suspicion of selling drugs. The students also were given five-day suspensions and face possible expulsion. Police said they served search warrants on several houses in the Hollister area and one in Oakland, netting one-third of a pound of methamphetamines, 2,500 hits of LSD, 20 vials of what's believed to be Ecstasy, two rifles, two sawed-off shotguns and a .38-caliber handgun. The drug-buy program was conducted at the request of San Benito High School officials who two years ago noticed an increase in drug-related problems. They said they also believed that drug dealers were operating across the street from the school and that down the block, other dealers had weapons. Two agencies The sting operation was coordinated by Hollister police and agents of UNET, the Unified Narcotic Enforcement Team, of the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. But authorities say the key to the success of the San Benito High School operation was Hollister police officer Alisse Hinton. Nineteen at the time, she passed for a 17-year-old high school senior with an attitude and a hunger for drugs. While there were a couple of tense moments during the four-month operation, Hinton said, she never once feared for her safety. "I wasn't scared at all because I knew the people I was working with were looking out for me," Hinton said. Hinton played her role to the hilt. She got into trouble with school officials so often she spent hours on trash patrol. She was suspended once and expelled once and was issued numerous detentions for not completing assignments, playing hooky or cussing out teachers or the vice principal. Only two school administrators knew of the ruse. No teachers were told. No members of the Hollister department other than Chief J.W. "Bill" Pierpoint knew of her role. Her new Mustang, baggy clothes and slang and her willingness to spend money had campus and off-campus drug dealers eager to do business with her, authorities said. In all, she made 65 buys in four months, mostly on campus, according to Cmdr. Bob Cook of the narcotics unit. Hinton even worked her undercover role during Christmas break, making two buys. At all times, she wore a wire and had backup nearby. Pierpoint said one of the more anxious moments during the four months was when backup officers in an unmarked car had to tail her all the way to Oakland for a buy because she was being driven there by four suspects. Secret hiring Hinton was recruited for the Hollister force right out of the police academy at Monterey Peninsula College and sworn in, secretly, by Pierpoint last June. She spent the summer in undercover training. In September, while still 19, she enrolled as a transfer senior at San Benito High. She turned 20 in October. She said she was impressed by two campus supervisors who went out of their way to help her, believing she was a troubled and troublesome student.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 'Student' Leads Drug Bust (A slightly different version, apparently from a different edition) Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 21:00:20 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: `Student' Leads Drug Bust Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: 8 Jan 1999 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Copyright: 1999 Mercury Center Author: Jack Foley `STUDENT' LEADS DRUG BUST San Benito High: Rookie cop enrolled in school, and her investigation led to many arrests. After four months of undercover work by a teenage cop on her first assignment, authorities calmly walked into San Benito High School classrooms Wednesday and arrested 25 students, two of them adults, in what apparently was the largest drug sting in the school's history. Several more were arrested off the Hollister campus, bringing the total to 23 juveniles and nine adults. More arrests were planned, officials said. The school's enrollment is 2,700. Two of the adults, Jesus Alejandro Cordova and Felipe Vallejo, both of Hollister, were being held in lieu of $100,000 bail. The names of the other adults were not immediately available. All the suspects were charged with sale of drugs and face criminal proceedings. In addition, the students have been slapped with five-day suspensions and face possible expulsion. ``It's a tragedy for those kids and families. They will suffer greatly as a result of this, and I am sorry, but the whole campus has to be taken care of,'' said Principal Tim Shellito, who has a reputation for running a strict campus to ensure a safe learning environment for students. As a result of the campus drug operation, police served search warrants on several houses in the Hollister area and one in Oakland. Police said they netted one-third pound of methamphetamines, 2,500 ``hits'' of LSD, 20 vials of what's believed to be a drug called ecstasy, two rifles, two sawed-off shotguns and a .38-caliber handgun. None of the weapons was found on campus. The secretive program was conducted at the request of San Benito High School officials who two years ago noticed an increase in drug-related problems. Also, they said, they had found out that drug dealers were operating across the street from the school and that down the block, other dealers had weapons. The sting operation was coordinated by Hollister police and agents of UNET, the Unified Narcotic Enforcement Team, headed by Cmdr. Bob Cook of the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. UNET is an anti-drug operation that uses personnel from law enforcement agencies from San Benito and Santa Clara counties in conjunction with the state Department of Justice's Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. But authorities say the key to the success of the San Benito High School operation was a rookie Hollister cop named Alisse Hinton. Just 19 at the time, she passed for a 17-year-old high school senior with an attitude and a hunger for drugs. Cook called her a ``gutsy'' cop. The ruse was so well-planned that it included getting Hinton suspended once and expelled once, along with numerous detentions for not completing assignments, playing hooky or cussing out teachers or the vice principal. Discipline duty In fact, she got into trouble so often she spent hours on trash patrol, a punishment detail in which students shuffle around the campus stooping to pick up litter and throw it into garbage cans. Shellito and Cook said Hinton played her part so well she had teachers and campus aides believing she was a troublemaker and malcontent. And her flashy new Mustang, baggy high school clothes and slang and her willingness to spend money had campus and off-campus drug dealers eager to do business with her, authorities said. In all, she made 65 buys in four months, most on campus, according to Cook, who predicted the sting will put a damper on high school drug activity throughout the area. At all times, she had police backup nearby and was wired for sound. She audio-recorded each buy, he said; backup units videotaped several. When the students were arrested Wednesday, they were taken from their classrooms by school officials and plainclothes officers to the band room, where they were told of the charges against them, all the time being videotaped. Surprise for students Cook said many of the students arrogantly denied any guilt -- but their jaws dropped, he said, when shortly thereafter they were confronted by a now-uniformed officer Hinton. Most signed statements or written confessions on the spot, authorities said. In what Hollister Police Chief J.W. ``Bill'' Pierpoint said was one of the more anxious moments during the four months -- Hinton even ``worked'' her undercover role during Christmas break, making two buys -- backup officers in an unmarked car had to tail her all the way to Oakland for a buy as she was driven there by four of what she calls ``the crooks.'' A self-described Bible-reading Christian, the 5-foot, green-eyed Hinton was recruited for the Hollister force right out of the police academy at Monterey Peninsula College and sworn in, secretly, by Pierpoint last June. She spent the summer in intensive training with other agencies for her role as an undercover agent. In September, while still 19, she enrolled as a transfer senior at San Benito High. She turned 20 in October. Only two school administrators knew of the ruse. No teachers were told. No members of the Hollister department other than Pierpoint knew of her role. The secrecy was necessary for her safety, Pierpoint said. Hinton told the Mercury News on Thursday it was easy to get in with the drug dealers on campus. But she said she had to become a completely different person to play the role. She wore grungy clothes and makeup, which she never wears, she said. She had to cuss like a sailor, something she said she didn't like doing at all and never does otherwise. Felt secure And she said that while there were a couple of tense moments during the four months, she never feared for her safety. ``I wasn't scared at all because I knew the people I was working with were looking out for me,'' Hinton said. In fact, the assignment was not without its humorous moments, she said -- such as the time she accompanied a drug dealer to his home to make a buy. ``He locked himself in the house (by mistake) and couldn't get the front door opened,'' she said. On another occasion, Hinton was taping a phone conversation with a dealer and inadvertently turned off the recorder before the conversation ended, and she feared he had heard the machine being turned off. She never dealt with the dealer again, she said. There were some touching moments, too, she said. She was very impressed by two of the school's campus supervisors, who went out of their way to help Hinton, believing she was a troubled and troublesome student. ``It was just nice to see that they would take the time to help a student, and they really were trying to help me out,'' she said. There was a tinge of sadness, she conceded, about a couple of the suspects, both male and female, whom she had grown to like. When she confronted the students Wednesday, she said, she expected the worst -- However, but for a few hostile stares, none said a word to her, she said. Her advice to teens? ``Students are changed by drugs, and it's not worth it from what I've seen.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- 24 Students Arrested In Hollister Drug Sting (The San Francisco Chronicle version) Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 09:52:30 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: 24 Students Arrested In Hollister Drug Sting Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Page: A21 Copyright: 1999 San Francisco Chronicle Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ Forum: http://www.sfgate.com/conferences/ 24 STUDENTS ARRESTED IN HOLLISTER DRUG STING Two dozen San Benito High School students were arrested yesterday as Hollister police and state drug agents broke up an on-campus drug ring. The arrests were the result of a four-month undercover investigation in which a female officer posed as a student and made 65 purchases of marijuana, LSD, methamphetamine and cocaine. Video cameras and tape recorders secretly recorded the transactions, authorities said. In all, the unidentified undercover officer made purchases from 27 students at the high school and 10 nonstudent adults. One of the buys from an adult was for 625 ``hits'' of LSD and led officers to an Oakland location, where officers seized a large quantity of LSD and 20 vials of the drug Ecstasy. The drug investigation began months ago when school officials, acting with permission from the school board, tipped off police about drug dealing in the school, which has about 2,400 students. A young-looking female officer was recruited from a police academy and given intensive undercover narcotics training, including 80 hours with the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement in Sacramento. In the fall, she enrolled as a student at the school. Police said she was offered drugs during her first week on campus. The students arrested ranged in age from 14 to 20 years old.
------------------------------------------------------------------- California Officers Charged In Prison Drug Trade (A Scripps Howard News Service article says the Corrections Department's new Office of Internal Affairs - created last summer as a result of legislative hearings into alleged officer abuses at Corcoran State Prison - concluded its biggest employee drug smuggling case this week at Ironwood State Prison, where agents found unspecified quantities of unidentified drugs they connected to Officer Richard Melendez, who was arrested Dec. 30. Corrections officials do not have any statistics about institutional drug-smuggling cases involving officers and other prison employees, but two separate investigations at San Quentin put an officer, two cooks and a parolee with a violent past in custody, and several other recent cases are described.) Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 11:14:12 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: WIRE: California Officers Charged In Prison Drug Trade Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family
Pubdate: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 Source: Scripps Howard News Service Copyright: 1999 Scripps Howard CALIFORNIA OFFICERS CHARGED IN PRISON DRUG TRADE SACRAMENTO -- The dealers traded in marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin, through inmate networks in San Quentin, New Folsom and Ironwood state prisons. One of them pocketed nearly $20,000, investigators believe. Another worked in concert with a parolee on the run, they say. A third may have been one of as many as a half a dozen suppliers in his ring. And to the consternation of the Department of Corrections, three of the accused drug kingpins were their own officers. ``It looks at this point like we're going to be able to take care of a pretty good-sized cancer,'' Corrections Director Cal Terhune said. ``We don't like to find it, but when we do, we want to root it out.'' Corrections officials did not have any statistics about institutional drug-smuggling cases involving officers and other prison employees. But they said the cases represent three of the more significant employee drug-smuggling operations they have unearthed in recent years. They also said the uncoverings account for some of the most fruitful work to date of the department's fledgling Office of Internal Affairs, created last summer as a result of the legislative hearings into alleged officer abuses at Corcoran State Prison. ``We're trying to send a message,'' said OIA Special Agent Dave Mansfield, who worked the New Folsom and San Quentin cases. ``Somebody's going to get spanked behind this stuff.'' OIA investigators culminated their biggest employee smuggling case this week in the Mojave Desert. At Ironwood State Prison near Blythe, in Riverside County, some 50 officers under the direction of the Sacramento-based OIA swept through 130 cells looking for drugs, finding unspecified quantities of unidentified narco-contraband, officials said. They identified the source as Correctional Officer Richard Melendez, 28. He was arrested Dec. 30. An undisclosed number of arrests may follow, according to investigators. ``I don't think you could count them on one hand,'' Terhune said, although he added that some of the suspects are non-sworn staff. Nothing in the Ironwood investigation has been turned over yet to prosecutors, according to the Riverside County District Attorney's Office. The Ironwood case followed other officer busts involving inmate drug operations in California State Prison, Sacramento - also known as New Folsom - and San Quentin Prison. In the New Folsom case, a Department of Corrections sting resulted in the May arrest of veteran Officer Michael Laurin, 54. He was taken into custody after buying a pound of marijuana from inmates' relatives who were working undercover for the prison system, authorities said. Officials seized $19,000 in cash and bank deposits that they said represented prison drug profits. Laurin's trial is pending in Placer County Superior Court. He could not be reached for comment. Two separate investigations at San Quentin put an officer, two cooks and a parolee with a violent past in custody. The officer, April Reynolds, in her mid-to-late 20s, was arrested Nov. 22 in Contra Costa County after she bought a gram of heroin with the intent of smuggling it into San Quentin, according to authorities. At the time of the bust, she was accompanied by Terry Clay, 27, a parolee-at-large with convictions for assault with a firearm, and drug possession and other property crimes, officials said. He was arrested, too. An investigation into a San Quentin cook, Sherwood Coleman, 25, led authorities to Reynolds and Clay. Investigators arrested Coleman the day after the other two. Coleman's offense: buying an ounce of cocaine from a Corrections operative, also with the idea of taking it to prison, authorities said. Reynolds, Coleman and Clay have been indicted by a Contra Costa County grand jury, Corrections officials said. None of the three could be reached for interviews. Another San Quentin cook, Daniel O'Callaghan, 27, was arrested July 6. Investigators said he obtained an ounce of methamphetamine from a parolee in Ukiah, then smuggled half of it into San Quentin. He is set for a preliminary hearing next week in Napa County. He was not available for comment. Office of Internal Affairs investigators described the Ironwood, San Quentin and New Folsom cases as important busts. ``There is a high price on drugs in prison,'' said Mark Gregson, senior special agent in charge of the OIA's Northern California operations. ``A small amount of drugs is not so significant on the streets, but they become significant in the institution.'' Although investigators believe most drugs get into prison through inmate visits with friends and relatives, they said the larger quantities almost always are smuggled in through prison employees, including sworn officers. ``In instances where there are substantial amounts, it appears to be more of an employee problem,'' said agent Mansfield. Officials said that employees who bring drugs into prisons usually work through one or two inmate contacts. The inmates, then, run their own distribution networks through the prison. Robert Johnson, a parolee with a history of drug convictions, identified himself in an interview with The Sacramento Bee as a former member of the La Nuestra Familia prison gang whose mob ``job'' at San Quentin was to cultivate officers and other employees for stash smuggling. ``Check this out,'' Johnson said. ``In prison, you can make a thousand dollars off a gram of heroin. I used to walk through the institution with a thousand dollars in my pocket or in my mattress. I would go to the visiting room and slip it out, or have a guard take it out. That was my job.'' Johnson said prison employees brought in drugs to him no less than 18 times during his 18 years in various institutions. Don Novey, president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, said the three cases in the relatively short time frame is a relatively high number. He characterized officers who smuggle drugs into prison as ``stupid.'' ``Out of 28,000 (sworn correctional officers), you're going to have five or 10 who are ignorant enough to do something like this,'' Novey said. ``It all gets back to (the prison system) having better background investigations and psychological screening (of officers).''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Be-In About Drugpeace (A press release from the Drug Policy Foundation publicizes the 11th Annual Digital Be-In tomorrow in San Francisco, co-sponsored by DPF and developed in conjunction with the Macworld Expo. The program includes the launching of the Drug Peace Campaign, an "internet-based political action committee whose mission is to seek a peaceful end to the 'War on Drugs' by encouraging more intelligent approaches to drug-related legislation and drug education.") Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 16:02:30 EST Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: "Drug Policy News Service" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: Multiple recipients of list (email@example.com) Subject: Be-In About Drugpeace The 11th Annual Digital Be-In (www.be-in.com) is being held at the SOMARTS Gallery in San Francisco tomorrow to launch the Drug Peace Campaign, an "internet-based political action committee whose mission is to seek a peaceful end to the 'War on Drugs' by encouraging more intelligent approaches to drug-related legislation and drug education," according to coordinating organization Verbum Inc. Co-sponsored by the Drug Policy Foundation and developed in conjunction with the Macworld Expo, Be-In participants will discuss a range of issues, including alternatives to the drug war, coalition building on the internet, and cultural diversity in cyberspace. Guest speakers include: *Mike Gray, author of Drug Crazy *Jane Piper, founder of the Next School *Dale Geiringer, California NORML *Ralph Metzner, professor, California Institute of Integral Studies, and *Dave Borden, Drug Reform Coordination Network The Digital Be-In will take place January 9, 1999 from 7 pm to 2 am. Stop by the SOMARTS Gallery at 929 Brannan Street, San Francisco or check it out on the web at www.be-in.com. Whitney A. Taylor Conference Director *** The Drug Policy Foundation "New Ways of Thinking About Drugs Since 1986" 4455 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite B-500 Washington, DC 20008-2328 USA +1.202.537-5005 Fax: +1.202.537-3007 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.dpf.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- 16th Street Shooting Gallery (Another San Francisco Examiner follow-up on the heroin-related death of Boz Scaggs' son features a somewhat sensationalized portrait of the Mission District neighborhood where Oscar Scaggs died. The addicts in the neighborhood have found that heroin is far more readily available than treatment programs. According to the San Francisco Department of Public Health, there are about 13,000 heroin "addicts" in The City - but the number of casual users isn't mentioned. In any case, only 4,000 were getting treatment last year.) Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 10:08:20 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: 16th Street Shooting Gallery Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA) Section: Front Page Copyright: 1999 San Francisco Examiner Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.examiner.com/ Forum: http://examiner.com/cgi-bin/WebX Author: Emily Gurnon 16TH STREET SHOOTING GALLERY As City's Heroin Problem Grows, Inner Mission Corner Is Still Ground Zero He worked as a barber. He used to be a nurse's aide. And he once had a family. Now, the man who calls himself Heavy is a resident of 16th and Mission streets, with no home, no job and no regular income. His three children live with his mother; he sees them three or four times a year. The one thing he does have, the thing that sticks with him like gum on the bottom of his shoe, is his 20-year heroin habit. He has tried to beat it, but the withdrawal is excruciating. "To kill that pain, you gotta put more drugs in you," Heavy said. The 39-year-old is just one of many heroin addicts in this area of town - an area described by neighborhood organizers as the center of The City's heroin trade. It is the place where hundreds come to buy their dope, activists and police said. They come from Haight-Ashbury and Pacific Heights, from Oakland and Petaluma. But unlike Oscar Scaggs, the son of singer Boz Scaggs who died of an apparent heroin overdose there on New Year's Eve, they go mostly unnoticed by the media. "It's tragic what happened to Boz Scaggs' son, but it happens all the time," said Richard Marquez of the Mission Agenda, a nonprofit agency that works with poor people living on the streets and in the Mission's 56 residential hotels. He pointed to the public toilet near the corner, the "green monster," as people here call it. "It's sort of a shooting gallery," a place where addicts go to inject themselves with heroin, he said. "It's cheaper than a hotel room." Police say the area is certainly one of the three or four worst in The City for heroin dealing. "Historically, 16th and Mission has always been it," said Inspector Bob Hernandez of the police narcotics division. "That's always been the spot." One addict who gets his supply there is a third-generation buyer; his father and grandfather also frequented the corner, Hernandez said. Since the 1970s, when the intersection became the site of a BART stop, its popularity has grown. Good prices in City "Anyone from anywhere can come in, get off the train, get their drugs and get back on," said Sgt. John Murphy of the narcotics division. According to Hernandez, they make the trip to San Francisco because they know they can get a good price for the drug here. Moving west, toward Valencia Street, the hard-core elements of Mission Street give way to the hipster clubs and trendy restaurants that have made Valencia one of the hot new places for 20-somethings. Marquez pointed to a bar on 16th Street, the Skylark, between Mission and Valencia. It used to be a trans-gender gay Latino bar called La India Bonita, he said. "Now it's a total yuppie site." The contradictions are stark. Marquez peered into the window of a popular restaurant on 16th and Valencia called Ti Couz. "Yupsters are lining up here on Friday night to eat crepes, and across the street, people in those (single-room occupancy) hotels are shooting up," he said. But the two groups have one thing in common: The young partiers often stop on the corner to score some heroin while they're in the neighborhood, Marquez said. Since the drug is increasingly snorted or smoked, some of its formerly forbidden nature is gone. A man who gave his name as Semaj, a heroin addict himself, said he makes a little money by setting up customers with drug dealers. "You can tell the customers that don't belong in the neighborhood. They just look different," he said. He's seen doctors, lawyers, even morticians come around for their heroin fix. "I even had a guy from the funeral home, he come over here with a body in the car once." Police agreed, saying that people from all walks of life and all incomes frequent the area. Murphy said he recently arrested a Stanford professor on suspicion of heroin possession. The addicts who live in the neighborhood have found that drugs are far more readily available than treatment programs. According to the San Francisco Department of Public Health, there are about 13,000 heroin addicts in The City. Only 4,000 were getting treatment last year, said Barbara Garcia, director of community substance abuse services. Treatment centers scarce There are currently no treatment centers near 16th and Mission; the closest one is at San Francisco General Hospital at 22nd Street and Potrero Avenue, Garcia said. The department has funded a new residential treatment program scheduled to open nearby in about a year, but it will have only six beds. Citywide, addicts must wait anywhere from three to six weeks and even longer before they can get into a treatment program, Garcia said. Hernandez, the narcotics officer, said he is working on a new program, funded by the federal government, that aims to reduce the number of overdose deaths and help people take advantage of the available treatment options. The addict who gave his name as Heavy said he would like to get treatment - especially since he also struggles with diabetes. While he stands on the corner talking to a reporter, a young man sidles up to him. "Thirty dollars," the young man says, opening his palm to reveal a ripped plastic Baggie with a brown rock the size of a large raisin. It's half a gram of Mexican heroin. "Thirty dollars." Heavy declines, saying he doesn't have the money right now. The young man moves on.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Young, Rich And Strung Out (The San Francisco Chronicle uses the occasion of Oscar Scaggs' heroin-related death to assert that heroin use is increasing, and ludicrously but sensationally asserts it is emerging as the "drug of choice" for the Bay Area's well-off kids. Anyone wondering how non-lethal street doses of heroin can be so toxic should note in San Francisco, it's sometimes cut with shoe polish.) Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 17:53:18 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Young, Rich And Strung Out Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ Forum: http://www.sfgate.com/conferences/ Copyright: 1999 San Francisco Chronicle Pubdate: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 Page: A1 - Front Page Authors: Kevin Fagan, Neva Chonin, Chronicle Staff Writers YOUNG, RICH AND STRUNG OUT Heroin Emerging As Drug Of Choice For Bay Area's Well-Off Kids Oscar Scaggs may not have known it, but he rode a cresting, ugly new wave right to his death when he overdosed in a down-and-outer hotel on New Year's Eve. The wave is heroin addiction -- a familiar horror come back. Just when most experts had written the drug off as hitting a downswing, the old granddad of narcotics known as dope, chiva and smack that has so infamously ravaged junkies off and on for decades is on the rise. Again. This time the drug is reaching its anesthetizing fingers deeper than ever into the ranks of the young, middle- and upper-middle class -- kids like the 21-year-old son of blues rocker Boz Scaggs, ones from wealthy city districts and suburbs who have the world at their fingertips and snort, smoke or inject it away. This isn't the ``heroin chic'' that gripped hollow-eyed celebrities in the mid- 1990s, killing the likes of actor River Phoenix and grunge rocker Stefanie Sargent with overdoses. That wave was on its way out even as President Clinton denounced it in May 1997, replaced by an upsurge in the abuse of methamphetamine, or speed. In the depressingly predictable way of the drug world, this wave is the inevitable answer to the speed epidemic, experts say -- inevitable because epidemics of stimulant ``upper'' drugs are always followed by epidemics of depressant ``downer'' drugs. The main difference with this latest heroin wave is that the smack on the street these days has become so incredibly potent that users don't have to inject it, as they do low-grade heroin. This has put a richer cut of kid into the drug's mangy grasp. Being able to smoke it or inhale it straight out of a bag means youths can use heroin and still pass through their privileged worlds without tell-tale needle ``tracks'' on their arms to give them away. At least for a while, that is -- most, if they become hard-core junkies, eventually turn to syringes. Adding to the allure is the fact that heroin has become so cheap -- $5 a hit, down from $100 in the early 1990s -- that it now costs about as much to get high on smack for six hours as it does to buy a six-pack of beer. Heroin that would have been about 5 percent pure a few years ago is now 60 to 80 percent pure. Most kids-of-privilege users are in their early 20s, medical and law enforcement officials say, but a very small and growing percentage, less than 2 percent nationwide, are between the ages of 12 and 18. The kids come from anywhere money is not a problem, from Pacific Heights in San Francisco to the better-heeled pockets of suburban Marin, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Alameda counties. They are all drawn, though, to one place. San Francisco, the epicenter of the epidemic, is where most young suburban users come to get their dope. With the invulnerability of youth throbbing inside them, they don't know what they're getting into. ``We treat them younger and higher-income all the time, and it's getting worse,'' said Dr. David Smith, founder and medical director of the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinics in San Francisco. ``Because they can smoke it or inhale it now, they think they can't get addicted and won't get noticed, but they're very wrong. ``It's a killer, no matter how you do it. And it's now an epidemic.'' Oscar Scaggs, with the cachet of having the last name of one of San Francisco's most famous musicians, wasn't a typical rich kid. But those who knew him well say his death is emblematic of what's happening to lots of kids of privilege -- celebrity or not. ``There's this myth among parents that it's as simple as saying good people don't do drugs and bad people do. Well, Oscar was the kindest, sweetest person I'd ever met in my life,'' said Maura Lynch, 21, a close friend. ''And right now I can list 10 other people I know in this city between the ages of 19 to 25 who are involved with heroin, too. That's the drug's age group now: It's the upper-class kids just out of high school who are doing it.'' Oscar Scaggs was emotionally devastated when his lifelong friend, Nick Traina, author Danielle Steel's manic-depressive son, died of a drug overdose in 1997 at age 19. But it wasn't enough to ward him off his own dope craving. ``We went to Nick's funeral together, and I remember him telling me how stupid it was, the way he died,'' Lynch said. ``He said horrible things about the drug and how he hated junkies.'' Scaggs went into a rehabilitation program last January and seemed to be staying clean nearly up to the time of his death, friends and police said. Exactly why and how he wound up dead in the tatty Royan Hotel remains cloudy. ``I knew he was going to the (Royan) hotel to look for a friend who was a junkie,'' said Lynch. ``Her parents had asked for help, and he was checking with his dealers to try to find her. I guess that's how he got back in touch with them after being clean.'' Dawn Holliday, who books Boz Scaggs' San Francisco nightclub Slim's, where Oscar worked as a sound technician, knows the suburban heroin explosion with painful intimacy. Holliday's younger brother, Norman, lived in Marin and overdosed on heroin at the 16th and Mission BART Station several years ago. He was resuscitated after a passer-by noticed him turning blue and called 911. Norman moved to upstate New York, telling his sister he couldn't get clean in San Francisco. ``He said he couldn't even take a bus from SFO to Sausalito without copping,'' Holliday said. ``His friends were rich, white Marin deadheads. They started smoking it, then shooting it. It got to the point where he told me he wouldn't be surprised if half of Marin County woke up one morning with a heroin habit.'' The National Drug Control Policy Office reports that the number of heroin addicts nationwide has shot up from 500,000 in 1991 to 810,000 today -- more than 200,000 of that total being added in the past year alone. And just in California, heroin seizures by the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement went from just 87 pounds in 1995, the height of the ``heroin chic'' period, to 148 pounds last year. Police say the figure only reflects a fraction of what is really out there. Perhaps most sobering of all, San Francisco has the highest rate of heroin-related deaths of any city in the state: One every three days, double the rate of the early '90s, and far more than from any other drug. However, tracing heroin's specific injection into the lives of the rich or even the merely comfortable is much harder. Those with enough money tend to take their kids to private doctors when they overdose, keeping them off the public medical records. But the trend is standing out like neon among those who must deal with it, like Smith -- who helped Scaggs, and whose wife was Scaggs' chief drug counselor. ``The drug culture is like the tobacco industry,'' said Smith, who attended a private memorial service for Scaggs on Tuesday night at Slim's. ``They market to youth, and to where they can get the money. They don't care who they destroy.'' Wave or no wave, it's not like heroin ever really went away. The first big heroin epidemic swept San Francisco in the late 1960s and early '70s, and others have ebbed and flowed like a dirty tide ever since, with a hard core of steady users remaining no matter what. Even when the ``chic'' trend died down, celebrities kept right on using and dying. The chic phenomenon itself was actually a follow-up wave to an earlier infusion of heroin into San Francisco's and other urban populations of indigent street kids in the late 1980s. So the epidemic now reaching into the middle and upper-classes is the third wallop of smack in the past decade. ``Mary,'' a 22-year-old San Franciscan from a privileged home who was hooked on heroin and got clean more than a year ago, said the drug's come-on draw for the just-out-of-high school crowd is purely recreational. ``It's not so much a party crowd thing, because when you're high on dope the last thing you want to do is dance,'' said Mary, who spoke on condition of anonymity. ``You start out just experimenting with your friends, you know, as something different from pot or acid, and then it just gets ahold of you before you know it.'' Another part of the appeal is purely generational. In a world of aging baby boomers, upscale potheads and ex-hippie acid casualties, heroin is emblematic of a younger generation, as intricately linked to its music and fashion scene as an iron-on Marijuana leaf patch was to that of its parents. It may be the most dangerous drug, but at least it's theirs -- which isn't really accurate, but that's the thinking. Dave Kaplan, who runs the Easy Action music booking agency in San Francisco's Mission District, figures that heroin's fashion rating has little bearing on what happens on the street. ``All I know is that whenever I walk down 16th Street it looks like a scene out of `Night of the Living Dead,' '' he said. ``If anything, the Mission corridor has gotten worse. People outgrow drugs like acid, but it's hard to get over being strung out on heroin.'' Parts of the Mission and Haight- Ashbury districts serve as the city's principal dope supermarkets. Dealers use addicts as their front men, sending them to the sidewalks with batches of smack to sell and paying them off with hits for themselves. While police and doctors are scrambling to stem the addiction wave and handle the overdoses, drug pushers gleefully say times have never been better. ``Orinda, Marin, the Marina -- you name it, we get 'em,'' said one drug dealer at 16th and Mission who spoke on condition of anonymity. ``Just in the last year or so, it seems like every other buyer, or more, who comes here is some rich white kid.'' This is where Scaggs at times came to get his dope; the hotel where he died is just two blocks away. Dealers and junkies alike are easy to pick out on the sidewalk -- for those who are looking, at least -- as they troll for each other from midday deep into the night, avoiding the frequent police patrols. ``The kids start out on pot, acid, stuff like that, in the Haight, and when they want the chiva they come here,'' said the dealer. The big thing for sale right now is a ``one on one,'' also called a speedball, a tiny combination bag of heroin and cocaine that goes for about $10 and is good for one or two highs.
``You sell them for $15 to the rich kids, telling them they're getting the coke for free, until they start using heavy and finally figure out they're paying too much,'' the dealer said with a laugh. ``Some people also cut the stuff with shoe polish or powdered sugar, and the kids never know the difference.'' Asked why heroin would boom among the comfy set, he shrugged. ``I guess because chiva's cheaper than just about anything else right now,'' he said. ''It doesn't make no difference if you're a millionaire -- everyone wants to spend $1 to get $10 worth of something. ``And if there's anyone who knows a bargain, it's rich people.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Colo. Court Upholds Plea Bargains (The Associated Press says the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday reversed the Singleton decision issued last summer by a three-judge panel from the same court. An unspecified majority affirmed that it is legal to offer something of value in exchange for testimony, as long as it's a prosecutor offering leniency to one defendant for testimony against another defendant. The judges affirmed the conviction in Kansas of Sonya Singleton on charges of cocaine trafficking and money laundering. The ruling said if Congress had intended to overturn the accepted practice, "it would have done so in clear, unmistakable and unarguable language.") Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 21:36:47 -0800 (PST) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Hadorn) Subject: 'Singleton' falls Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Nothing said here about an appeal to the Supremes, but almost certainly this will happen. Guess what the result will be? D *** Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: 8 Jan 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press. Author: Steven K. Paulson Associated Press Writer COLO. COURT UPHOLDS PLEA BARGAINS DENVER (AP) An appeals court ruled Friday that prosecutors can offer plea bargains in exchange for testimony, overturning a court decision that declared the practice illegal. The decision last summer by a three-member panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had shocked the Justice Department. That ruling took issue with the moral and legal underpinning of immunity deals which critics describe as a form of bribery and essentially would make criminals of federal prosecutors who offer them. The ruling was put on hold until the full Denver-based appeals court could decide. In its majority opinion Friday, a 12-member panel wrote that if Congress had intended to overturn the accepted practice, "it would have done so in clear, unmistakable and unarguable language." The reversal pleased Justice Department officials. "It's a great day for federal prosecutors across this nation," said Linda McMahan, U.S. attorney for Colorado. The three judges who made the earlier ruling also sat on the 12-member panel and dissented in Friday's reversal. The case centered on the Kansas conviction of Sonya Singleton on charges of cocaine trafficking and money laundering. The three judges said the chief prosecution witness illegally received leniency in exchange for his testimony, violating federal law against bribery witnesses. "If justice is perverted when a criminal defendant seeks to buy testimony from a witness, it is no less perverted when the government does so," said Judge Paul J. Kelley Jr. The Justice Department said the practice is common, noting that Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were convicted in the Oklahoma City bombing based on testimony from a former friend who struck a deal. The three judges had ordered a new trial for Singleton and said Congress should rewrite anti-bribery laws if legislators believe prosecutors should be exempt. Lawyers scrambled to delay other cases affected by the ruling, but most did not expect it to stand. If the full 10th Circuit court did not overturn it, they said Congress would likely amend the law.
------------------------------------------------------------------- US Court Upholds Plea Bargaining (A different Associated Press version) Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 10:58:49 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: WIRE: US Court Upholds Plea Bargaining Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press. Author: Steven K. Paulson U.S. COURT UPHOLDS PLEA BARGAINING DENVER (AP) In a decision prosecutors describe as vital for criminal justice in America, a federal appeals court has ruled that plea bargains can be offered in exchange for testimony, reversing a decision that had declared the practice illegal. The full 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that immunity deals and lesser sentences offered for the testimony of witnesses did not violate federal laws against bribery. "It's a great day for federal prosecutors across this nation," said Linda McMahan, U.S. Attorney for Colorado. "We are delighted with the 10th Circuit's opinion ... prosecutors are not violating the law or acting unethically when they engage in such a practice." Last summer, a three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit shocked the Justice Department when it declared plea-bargained testimony to be illegal. Prosecutors believe deals offering leniency to witnesses who testify in criminal cases are essential in bringing down organized crime leaders, drug lords and other high-profile criminals. Defense lawyers contend the deals are tantamount to buying testimony and argue that there are other ways witnesses can help prosecutors. The panel's ruling was put on hold until the full Denver-based appeals court could review the issue. In its opinion Friday, the majority wrote that Congress has long known of the widespread practice. Had Congress intended to forbid such plea bargains, the court reasoned, "it would have done so in clear, unmistakable and unarguable language." The three judges who made the earlier ruling dissented from Friday's majority ruling. "Since the (three-judge) panel issued its opinion in this case, prosecutors from coast to coast have attempted to portray it as the death knell for the criminal justice system as we know it. "But experience has proven that the government, just like the private citizens it regulates and prosecutes, can live within the rules," wrote judge Paul J. Kelly Jr. in his dissent. The case centered on the Kansas conviction of Sonya Singleton on charges of cocaine trafficking and money laundering. The three judges said the chief prosecution witness illegally received leniency in exchange for his testimony, violating the law against bribing witnesses. In his original ruling, Kelly said prosecutors had to abide by the same rules that apply to others. "If justice is perverted when a criminal defendant seeks to buy testimony from a witness, it is no less perverted when the government does so," he wrote. The Justice Department said the practice was common, noting that Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were convicted in the Oklahoma City bombing based on testimony from a former friend who struck a deal. The three judges had ordered a new trial for Singleton and said Congress should rewrite anti-bribery laws if legislators believe prosecutors should be exempt. Lawyers scrambled to delay other cases affected by the ruling, but most did not expect it to stand. If the full 10th Circuit did not overturn it, they said Congress would likely have amended the law.
------------------------------------------------------------------- U.S. v. Singleton - 01/08/1999 (A list subscriber posts a URL leading to a copy of today's ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.) Date: Sat, 09 Jan 1999 21:57:13 -0600 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) From: "Carl E. Olsen" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: 97-3178 -- U.S. v. Singleton -- 01/08/1999 Sender: email@example.com Click below, Comments to: WebMaster, firstname.lastname@example.org. Updated: January 9, 1999. HTML markup Copyright (c) 1999, Washburn University School of Law. URL: http://lawlib.wuacc.edu/ca10/cases/1999/01/97-3178.htm. Sincerely, Carl Olsen
------------------------------------------------------------------- 545 Pounds Of Marijuana Found, 3 Arrested In Stash-House Raid (The Arizona Daily Star says the investigation started with a tip. Tucson residents who suspect there may be a stash house in their neighborhood should call 88-CRIME or MANTIS at 547-8800. Pima County sheriff's Sgt. Paul Leonardi, who is assigned to the Metropolitan Area Narcotics Trafficking and Interdiction Squad, said he wasn't surprised about finding an apparent stash house in a quiet, middle-class neighborhood. "We've been in the Foothills - east, west, north. . . . It's all over town.") Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 21:00:13 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US AZ: 545 Pounds Of Marijuana Found, 3 Arrested In Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Source: Arizona Daily Star (AZ) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.azstarnet.com/ Pubdate: 8 Jan 1999 Author: Inger Sandal The Arizona Daily Star 545 POUNDS OF MARIJUANA FOUND, 3 ARRESTED IN STASH-HOUSE RAID It was a nondescript stucco home in a typical middle-class subdivision northwest of Tucson. In its garage - a blue Astro van with a ``Bush/Quayle '92'' bumper sticker. But, authorities allege, appearances can be deceiving. Investigators served a search warrant on the home Wednesday afternoon and seized 545 pounds of marijuana and $109,533 in cash. ``All indications are this was a large-scale stash house,'' said Pima County sheriff's Sgt. Paul Leonardi, who is assigned to the Metropolitan Area Narcotics Trafficking and Interdiction Squad. Investigators also found ledgers that showed thousands of pounds of marijuana could have moved through the home each week, he said. Authorities arrested the homeowner, Sergio Alberto Bayliss-Lopez, 26, of Caborca, Mexico, and two other men - brothers Filiberto Chaidez-Sanchez, 18, and Neker Ivan Chaidez-Sanchez, 21, of Sinaloa, Mexico - on suspicion of unlawful possession of marijuana for sale. Each remained jailed last night in lieu of $5,500 bond. The narcotics investigation was ongoing and started with a tip. Bayliss-Lopez bought the home in October and apparently lived there by himself, although detectives found a baby crib and a package of diapers, Leonardi said. ``It blended in with the neighborhood,'' Leonardi said of the sparsely furnished home. ``They had a Christmas tree and Christmas lights,'' he said, describing the Christmas tree as upscale, with fancy ribbon as garland and crystal balls with gold inlay trim. ``The living quarters were cordoned off so they had an assembly line'' for packaging, weighing and repackaging marijuana, he said. He said he wasn't surprised about finding an apparent stash house in a quiet, middle-class neighborhood. ``We've been in the Foothills - east, west, north. . . . It's all over town,'' he said. Residents who suspect there may be a stash house in their neighborhood should call 88-CRIME or MANTIS at 547-8800. Visit the Pima County Sheriff's office online. http://biz.rtd.com/pcsd/
------------------------------------------------------------------- 46 Police Shells Found At Drug Bust Scene (According to the Houston Chronicle, police in Pasadena, Texas, say the two men they killed were trying to buy cocaine. But one of the two men killed, Keithen Briscoe, was a criminal justice major at Prairie View A&M University and the other, Empra TaDar Moore, was a December criminal justice graduate. Robert Moore, 19, a passenger in his brother's car who was shot in the shoulder, said "They killed my brother for no reason," adding that his brother was not involved in drugs.) Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 21:00:17 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US TX: 46 Police Shells Found At Drug Bust Scene Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Art Smart Pubdate: 8 Jan 1999 Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chron.com/ Forum: http://www.chron.com/content/hcitalk/index.html Copyright: 1999 Houston Chronicle Author: Ruth Rendon Section: pp. 22A and 23A, 3-star edition 46 POLICE SHELLS FOUND AT DRUG BUST SCENE Suspects may not have fired any shots Six Pasadena police officers fired 46 times during an attempted drug bust in which two men were killed and another wounded, police said Thursday. One of the two men killed was a criminal justice major at Prairie View A&M University and the other a December criminal justice graduate. "Our crime scene people have been able to recover 46 shell casings," Pasadena police spokesman Sgt. J.M. Baird said. "We believe all of those shell casings came from police weapons. At this point we do know that six officers were involved in engaging their firearms at the suspects." One of the men killed by officers -- Keithen Briscoe, 24, of 2814 Dragonwick in Houston -- had a .32-caliber pistol in his waistband, Baird said. Tests are being done to determine if the weapon had been fired, he said. An autopsy by the Harris County Medical Examiner's Office found that Briscoe suffered four gunshot wounds, and the one in his left shoulder and chest were fatal. He died Wednesday at Memorial Hospital-Southmore in Pasadena. The other man killed by officers was identified as Empra TaDar Moore, 23, of 17103 Clay Road in Houston. Moore, who graduated from Prairie View and was beginning a master's program, was shot seven times, with the wound to the lower left armpit being fatal, Baird said. He died Wednesday at Ben Taub Hospital. Robert Moore, 19, a passenger in his brother Empra's car, was shot in the shoulder and treated at Ben Taub Hospital. Police say that about 2 p.m. Wednesday officers were trying to sell a large quantity of cocaine when officers tried to arrest the men in the parking lot of Sunny's Food Store at 204 S. Richey near Texas 225. Baird said an undercover officer got into a Ford Escort driven by Briscoe, who showed him $56,000 in cash for the cocaine. The officer then got out of the car and gave a signal to other officers. As the other officers began to surround Briscoe's car and a 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe driven by Empra Moore, the two began to drive in reverse. Briscoe's car struck an officer, throwing him over the car and in front of the vehicle, Baird said. Briscoe then ran over the officer, he said. "At that point is when officers began to engage in fire," Baird said. Police said there are tire marks on the leg of the pants worn by the undercover officer. He was taken to Columbia Bayshore Medical Center, where he was treated for a bruised kidney and cuts and bruises to his face, then released. Baird said Moore also put his car in reverse, did a semicircle and struck an undercover officer in the shoulder with the back of the car. The officer suffered minor injuries. Moore, with his brother as a passenger, tried to flee but got only a block before ramming into the back of a truck. The Tahoe's back window was shot out and the front windshield also was struck. Speaking from his Houston home, Robert Moore said someone was trying to barricade his brother in the parking lot when Empra Moore tried to leave. "We didn't know who they were. They didn't acknowledge themselves as police. We panicked. My brother put it in reverse and took off. They said he ran over a cop, which is unbelievable because he didn't. I heard a crash, but it wasn't a body," said Moore, 19, who is planning to enter Prairie View A&M. Moore said he heard several shots as they tried to leave. "I didn't know what had happened," he said. "I told my brother that I was scared. I looked up and saw police cars behind us, and I looked at my brother and he was dead." Robert Moore said he and his brother dropped off his son and the child's mother at the airport. He said he thought they were going home, but his brother drove to Pasadena instead. He said he didn't question his brother, who was to start graduate work in criminal justice at Texas Southern University this month, about where they were going. "They killed my brother for no reason. We ran but you're not supposed to get shot for running from police," he said. Moore, who graduated from high school in Reno, Nev., said Briscoe and his brother were friends from Prairie View. He said his brother was not involved in drugs. As police continued their investigation, authorities were searching for two Hispanic men who fled in a red Lincoln Town Car. Charlie Jones, a cousin of Briscoe, said the shooting was excessive and possibly unjustified. "At certain times police have the right to do certain things and sometimes not," he said. "What was going on out there? Something had to be going on with so many police officers out there. Anybody could have been shot," said Jones, 35, who is visiting Houston from Detroit. "One thing for sure is that there were nine police officers involved. We need to find out what their roles were." Jones and other family members said they did not know what Briscoe was doing in Pasadena and that he had no run-ins with the law. They said the Escort was not his car and that they did not know the Moore brothers. Other members of the Moore family declined comment. Baird said the officers were surprised that three cars and five suspects showed up for the buy. "We expected a car and a suspect with the money," he said. Police recovered $56,000 in cash from Briscoe's car. Earlier, police had said there was $100,000 in the car. No weapon or cash was recovered from Moore's car, Baird said. No charges have been filed against Robert Moore. The six officers who fired -- five undercover narcotics officers and one narcotics supervisor -- were placed on a mandatory three-day administrative leave and will undergo counseling. They also will have to requalify with their firearms at the police range, Baird said. Another narcotics supervisor and two uniformed officers also were part of the sting operation but did not fire their weapons. Baird said investigators have interviewed 15 witnesses and the nine officers. Anyone witnessing the shooting that has not been contacted by investigators is asked to call the police department at 713-477-1221. *** [This article also appeared in a different edition of the same newspaper with the headline, "Pasadena Cops Fired 46 Shots During Attempted Drug Bust" - ed.]
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Jury's Duty (The Fort Worth Star-Telegram says the Lone Star Fully Informed Jury Association plans to take four proposals to the state legislature this year. One proposal would prohibit asking potential jurors their views on religion, politics or the law being prosecuted. Another proposal would prevent prosecutors from excusing potential jurors because they disagreed with the law relevant to a case. What has sparked the most dissent is the group's assertion that jurors should vote with their conscience instead of the law and the evidence. "Americans at the end of World War II told German citizens that they should have followed their conscience instead of their government," says Tom Glass. "Today's courtroom system tells jurors the exact opposite. You have to do whatever the law tells you to do.")Date: Sat, 09 Jan 1999 18:05:26 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Peter Webster (email@example.com) Subject: A Jury's Duty 1-8-99 Ft. Worth Star-Telegram http://www.startelegram.com firstname.lastname@example.org A jury's duty By Susan Gill Vardon Star-Telegram Staff Writer When Denton attorney Rick Hagen took the case of a woman who faced jail because she declined to answer questions on a jury questionnaire, he never expected it would become a rallying cry for juror rights proponents. In March 1994, a Denton County district judge sentenced Dianna Brandborg to three days in jail for her refusal to answer questions that she said were personal and violated her constitutional right to privacy. Brandborg appealed, and in June 1995, a U.S. magistrate set aside the contempt order. "In that case, I don't think a lot of lawyers understood what we were trying to do," Hagen said. "They thought we were doing away with their ability to ask questions. All we were advocating was respecting a person's right to privacy and if the question is not relevant, the juror should not have to answer that question." Brandborg's battle for privacy sparked one of four proposals that the Lone Star Fully Informed Jury Association, a Texas juror rights group, plans to take to the Legislature this year. Group members espouse jury nullification, the belief that jurors should decide cases based on their moral convictions instead of the law. The group's proposals include a ban on asking potential jurors their views on religion, politics or the law being prosecuted, said Tom Glass, president of the Texas association, which is part of a national group based in Montana. Another proposal would prevent prosecutors from excusing potential jurors because they disagree with a law relevant to a case, Glass said. The group's agenda -- legislative and otherwise -- has come under widespread criticism, particularly from prosecutors and judges. The idea of forbidding prosecutors from questioning jurors on certain issues would be "disastrous," said Roger Jones, chief of the felony trial division in the Denton County district attorney's office. "You have to have people on a jury that support the law that is in question in that trial. Otherwise, you are saying a jury is legislating instead of applying the law," Jones said. But what has sparked the most dissent is the group's assertion that jurors should vote with their conscience instead of the law and the evidence. For example, group members argue that a juror who believes that assisted suicide is morally correct should feel free to acquit Dr. Jack Kevorkian. "Americans at the end of World War II told German citizens that they should have followed their conscience instead of their government," said Glass, a Houston systems analyst. "Today's courtroom system tells jurors the exact opposite. You have to do whatever the law tells you to do." Critics argue that, taken to its extreme, jury nullification would render the law meaningless. The way to change unpopular laws is the ballot box, not the jury box, said Fort Worth state District Judge Bob McGrath. "The concept of giving the public more input into the laws is not a bad thing," McGrath said. "However, the way to accomplish that would be through initiative and referendum where the voters would have the right to make laws or nullify laws." It would be unfair, he said, for one person on a jury to use his or her beliefs to prevent a conviction. "Take drug possession as an example," McGrath said. "If you had one person on the jury who felt marijuana should be legal, they could prevent a conviction on something that society has determined by majority vote should be regulated." Juries already have the power to make a statement, he said. A jury might rule that a defendant broke the law but give him or her probation instead of jail time, McGrath said. Or a jury might decide that a party in a civil case was liable for another's injury but levy only a small fine. Hagen, who has lectured to group members on how to use "creative" legal strategies to defend clients, said he also has problems with jury nullification. "Right now, I'm not an advocate for pure nullification," Hagen said. "My concern is that nullification could be a two-way street. I'm more concerned about a jury finding someone guilty on proof less than a reasonable doubt. I think that happens with a great deal of frequency." Glass acknowledged that jury nullification could work in more than one way, but he said it is still worthwhile. "All institutions of freedom can be misused," he said. "That doesn't mean you get rid of them." *** From: Canarchism@aol.com Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 10:19:08 EST To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) Subject: Re: ART: A jury's duty [FIJA] Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org In a message dated 08/01/99 14:47:53 GMT, you write: >"Take drug possession as an example," McGrath said. "If you had one >person on the jury who felt marijuana should be legal, they could >prevent a conviction on something that society has determined by >majority vote should be regulated." Can anyone confirm this as a genuine quote? And if so, can someone tell me when the "majority vote" took place? I must have slept through that period... Harry
------------------------------------------------------------------- State Rep. Jim Lendall Introduces Medical Bill (An article from the Arkansas NORML bimonthly newsletter says the newly elected legislator from Southwest Little Rock has introduced HB 1043, permitting the medical use of marijuana. After perusing ballot initiatives passed by six western states, Lendall modeled his bill mainly after the Washington state initiative. Plus commentary on the medical potential of industrial hemp by Portland NORML's webmaster.) From: Santor (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Fri, 08 Jan 1999 16:43:03 -0500 Subject: Arkansas Medical Marijuana Bill The following article is reprinted from "Arkansas NORML", a bi-monthley newsletter of Arkansas NORML, an affiliate of NORML http://www.norml.org. Issue #67, January 99'. *** State Rep. Jim Lendall Introduces Medical Bill Newly elected state representative Jim Lendall of Southwest Little Rock has hit the ground running for the 1999 session. Before New Year's day he had introduced 27 bills for consideration, nearly half of the 56 bills placed in the hopper by that date. Among these are HB 1043, a bill that permits the medical use of marijuana by patients who can derive some benefits from its use. The "Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act" is a 14 page act that is modeled mainly after the Washington state initiative that was passed by voters there last November. Six western states have now passed madical access acts and Mr. Lendall perused them all to find the best language and ideas in drafting his bill. The bill would permit the possession and use of marijuana by patients who suffer from debilitating illnesses, including cancer, glaucoma and AIDS. It would also allow it to be prescribed for symptoms of diseases that produce pain, nausea or seizures. Patients who receive a prescription for cannabis from a doctor would apply to the Dept. of Health for an ID card. A primary caregiver could also be designated with such a card. These patients and caregivers would also be exempt from prosecution for marijuana contraband crimes, so long as they possessed less than one ounce of usable marijuana. They could also grow up to three hemp plants to produce the marijuana they use as medicine. *** I do not know who wrote it, but they made a few mistakes. A prescription is not required. A written recommendation or medical records could be used. And you can't get usable marijuana from hemp plants, which contains negligable amounts of the cannabinoids that provide the medical benefits. The bill allows for 3 mature plants, 4 immature plants and an ounce of usable marijuana for each mature plant. The bill specifies what constitutes usable marijuana. The full text of this bill can be found on the internet at http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/ftproot/bills/1999/htm/hb1043.htm J Markes email@example.com *** [ed. note - Although industrial hemp is generally bred to minimize its THC content, there is no reason to believe that it does not contain some of the dozens of other cannabinoids with largely unresearched medical potential. The editor can think of one such use offhand. Want to keep your teen from getting high on marijuana? Cook hemp leaves and buds into their dinner. The non-THC cannabinoids will attach to the brain's THC receptors, making it impossible later that night for psychoactive cannabinoids to fill the same receptors. Why is Portland NORML sharing this little secret? Because the editor is tired of reading hemp advocates saying that people who smoke hemp will only get a headache "because it has such low THC." In fact, one may or may not get a headache from smoking hemp. But the editor has tried it, and all it did was fill his THC receptors with cannabinoids that had no noticeable psychotropic effect. Smoking marijuana shortly thereafter was similarly ineffective - he had to wait hours for the hemp cannabinoids to dissipate. It's not the potency of hemp that makes it useless as a psychotropic. It's the particular cannabinoids that hemp has been bred to produce. Possibly hemp could be bred with much higher THC content, but with other cannabinoids that still negated any psychotropic effect. But just because it doesn't get you "high" doesn't mean it can't have medicinal benefits. Indeed, the editor is surprised that researchers in Britain who are trying to separate cannabis' medicinal properties from its intoxicating ones didn't start by investigating the medicinal potential of cannabinoids from hemp.]
------------------------------------------------------------------- Gore Spreads Farm Aid On Visit To Iowa (Reuters says Vice President Al Gore made his first campaign swing through Iowa Friday, dispensing federal aid to hog farmers and describing "drug" use as a crisis in rural America. Gore also attended a town meeting in Des Moines to discuss methamphetamine, the use of which has skyrocketed in rural areas.) Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 08:56:58 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US IO: Wire: Gore Spreads Farm Aid On Visit To Iowa Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jan 1999 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. GORE SPREADS FARM AID ON VISIT TO IOWA DES MOINES, Iowa, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Vice President Al Gore spread federal aid to hog farmers and described drug use as a crisis in rural America on Friday in what observers characterized as his first campaign swing through Iowa. Gore, the early front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2000, announced hog farmers will receive $50 million in direct cash payments with another $80 million to be spent to help eradicate the disease pseudorabies in hogs and reduce their oversupply. Farmers are being hurt by the lowest prices for their hogs since the Second World War. Gore also attended a town meeting in Des Moines to discuss the illegal drug, methamphetamine, the use of which has skyrocketed in rural areas. "I know this is painful for your family to relive this," Gore told a man whose son committed suicide while under the influence of the drug. "We have a crisis on hour hands," Gore said. "We need to elevate awareness because there are still people here in Iowa who do not fully understand the deadly threat that is posed to these children, to the families of Iowa, to the social fabric of this state." Gore's effort to "feel the pain" of potential voters was reminiscent of President Bill Clinton's very direct and personal style of campaigning. Gore also flew to Sioux City, in the western end of the state, to discuss social security with women community leaders. Iowa is considered politically vital to presidential candidates because it holds the first-in-the-nation party caucuses early in 2000. The visit to Iowa was seen locally as the opening of Gore's campaign. "Hopefully, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship here in Iowa as Al Gore looks to 2000," said Phil Roeder, a Polk County official and former Democratic Party communications director. "Being the front-runner, he's obviously going to be a target for his competitors. I don't think he'd want to take anything for granted," Roeder said. After dismissing the 1988 Iowa caucuses as geared for the liberal wing of the party, Gore has since made repeated trips to the state to build ties.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Landlord Admits Plotting To Have Tenants Killed (The Miami Herald says Alvin Weiss of New York, whom prosecutors have characterized as "the ultimate slumlord," has pleaded guilty to paying a hit man to give fatal doses of heroin to two of his tenants in rent-controlled apartments. The murder plots went awry when the would-be killer was nailed by police with the heroin.) Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 08:57:09 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US FL: Landlord Admits Plotting To Have Tenants Killed Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jan 1999 Source: Miami Herald (FL) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.herald.com/ Forum: http://krwebx.infi.net/webxmulti/cgi-bin/WebX?mherald Copyright: 1999 The Miami Herald LANDLORD ADMITS PLOTTING TO HAVE TENANTS KILLED NEW YORK -- (AP) -- A New York landlord has pleaded guilty to hiring a hit man to kill two of his tenants who had complained about conditions in their apartments. Alvin Weiss also admitted planning to set fire to one of their apartments. In two other separate cases, Weiss also pleaded guilty Wednesday to forging a will that made him the beneficiary of his insurance broker's $400,000 estate and to tax fraud. Weiss' tenants were not harmed after the hit man revealed the plot to police. Prosecutors portrayed Weiss, 46, as the ultimate slumlord, living in a $2 million home in Brooklyn while denying basic services to tenants in the nearly 30 buildings that he owns on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Some of Weiss' tenants, however, defended him after his arrest. Weiss faces as long as 14 years in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 18 on the murder plot charges. He admitted bailing Eduardo Almestica out of jail in the summer of 1997 and paying him $4,000 to kill Brigette Marx and Burnell Crawford, who lived in two of his rent-controlled apartments, by giving them fatal doses of heroin. When a tenant leaves a rent-controlled apartment, the landlord is allowed by law to raise the rent charged to the next tenant. The murder plots went awry when Almestica was nailed by police with the heroin. He revealed the plot and agreed to record a damning conversation with Weiss after police faked Marx's death. When Weiss was arrested, police found passports, bank books, securities statements, tax returns, driver's licenses and credit cards with different aliases. They also found several guns, boxes of ammunition and $14,000 in cash. In a second, separate case before another judge, Weiss admitted that he perjured himself to cover up a bogus will scam. Weiss said he and two others were witnesses to the 1994 signing of the will of Abraham Thau, his insurance broker. Thau actually died in 1995 without leaving a will, prosecutors said, and the three men created one and filed it after his death. Weiss' passport and other documents show that he was in Hungary on the date of the supposed will-signing. Weiss will be sentenced to one year in that case. In a third case before a third judge, Weiss pleaded guilty to tax fraud and agreed to pay almost $700,000 in back taxes, fines and other penalties.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Policy Foundation Action Alert - Gaines and PBS (The Drug Policy Foundation, in New York, asks you to write a letter to the U.S. Pardon Attorney and your congressional representatives asking for the release of Dorothy Gaines, a single mother of three, whose case is to be featured in a 90-minute "Frontline" broadcast Jan. 12 titled "Snitch." Gaines is a first-time offender sentenced to almost 20 years in prison solely on the testimony of other defendants who were facing mandatory minimums but who ended up receiving less time than Gaines because of their statements.) Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 15:25:38 EST Originator: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From: "Drug Policy News Service" (email@example.com) To: Multiple recipients of list (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: DPF Action Alert: Gaines and PBS Drug Policy Foundation Action Alert Released: January 8, 1999 Gaines Case Calls Attention to Use of Informing in Criminal Justice System : PBS/Frontline program to feature Dorothy Gaines, federal prisoner profiled in Drug Policy Letter WASHINGTON - On Tuesday, January 12, federal prisoner Dorothy Gaines will file her final appeal to reverse her conviction and sentencing on charges that she took part in a drug conspiracy. Ms. Gaines was sentenced to nearly 20 years in federal prison in 1995 based solely on the testimony of government witnesses who themselves were facing mandatory minimum sentences. The disturbing story of Ms. Gaines' trial and incarceration is part of a new Frontline investigation that will air this Tuesday on PBS stations across the country. The 90-minute program, titled "Snitch," looks into the increasing use of informants to make cases against alleged drug offenders (see below). The Dorothy Gaines Story In 1993, Ms. Gaines was arrested along with a former boyfriend who used crack when local and federal police were busting a crack cocaine distribution ring in Mobile, Ala. In 1994, a federal jury found Ms. Gaines guilty of two counts of drug conspiracy. Because of the alleged amount of crack cocaine involved, Ms. Gaines received a 19-year-seven-month sentence in federal prison. The problem was that the police did not have the cocaine that Ms. Gaines supposedly distributed. A search of her house turned up no drugs and no drug paraphernalia. Ms. Gaines, a single mother with three children, is poor, so the police did not find any cash or other signs of income that might be generated by wholesale drug dealing. What the federal prosecutors did have was the word of other defendants that Ms. Gaines had kept the ring's leader supplied with crack cocaine. The government's witnesses, including the leader, were themselves facing lengthy mandatory minimum sentences, which they sought to reduce by testifying against people like Ms. Gaines. Furthermore, one of the defendants charged that the other witnesses were developing their testimony against Ms. Gaines together while being held in the same cell during the trial. Because she had no information to trade for a more lenient sentence, Ms. Gaines, a first-time offender, is now serving a longer sentence than the defendants who testified against her -- even though some defendants had prior offenses or were charged with more serious crimes. Dennis Rowe, the leader of the crack ring, will be released from federal prison in 2004 -- eight years before Ms. Gaines' mandatory sentence expires. Even if Ms. Gaines were involved in the crack ring and falsely maintained her innocence, the Drug Policy Foundation opposes her conviction because it was obtained solely on the basis of testimony by other defendants. The government did not prove her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt by introducing corroborating physical evidence of a crime. Instead, the government traded leniency for testimony, which it could not otherwise verify. What Can You Do? Ms. Gaines' legal case is at a critical juncture. The courts, which have become inured to convictions based on informants' testimony, denied her first round of appeals. On Tuesday, January 12, Ms. Gaines' public defender will file a motion for relief on habeas corpus grounds (28 U.S.C. Sec. 2255), which has a slim chance of succeeding. You can bring attention to this case, especially in light of the airing of the PBS/Frontline investigation Tuesday evening, by writing to the following to request that Ms. Gaines be released because the government did not prove its case. You should begin with the U.S. Pardon Attorney, which already has a file on Ms. Gaines: U.S. Pardon Attorney U.S. Department of Justice 10th St. and Constitution Ave. NW Washington, DC 20530 Your Representatives in Congress Contacting your representatives in Congress by writing a letter or calling is the most effective way to make your views known to them (as opposed to sending email). If you do not know who your representatives are in the new 106th Congress, you should call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard or visit the congressional web sites. For the Senate, call (202) 224-3121 or visit http://www.senate.gov. For the House of Representatives, call (202) 225-3121 or visit http://www.house.gov. Here are the two addresses you will need for both Senators and your Representative: Honorable [name of Senator] United States Senate Washington, DC 20510-2203 Honorable [name of Representative] United States House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515-1101 After Tuesday, you can also send letters to the judge who will be trying the habeas corpus case: The Honorable Alex T. Howard U.S. District Court, Southern District of Alabama 113 St. Joseph St. Mobile, Ala. 36602 You should also send copies of your letters to Ms. Gaines, who loves to receive mail: Dorothy M. Gaines Reg. No. 05609-003 FCI Tallahassee 501 Capital Circle NE Tallahassee, FL 32301 The original story from the Winter 1998 Drug Policy Letter is online at http://www.dpf.org and http://www.november.org. Ms. Gaines is more concerned that her imprisonment has separated her from her family than with the fact that she believes she has been wrongly convicted. She cannot support her three children while in prison, where she makes $5.25 per month. She is the sole living parent for her children and now has three grandchildren as well. Watch Frontline on Tuesday for More on Gaines, Informants The 90-minute program "Snitch" profiles unsettling cases in which minor offenders are serving long prison sentences on the word of a snitch. Frontline producer Ofra Bikel said, "The war on drugs and its use of informants have had devastating consequences on our justice system, the fabric of our society, and the family. Making informants the only way for the accused to escape the full force of a sentences is a dangerous idea that is eroding the individual's rights in the judicial process." "Snitch" reveals that nearly a third of defendants in federal drug trafficking cases have had their sentences reduced because they informed on other people. Some informants end up not serving any time at all. PBS airdate: Tues., Jan. 12, 1999, 9 P.M., 90 minutes [check local listings]. More information is online at http://www.pbs.org/frontline. The Drug Policy Foundation and several other reform organizations provided substantial information, including Ms. Gaines' story, to Frontline. Scott Ehlers Senior Policy Analyst email@example.com Drug Policy Foundation "Creating Reasoned and Compassionate Drug Policies" 4455 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite B-500 Washington, DC 20008-2328 ph: (202) 537-5005 * fax: (202) 537-3007 www.dpf.org www.drugpolicy.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- Police Chief Orders Probe Into Drug Raid At Birthday (The Vancouver Sun, in British Columbia, says the police chief in Abbotsford has ordered an internal investigation into a drug raid at a house where 13 children were attending a birthday party. As the children watched, a prohibition agent shot and killed a dog.) Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 17:54:31 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Canada: Police Chief Orders Probe Into Drug Raid At Birthday Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Vancouver Sun (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.vancouversun.com/ Copyright: The Vancouver Sun 1999 Pubdate: Friday, 8 January 1999 Author: Lindsay Kines, Vancouver Sun POLICE CHIEF ORDERS PROBE INTO DRUG RAID AT BIRTHDAY PARTY The chief of Abbotsford police has ordered an internal investigation into a drug raid at a house where 13 children were attending a birthday party. As the children watched, a police emergency response team member shot and killed a dog that attacked one of the officers. The raid occurred about 5 p.m. Sunday at a house in the 2300-block of Centre Street in Abbotsford. A male resident of the house has been charged with drug offences, including possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking. In addition, Abbotsford Chief Constable Barry Daniel has asked the chief of New Westminster police to be the reviewing officer for an investigation into the shots-fired aspect of the case. Chief Constable Peter Young will also serve as the disciplinary authority for 12 citizen complaints that have been filed as a result of the raid. Daniel said in a press release that he asked an outside chief to oversee the investigation "to ensure that it is seen to be impartial." A full report will be made to the Abbotsford police board, he said. Meanwhile, one of the adults who was in the house when the raid occurred has been arrested on a warrant for assault causing bodily harm. Jason Eli Rowsom, 28, allegedly assaulted a 23-year-old male at a Shell gas station in the 2000-block of McCallum Road in Abbotsford Monday night. Police say the alleged victim was knocked unconscious, but later walked to a hospital. They also say it appears the two individuals knew each other. Rowsom was highly critical of the police raid, calling it a "violent and brutal affair and totally uncalled for." He was in the house with his four children, and said police should have realized a child's birthday party was under way.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Axworthy Launches Dialogue On Drugs (According to UPI, Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy said in Jamaica today that the problem of "narcotic drug abuse" in the Americas "will only be solved by moving beyond legal approaches and viewing them from a broad human perspective." Axworthy said Canada is launching a dialogue among the hemisphere's foreign ministers to address the impact of illicit drugs on the region's societies.) Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 08:14:30 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Canada: Wire: Axworthy Launches Dialogue On Drugs Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jan 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International AXWORTHY LAUNCHES DIALOGUE ON DRUGS OTTAWA, Jan. 8 (UPI) - Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy says the problem of narcotic drug abuse in the Americas ``will only be solved by moving beyond legal approaches and viewing them from a broad human perspective.'' Speaking in Jamaica today, Axworthy said Canada is launching a dialogue among the hemisphere's foreign ministers to address the impact of illicit drugs on the region's societies. The Foreign Affairs department in Ottawa quote him as saying, ``Drug abuse in the Americas is intimately linked to poverty, urban decay and criminal elements, and threatens democratic development, sound economic management, and even relations between states.'' The Canadian minister, who met with Jamaican Prime Minister Percival Patterson, is set to discuss his drug strategy in the next few days with government leaders in Mexico and Nicaragua. He is calling for a broad dialogue on the issue among foreign ministers of the region, who are to discuss it in a meeting later this year. Officials from Canada's Foreign Affairs department are set to consult with foreign ministers of the region over the next few months, ahead of the foreign ministers' meeting. Prime Minister Jean Chretien launched an initiative to form a dialogue group among the foreign ministers when he attended the 1998 Summit of the Americas in Santiago, Chile. Canada is linking the problem of illicit drugs with the proliferation of small arms among criminal gangs. Axworthy is spearheading a move to have armed forces in industrialized nations destroy small arms that become outdated, rather than allow them to be exported and fall into the wrong hands. All rights reserved.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Nicaragua Holds Canadian On Marijuana Charges (The Reuters version of Wednesday's news about Nicaragua jailing a Canadian horticulturalist on charges that he his commercial hemp farm was a front for an illegal marijuana farm) Date: Fri, 08 Jan 1999 14:24:40 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Richard Lake (email@example.com) Subject: HEMP AGRO/Nicaragua story UPDATE Friday, 8 Jan 2:30 pm EST Dear Friends An update on the story. First, no, we have no new news about the situation. Thanks to everyone who helped widely distributed the story Don Wirtshafter wrote about this situation. While it carried a label as a press release, it was in fact a draft that had not been intended for wide distribution, at least not to the media. Thanks to help from MAPer Steve Young a real press release has been written, and Don is having it distributed to the media as I write this. Hopefully this may correct some of the errors in some of the first news articles on this situation. Tom Paine has posted the story Don wrote at: http://www.legalize-usa.org/hemp/nicaragua/hemp-agro.htm Because the long URLs to the newspapers in Nicaragua were broken in many of the email postings, it may be easier for readers who want to see those stories to use the URLs on the above website. MAP would be most interested in receiving translations of any of the stories. Translations do not have to be flawless (translations never are, but software driven translations simply do not work well enough yet). If anyone does translate any of the items, please send them to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org Of course, we are interested in any and all English language newspaper articles which should be sent to email@example.com For basic newshawking instructions, see: http://www.mapinc.org/hawk.htm The latest posted item is the one from Thursday's Toronto Star at: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n027.a07.html However, Reuters has sent out a wire service story (not yet posted, so it is provided below) which may result in more news stories. Hopefully the press release will reach some media before the lack of accurate information in the Reuters story increases the problems. Oh, my contribution to helping with this story is not just because of my association with MAP. Donny and I have worked on a number of projects over the last couple of years, including efforts to help bring Ohio activists together (we have a Drug Policy Forum of Ohio email list, for example). When Donny is in town (he will be in NYC this weekend) he often joins the activists who discuss drug policy issues on MAP CHAT on Saturday and Suncay evenings at: http://www.mapinc.org/chat/ Thanks, again, to everyone, for all you are doing! Richard Lake Senior Editor; MAPnews, MAPnews-Digest and DrugNews-Digest http://www.DrugSense.org/drugnews/ *** Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Thu, 07 Jan 1999 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. NICARAGUA HOLDS CANADIAN ON MARIJUANA CHARGES (Reuters; 01/08/99) MANAGUA, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Nicaragua has jailed a Canadian man on charges that he used his commercial hemp business as a front for an illegal marijuana farm, a prosecutor said on Thursday. Paul Thomas Wylie, 45, of Burlington, Ontario, was awaiting trial in Managua on charges of planting 100 hectares of marijuana, said Maria Alicia Duarte, a prosecutor working for Nicaragua's attorney general. Criminal Judge Orieta Benavides also issued warrants for six other Canadian shareholders in the business, Hemp Agro International, who live outside Nicaragua, as well as a Nicaraguan who lives in the United States. The judge may consider seeking extradition of those seven, although the attorney general's office will not seek such an order until establishing more concrete evidence, Duarte said. Hemp Agro International was licensed by the Nicaraguan government to import seeds for industrial hemp, which is used to make products such as rope and textiles and is legal in Canada. But Nicaraguan authorities charge the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the plants exceeded legal levels, qualifying it as an illegal substance. Nicaraguan National Police burned the crop at Hemp Agro's farm on Managua's outskirts late last month. The case has generated daily headlines in Nicaragua, as Agriculture Ministry and other government officials were implicated for their role in approving the operation. Benavides found administrative failings but no criminal activity in the government's role in the case. But the judge left open the possibility of naming additional defendants in the future. [Reuters:International-0107.00677] 01/08/99
------------------------------------------------------------------- Colombian Rebels Say They Might Switch, Fight Coca (According to a Knight Ridder news service article in the Seattle Times, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, says it might be willing to switch sides in the drug war and actually work to eradicate coca crops if President Andres Pastrana gives it direct control of one of Colombia's 1,072 townships - an area equivalent to a large U.S. county. However, in a speech yesterday opening the highly touted peace talks, FARC rebel commander Joaquin Gomez decried increasing U.S. anti-drug assistance as a smoke screen for counterinsurgency efforts. "U.S. leaders spend huge sums of money through the Colombian security forces to harm civilians with bombings, strafings and indiscriminate fumigation, wiping out fields and barnyard animals and leaving a good part of the land sterile," he said.) Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 13:54:49 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Colombia: Colombian Rebels Say They Might Switch, Fight Coca Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Fri, Jan 8 1999 Source: Seattle Times (WA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/ Copyright: 1999 The Seattle Times Company Author: Tim Johnson, Knight Ridder Newspapers COLOMBIAN REBELS SAY THEY MIGHT SWITCH, FIGHT COCA SAN VICENTE DEL CAGUAN, Colombia - Insurgents in Colombia say they might be willing to switch sides in the drug war and actually work to eradicate coca crops, even as one of their leaders yesterday lashed out at U.S. counterdrug programs here. A spokesman for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Camilo Lopez, told Knight Ridder that insurgents could wipe out all coca within four years. Lopez said the insurgency has asked President Andres Pastrana to give it direct control of one of Colombia's 1,072 townships - an area equivalent to a large U.S. county - to demonstrate that rebels know how to knock the wind out of the drug trade. "We don't need coca crops to survive. We don't need a single peasant farmer to grow coca," Lopez said. Colombia has become the world's No. 1 producer of cocaine and a major source of heroin to the United States. FARC rebels provide armed protection to coca and poppy fields and narcotics-processing laboratories. Many experts are skeptical that the rebels would give up their ties to the flourishing drug trade despite recent pronouncements. U.S. aid to Colombia is soaring to meet the rising drug threat. Coca eradication was a subject of discussion when a midlevel State Department envoy met with a FARC commander in San Jose, Costa Rica, in December, U.S. diplomats say. In a speech at a ceremony to launch highly touted peace talks here yesterday, FARC rebel commander Joaquin Gomez decried rising U.S. anti-drug assistance as a smoke screen for counterinsurgency efforts. "U.S. leaders spend huge sums of money through the Colombian security forces to harm civilians with bombings, strafings and indiscriminate fumigation, wiping out fields and barnyard animals and leaving a good part of the land sterile," he said. Gomez cited what he said was the U.S. financing of a new counternarcotics battalion in the town of Barranco Colorado, in Guaviare state, whose true aim is "to maintain a cordon around the FARC secretariat." FARC spokesman Lopez said rebels would shoot at U.S. advisers as well as Colombian police they might find in the battalion. "If U.S. advisers come and they are in the battalion, we aren't going to know who is (American) and who isn't during combat. We're not going to ask for identity documents. . . . Whoever dies, dies," he said. Pastrana has begun an investment program, called the Colombia Plan, to seek foreign help for massive development in the eastern plains, where most coca is grown. Yesterday's ceremony in San Vicente del Caguan, a remote jungle town in southern Colombia, marked the start of talks designed to establish an agenda and locale for full-scale negotiations later this year. The talks would be aimed at ending a war that has claimed tens of thousands of lives, displaced hundreds of thousands of people and cost the Colombian government at least $4 billion a year. Manuel "Sureshot" Marulanda, the longtime head of the FARC, had been expected to participate but did not show up. It would have been the first public appearance in decades by the 68-year-old guerrilla chief, who has spent most of his life in hiding. His absence was apparently due to threats from right-wing paramilitary death squads. Marulanda's absence from the ceremony dampened a festive atmosphere in the town. Pastrana returned to the capital, Bogota, immediately afterward. After the ceremony, four government-appointed negotiators met with rebel commanders in a church sacristy to discuss an agenda and timetable for the talks. Marulanda's conditions for peace include the dismantling of right-wing paramilitary groups and the exchange of 252 jailed rebels for more than 350 police and soldiers captured since 1996. In the long term, he seeks wealth redistribution in a country where the top 5 percent earn 30 times more than the bottom 5 percent. Information from The Washington Post and The Associated Press is included in this report.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hong Kong, Japan Police Seize $53 Mln In "Ice" (Reuters confuses methamphetamine with "ice," a related drug, in describing the bust of 14 people with 100 kilograms aboard an ocean-going vessel in Japan.) Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 08:56:59 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Japan: Wire: Hong Kong, Japan Police Seize $53 Mln In "Ice" Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jan 1999 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. HONG KONG, JAPAN POLICE SEIZE $53 MLN IN "ICE" HONG KONG, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Hong Kong and Japanese police seized six billion yen ($53.6 million) worth of the drug "ice" aboard an ocean-going vessel in Japan and arrested 14 people, police said on Friday. They seized 100 kg (220 lb) of methamphetamine, better known as ice, hidden in two fire extinguishers aboard the vessel at Hamada, a port in Japan's southwest Shimane Prefecture. Police said they arrested nine crew members. Two Japanese and three Hong Kong Chinese, believed to be members of a drug syndicate, were also held. Koo Sii-hung, chief superintendent of Hong Kong police's Narcotics Bureau, said earlier investigations into an active Hong Kong-based drug trafficking syndicate had suggested the vessel was carrying drugs from Taiwan to Japan. "We then informed the Japanese authorities and sent two of our NB (Narcotics Bureau) officers there to coordinate and conduct a joint operation," Koo told a news conference. "The seized drugs could be sold at a street value of about six billion yen or HK$420 million in Japan," Koo said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Heroin Deaths Soar (According to the Herald Sun, in Australia, the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine released statistics yesterday showing about 250 people had died from so-called heroin overdoses last year, a jump of 64 from the previous year.) Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 19:42:58 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Australia: Heroin Deaths Soar Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: GALAN@prodigy.net (G. A ROBISON) Pubdate: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 Source: Herald Sun (Australia) Copyright: News Limited 1999 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/ Author: Tanya Giles HEROIN DEATHS SOAR HEROIN deaths are increasing rapidly, with more than 250 people dying from overdoses last year. And already this year, two heroin users each day have lost their lives after playing Russian roulette with a needle. Chief Insp. John McKoy, head of the drug squad, said while police did not condone heroin use, they were desperate to prevent more fatalities. Chief Insp. McKoy pleaded with heroin addicts to take precautions when using the drug or they were risking death. "We recognise that heroin users are victims of the insidious heroin trade and, as members of the community, we seek to protect them from the ultimate penalty that many heroin users are now paying," he said. Statistics from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine released yesterday show about 250 people died from heroin overdoses last year, a jump of 64 from the previous year. Of those heroin users who died in 1998, 85 per cent were male. Their ages ranged from 14 to 55 years, and while 132 were unemployed, 13 were students, 12 were pensioners, six were chefs and six were machinists. St Kilda had the highest number of deaths last year with 13. There were 11 deaths in both Melbourne and Dandenong, 10 in Fitzroy, nine in Footscray and seven in each of Reservoir, Northcote and Frankston. Most overdose deaths were in the homes (184) followed by deaths in cars (17) and public toilets (17). Deaths also occurred on church grounds, in prison and on the beach. Chief Insp. McKoy said heroin deaths first soared in 1991. New dealers at that time started to sell better quality heroin at cheaper prices and increased the trade. In 1991, 49 people died from heroin overdoses. But the number rose quickly to 98 in 1992 and 140 in 1995. Chief Insp. McKoy said the quality of heroin being sold had jumped from 10per cent purity in 1991 to up to 80per cent today. He said police crackdowns on the drug trade, including the seizure of 400kg - valued at up to $400 million - on a New South Wales beach last year, were having effect. An indication of the success was the 20 per cent increase in the price of heroin to up to $1000 a gram in recent days as heroin supplies dwindled, he said. Dr Greg Rumbold, of the Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, urged addicts to use caution when taking heroin and: ALWAYS use heroin in the company of others so they can call an ambulance if needed. LEARN the purity of the drug purchased. DON'T become blase about death after surviving overdoses.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue No. 73 (The Drug Reform Coordination Network's original compilation of news and calls to action regarding drug policy, including - Murder charges against four in Baltimore dismissed for lack of court space; Rehnquist to Congress: stop federalizing crime; Special report: Canadian citizens, investors busted for hemp to help Nicaraguan hurricane victims; Ann Landers speaks out on the drug war, marijuana laws; Syringe exchange protest in New Jersey; Medicinal marijuana in Hawai'i: A review of events; Dutch marijuana use half that of America, study reveals; Media alert: PBS Frontline to air "Snitch"; and an editorial by Adam J. Smith: New Hope in California.) Date: Fri, 08 Jan 1999 07:07:00 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: DRCNet (email@example.com) Subject: The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #73 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #73 -- January 8, 1998 A Publication of the Drug Reform Coordination Network -------- PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE -------- (To sign off this list, mailto:email@example.com with the line "signoff drc-natl" in the body of the message, or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. To subscribe to this list, visit http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html.) (This issue can be also be read on our web site at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/073.html. Check out the DRCNN weekly radio segment at http://www.drcnet.org/drcnn/.) PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of The Week Online is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: Drug Reform Coordination Network, 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail email@example.com. Thank you. Articles of a purely educational nature in The Week Online appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted. NOTES TO OUR READERS! An important action alert will be going out to the list this weekend, probably Sunday. Please stay tuned and check in early next week. Note also that this issue includes a letter-writing alert, responding to Ann Landers' very positive columns of recent weeks. If you've requested tickets from us to the Digital Be-In, taking place in San Francisco this Saturday night, 7:00pm to 2:00am, your name should be on the DRCNet admit list at the door. If you are paying by check or cash, please visit the DRCNet table after you are admitted. If you are paying by credit card, you should be all set. If your request doesn't reach us on time, and your name isn't on the list, you'll need to pay the full door price of $20. (It's $15 reserving with us in advance.) Find out more information about the Be-In online at http://www.be-in.com, call (415) 777-9199, or review our bulletin of earlier this week, at http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1999/1-4.html#be-in. TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Murder Charges Against Four in Baltimore Dismissed for Lack of Court Space http://www.drcnet.org/wol/073.html#dismissed 2. Rehnquist to Congress: Stop Federalizing Crime http://www.drcnet.org/wol/073.html#rehnquist 3. SPECIAL REPORT: Canadian Citizens, Investors Busted for Hemp to Help Nicaraguan Hurricane Victims http://www.drcnet.org/wol/073.html#nicaragua 4. Ann Landers Speaks out On The Drug War, Marijuana Laws http://www.drcnet.org/wol/073.html#annlanders 5. Syringe Exchange Protest in New Jersey http://www.drcnet.org/wol/073.html#protest 6. Medicinal Marijuana in Hawai'i: A Review of Events http://www.drcnet.org/wol/073.html#hawaii 7. Dutch Marijuana Use Half That Of America, Study Reveals http://www.drcnet.org/wol/073.html#cedro 8. MEDIA ALERT: PBS Frontline to air "Snitch" http://www.drcnet.org/wol/073.html#snitch 9. EDITORIAL: New Hope in California http://www.drcnet.org/wol/073.html#editorial *** 1. Murder Charges Against Four in Baltimore Dismissed for Lack of Court Space The backlog that exists in Baltimore's Circuit Courts, due mainly to thousands of drug cases, resulted in the dismissal of murder charges against four individuals this week (1/6) who had waited more than 13 months for a trial. Felony trials are supposed to begin no later than six months following arraignment, but the city has neither enough judges, courtrooms, nor prosecutors nor public defenders to handle the caseload. Michael N. Gambrill, District Public Defender for Baltimore told The Week Online that more than 80% of the cases in the district court are drug cases. "The police might arrest one junkie for passing a small amount of something to another junkie. Now, technically, they're distributing, but the reality is that it's just people who are addicted who are feeding their habits," Gambrill said. But they're being brought into the system as felonies, which is overloading the system." The by-product, says Gambrill, is a lack of justice. "It's not uncommon for people to sit in jail for six to eight months, and sometimes longer before trial. These people haven't been found guilty of anything. They lose their homes, they lose their jobs, they lose contact with their families and loved ones based simply on the fact that they have been charged. That is not justice." In the case of the dropped murder charges, the four defendants had been waiting more than three years for a trial. In that case, the normal delays were compounded by the difficulties of finding dates on which the four separate defense attorneys (none of those defendants were represented by the public defender), the prosecutor, the judge and a courtroom were all available. *** 2. Rehnquist to Congress: Stop Federalizing Crime On New Year's Eve day, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court William Rehnquist delivered his annual end-of- year report on the judiciary to Congress. His message to legislators, spoken in blunt terms, was to stop making a federal case out of every crime that hits the headlines, overburdening the federal judiciary in the process. Rehnquist cited "the pressure on Congress to appear responsive to every highly publicized societal ill or sensational crime" as a driving force behind the fact that the federal criminal caseload increased by 15% in 1998 alone. "The trend to federalize crimes that have traditionally been handled in state courts... threatens to change entirely the nature of our federal system" he added. The increased federal workload involving criminal matters, with their constitutional guarantee of a speedy trial, has wreaked havoc with the opportunity for civil litigants to be heard. There is often a three to five year wait for civil trials. Drug offenses are one category of crime that have been largely federalized, giving prosecutors the option of bringing charges in either federal or state court. And since federal mandatory minimum sentences tend to be draconian, they are able to use the threat of federal prosecution to force people to become informants. The number of drug offenses tried in federal court each year has risen from just over 12,000 in 1992 to more than 16,000 in 1998. Scott Wallace, Director of defender legal services for the National Legal Aid and Defender Association told The Week Online that the problem stems from the desire of politicians to make a name for themselves. "This trend (the federalization of crime) arose from Congress' frustration with its traditional role of simply funding innovation. There weren't many headlines to be had for being thoughtful. There was far more glamour in actually toughening sentences. "Members of Congress, even the attorneys among them are not particularly knowledgeable about -- or if they are they are not very concerned with -- the traditional separation of powers between the states and the federal government. Not nearly as concerned as they are about getting their name on a new law." But according to Wallace, there is a cost. "First, the federal sentences are almost always far harsher than state sentences, which creates enormous disparities in the way similar defendants are treated for the same offense. In addition, when we look at the criminal law in its traditional role, it is the most serious way in which a community can express its varying degrees of disapproval of specified behaviors. By taking that power and placing it in the hands of federal bureaucrats, who are wholly unaccountable to the people of any particular city or state, the connection between community values and that statement of disapproval is lost. Therefore, if the people of Iowa think that its okay to carry a weapon, or else if the people of Oregon don't think that the possession of marijuana is a criminal act, it's irrelevant to a one size fits all federal approach." Rehnquist argued that before creating new federal criminal legislation, legislators should consider whether there has been a "demonstrated state failure" to deal with a particular matter, and "whether we want most of our legal relationships decided at the national rather than the local level." This issue has long been on Rehnquist's agenda. In 1995, he wrote the majority opinion in the Lopez case which struck down the Gun Free School Zone Act, which had made it a federal crime to possess a gun within a thousand yards of any school. Rehnquist reasoned that there was no credible argument that the Act fell under Congress' powers to regulate interstate commerce. *** 3. SPECIAL REPORT: Canadian Citizens, Investors Busted for Hemp to Help Nicaraguan Hurricane Victims NOTE TO OUR READERS: This first-person account from Don Wirthshafter of the Ohio Hempery reached our desk today. We present it here in its entirety. The Week Online will cover this international story as it unfolds. A story is breaking in Nicaragua that should reach the world stage soon. I just returned from trying to turn around an ugly situation, but left without visible results. I hope some fair treatment in the U.S. and Canadian media can do some good. The story starts with a group of Canadian investors who wanted to do some good for Nicaragua. Bankers, builders and merchants got together and incorporated Hemp Agro International with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Managua. Their website (http://www.hempagro.com) describes their project and development they hoped to bring to the tropics. Nicaragua stagnates in the aftermath of series of natural disasters and a U.S. financed civil war. If there was ever a place to demonstrate industrial hemp's utility for sustainable economic development, Nicaragua is it. Hemp Agro planted 100 acres of Chinese hempseed and hired a full- time professional botanist to supervise a crop improvement program. The company envisioned growing a series of hempseed crops, pressing the seeds for oil, making products from hemp oil and utilizing the stalks for particleboard. The project was dependent on their developing an improved tropical variety of seed hemp, something not being attempted anywhere else in the world. The project took on additional significance in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch. Tens of thousands of homes need to be replaced. The relief agencies had a choice, cut down thousands of acres of trees for building materials or accelerate the building of the hempstalk particleboard mill. Most of the traditional crops suffered heavy damage during the storm, Hemp Agro's crop withstood the winds and rain. Fifty employees were busy harvesting bags full of hemp seed and building a mountain of hemp stalks. That's when a U.S. DEA agent went ballistic. One day before Christmas, he caused an army of black hooded soldiers to move in and occupy the field. Each posed for their picture in front of the large signboard that marked the "Hemp Agro Nicaragua, S.A. Research and Development Site" (see http://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/archivo/1998/diciembre/24-diciembre-1998/nac ional/nacional10.html). (This and the following links are in Spanish. For those who do not speak Spanish, paste these URL's into http://babelfish.altavista.com/cgi-bin/translate? for a rough translation into English.) Then they began the long task of gathering the crop in piles and setting them on fire (http://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/archivo/1998/diciembre/26-diciembre-1998/). Dr. Paul Wylie, the Canadian horticulturist who was hired by the group to supervise the project, was feeling pretty satisfied with his work in Nicaragua. His employees were busy harvesting their first crop of seeds. He had learned quite a bit about growing hemp in the tropics. Christmas was approaching and the harvesting would have to stop for the holidays. Dr. Wylie was in a taxi on his way back from the bank with the payroll for his 50 workers. A black car tried to force them off the road. A couple of motorcycles approached. Both Wylie and his driver thought they were being robbed. The driver started to head up on the curb to get away when bullets began tearing up the cab. Wylie and the driver were terrified until their attackers finally identified themselves as police. Wylie thought his troubles were over, but they were just beginning. Wylie was arrested and taken to the brig. The same prison that former dictator, Anastasio Somoza, used for his worst political enemies. A perfect movie set for an 1850's western, except it's an historic military base. Perched on the rim of the volcano, it's got an incredible view. Only the prisoners can't see a thing, they are kept in dungeons underground. In Nicaragua, you are considered guilty until proven innocent. Forget the right to counsel, forget the right to remain silent, this is not America. In the aftermath of his arrest, ten days of hearings took place on the case, only Wylie had no right to attend or help his attorneys prepare. He was locked up tight. Bail or bond were not available. Without an explanation of the charges, Wylie could not even figure out what he was being accused of. Thankfully, his wife was able to bring him food every day. Without family support like this, prisoners starve. Because of my expertise in hemp and my legal credentials, I was asked to hurry down to Nicaragua and help the local attorneys the investors hired to bring reason to the situation. I was determined to prove to myself and the court that this really was industrial hemp and not marijuana that was being grown. I also wanted to visit Dr. Wylie and see if I could raise his spirits. It took a court order to visit a prisoner in the brig, even for attorneys and translators. Armed with a court order that took days to obtain, the guards still only allowed us a short, 15-minute visit. It was barely enough time for introductions, and no time to get to the details of the case. Still, Wylie was able to briefly describe his research methodology. Dr. Wylie described it as the George Washington Carver method of crop improvement. Start with seeds from as close to the original source as possible. (Hemp originated in southeast Asia.) This way you get the most genetic diversity. Plant a million plants. From these, find the thousand specimens that best match your breeding objectives. From these prime plants, plant a million seeds. Plant the seeds from the best 1000 plants for five years and you will see spectacular improvements in the breeding of that crop. It was an ambitious attempt to create a tropical variety of low THC industrial hemp, but the U.S. DEA got in the way. Our drug warriors refuse to recognize a difference between hemp and marijuana. This is why the DEA is being sued by a group of Kentucky farmers (see http://www.drcnet.org/wol/042.html#kentucky and http://www.drcnet.org/wol/048.html#ky-hemp). The U.S. employed DEA agent looked at the plant in a microscope and saw the glandular trichromes characteristic of Cannabis. He concluded therefore it must be marijuana, never considering that legal industrial hemp also has these characteristic parts. Nicaragua is in a vulnerable position. It needs a massive influx of foreign aid to begin its recovery from the civil war and Hurricane Mitch. Pressure from the U.S. diplomats orced the government to act quickly. One government minister after another came to court to kowtow to the foreign imperialists. Politicians who praised the project a week before began denying that they gave approval or claimed that the investors lied to get their permits. Ten days of hearings were held over the New Year's holiday. The tide turned from whether a crime had been committed to which government heads would roll for allowing this scandal to develop. The scandal has occupied the front page in Managua's three papers since it broke the day before Christmas. As the tide turned against the defendants, the papers got more vicious. See the following articles: http://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/archivo/1998/diciembre/30-diciembre-1998/nac ional/nacional10.html http://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/archivo/1998/diciembre/30-diciembre-1998/nac ional/nacional5.html http://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/archivo/1998/diciembre/31-diciembre-1998/nac ional/nacional1.html http://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/archivo/1999/enero/02-enero-1999/nacional/na cional11.html http://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/archivo/1999/enero/02-enero-1999/nacional/na cional10.html Monday's paper featured one story about the trial (http://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/archivo/1999/enero/04-enero-1999/nacional/n acional7.html) and another entitled "They Sell Crack in the Schools" about a government report that ended up describing the 100 acre bust (http://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/archivo/1999/enero/04-enero-1999/nacional/n acional1.html). Each of the Canadians investors in the project are now charged with major drug crimes. They are subject to arrest in Canada and extradition to Nicaragua under the reciprocal provisions of the treaties intended to bring narcotraficantes north for trial in the U.S. or Canada. We are not describing a typical bunch of criminals. Hemp Agro International was founded by established Canadian citizens who wanted to do some good for the world. As part of their many applications for permits from various Nicaragua Agencies, the group provided the authorities with paperwork certifying they each had clean criminal records in Canada. Most had never thought about ever finding themselves in a criminal court. One problem confuses the issue for all involved. For the position of local manager, the investors chose to hire an historic figure, Oscar Danilo BlandĒn. BlandĒn is a central character in the C.I.A. drug running scandal exposed by Gary Webb in the San Jose Mercury News and his recent book Dark Alliance (see http://www.drcnet.org/wol/043.html#garywebb). BlandĒn was one of the founders of the Contra party and remains well connected with the power structure in Nicaragua. But to finance the contra armies in the Reagan 1980's, BlandĒn helped import tons of cocaine into America. He served almost two years in a federal prison. BlandĒn holds an MBA, is bilingual and became quite excited by the potential of what hemp could do for his country. He proved a natural choice for project manager. But the tide turned. When the government and media branded this research plot as the "largest marijuana bust in the history of Central America," BlandĒn's checkered history seemed to be as proof that these gringos were up to no good. Hemp Agro had obtained more than twenty licenses for conducting business in Nicaragua. The Agricultural Ministry was informed as to their plans and had issued licenses for the importation of Chinese seed. Nothing was hidden here, the company was doing all it could to enlist government support for the planned particleboard mill and oil crushing mill. The government ministers were invited to see the field. A large sign marked its location. The paperwork filed in Nicaragua gave the names of all of the investors. Would these steps be taken for a field of marijuana? The defense lawyers decided to put me on the stand to give expert testimony about hemp. It was a frustrating experience. "We call it 'going to Vietnam,'" the attorneys told me in an effort to prepare me for the hearing. "It's brutal, ugly and take no prisoners." They were right. The usual civil behavior of attorneys that I am used to was not present there at all. It was war. We prepared more than 100 pages of journal articles translated into Spanish for the court. But because these were not originals, they were not admissible. Court was held in a cramped office lined by desks with old manual typewriters. It proceeded slowly because a secretary needed type a live transcript. In my case, since my Spanish was not up to speed, a translator did his best to make meaning of my technical presentation, phrase by phrase. It crawled slowly. When a question was posed to me, the transcript would be made, the secretary would read it back as my translator put it in English, I would answer pausing for the translation and the typing. It dragged on until 7:00 pm on New Year's Day. The courtroom was crowed with newspaper reporters and photographers who would crowded in to snap close-ups of my face. Nobody was introduced and I was not allowed to ask any questions. When I was done the lawyers commenced arcane legal arguments centering on why I did not present an embossed identification of myself as an attorney and botanist. The judge kept my bar card. I am used to court, but this was something else. It was an ambush. I was able to describe for the court the differences between hemp and marijuana. I explained the difference in the way the crop was grown and harvested. The evidence was that the employees were beating the harvested plants on a rail "like beans." This was clearly grown and harvested seed hemp and was totally inconsistent with the methods of planting and harvesting marijuana. I explained that contrary to the assertion of the DEA, that international law gave Nicaragua sovereignty to decide the question for itself. "Cannabis grown for the purpose of industrial use" was excepted from the treaty provisions. A limit on the level of THC in the crop was up to Nicaragua to define. Switzerland, for example, has not set a limit. I described the market for the seeds and why the oil was so special. I explained that the test performed by the DEA is incapable of discriminating hemp and marijuana. DEA agents were not violating the sovereignty of Canada or Switzerland, yet they felt at home running roughshod over our Central American neighbor. I explained why the researchers had to go to China for their seed, nothing close was available in Europe or America. The low-THC European varieties were for a far different latitude and climate and would not work in Nicaragua. Besides, they are all so protected by plant patents, registrations and restrictive contracts that the seeds would have to be bought every year. This means they would never acclimate to the Nicaraguan growing conditions and would be too unreliable to anchor an industry. China has grown hemp for seed for thousands of years. The people of the region where the seeds originated do not even have a concept of the use of the hemp plant as a drug. I told the judge of the 22 web sites I found that sold marijuana seeds. The minimum price offered was $5 per seed. At 60,000 seeds per kilogram, a kilo of seeds would be worth $300,000. The 15,000-kilogram container shipment from China would be 4.5 billion dollars if it were marijuana. I said it was impossible and crazy to assume that this much seed could be marijuana. Besides, I told the court, this particular shipment of seeds was examined by the U.S. Customs while the container was being transshipped in Long Beach, California. The container was emptied for a DEA inspection. Only hempseeds were found. They released the shipment to go forward to its destination in Nicaragua. I described what a hemp economy could do for Nicaragua in terms of employment and self-sufficiency. I gave good references for the Canadian defendants whom I had met. I tried to help, but it felt like I was talking to air. Yesterday, the judge found probable cause to hold the defendants up for charges. Dr. Wylie will have to languish in jail while the government works to extradite the other defendants from Canada and the U.S. Once arrested and returned "to the scene of the crime", the defendants will have no more rights than Dr. Wylie did upon his arrest. Most of the defendants were only inactive investors in the project. They have never set foot in Nicaragua. Now they will have to hire attorneys, fight extradition and suffer having their reputations smeared around the world. Nicaragua seems adept at shooting itself in the foot on a regular basis. What started out as an exciting project to bring a new industry to a place it was truly needed, has now turned into an international scandal. It's not just the investors who are affected. For Nicaragua to progress it will need help from foreign industries and industrialists, foreign technology and technologists. When the story of how Dr. Paul Wylie was treated for his efforts in Nicaragua is spread in the international community, it will be hard to get others to commit to even visiting the country. The real losers are the local compesinos who stood to gain steady employment in the project. As it is, the government agents kept the $5000 payroll they seized from Dr. Wylie. The workers missed their Christmas pay. There are no winners in this story. The toll will continue as long as our government obscures the difference between hemp and marijuana and its agents run roughshod over the rights of the people of Central America. I am trying to get some help spreading the word on this story. If the government spreads it, it will be all about marijuana. The word hemp will not make it into the story. I have to come out aggressively to get the word to the media that there is a lot more behind this "bust" than meets the eye. Anyone with suggestions is welcome to write or call. For more information, please contact Don Wirtshafter at (740) 662-4367 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Grant Sanders, Hemp Agro International, (905) 681-1110. *** 4. Ann Landers Speaks out On The Drug War, Marijuana Laws Ann Landers, who, along with her sister "Dear Abby" is one of the two most popular advice columnists in North America, had a holiday season to be proud of this year as she addressed our nation's failing drug war not once but twice. On Christmas, Ms. Landers published a holiday message which included the following two paragraphs: "Unfortunately, the "war on drugs" has turned out to be a colossal failure. The increase in the number of homicides is staggering, and most of it is drug-related. Guns and knives are standard equipment among teenagers. It is not uncommon for a teenager to get shot or stabbed for his jacket or his shoes. Metal detectors in schools help some, but not enough. While alcohol is still the most abused drug of all, marijuana and stronger substances like crack cocaine are commonplace in junior and senior high schools. The dropout rate is appalling. Why should a kid stay in school when he can get rich dealing drugs? This is the message too many young people are getting." Not all of the nation was able to read her words of wisdom, however, as many newspapers across the country edited out that part of the message. Then, on Monday (1/5), Ms. Landers published a letter from a distraught mother in Virginia whose eighteen year-old son had been arrested on marijuana charges. The mother argued that while she disapproved of marijuana use, along with alcohol and tobacco use, her son had never hurt anyone, had possessed the marijuana for his personal use, and had "never had so much as a parking ticket," and yet was facing a long prison term, which she thought was an injustice as well as a waste of state resources. Ann agreed, saying: "I have long believed that the laws regarding marijuana are too harsh. Those who keep pot for their own use should not be treated as criminals. Thirty years in prison makes no sense whatsoever. I'm with you." YOU CAN HELP! It is important that Ms. Landers, who has taken previous, cautious steps in the direction of reform advocacy, gets plenty of letters of support, or even personal stories from people whose lives and families have been damaged by the Drug War. Write to her at: Ann Landers, P.O. Box 11562, Chicago, IL, 60611-0562 If your local paper runs Ann Landers but cut the above columns or edited out the above-cited material, send them a letter of complaint. *** 5. Syringe Exchange Protest in New Jersey On Tuesday, January 12, at twelve noon, citizens of New Jersey and surrounding regions will gather on the steps of the State House in Trenton to protest Governor Christine Whitman's intractability on the issue of syringe exchange. The protest will coincide with Whitman's State of the State address and will be sponsored by the New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition, the New Jersey chapters of the National Organization for Women and American Civil Liberties Union, the New Jersey Collegiate Consortium for Health in Education, ACT-UP Philadelphia, and ACT-UP New York, among others. New Jersey has the nation's third-highest rate of injection- related AIDS. If you are in the area, please make an effort to attend this one-hour demonstration. Donations to defray transportation and other expenses are welcome. Checks can be made out the New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition and sent to NJHRC, P.O. Box 1459, New Brunswick, NJ 08903. For further information, call NJHRC at (732) 247-3242. (Read the Health Emergency 1999 report by Dr. Dawn Day of the Dogwood Center -- http://www.drcnet.org/healthemergency/ -- for much more information on the impact of injection- related AIDS, particularly as it impacts minority communities.) *** 6. Medicinal Marijuana in Hawai'i: A Review of Events Don Topping, President, Drug Policy Forum of Hawai'i, http://www.drugsense.org/dpfhi In early December 1998, Governor Benjamin Cayetano, recently re-elected by a slender margin of 5,000 votes, announced that he intended to introduce legislation on three highly controversial issues in Hawai'i: domestic partnerships, euthanasia, and medicinal marijuana. Following this announcement, the Governor met with Pam Lichty and Don Topping of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai'i, and Chuck Thomas of the Marijuana Policy Project. During this meeting, the Governor appeared determined to follow through, asked very good questions, and requested that DPFH work with his Attorney General and Director of Health to work on draft legislation. While Chuck Thomas was in Honolulu, he joined Lichty and Topping at meetings with key legislators, i.e. Chairs of the Health Committees for the House and Senate; Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and key staffers of the co-chairs of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The chairs of both health committees said that they would introduce a bill on medicinal marijuana in their respective houses. The judiciary committees took a more restrained, although somewhat supportive position. On December 17, board members of DPFH met with the AG's representative and Director of Health, during which the AG's rep made it clear that his boss opposed the idea regardless of the Governor's position, claiming that she (the AG) "served the people, not the governor." It was also hinted at the meeting that the head of the State Narcotics Control Division would authorize his officers to make arrests under federal law should such legislation pass the state legislature. An independent poll taken in Hawai'i in September shows that 63% of Hawaii's voters support medicinal marijuana. DPFH has already received commitments from several patients and physicians who will testify in favor of the bill. DPFH is also working with MPP and others in the reform movement on this issue. DPFH expects opposition to this bill from city, state and federal law enforcement groups, and various other groups who support current drug policy. The coming session of the Hawai'i State Legislature marks the beginning of a two-year legislative period. Thus, even if the proposed bill for medicinal marijuana fails to make it through both houses, it will still be alive for the session that begins in January, 2000. *** 7. Dutch Marijuana Use Half That Of America, Study Reveals from the NORML Weekly News, courtesy the NORML Foundation, http://www.norml.org January 7, 1999, Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Americans consume marijuana at rates more than double those of their Dutch counterparts, according to a study published Tuesday by the Center for Drug Research (CEDRO) of the University of Amsterdam. "These findings illustrate that criminalizing marijuana does little, if anything, to discourage use," said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of The NORML Foundation. He noted that Dutch law allows citizens over 18 to buy and consume marijuana in government-regulated coffeeshops. The study found that 15.6 percent of Dutch persons aged 12 and over had tried marijuana. Of these, 4.5 percent reported using marijuana in the past year, and 2.5 percent said they used the drug during the past month. By contrast, 32.9 percent of Americans admit trying marijuana, and nine percent report using the drug in the past year. Slightly more than five percent of Americans say they use the drug monthly. The study's authors concluded that "a repressive [marijuana] policy as in the U.S. does not necessarily result in less drug use. The availability of drugs is no determining factor for levels of drug use in a country." The study, financed by the health ministry and conducted by Amsterdam University and the Central Bureau of Statistics, is the first to document national marijuana use rates. Data previously compiled by the Dutch National Institute of Health and Addiction (NIHA) determined that Dutch adolescents use marijuana at significantly lower rates than Americans. The agency reported that 21 percent of Dutch adolescents admit trying the drug compared to 45 percent of American high school seniors. For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751. To view a summary of the CEDRO report online, please visit http://www.frw.uva.nl/cedro/. *** 8. MEDIA ALERT: PBS Frontline to air "Snitch" On Tuesday, January 12 at 9pm (check local listings), PBS will air "Snitch," a 90 minute feature exposing the use and misuse of confidential informants by the U.S. government. Frontline will examine how mandatory minimum sentencing legislation turned the use of informants into the lynchpin of prosecutorial strategy in the Drug War. Producer Ofra Bikel takes viewers inside the mind of the informant and profiles some unsettling cases in which the most minor offenders are serving harsh prison sentences on the word of a snitch, while higher-ups, with information to trade, walk free. (See our story on a Tenth Circuit Case which could end the trading of leniency for "the right testimony," at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/068.html#testimony. Also, see related articles and editorial in Issue #35, at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/035.html.) *** 9. EDITORIAL: New Hope in California Adam J. Smith, DRCNet Associate Director In California this week, Bill Lockyer, the state's new Attorney General, will begin the process of trying to figure out how to implement Proposition 215. Prop. 215 was passed by the voters of California in 1996, and was supposed legalize the possession and use of marijuana by patients in need. The intent of the law has been frustrated, however, by a combination of the federal government and the former Attorney General of California, Dan Lungren. Lungren was an opponent of Prop. 215 even before its passage. At one point during the campaign, when the popular comic strip Doonesbury ran a week-long series in support of the initiative, Lungren used state money to hold a press conference denouncing the comic and its creator, and urging the state's newspapers to refuse to run the strip. In the two years that he held his post after the initiative was passed, Lungren showed himself willing to go back on his oath to "uphold the laws of the State of California" by openly proclaiming and acting upon his intent to interpret the law "as narrowly as possible." This led to numerous arrests of legitimate patients and the seizure of their medicine. The federal government, for its part, having been thwarted in its efforts in urging the initiative's defeat, opened hostilities on December 30, 1996, with a press conference at which Attorney General Janet Reno threatened to prosecute and or rescind the prescription privileges of any doctor who so much as discussed the use of marijuana with his or her patients. When that threat was deemed to be in violation of the First Amendment in federal court, a legal assault was undertaken by the federal government against various dispensaries of medical marijuana throughout the state. But now there is Bill Lockyer. Lockyer has been an open proponent of the right of Californians to access marijuana for medicinal use. He made no secret of this during his campaign, and has since reiterated his desire to oversee the creation and implementation of a system of distribution, most likely in cooperation with local governments, which will finally give life to the initiative's 1996 victory. Whatever the ultimate plan, it is likely to face federal opposition, and it could very well get ugly. Keep in mind that the federal government came into Oakland last year and shut down that city's Cannabis Buyers' Club over the strong objections of the Mayor and the city council, who had gone so far as to deputize the club's employees in an effort to fit them into a loophole in the federal Controlled Substances Act. Bill Lockyer most assuredly has his work cut out for him. One can hope that the victories this past November of medical marijuana on the ballots of four other states might temper the feds' enthusiasm for arresting the sick and the dying, their doctors and their caretakers. But don't bet on it. The federal government has a lot invested in its unyielding stance on medicinal marijuana, and it openly fears that capitulation on this issue will open the door to reforms in other areas of its cash cow drug war. What we can legitimately hope is that Bill Lockyer is a man who will not be easily intimidated, and that California's new governor, Gray Davis, will stand behind him. We can also hope that local governments across the state, as well as the state's legislators, have the stomach to stand up to an overbearing and overzealous federal government on behalf of California's voters, or at least for those whose suffering the federal government would have them ignore. *** DRCNet needs your support! Donations can be sent to 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036, or made by credit card at http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html. Donations to the Drug Reform Coordination Network are not tax-deductible. Deductible contributions supporting our educational work can be made by check to the DRCNet Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax- exempt organization, same address. *** DRCNet *** GATEWAY TO REFORM PAGE http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/ DRCNet HOME PAGE http://www.drcnet.org/ DRUG POLICY LIBRARY http://www.druglibrary.org/ JOIN/MAKE A DONATION http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html REFORMER'S CALENDAR http://www.drcnet.org/calendar.html SUBSCRIBE TO THIS LIST http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html -------------------------------------------------------------------
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