------------------------------------------------------------------- Concert in Portland Friday, Jan. 22, to benefit the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (A news release from CRRH, sponsors of the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, says the show at the Aladdin Theater features Huffy, Jealous Rage, Pedro Luz, the Daylights, Nicotine, and Hurricane Joe.) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 13:07:13 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: "D. Paul Stanford" (email@example.com) From: "CRRH mailing list" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: CRRH benefit show Friday, 1/22/99, Portland, OR A benefit rock concert will be held for the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp, CRRH, and its Cannabis Tax Act petition on Friday, January 22nd. The benefit is at the Aladdin Theater in Portland, Oregon at 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., and the doors open at 6 PM. Six bands will play until 1:30 AM. The bands are: Huffy Jealous Rage Pedro Luz The Daylights Nicotine Hurricane Joe You are cordially invited to attend. Tickets are available in advance at all Ticketmaster outlets for $8 each, and at the door for $10. We hope to see you there. Aladdin Theater, 3107 SE Milwaukie; Portland. Friday, January 22, 1999. Doors open at 6 PM, until 1:30 AM Thank you. *** To unsubscribe from CRRH's email@example.com e-mail list, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org *** Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp CRRH P.O. Box 86741 Portland, OR 97286 Phone: (503) 235-4606 Fax: (503) 235-0120 Web: http://www.crrh.org/
------------------------------------------------------------------- Portland, Ore., Monthly Potluck (Floyd Ferris Landrath of the American Antiprohibition League publicizes meetings for drug policy reformers on the last Sunday of every month in 1999 - including Jan. 31.) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 21:59:05 -0800 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) From: Floyd F Landrath AAL (AAL@InetArena.com) Subject: PORTLAND, ORE., MONTHLY POTLUCK Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org HELP END THE DRUG WAR, LEGALIZE MARIJUANA FOR ADULTS PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD! MONTHLY ANTIPROHIBITION POT LUCK GATHERING LAST SUNDAY OF EVERY MONTH 1999 JAN 31 FEB 28 MAR 28 APR 25 MAY 30 JUN 27 JUL 25 AUG 29 SEP 26 OCT 31 NOV 28 DEC 26 6 P.M. AT PHANTOM GALLERY, 3125 SE BELMONT ST., PORTLAND PLEASE CALL 235-4524 FOR MENU COORDINATION ...BRING INSTRUMENTS, POETRY, YOURSELF... *** "If drug abuse is a disease, then drug war is a crime."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Alameda County Joins Lawsuit Against Feds (A bulletin from California NORML says the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted today to join the city of Oakland in a legal brief in support of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative. The brief, filed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, argues that the U.S. Constitution doesn't allow federal law to automatically override California voters' rights.)Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 21:46:35 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dale Gieringer) Subject: DPFCA: Alameda Co. Joins Lawsuit Against Feds Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted today to join the city of Oakland in a legal brief in support of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative. The brief, filed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, argues that the U.S. Constitution doesn't allow federal law to automatically override states' rights. The brief was written by Oakland city attorney Lind LeCraw in consultation with former general counsel to the FDA Peter Barton Hutt, who helped write the original Federal Controlled Substances Act in 19743. Hutt argues that California voters, in approving Prop. 215, "deemed the medical use of cannabis to be a fundamental liberty interest" that should therefore be protected by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. *** Dale Gieringer (415) 563-5858 // email@example.com 2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114
------------------------------------------------------------------- Colorado Senator Introduces Prison Moratorium Bill (An action alert from the Colorado Hemp Initiative Project asks Coloradans to write letters to state legislators and everyone to write letters to Colorado media regarding SB 95, a moratorium on prison construction sponsored by Senator Dorothy Rupert, a Democrat from Boulder.) Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 00:52:35 -0700 (MST) From: ammo (firstname.lastname@example.org) X-Sender: email@example.com To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Colo. Prison Moratorium Bill Sender: email@example.com ACTION ALERT - January 12, 1999 Colorado Senator Introduces Prison Moratorium Bill Letters to the Editor Needed! *** Colorado Senate Bill 95 - Moratorium On New Prisons Sponsored by Senator Dorothy Rupert (D-Boulder) A BILL FOR AN ACT CONCERNING CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES IN COLORADO, AND, IN CONNECTION THEREWITH, IMPOSING A MORATORIUM ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF NEW CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES AND ESTABLISHING A LEGISLATIVE TASK FORCE TO STUDY CRIMINAL SENTENCING POLICIES OF THE STATE. Bill Summary (Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced and does not necessarily reflect any amendments that may be subsequently adopted.) For 3 state fiscal years commencing July 1, 1999, prohibits the department of corrections from spending any money on the planning, design, or construction of a correctional facility unless the construction of the facility was approved by the capital development committee as of January 1, 1999. Prohibits the department of corrections from issuing any new requests for proposals for the privatization of correctional facilities until July 1, 2002. Establishes a legislative task force to study criminal sentencing policies in the state. Specifies the number of members, method of appointment, limitation on political party affiliation, and compensation. Establishes duties of the task force including analyzing specific areas and submitting interim and final reports to joint meetings of the judiciary committees of the senate and house of representatives. Full text of this bill can be viewed at: http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/sess1999/sbills99/sb095.htm or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy. *** WHAT YOU CAN DO: The bill will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee. If it passes the committee, then there will be two votes on the bill in the full Senate. Then the bill would have to work its way through the House of Representatives and eventually be signed by the governor. At this point, we are not asking people to call or write the members of the committee, unless you live in their district. We will let you know if this situation changes. We are asking people nationwide to write a letter to the editor of our local newspapers supporting SB 95. This is an important piece of legislation and gives supporters of sentencing reform the opportunity to discuss these issues in a public forum. Send a copy of any letters you write to: email@example.com. *** For background information on the prison industry and casualties of the Drug War, see: Prisons: Growth Industry of the Nineties by Dr. Dave West http://www.pressenter.com/~davewest/prisons/ Prison Activist Resource Center http://www.prisonactivist.org/ November Coalition http://www.november.org/ Human Rights and the Drug War http://www.hr95.org/ *** Colorado Newspapers Email Addresses for Letters to the Editor Please write a letter in support of Senate Bill 95, sponsored by Sen. Dorothy Rupert, the moratorium on prisons bill. Letters that are 250 words or less have the best chance of being printed. You can send Blind Carbon Copies (Bcc:) of your letters to all the addresses listed below at the same time. However, it is often more effective to send your letter to each newspaper individually, one at a time. Be sure to include a phone number for verification. See the Media Awareness Project for information on how to write effective letters. http://www.mapinc.org Denver Post firstname.lastname@example.org, Rocky Mountain News email@example.com Colorado Daily, Boulder firstname.lastname@example.org Daily Camera, Boulder email@example.com Boulder Weekly (alternative weekly) firstname.lastname@example.org Boulder Planet, Boulder email@example.com Summit Free Press, Breckenridge firstname.lastname@example.org Colorado Springs Gazette email@example.com Colorado Springs Independent firstname.lastname@example.org Westword, Denver (alternative weekly) email@example.com Pueblo Chieftan firstname.lastname@example.org Fort Collins Coloradoan email@example.com The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction firstname.lastname@example.org The Durango Herald email@example.com Valley Chronicle, Hotchkiss firstname.lastname@example.org Mountain Ear, Nederland email@example.com Mountain Messenger, Idaho Springs firstname.lastname@example.org Estes Park Trail Gazette email@example.com Glenwood Post firstname.lastname@example.org Greeley Tribune email@example.com Gunnison Times firstname.lastname@example.org Montrose Press email@example.com The Mountain Mail, Salida firstname.lastname@example.org Leadville Herald email@example.com Steamboat Pilot firstname.lastname@example.org *** Distributed as a public service by the: Colorado Hemp Initiative Project P.O. Box 729, Nederland, CO 80466 Vmail: (303) 448-5640 Email: email@example.com Web: http://www.welcomehome.org/cohip.html http://www.levellers.org/cannabis.html "Fighting over 60 years of lies and dis-information with 10,000 years of history and fact." ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE??? *** To be added to or removed from our mailing list, send email with the word SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE in the title.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Border Patrol Can Be Sued for Stops (The Associated Press says the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision Tuesday, reinstated a class-action lawsuit on behalf of two groups: Hispanics who drive in an eight-county area of southern Arizona at any time, and people of any ethnicity who drive in the same area after dark, ruling that the U.S. Border Patrol can be sued for stopping drivers just because they look Hispanic.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "_Drug Policy --" (email@example.com) Subject: CA Border Patrol Can Be Sued for Stops Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 19:34:12 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Border Patrol Can Be Sued for Stops By BOB EGELKO Associated Press Writer SAN FRANCISCO (AP)--The Border Patrol can be sued for allegedly stopping drivers in southern Arizona just because they look Hispanic, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. In a 2-1 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a class-action lawsuit on behalf of two groups: Hispanics who drive in an eight-county area of the state at any time, and people of any ethnicity who drive in the same area after dark, when agents allegedly can't tell whether a driver is Hispanic. The lawsuit, filed by two Hispanic drivers in 1995, says both groups are commonly stopped without reasonable suspicion of illegal immigration, a claim based in part on the Border Patrol's own reports. The ruling allows the drivers to try to prove their case. ``We have overwhelming evidence of a pattern and practice on the part of the Border Patrol to stop Hispanics because they were Hispanics,'' said Armand Salese, lawyer for the drivers. Although such stops have been forbidden by federal court rulings for many years, a review of between 2,000 and 3,000 Border Patrol reports of driver stops shows that management ``is encouraging that officers turn a blind eye'' to those rulings, Salese said. The lawsuit seeks no money damages, only court orders prohibiting stops of drivers without reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing. The Border Patrol's regional office in Laguna Niguel, which oversees officers in Arizona, did not return a telephone call seeking comment. The suit was dismissed in 1997 by U.S. District Judge John Roll, who said the two drivers could not sue on behalf of all motorists because the circumstances of every Border Patrol stop were different. He said they could not sue on their own behalf because they had failed to show a likelihood that they would be stopped illegally in the future. But the appeals court said every vehicle stop covered by the suit had one thing in common: the lack of reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing. *** When away, you can STOP and RESTART W.H.E.N.'s news clippings by sending an e-mail to email@example.com. Ignore the Subject: line. In the body put "unsubscribe when" to STOP. To RESTART, put "subscribe when" in the e-mail instead (No quotation marks.)
------------------------------------------------------------------- U.S. Supreme Court Nullfies Colorado Ballot Initiative Rules (A list subscriber forwards a summary and URL leading to the full text of the court's decision today in Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation. The court affirmed the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling that three sections of the Colorado law regulating initiative petitions were invalid. Specifically, the court held that Colorado could not require petition circulators to be registered voters or to wear identification badges, and that it could not require proponents of an initiative to report names and addresses of all paid circulators and amounts of money paid to each circulator.) From: "sburbank" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "DPFOR" (email@example.com) Subject: DPFOR: Supremes rule on initiatives Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 12:22:46 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ Just received this in my email. Thought you'd want to know. Sandee Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse 2255 State Road, Mosier, OR 97040 phone or fax 541-298-1031 http://www.mamas.org firstname.lastname@example.org *** On January 12, 1999, the United States Supreme Court handed down decisions in Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation and El Al Israel Airlines v. Tseng. *** Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation, Inc. No. 97-930 Full text: http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/97-930.ZS.html The United States Supreme Court affirmed the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals (6-3, opinion by Ginsburg; O'Connor dissent and concur, joined by Breyer; Rehnquist dissent) and held that three sections of the Colorado law regulating initiative petitions were invalid. Specifically, the Court held that Colorado's requirements that petition circulators be registered voters and wear identification badges produced a significant speech diminution in violation of the First Amendment. Noting also that exacting scrutiny is required when compelled disclosure of campaign-related payments is at issue, the Court invalidated the requirement that proponents of an initiative report names and addresses of all paid circulators and amounts of money paid to each circulator.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Supreme Court Strikes Down Colorado Ballot Initiatives System (The Associated Press version) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 10:38:39 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: WIRE: Supreme Court Strikes Down Colorado Ballot Initiatives System Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Patrick Henry (email@example.com) Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press. SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN COLORADO BALLOT INITIATIVES SYSTEM WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court today struck down Colorado's preferred method of regulating voter initiatives, ruling unconstitutional three provisions it found ``excessively restrictive of political speech.'' Providing important new guidelines for other states as well, the court said Colorado went too far in regulating the circulation of petitions for such measures. About half the states allow ballot initiatives, and voters increasingly are using them to bypass legislatures and make law. Specifically, the court said states may not require: -People who circulate petitions be registered to vote. -Petition circulators to wear badges bearing their names and identifying them as ``paid'' or ``volunteer.'' -Initiative backers to file monthly reports with state officials identifying paid petition circulators and how much they were paid. ``The First Amendment requires us to be vigilant in making these judgments,'' Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the court, ``to guard against undue hindrances to political conversations and the exchange of ideas.'' She said the invalidated provisions ``are not warranted by the state interests - administrative efficiency, fraud detection, informing voters - alleged to justify those restrictions.'' Ginsburg said Colorado may, and does, employ other methods to serve those purposes. The vote to strike down the badge-wearing requirement was 8-1, with only Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist saying the restriction should be upheld. The vote to strike down the other two requirements was 6-3, with Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Stephen G. Breyer joining Rehnquist as dissenters. Joining Ginsburg in voting against each of the requirements were Justices John Paul Stevens, Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, David H. Souter and Clarence Thomas. All three requirements had been invalidated by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after they were challenged by a group of state residents and a public interest group, the American Constitutional Law Foundation. Colorado's attempt to reverse the appeals court ruling got a frosty reception when the case was argued before the justices in October. In Colorado, supporters must collect signatures amounting to at least 5 percent of the total votes cast in the most recent race for secretary of state to get a measure on the ballot. After a record 10 initiatives were placed on the state's ballot in 1992, the Legislature passed a law that imposed various requirements - including the three at issue in today's decision. Colorado earlier had reacted to ballot initiatives begun by commercial interests, such as backers of legalized gambling, by banning paid petition circulators. The nation's highest court struck down that ban in 1988, ruling that it interfered too much with ``core political speech.'' The case is Buckley vs. American Constitutional Law Foundation, 97-930.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Supreme Court on Ballot Initiative Regulations (A list subscriber forwards the syllabus of today's decision and a URL for the full text, noting the decision affects the signature collection process in every state that has the ballot initiative.) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 21:59:19 -0500 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: JonGettman (Gettman_J@mediasoft.net) Subject: Supreme Court on Ballot Initiative Regulations Sender: email@example.com This decision affects state regulation of the signature collection process for ballot initiatives. While the case concerns Colorado law, the decision will affect every state. The syllabus of the decision is below, the link provides access to the full decision. Jon Gettman http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/97-930.ZS.html BUCKLEY, SECRETARY OF STATE OF COLORADO v. AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW FOUNDATION, INC., et al. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE TENTH CIRCUIT No. 97-930. Argued October 14, 1998-Decided January 12, 1999 Colorado allows its citizens to make laws directly through initiatives placed on election ballots. The complaint in this federal action challenged six of the State's many controls on the initiative-petition process. Plaintiffs-respondents, the American Constitutional Law Foundation, Inc., and several individuals (collectively, ACLF), charged that the following prescriptions of Colorado's law governing initiative petitions violate the First Amendment's freedom of speech guarantee: (1) the requirement that petition circulators be at least 18 years old, Colo. Rev. Stat. §1-40-112(1); (2) the further requirement that they be registered voters, ibid.; (3) the limitation of the petition circulation period to six months, §1-40-108; (4) the requirement that petition circulators wear identification badges stating their names, their status as "VOLUNTEER" or "PAID," and if the latter, the name and telephone number of their employer, §1-40-112(2); (5) the requirement that circulators attach to each petition section an affidavit containing, inter alia, the circulator's name and address, §1-40-111(2); and (6) the requirements that initiative proponents disclose (a) at the time they file their petition, the name, address, and county of voter registration of all paid circulators, the amount of money proponents paid per petition signature, and the total amount paid to each circulator, and (b) on a monthly basis, the names of the proponents, the name and address of each paid circulator, the name of the proposed ballot measure, and the amount of money paid and owed to each circulator during the month, §1-40-121. The District Court struck down the badge requirement and portions of the disclosure requirements, but upheld the age, affidavit, and registration requirements, and the six-month limit on petition circulation. The Tenth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part. That court properly sought guidance from this Court's recent decisions on ballot access, see, e.g., Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party, 520 U.S. 351, and on hand-bill distribution, see, e.g., McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm'n, 514 U.S. 334. The Tenth Circuit upheld, as reasonable regulations of the ballot-initiative process, the age restriction, the six-month limit on petition circulation, and the affidavit requirement. The court struck down the requirement that petition circulators be registered voters, and also held portions of the badge and disclosure requirements invalid as trenching unnecessarily and improperly on political expression. This Court agreed to review the Court of Appeals dispositions concerning the registration, badge, and disclosure requirements. See 522 U.S. ___. Precedent guides this review. In Meyer v. Grant, 486 U.S. 414, this Court struck down Colorado's prohibition of payment for the circulation of ballot-initiative petitions, concluding that petition circulation is "core political speech" for which First Amendment protection is "at its zenith." Id., at 422, 425. This Court has also recognized, however, that "there must be a substantial regulation of elections if they are to be fair and honest and if some sort of order ... is to accompany the democratic processes." Storer v. Brown, 415 U.S. 724, 730; see Timmons, 520 U.S., at 358; Anderson v. Celebrezze, 460 U.S. 780, 788. Held: The Tenth Circuit correctly separated necessary or proper ballot access controls from restrictions that unjustifiably inhibit the circulation of ballot-initiative petitions. Pp. 7-22. (a) States have considerable leeway to protect the integrity and reliability of the ballot-initiative process, as they have with respect to election processes generally. "[N]o litmus-paper test" will separate valid ballot-access provisions from invalid interactive speech restrictions, and this Court has come upon "no substitute for the hard judgments that must be made." Storer, 415 U.S., at 730. But the First Amendment requires vigilance in making those judgments, to guard against undue hindrances to political conversations and the exchange of ideas. See Meyer, 486 U.S., at 421. The Court is satisfied that, as in Meyer, the restrictions in question significantly inhibit communication with voters about proposed political change, and are not warranted by the state interests (administrative efficiency, fraud detection, informing voters) alleged to justify those restrictions. This judgment is informed by other means Colorado employs to accomplish its regulatory purposes. Pp. 7-8. (b) Beyond question, Colorado's registration requirement drastically reduces the number of persons, both volunteer and paid, available to circulate petitions. That requirement produces a speech diminution of the very kind produced by the ban on paid circulators at issue in Meyer. Both provisions "limi[t] the number of voices who will convey [the initiative proponents'] message" and, consequently, cut down "the size of the audience [proponents] can reach." Meyer, 486 U.S., at 422, 423. The ease with which qualified voters may register to vote does not lift the burden on speech at petition circulation time. There are individuals for whom, as the trial record shows, the choice not to register implicates political thought and expression. The State's strong interest in policing lawbreakers among petition circulators by ensuring that circulators will be amenable to the Secretary of State's subpoena power is served by the requirement, upheld below, that each circulator submit an affidavit setting out, among several particulars, his or her address. ACLF did not challenge Colorado's right to require that all circulators be residents, a requirement that more precisely achieves the State's subpoena service objective. Assuming that a residence requirement would be upheld as a needful integrity-policing measure-a question that this Court, like the Tenth Circuit, has no occasion to decide because the parties have not placed the matter of residence at issue-the added registration requirement is not warranted. Pp. 8-13. (c) The Tenth Circuit held the badge requirement invalid insofar as it requires circulators to display their names. The District Court found from evidence ACLF presented that compelling circulators to wear identification badges inhibits participation in the petitioning process. Colorado's interest in enabling the public to identify, and the State to apprehend, petition circulators who engage in misconduct is addressed by the requirement that circulators disclose their names and addresses on affidavits submitted with each petition section. Unlike a name badge worn at the time a circulator is soliciting signatures, the affidavit is separated from the moment the circulator speaks, when reaction to the message is immediate and may be the most intense, emotional, and unreasoned. Because the badge requirement compels personal name identification at the precise moment when the circulator's interest in anonymity is greatest, it does not qualify for inclusion among "the more limited [election process] identification requirement[s]" to which this Court alluded in McIntyre, 514 U.S., at 353. Like the Tenth Circuit, this Court expresses no opinion on the constitutionality of the additional requirements that the badge disclose whether the circulator is paid or volunteer, and if paid, by whom. Pp. 13-16. (d) The Tenth Circuit invalidated the requirement that ballot-initiative proponents file a final report when the initiative petition is submitted insofar as that requirement compels disclosure of each paid circulator by name and address, and the total amount paid to each circulator. That court also rejected compelled disclosure in monthly reports of the name and address of each paid circulator, and the amount of money paid and owed to each circulator during the month in question. In ruling on these disclosure requirements, the Court of Appeals looked primarily to this Court's decision in Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1. In Buckley, the Court stated that "exacting scrutiny" is necessary when compelled disclosure of campaign-related payments is at issue, but nevertheless upheld, as substantially related to important governmental interests, the reporting and disclosure provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971. Mindful of Buckley, the Tenth Circuit did not upset Colorado's disclosure requirements as a whole. Notably, the Court of Appeals upheld the State's requirements for disclosure of payors, in particular, proponents' names and the total amount they have spent to collect signatures for their petitions. Disclosure of the names of initiative sponsors, and the amounts they have spent to gather support for their initiatives, responds to Colorado's substantial interest in controlling domination of the initiative process by affluent special interest groups. The added benefit of revealing the names of paid circulators and amounts paid to each circulator, the lower courts fairly determined from the record as a whole, has not been demonstrated. This Court expresses no opinion whether other monthly report prescriptions regarding which the Tenth Circuit identified no infirmity would, standing alone, survive review. Pp. 16-20. (e) Through less problematic measures, Colorado can and does meet the State's substantial interest in regulating the ballot-initiative process. To deter fraud and diminish corruption, Colorado retains an arsenal of safeguards. To inform the public about the source of funding for ballot initiatives, the State legitimately requires sponsors of ballot initiatives to disclose who pays petition circulators, and how much. To ensure grass roots support, Colorado conditions placement of an initiative proposal on the ballot on the proponent's submission of valid signatures representing five percent of the total votes cast for all candidates for Secretary of State at the previous general election. Furthermore, in aid of efficiency, veracity, or clarity, Colorado has provided for an array of process measures not contested here by ACLF. P. 21. 120 F.3d 1092, affirmed. Ginsburg, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Stevens, Scalia, Kennedy, and Souter, JJ., joined. Thomas, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. O'Connor, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part, in which Breyer, J., joined. Rehnquist, C. J., filed a dissenting opinion.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Juries And The Law (A letter to the editor of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram rebuts several erroneous assertions in a recent article about the Lone Star Fully Informed Jury Association's plans to take four proposals to the state legislature this year regarding jury nullifaction. Like it or not, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1794 that jury nullification is a basic, constitutional right of the American people. Chief Justice John Jay wrote: "The jury has the right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.") Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 10:35:10 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US TX: PUB LTE: Juries And The Law Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.star-telegram.com/ Forum: http://www.star-telegram.com/comm/forums/ Copyright: 1999 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas Author: John Wallace JURIES AND THE LAW Your Friday article "A jury's duty" by Susan Gill Vardon contained several comments by District Judge Bob McGrath that were too outrageous to go unchallenged. Whether McGrath likes it or not, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1794 that jury nullification is a basic, constitutional right of the American people. Chief Justice John Jay wrote: "The jury has the right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy." McGrath stated that the best way for the public to influence laws is by initiative and referendum. This may be true, but unfortunately we Texans do not have the rights of initiative and referendum, and the professional politicians will fight very hard to make sure that we never get them. He stated that "society has determined by majority vote [that marijuana] should be regulated." I have lived in this society for 53 years, and I have `never' had the opportunity to vote on the regulation of marijuana! The judge also stated that juries have the power to hand out reduced sentences or probation. This may be theoretically true in Texas, but it is certainly not true in other states or in federal trials in which mandatory sentencing laws are in effect. The bottom line is that "government of the people, by the people, for the people" is slowly but surely being replaced with "government of the serfs, by the elite, for the special interests." John Wallace San Antonio
------------------------------------------------------------------- Utmost Care (A staff editorial in the Ft. Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram, says Troy Dale Farris, scheduled to die by lethal injection Wednesday night, should be granted a stay of execution and have his case re-examined. The murder scene was trampled by investigating officers, much of the evidence was lost or stolen, and at least one law enforcement official removed marijuana from the dead deputy's pocket. Although the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals concluded that the circumstantial and forensic evidence offered at the trial "failed to connect [Farris] to the killing," it affirmed Farris's conviction.) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 19:09:28 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US TX: Editorial: Utmost Care Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX) Copyright: 1999 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.star-telegram.com/ Forum: http://www.star-telegram.com/comm/forums/ UTMOST CARE One of the most awesome powers given to a state in a democratic society is the authority to take a human life. Because it is done in the name of justice, this grave responsibility must be handled with the utmost care. For that reason, Death Row inmate Troy Dale Farris, scheduled to die by lethal injection Wednesday night, should be granted a stay of execution and have his case re-examined. Farris was found guilty in 1984 of the December 1983 shooting death of Tarrant County Sheriff's Deputy Clark Rosenbalm. As reported in this newspaper on Sunday, the Farris case was bungled from the beginning: The murder scene was trampled by investigating officers, much of the evidence was lost or stolen, and at least one law enforcement official removed marijuana from the dead deputy's pocket. Although the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals concluded that the circumstantial and forensic evidence offered at the trial "failed to connect [Farris] to the killing," the court affirmed the conviction. In a 1994 opinion on another case, the court admitted that it had erred in Farris' case when it upheld a decision by the trial judge to dismiss one of the jurors. Lawyers for Farris have now filed a last-minute plea with the court asking for a stay of execution and to have the death sentence overturned. We have no way of knowing for sure whether Ferris committed this crime. Regardless, defendants in this country deserve due process -- something we're not sure Farris received. He already has been on Death Row for 13 years. What harm would it do to take another 30 days to be as sure as possible that this man deserves our most severe punishment?
------------------------------------------------------------------- Witness May Be Able To Testify In Oregon Case (According to the Houston Chronicle, prosecutors and an attorney for a key witness in the criminal trespass trial of James Willis, a former Houston police officer charged in connection with the shooting death of Pedro Oregon Navarro during a botched drug raid, said Monday that they were working to clear the way for Rogelio Oregon, Pedro's brother, to testify. Last week, attorneys for the Oregon family hinted that Rogelio Oregon might not cooperate unless they were assured that prosecutors wouldn't use his immigration status against him.) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 20:57:50 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US TX: Witness May Be Able To Testify In Oregon Case Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: 12 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: Steve Brewer WITNESS MAY BE ABLE TO TESTIFY IN OREGON CASE Talks paving way for brother to appear Prosecutors and an attorney for a key witness in the criminal trespass trial of a former Houston police officer charged in connection with the shooting of Pedro Oregon Navarro said Monday that they were working out their differences. That could clear the way for Rogelio Oregon, Pedro's brother, to testify in the misdemeanor trial of James Willis. The trial was delayed last week when prosecutors said they hadn't been able to locate Rogelio Oregon, who was present on July 12 when six officers burst into his apartment during a botched drug raid and fatally shot his brother. Prosecutor Edward Porter said he met with attorney Richard Mithoff on Friday to discuss Rogelio's testimony. "We had a very good conversation, and with further conversations I think we're going to be able to resolve any problems," Porter said. "I'm very hopeful at this point that we're going to have Rogelio available and ready to testify." Mithoff echoed Porter: "We did have a long and, I believe, fruitful discussion, and I am optimistic we will be able to resolve our concerns and Rogelio will testify." Last week, attorneys for the Oregon family hinted that Rogelio Oregon might not cooperate unless they were assured that prosecutors wouldn't use his immigration status against him. Mithoff and Paul Nugent, who is also representing Oregon's family, said then they were also worried that the Willis' case would consist of attack on their clients' character. Though they said they weren't hiding Rogelio from authorities trying to serve him with a subpoena, they wouldn't say where he was. Also, Nugent had already told Porter it was possible his client would take the Fifth Amendment if he were forced to testify. Porter has said he has no interest in Rogelio's immigration status, only in his testimony for this case, because he can address whether police had consent when they entered the apartment. The officers burst in on the basis of an informant's tip that drugs were being sold there. They opened fire on Pedro Oregon after one officer accidentally fired his weapon. Oregon was shot 12 times, including nine times in the back. The officers contend Oregon pointed a gun at them. They did not have an arrest or search warrant, and Oregon's gun had not been fired. No drugs were found in the apartment or in Oregon's system. After a lengthy grand jury investigation, only Willis, 28, was indicted, and that was on the misdemeanor charge. All six officers have been fired. The FBI is investigating whether Pedro Oregon's civil rights were violated, and Oregon's family has filed a federal lawsuit against the city. Porter is scheduled to appear in a county criminal court-at-law court Jan. 25 to discuss the status of Rogelio's testimony.
------------------------------------------------------------------- State Lawmaker Attempting To Legalize Industrial Hemp (According to the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, Wisconsin state representative Eugene Hahn, a Republican whose uncle was a hemp farmer during World War II, said Monday that he's drafting a bill to legalize industrial hemp to help Wisconsin farmers facing bankruptcy from plummeting pork prices. During the 1940s the hemp industry accounted for 30,000 acres and 10 processing plants in Wisconsin.) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 20:55:01 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US WI: State Lawmaker Attempting To Legalize Industrial Hemp 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) Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.jsonline.com/ Copyright: 1999, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Author: Meg Jones of the Journal Sentinel staff Fax: (414) 224-8280 Pubdate: January 12, 1999 STATE LAWMAKER ATTEMPTING TO LEGALIZE INDUSTRIAL HEMP Hahn says non-potent form of marijuana would give farmers cash crop A Wisconsin legislator wants to legalize industrial hemp -- a virtually non-potent form of marijuana -- to provide another cash crop for beleaguered farmers. Potheads might rejoice at the thought of a thriving hemp industry in the state, but law enforcement officials think the idea is a bummer. State Rep. Eugene Hahn (R-Cambria) said Monday that he's drafting a bill to legalize industrial hemp to help Wisconsin farmers facing bankruptcy from plummeting pork prices. Industrial hemp was grown in Wisconsin and other states during World War II after southeast Asian countries that manufactured rope were taken over by the Japanese. It's still used for thousands of products ranging from clothing, carpeting and paper to cooking oil, animal feed and bedding for horses. "If you watch what's happening with the No. 1 industry in Wisconsin, I think it's on the verge of collapse. We have to do something," Hahn, whose uncle was a hemp farmer during World War II, said Monday. "We need a spurt in the agriculture industry, and I think this is one that could help a great deal. But we have to get the feds to change the rules since they think it's a drug." That won't be easy. It is illegal to grow industrial hemp in the United States. Much of the problem lies in the fact that it's difficult to tell the difference between industrial hemp and cultivated marijuana plants. Industrial hemp has 1% to 2% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that gives pot smokers a buzz, while cultivated marijuana has 4% to 6%. Narcotics agents are now seeing higher potency marijuana with 11% THC and even 25% to 30%, said Dane County Sheriff's Sgt. Mark Twomby. If farmers are allowed to grow industrial hemp, it would make the already difficult jobs of law enforcement agents even tougher, said Twomby. "People grow their plants wherever they think they won't be discovered. That would make it even more difficult if you had an industrial hemp field," said Twomby. Hahn said he hopes to meet with Attorney General James Doyle to discuss his idea. Jim Haney, Doyle's spokesman, said Monday that the attorney general is opposed to legalizing hemp. "No state in the country has taken this kind of step, and there's no reason to make Wisconsin the laboratory experiment," Haney said. "This is one of those issues that pops up and someone believes, eureka, they found a way to make money. There's a reason states have not embraced this concept." Haney added that the only areas that could hope to see much growth from hemp-related industries are countries with very cheap labor markets. "It's not a savior for framing but it provides another alternative," said Tom Thieding, spokesman for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. However, he added, "we've got some of the wrong people promoting this because they've also been using the wrong product in their daily lives so it's been hard to get a credible alliance with the farmers." Russ Weisensel, who is coordinating the Wisconsin Industrial Hemp Initiative, acknowledged there are virtually no markets in the United States for hemp. But he said markets could develop for an industry that during the 1940s accounted for 30,000 acres and 10 processing plants in Wisconsin. Among Weisensel's key obstacles, he concedes, are activists with a, er, joint interest in the issue. "To our detriment, we do have pot smokers who say this is great," said Weisensel, senior vice president-government relations for the Wisconsin Agribusiness Council. But there's virtually no way to get a buzz from smoking hemp, Weisensel said, and controls can be placed on farmers to calm the fears of law enforcement. Weisensel pointed out the benefits of the hearty, environmentally friendly crop. It doesn't require herbicides; its fiber is stronger and more absorbent than cotton; it produces more pulp per acre than timber; and hemp-based paper can be recycled more often than conventional paper. Hemp is a good rotation crop and can net farmers a profit of $200 to $400 an acre -- much higher than corn and soybeans -- if markets are created.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dear Abby: Warning Signs Help Identify Drug Abuse (The Chicago Tribune's syndicated advice columnist prints some "warning signs of a potential problem" for parents of teen-agers, from the White House drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey.) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 21:21:34 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US IL: Dear Abby: Warning Signs Help Identify Drug Abuse Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/ Forum: http://www.chicagotribune.com/interact/boards/ Copyright: 1998 Chicago Tribune Company Pubdate: 12 Jan 1998 Author: Abigail Van Buren Section: Tempo WARNING SIGNS HELP IDENTIFY DRUG ABUSE Dear Readers: Yesterday I printed a letter from Gen. Barry McCaffrey (Ret.), director of national drug control policy in Washington, D.C., in which he asked parents to act upon 10 New Year's Resolutions to Raise Drug-Free Kids. Space limitations prevented me from printing the warning signs he said parents should look for. Although there is no single factor for drug use, warning signs of a potential problem include: (1) Drop in academic performance (2) Lack of interest in personal appearance (3) Withdrawal, isolation, depression, fatigue (4) Aggressive, rebellious behavior (5) Hostility and lack of cooperativeness (6) Deteriorating relationships with family (7) Change in friends (8) Loss of interest in hobbies and/or sports (9) Change in eating/sleeping habits (10) Evidence of drugs or drug paraphernalia (e.g., needles, pipes, papers, lighters) (11) Physical changes (e.g., runny nose not from cold, red eyes, coughing, wheezing, bruises, needle marks) Help is available: Call this number for information: 800-666-3332 and ask for the new Growing Up Drug Free Parents Guide. Call the hot lines for help: 800-662-HELP or 800-821-HELP. Or surf for information on the Web at www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov or www.health.org or www.drugfreeamerica.org.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Channel Surfing: Snitches (The Chicago Tribune previews tonight's broadcast of a documentary on federal drug informants by the Public Broadcasting Service's "Frontline.") Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 11:14:39 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Channel Surfing: Snitches Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young Pubdate: 12 Jan. 1998 Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://chicagotribune.com Author: Steve Johnson Section: Tempo CHANNEL SURFING "Frontline: Snitches": If ever a TV program is going to make you decide to stop hanging out with crack dealers, this is the one. Producer Ofra Bikel,who has done lengthy debunkings of child-sex-abuse prosecutions for "Frontline," returns to the hysteria beat. This time (9 p.m., WTTW-Ch. 11), she examines the way the federal "drug war" brought in illogical and inflexible sentencing rules that, she argues, have taken power in the judicial system away from judges and handed it to prosecutors. Because the only way for one drug figure to escape the mandatory minimums is by ratting out others, almost one in three federal drug defendants in the last five years has earned sentence reductions this way. Bikel's compelling argument is that the mixture of almost unchecked prosecutorial authority and an unskeptical reliance on stories told by the inherently unreliable is corrupting the judicial system. The argument is carefully developed through the revisiting of several shocking cases, in which prosecutors go after small fish -- drug dealers' mothers, cousins, even lawyers -- either to pressure them into testifying or because the big fish snitched first. One promising young Alabama man gets three consecutive life sentences for arranging a meeting between supplier and dealer, while the more culpable parties in the deal, who all decided to point to him, served minimal or no sentences. In this chilling context, the defenders of mandatory minimum sentences, such as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), sound like they are merely offering simplistic platitudes about protecting kids. What Bikel does not address directly are the racial undertones to it all, although her examples are deeply disquieting, especially the one of a poor black Alabama town where prosecutors went after 70 people on conspiracy charges when a busted local dealer started pointing the finger. An invaluable followup to these 90 unsettling minutes would be a detailed look at race and drug prosecutions.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Interview With Eric Sterling For 'Snitch' (The Public Broadcasting Service's "Frontline" interviews the man who served as a congressional legal adviser from 1979 to 1989 and who helped write the current mandatory minimum federal sentencing laws for drug offenders. He later disavowed the legislation and become a reform activist and founder of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation.) Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 06:28:38 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Interview With Eric Sterling For 'Snitch' Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense Source: PBS Frontline Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 Copyright: 1999 WGBH/FRONTLINE Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: Frontline Producer: WGBH 125 Western Avenue Boston, MA 02134 Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/snitch/ Forum: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/snitch/talk/ Note: Below is one of the many features posted to the website above which expand on the documentry 'SNITCH.' Headline by MAP. The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation website is at: http://www.cjpf.org/ INTERVIEW WITH ERIC STERLING FOR 'SNITCH' Eric E. Sterling was counsel to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, 1979-1989 and participated in the passage of the mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Currently, he is President of The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, Washington, DC and Co-Chair of the American Bar Association, Committee on Criminal Justice, Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities. FRONTLINE: Looking back now, how do you measure the success of your work enacting mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses? Eric Sterling: The work that I was involved in in enacting these mandatory sentences is probably the greatest tragedy of my professional life. And I suspect that the chairman of the subcommittee feels that way too. There [have] been ... literally thousands of instances of injustice where minor co-conspirators in cases, the lowest level participants, have been given the sentences that Congress intended for the highest kingpins. Families are wrecked, children are orphaned, the taxpayers are paying a fortune for excessive punishment. You know there's nothing conservative about punishing people too much. That's an excess. And it's just a waste. It is such a waste of human life. It's awful. FRONTLINE: How did these laws come about? Eric Sterling: These laws came about in an incredible conjunction between politics and hysteria. It was 1986, Tip O'Neill comes back from the July 4th district recess and everybody's talking about the death of the Boston Celtics pick, Len Bias. That's all his constituents are talking to him about. And he has the insight, "Drugs, it's drugs. I can take this issue into the election." He calls the Democratic leadership together in the House of Representatives and says, "I want a drug bill, I want it in four weeks." And it set off kind of a stampede. Everybody started trying to get out front on the drug issue. ... I mean every committee ... not just the Judiciary Committee--Foreign Affairs, Ways and Means, Agriculture, Armed Services. Everybody's got a piece of this out there, fighting to get their face on television, talking about the drug problem. And ... these mandatories came in the last couple days before the Congressional recess, before they were all going to race out of town and tell the voters about what they're doing to fight the war on drugs. No hearings, no consideration by the federal judges, no input from the Bureau of Prisons. Even the DEA didn't testify. The whole thing is kind of cobbled together with chewing gum and baling wire. Numbers are picked out of air. And we see what these consequences are of that kind of legislating. ... Ten-year mandatory minimum, routine sentences are 15, 20, 30 years, without parole. ... Then you have conspiracy, and suddenly ... you have people facing 50 years, people facing either life in virtual terms or as a real sentence. That's what's happening. Fifteen thousand federal drug cases a year. Bulk of them mandatory minimum cases. Most of them minor offenders. Only 10% of all the federal drug cases are high level traffickers. You wonder, who's asleep at the switch at the Justice Department? ... What you have is conviction on the basis of testimony. You have drugless drug cases. You don't need powder, all you need is the witness to say, "I saw a kilo,"... FRONTLINE: With no drugs to be found? Eric Sterling: There don't have to be drugs. People are amazed, "Well, aren't there drugs?" There don't have to be drugs. All there have to be are witnesses who say, "I saw the drugs," or, "He said there were drugs." That's what you need. FRONTLINE: Couldn't you guess this would happen? Eric Sterling: I don't think any of us fully anticipated what these numbers would generate. Remember, at the time that we were doing this, the federal prison population was in the range of 30,000. It's over 100,000 today. None of us envisioned that the Justice Department would so profoundly misuse this statute. Congress said, "We're giving the Justice Department these high-level sentences so that you will go after the highest level traffickers." DEA agents and assistant U.S. attorneys are misusing this statute, with the complicity of their managers in the Department of Justice, to engage in what now has really become a pattern and practice of racial discrimination in almost overwhelmingly prosecuting people of color for tiny amounts of drugs and sending them away for kingpin sentences. FRONTLINE: Why are they doing it? Eric Sterling: They're doing it because it's easy. These cases are the easiest cases to prosecute. They're cut and dried. The lawyers are public defenders. There's not any kind of real defense. ... These are little cases. However, it's good training for young ambitious attorneys who want to acquire jury experience. And some day they may go after the kingpins, but at this point they're able to learn their craft. For DEA agents, this is safe. I mean when DEA agents go to Columbia or Mexico, their life is in danger. Going after some poor schnook who's the corner crack dealer, that doesn't threaten their lives. The statistics look good. ... FRONTLINE: How did conspiracy law emerge? Eric Sterling: If the mandatory minimums were a result of haste and excess by Congress, conspiracy as applied to these mandatories was completely by oversight and by accident. It was submitted as part of a simple technical corrections amendment. No one even thought at all about what the implications were of applying conspiracy. It was presented as though this was simply a slight little loophole that had been inadvertently created and just had to be rectified by inserting the words, "or conspiracy." No one envisioned that by applying [the statute] to anyone in a conspiracy, no matter how low they were in the conspiratorial chain, that they would get the maximum that could be imposed for the kingpin. Nobody figured that out as we were working on it in 1988. It was a total oversight. Now of course you can't change [it], because that's soft on drugs. FRONTLINE: Isn't this all a deadly mix? Eric Sterling: The current sentencing situation is a sort of witch's brew of three poisons put together making an abominable poison: mandatory minimums designed for kingpins with very long sentences; conspiracy bringing in the lowest level offenders who become eligible for those; [and "substantial assistance" policies]. The only way they can avoid those mandatories is to provide substantial assistance to a prosecutor and if it means telling a wild story to avoid spending almost life in prison without parole, there are many people who will do that. ... It's the prosecutor who decides whether or not your substantial assistance, your testimony, is good enough to get the prosecutor's motion to reduce your sentence ... . So the incentive is, "I'll tell any story I can." I mean these aren't exactly saints that we're dealing with here, dope dealers. [They are] people who are often very desperate. They realize, "If I can get five years instead of 30 years, if I tell a story against that other guy, tell me what I have to say, I'll say it." FRONTLINE: Doesn't the prosecution know that people are lying? Eric Sterling: The entire criminal justice system knows that perjury is the coin of the realm. In New York City police officers call it "testalying." In Los Angeles they call it "the liar's club." Everybody knows that lying takes place. The prosecutors don't feel bad about it, this is simply part of the system. They just justify it by saying, "We have to get the bad guy." ... Police officers conform their testimony to what they know the courts expect to hear in order to get the results that they want, not on the basis of what the facts are. FRONTLINE: Prosecutors say that judges tell witnesses not to lie, under penalty of perjury. Eric Sterling: When a judge tells a witness, "Let me remind you, you're under oath and if you lie under oath, you'll be prosecuted for perjury," this is a disclaimer. The judge in effect is washing his hands or her hands of any responsibility for the lie which is forthcoming. This is part of the ritual; it's a ritual statement, it's not a real statement. It's like when you ask a defendant who's pleading guilty if they understand what they're doing. They always say, yes. They're supposed to. They often don't have a clue what they're doing. ... Informing has been one of the great problems of the criminal justice system. When a codefendant testifies, almost always the defense can ask for an instruction to the jury that the testimony of a codefendant is suspect. The courts have recognized that. But this testimony becomes the cornerstone of the prosecution. And the jury understands, "Well, this is one dope dealer against another dope dealer and if the government is trying to convict this dope dealer, well probably this person is guilty, or else why else would we be here?" We believe in the presumption of innocence as a society. Once you get in the courtroom, that presumption is very, very thin. It's not a whole lot of protection. And when you have a witness who says, "Yes, I am getting a deal, but I was there and this is what the defendant did," jurors will say, "Even if I don't believe all that he's saying, I believe enough of it and that enough is proof beyond a reasonable doubt for me." ... FRONTLINE: Do you feel guilty about your involvement in the development of these laws? Eric Sterling: The war on drugs is one of the great evils of our times. Drugs are a serious problem, but it's very hard to tease out where the problems of drugs and the problems of the war on drugs are not overlapping. Some day there probably will be war crimes trials in which those responsible for these crimes against the American people, and other peoples, may be brought to justice. ... We have federal judges who have resigned, federal judges who have wept on the bench. Senior federal judges who say, "We refuse as a matter of conscience any longer to take these kinds of cases." Those are people at least who have the opportunity to step out. I had the opportunity to step out by leaving my job in the government and [am] now working to help expose what I think are these problems. When I meet with the family members of people serving these sentences, it is very hard. At times I am moved to tears when I sit across from someone whose loved one is serving a 30-year sentence for something that I played a role in getting enacted. It's an awful feeling. FRONTLINE: Is conspiracy law the worst element in creating these unjust situations? Eric Sterling: Many nations do not have conspiracy laws because they see how they can be so badly abused. Our conspiracy law is such that long after you've dropped out of the conspiracy, you're still responsible for things that you may have done way in the past. The criminal organization marches forward. You've gone straight. But when the chain gets connected all the way to the back, you can still be held liable and you can be held liable often for things that you had no responsibility for and you could not foresee. It's a terrible problem, the way in which conspiracy is being used in these cases. ... I had a conversation with a federal judge about the implications of the war on drugs. And the sense of how alien it is to American values, the use of informants, paying informants. ... We have hundreds of thousands of informants. Informants can make a living professionally in their role as informants. This is simply an anathema to the way in which we think a free society ought to operate. The role of wiretapping, of monitoring telephone conversations, of taping conversations. Defense lawyers now are afraid that their clients may be trying to entrap them. The government has said, "We believe we have the power to go to a man represented by an attorney and unbeknownst to that attorney, try to get that man to incriminate the attorney." To think that we would undermine our legal system in this way is reminiscent of the Soviet Union. ... FRONTLINE: Are we becoming what we hated? Eric Sterling: If we look at the way in which so much of our society functions today, it looks like the kind of highly regimented Soviet system that we were repulsed by in the early 1950s. Informants in the work place. Fear of having conversations with people. Fear of our children informing against us. Not knowing what the charges might be. Offenses for which bail is no longer available. ... FRONTLINE: Does the public understand what's going on? Eric Sterling: The ignorance about what's going on exists on a bunch of different levels. Number one, the offenders themselves are ignorant of what the penalties are that they could incur. Congress says, "We're going to pass these tough laws to send a message to the criminals to stop." But there's a complete disconnection between what Congress hopes and what criminals actually understand. They don't watch C-SPAN, they don't read "Congressional Record." They simply don't know. They're astonished when they get punished. Congressmen also don't know what the laws are. Many of them don't even know that parole was abolished. The public doesn't know what the laws are. The public still believes that people are getting slapped on the wrist. These are examples which then allow a member of Congress to say with a straight face, "We need to get tougher."... FRONTLINE: What is the substantial assistance clause? Eric Sterling: One of the oldest prosecutorial techniques is working up the ladder. Finding someone who's not centrally involved, but who has evidence and who you in effect squeeze and say, "Testify up." This was a very common way in which an organized crime investigation would work. It's a very old theory in the law and they believed that that would [work] here. The difference in part is between being sort of a soldier in a traditional La Cosa Nostra family was you actually knew who your supervisors were. You knew what they did. They spoke to you. Drug organizations now are so large and so diverse that someone can be involved as an unloader, as a seller, as a mule, as a courier. They're insulated, they don't know who the principals are. ... So very often low level people have nothing that they can really offer. However, the higher ups are in a position, very often, to testify down. They say, "I'll testify against six people." The prosecution of General Manuel Noriega is a prime example where a whole bunch of high level dope dealers got great sentence bargains for going after General Noriega. FRONTLINE: Snitching up? Eric Sterling: That was snitching up, but these were already people who were high level people. Manny Noriega was not dealing with the guy who was unloading the boats. FRONTLINE: Does the system encourage those on the lower levels of a drug organization, who don't have useful information to pass on to prosecutors, to set up others who may be innocent? Eric Sterling: This was one of the things that really did mystify me when our subcommittee did investigations of the way in which informants were used and misused back in the 1980s. If you are a professional informant, it's a whole lot safer to set up someone than to actually inform against somebody in the business, because that person may have you killed. And so we came across cases in which an informant would pretend to be a government agent, and enlist somebody to [whom] they say, "We want you to help catch a dope dealer. Now, in order to do that, you have to tell the dope dealers this story about all the stuff you've done." Now what happens then is actually the patsy thinks that these people he's talking to are dope dealers, [but they] are actually the DEA agents. And so the patsy is telling the DEA agents what he's been told by the informant to say, all about all this stuff that he did. So the patsy then gets prosecuted as a dope smuggling pilot, the informant gets his reward, DEA gets the case, who cares about the patsy? He's now a convicted dope dealer. ... FRONTLINE: These witnesses are facing time? Eric Sterling: ... It's [often] somebody who's saying "Geez, I'm facing 30 years or 50 years in prison, I can get out? What do I have to do? What do I have to testify? Who do I have to testify against? I have to say he was a dope dealer, sure. How much do you need to say you saw? How bad do you think this guy is? He's real bad? Oh, he said he sold fifty kilos, he was the biggest dealer in town. Is it true? I swear it's true, honest." Who's going to dispute it? So you've got this guy sitting with the majesty of the federal court, presented by the United States. "Your Honor, this is the witness on behalf of the United States. You don't believe him? You don't believe the United States, your own government? Who can you trust if you can't trust us, if you can't trust our witnesses?" I don't know how judges can sleep at night, sending people to prison on what they know is perjured testimony. Well, how do they do it? "Wasn't my decision, was the jury. ... If the jury believed him, who am I to say that he wasn't telling the truth?" FRONTLINE: But the jurors often don't know what the penalty for a guilty verdict will be. Eric Sterling: The jurors don't know the penalty. We don't let the jurors know the penalty. ... If everybody thinks that dope dealers are getting off with a slap on the wrist, jurors are in the same box. After all, we know that prosecutors try to keep informed people off the jury. We don't want informed people on the jury. They're not so easily manipulated.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Snitch (A transcript of the "Frontline" documentary on the role of federal informants and mandatory minimums in the war on some drug users, produced by the Public Broadcasting Service) Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999 19:41:49 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Frontline SNITCH Transcript Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense Source: PBS Frontline Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 Copyright: 1999 WGBH/FRONTLINE Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/snitch/ Mail: Frontline Producer WGBH 125 Western Avenue Boston, MA 02134 Note: Written, Produced and Directed by Ofra Bikel Related: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n047.a01.html [Interview With Eric Sterling For 'Snitch'] http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n047.a05.html [PBS Frontline's SNITCH on-line] FRONTLINE SNITCH DEA AGENT: Please open the door! ANNOUNCER: In the war on drugs, one of the more important weapons the government uses is the informant. "TONY": What would you do if the government came knocking on your door telling you that you will get 30 years in prison unless you inform on somebody? Or that your child will get 20 years unless he informs? Think about it. JAMES SETTEMBRINO: The attorney told me, he says, "Jim, he could go to jail for 30 years." I says, "Thirty years? Are you crazy?" And he said, "Yeah, 30 years." I says, "He's 18 years old." You know, "How can someone go to jail for 30 years for selling drugs?" ANNOUNCER: With mandatory minimum penalties now for drug offenses, the pressure is on to name names. But with so much at stake, can an informant be trusted to be telling the truth? ERIC STERLING: In New York City police officers call it "testalying." In Los Angeles, they call it "the liars club." Everybody knows that lying takes place. The prosecutors don't feel bad about it. This is simply part of the system. ANNOUNCER: Tonight on FRONTLINE, an inside look at the way the very nature of justice has been altered by the "Snitch." NARRATOR: "Tony" lives in a world of shadows. His name has been changed and his identity hidden. Facing a life sentence, he made a deal with the government and become an informant, a snitch. "TONY": I was in drugs, the sale of drugs, for a total of about three years. And I made enough money to open up a legitimate business, and I got out of it. So basically, I was in and out very quickly. INTERVIEWER: So how did they get you? "TONY": Well, the people that I was associated with in the very beginning of my drug-dealing days, they continued on. So eventually they got caught, and they wanted to get their sentences reduced, so they started naming names. And they used my name to try and get out of jail quicker. NARRATOR: Nowhere in the criminal justice system are informants used more than in the war on drugs. They are used by the FBI, DEA and Customs, among other law enforcement agencies. Almost every bust, every seizure, every arrest is the result of an informant's, or snitch's, work. Tony was snitched on years after he stopped dealing drugs. "TONY": I was never arrested with any drugs in my life. I was never even arrested with a large amount of money. I was very far away from drugs when they finally came and arrested me. NARRATOR: But he knew that there were informants ready to testify against him. "TONY": You have a prison population, guys that are doing life sentences who will do anything to get out of prison. In my case, there were actually people who were reading the newspaper. When the newspapers came out, there were people who, I found out later, called the government, and they said "Hey, I can testify against this person." So how do you- how do you fight against something like that, when it's just somebody's word against yours? NARRATOR: The government had him over a barrel because of the harsh penalties it enacted in the late 1980s. If Tony had refused to cooperate and testify against his old-time drug supplier, he could have received life in prison. Still, he said, he held out. "TONY": I decided not to cooperate. I had my mind made up to go to trial. So what they did is, they indicted my mother and my brother. INTERVIEWER: To pressure you? "TONY": Yes. INTERVIEWER: Were they involved at all in drugs? "TONY": Absolutely- No. They were involved in nothing. Never did they even know what I was doing. I had to make the toughest choice of my life. It was either let my family possibly go to prison for something they had nothing to do with, or cooperate with the government. NARRATOR: He cooperated and served 10 years in prison in a unit reserved for informants. Tony asked to be interviewed in silhouette. He was concerned, he said, about the reaction of the government. "TONY": They don't like any witnesses to come forward to talk to the media, and witnesses who have done this in the past have been retaliated against. I'm not getting paid for this interview. I'm talking to you because there's a need for the public to know what's going on with this- with this so-called "drug war." J. DON FOSTER, U.S. Attorney: As far as snitches go, if they're helping to solve this terrible drug problem we have in this country, then we will continue to use them, as long as they're truthful. I have no problem using snitches. You have to to prove the cases under our system of laws. NARRATOR: By the early '90s, the government was paying informants or snitches more than $100 million a year. They paid thousands of others by reducing their sentences. Over the last five years, nearly a third of the people sentenced in drug-trafficking cases in the federal system had their sentences reduced because they informed on other people. Ronald Rankins is one of the informants. He now wants the world to know why. RONALD RANKINS: I wrote Janet Reno. I wrote President Clinton. I wrote Oprah Winfrey. I wrote "60 Minutes." I wrote "Hard Copy." I wrote "New York Times." I wrote "Mobile Press Register." And the list just goes on and on and on. NARRATOR: He wrote claiming that his testimony was coerced. He was arrested in 1992 and was charged with conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and money laundering. He faced life in prison. RONALD RANKINS: I was a drug user, you know? And I sold drugs more or less to support my habit, you know? And I wasn't nothing near what they would call a kingpin or what the judicial system would refer to as a kingpin. NARRATOR: His co-defendant was his friend, Algernon Lundy, called "Lonnie." RONALD RANKINS: The prosecutor, Donna Barrows, she said, "One of you is going to receive a life sentence, Mr. Rankins." She said, "Now, it don't matter to me which one of you receives a life sentence." She say, "I can assure you the federal government have a 98.6 conviction rate, and if I tell you you're going to receive a life sentence, you can call your family and tell them to break your plate because you won't be coming home again." Those was her words, verbatim. NARRATOR: He finally took the stand and was the star witness against his friend, Lonnie Lundy. In exchange, he received a reduced sentence of 15 years in federal prison. Now he regrets it. RONALD RANKINS: And as God is my witness, it hurt me to my heart to take the stand again, like, and sit there and tell all them lies. INTERVIEWER: But you finally did. RONALD RANKINS: Let me ask you a question, if I may. If you was faced with a life sentence right now, and they tell you, "Well, Miss Ofra, if you don't testify on this guy, your next-door neighbor, that you seen him selling drugs, we're going to give you a life sentence, we're going to make you part of this conspiracy and give you a life sentence," what're you going to do? You going to take that life sentence? INTERVIEWER: Probably not. RONALD RANKINS: Okay. You human. Everybody's human. No matter what type of tough exterior they try to represent, you know, people is human. They're not robots. Regardless to how tough you try to be on the street and how tough you try to be in prison, when it comes down to it, them letters, L-I-F-E, it'll put a whole new perspective in the ball game. You ain't just talking about "One of these days I'm going to be out of here." The only way you're coming out of here is when you got a tag on your big toe and no breath left in your body. GORDON ARMSTRONG III, Defense Attorney: You see it frequently where people come back years later and say, "Well, I lied then. I lied." And then the judges and the lawyers who come back years later say, "Well, are you lying now, or did you lie then? Are you lying now just to try to help somebody? Are you trying to help somebody out of jail or help somebody with their appeals?" INTERVIEWER: How can you tell? GORDON ARMSTRONG: You can't tell. That's the whole problem. You don't know and that's - that's the danger of using them from the very beginning. Rep. BILL McCOLLUM (R), Florida: I want to tell you I am much more concerned about the loss of life to drugs and to the crime that's going on out there, and the need to stop it and to protect our innocents and our citizens, than I am about anybody's concern over informants. Good lord, informants are a way of life in American justice, whether it's a drug issue or not. How else are we going to find the bad guy? NARRATOR: In the mid-1980s, the bad guys dominated the news with a new scourge, crack cocaine. REPORTER: The newest and one of the deadliest drugs sweeping the country today is crack, a potent- REPORTER: Crack is in 25 states coast-to-coast and in every major city. REPORTER: In New York, crack-smoking is an epidemic. REPORTER: Police say there may now be as many as 1,200- REPORTER: -are singing in courts, and the refrain is crack. NARRATOR: Congress responded immediately by passing new laws of mandatory minimum sentences that would apply to drug traffickers. The proposed sentences that became the law of the land were Draconian. They were clearly directed at the major drug traffickers. People who had previously been considered minor offenders could now draw 20 years to life in prison. Parole had already been abolished. Many judges were appalled, United States District Judge Robert Sweet among them. ROBERT W. SWEET, U.S. District Court Judge: There are a lot of people in jail for a lot longer, and a lot of the low-level people are in jail, as a consequence. And when you start figuring out the economics of this, it's staggering - I mean, the $25,000 it costs to build the cell, the $30,000 it costs every year that they're in. And the bottom line of all of it, if you're talking about social policy, is no benefit. Who can point to the benefit? Who can point to the value of these mandatory minimums? Sen. ORRIN HATCH (R), Utah: Well, we found - the reason why we went to mandatory minimums is because of these soft-on-crime judges that we have in this society, judges who just will not get tough on crime, get tough especially on pushers of drugs that are killing our youth. And so that's why the mandatory minimums, so that we set some reasonable standards within which judges have to rule, rather than allowing them to just put people out on probation who otherwise are killing our kids. NARRATOR: The mandatory minimum laws left only one way for defendants to escape the full force of the sentence: to provide the government with what the prosecution would deem substantial assistance. In other words, to inform on someone else. It is an issue which is now hotly debated. BOB CLARK, Defense Attorney: If I offered a witness a $100 bill to come down and say it my way, I'd go to prison for that. But yet the government can give them something far more precious than money, far more precious than diamonds or gold or anything. They can give them freedom. Sen. JEFF SESSIONS (R), Alabama, Former U.S. Attorney: There is no incentive for a person to plead guilty and to confess if there isn't some benefit from it because usually these co-conspirators are friends, sometimes even relatives, so they don't want to testify against them. But if you can say, "You're looking at 10 years, and we'll recommend 5 years. And we want to give you - you've got to corroborate your testimony, but you've got to" - you know, "We want you to tell what you know, where you've been getting your drugs and who you've been selling your drugs to." JONATHAN TURLEY, Law Professor, George Washington University: The sentencing changes created an overwhelming pressure to cooperate, even to lie. NARRATOR: Jonathan Turley is a constitutional law professor at George Washington University. He has worked with Congress on criminal legislation and has written extensively on sentencing issues. JONATHAN TURLEY: A first-time drug offender will get a 10-year mandatory minimum without chance of parole in the federal system. That's a long damn time. And there's no out. You're looking at an office that has an over 90 percent conviction rate. And if you're convicted, you spend 10 years, and there's no more parole in the federal system. Now, you tell that to a young kid at 18, and it concentrates the mind. And he asks his lawyer, "What can I do to get out of this?" and you say, "Well, you have to turn someone in. You've got to cop a plea. You've got to give them something they want." And they do. And if they don't know anything, they make it up. And that's the way it works. And it's not good. It's not good for any of us. But it's the way that the system more and more seems to operate. We're beginning to become a society of informants. NARRATOR: It was with the help of informants that Lula May Smith of Mobile, Alabama, was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute drugs. She was in her late 50s when she was sentenced to seven years in prison, where she had two strokes. She is now under supervised release until the year 2002. LULA MAY SMITH: I went in in '89, I got out in January the 10th of '96. There he go, right passing! There he go. There the snitch go. There he is. NARRATOR: The man who she says informed on her is now free in her neighborhood. LULA MAY SMITH: Just about every day, if I come out here and sit down out, and when it's cool on the outside, he walks daily up and down this street. BOB CLARK: Lula May Smith was a maid at the Holiday Inn downtown, a hard-working woman, had worked hard all her life. NARRATOR: Her defense attorney was Bob Clark. BOB CLARK: I met Lula because my office is next door to the Holiday Inn, and she would sometimes - the heat in the kitchen over there would just get overwhelming, and she'd go out the back door and stand out for a few minutes to get some fresh air. And that's how I met Lula Smith. NARRATOR: Willy Huntley, former assistant U.S. attorney, prosecuted the case. WILLY HUNTLEY, Former Assistant U.S. Attorney: Lula Smith was the mother of Darren Sharp. Darren Sharp had been identified through an investigation as being one of the largest crack cocaine dealers in the Prichard, Alabama, area. She was aware that Darren Sharp didn't have any income. However, he owned several houses, several automobiles. He was able to purchase a car for her. He paid cash for it. BOB CLARK: There's no question about her son being a drug dealer. Her son, when he found out he was going to be indicted, ran. The whole time that she was being tried, the government says, "If her son will come in, we'll dismiss. If her son will come in"- it was just a- trying a means of extorting her son to come in to give himself up. That's the only reason they tried Mrs. Smith. WILLEY HUNTLEY: That's exactly true. INTERVIEWER: What is exactly true? WILLEY HUNTLEY: That as part of the conspiracy, her son, who was at the top, was the primary target. INTERVIEWER: What would have happened if her son came to you and gave himself up? WILLEY HUNTLEY: The case against her probably would have been dismissed. INTERVIEWER: Why do you think they were after you? LULA MAY SMITH: Because they wanted my son just that bad, so they used me to do what they had to do with him. INTERVIEWER: So she was a hostage? WILLEY HUNTLEY: I don't think she was a hostage. If she was a hostage, it was by her own creation because she chose to ignore the signs that her son was giving out - no income, and he can buy houses and clothes and cars and tractor-trailers, and no work. INTERVIEWER: And should have reported him? WILLEY HUNTLEY: No, I didn't say she should've done that. I think she should have said, "Don't come to my house." NARRATOR: Lula Smith did not tell her son not to come around, and she didn't question his various acquisitions. She went to trial. WILLEY HUNTLEY: The trial lasted about 14 days because of the number of defendants, and all the different counts we had to prove. And the jury started reading the verdicts, and the first one came out guilty, and I think Lula's name was way down near the bottom. I think she was probably the last person that was indicted. And the verdicts kept coming back, "Guilty," "Guilty," "Guilty." And the closer we got to her name, the more I kept hoping, "Please let them say not guilty." They kept saying, "Guilty, "Guilty," "Guilty," and getting closer, and I'd pray a little bit harder, saying, "Let them say not guilty." But it got to her name, and they said "Guilty," too. And you know the rest of the story. LULA MAY SMITH: Do I blame Mr. Huntley? If he done admitted to you that he was sorry that what happened to me, who else could I blame? Could you answer that one for me? INTERVIEWER: How do you feel about it now? WILLEY HUNTLEY: I still say she shouldn't have gone to jail INTERVIEWER: She shouldn't have? WILLEY HUNTLEY: No. I said it then she shouldn't have gone to jail. INTERVIEWER: You were the prosecutor, and you said it then? WILLEY HUNTLEY: I did. INTERVIEWER: What was the thought process? WILLEY HUNTLEY: That the jury would find her not guilty. INTERVIEWER: You hoped? WILLEY HUNTLEY: I hoped. But I guess I did too good a job. [www.pbs.org: Read interviews with the prosecutors] "TONY": There are a lot of prosecutors who don't feel good about what they're doing. There are prosecutors who say, "I didn't want this person to go to prison for such a long time, but it's my job." There are a lot of judges who've said on record, "I did not want to give that person 10, 20, 30 years in prison, but it's my job!" So if it's a part of your job, you have to do a good job. You have to put as many people in prison as you can, whether you want to or not. JONATHAN TURLEY: You know, there's a bunch of people out there who are told to arrest as many drug felons as possible. And it goes to a bunch of people who are told to convict as many drug felons as possible. And it goes to a bunch of people who are told to incarcerate as many felons as possible. And all of them have strong incentives through federal grants and state grants. Often state prosecutors have the added incentive of politics. When they stand for election they want to say that they've put in more people in jail than their predecessors and that their rate of conviction is even higher this year than it was last. The problem is that these statistics ultimately come down to people. NARRATOR: Kathleen Kriete is a businesswoman in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She has one child, Joey. KATHLEEN KRIETE: My sister and I were partners in a family business. And one afternoon in 1992 I got a phone call from some lawyer who was at the jailhouse down in Fort Lauderdale to tell me that my son had been locked up overnight and that he had been caught on a drug - in a drug deal and that he was going to be spending many, many years in prison. And it was really that cut-and-dried. And of course, I was in shock, and I didn't believe it. And my sister and I have no idea how we got down there. It was very quick. But we went down there, and there he was - very young, scared to death, beard. And we had to sit there and wait to bail - bail him out for - you know, post bond so that we could wait for a trial or whatever we had to do. Had no idea what happened. Couldn't believe it. This just couldn't happen in our house. And it did. Sorry. NARRATOR: Joey's father, James Settembrino, divorced and re-married, also got a call. JAMES SETTEMBRINO: You have to picture yourself that your - your son or daughter's in jail. And of course, I'll never forget that - that night when I got that first telephone call, as he was in jail for the first evening. It was rather a quick telephone call, and the shriekingness will live with me till I die, probably, because all he said was, "I'm here. Get me out. I'll never be able to do 10 years," and broke down for the first time, and the phone went dead. That's all he said to me. I'll never forget that. NARRATOR: It happened in 1992. JOEY SETTEMBRINO: I was 18 years old, and I'd just graduated high school. And a friend of mine which I'd known for many years called me up one day, and he asked me if I could get some drugs for him. It was funny because I'd never sold drugs before. I had used drugs, but I'd never sold drugs. KATHLEEN KRIETE: The night before, we'd had a slight argument about, you know, "If the insurance isn't paid, the car is going away." And you know, that's pretty frightening when you're - when you're 18, and he'd just turned 18. So we - the call came at a good time. He was very vulnerable, and I guess he said yes. JOEY SETTEMBRINO: About five days after- five or six days after we initially spoke, the acid came in. My buddy had it, and he told me that it was there, and I could come get it. And we went- I went and picked up my friend, and we were to meet his friend, who he was getting it for, at a shopping mall. KATHLEEN KRIETE: When he actually went, got the drugs, delivered the drugs in a manila envelope, he delivered them to an agent of the Drug Enforcement group. So he knew. He knew exactly what happened. You know, he knew that he had been set up. He knew that it was all staged. INTERVIEWER: Did you have any idea what the punishment would be? JOEY SETTEMBRINO: No. As a matter of fact, when the cop put me in the car and he told me I was looking at 25 years, I- I believe I got a little fresh with him, and I told him I wouldn't do a day. I mean I honestly felt, "I'm a first-time offender. This is the first time I've ever been in trouble in my life. You know, I won't- nothing will happen to me. I won't do any time." NARRATOR: But it soon became clear that Joey, who was supposed to have made $500 on the deal, was in real trouble. JAMES SETTEMBRINO: I got an attorney for him, and found out the severity of it. The attorney told me, he says, "Jim, you know, this- you don't want to hear this, but he's in bad shape here. He could go to jail for 30 years." I says, "Thirty years? Are you crazy?" He said, "Yeah, 30 years." I says, "He's 18 years old." You know, "How can someone go to jail for 30 years for selling drugs?" NARRATOR: Before Congress enacted the mandatory minimum sentences, Joey probably would have received probation. The 1986 federal laws, passed at the height of the crack cocaine epidemic, raised the stakes enormously. At that time, Eric Sterling was counsel to the chairman of the House subcommittee on crime and took an active part in formulating these laws. ERIC STERLING, President, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation: The work that I was involved in, in enacting these mandatory sentences, is probably the greatest tragedy of my professional life. These laws came about in an incredible conjunction between politics and hysteria. It was 1986. Tip O'Neill comes back from the July 4th district recess, and everybody's talking about the death of the Boston Celtics pick, Len Bias. That's all his constituents are talking to him about. And he has the insight, "Drugs. It's drugs. I can take this issue into the election." He calls the Democratic leadership together in the House of Representatives and says, "I want a drug bill. I want it in four weeks." And it set off kind of a stampede. I mean, everybody started trying to get out front on the drug issue. And- and these were committees- I mean, every committee, Merchant Marine and Fisheries, Interior and Insular Affairs. I mean, not just the Judiciary Committee, Foreign Affairs, Ways and Means, Agriculture. You know Armed Services. Everybody's got a piece of this out there sort of, you know, fighting to sort of get their- their face on television talking about the drug problem. And when we- these mandatories came in the last couple days before the Congressional recess, before they were all going to race out of town and, you know, tell the voters about what they're doing to fight the war on drugs. No hearings, no consideration by the federal judges, no input from the Bureau of Prisons. I mean, even DEA didn't testify. I mean, the whole thing was kind of cobbled together with sort of chewing gum and baling wire. Numbers are picked out of air. And we see what these consequences are of that kind of legislating. NARRATOR: As a consequence of this legislation, Joey would have to spend a minimum of 10 years in prison unless he agreed to set up his friends. He didn't want to do it. JOEY SETTEMBRINO: I didn't want to do 10 years in jail, but I also, you know, didn't want to- didn't want to give up one of my friends, either. I was kind of torn. I was stuck in the middle. NARRATOR: His parents were desperate. JAMES SETTEMBRINO: Of course, the first thing is, is that you'll say to whomever - and in this particular case it was the agents - "Gee, what can I do to help my son?" And of course they tell you real quick what you can do. They say to you, "Well, you know, if you work with the government, the government will turn around and favorably help you get a reduction." INTERVIEWER: Meaning? JAMES SETTEMBRINO: Well, meaning that I would go out and try to set someone else up to help my son. NARRATOR: The Settembrino family was surprised to learn that information about any drug dealers could help reduce Joey's sentence. And if Joey wouldn't cooperate, someone else could do it for him. JAMES SETTEMBRINO: They say to you, "If you can do this, find people that have drugs and purchase drugs from them, we'll act favorably in giving your son a 5k1 reduction." And I said, "Well, why would you do that?" "Well, you want your son to get reduced, right?" I said, "Yes." "We want convictions, and that's why we do it." NARRATOR: Jim Boma, assistant U.S. attorney, confirmed the arrangement in a letter. Jim Settembrino would try to render cooperation to the government on behalf of his son. If successful, the government would look favorably on filing a 5k1 motion on behalf of Joey- in other words, reduce his sentence. Now in Denver, Colorado, Jim Boma did not feel that it was an unusual arrangement. JIM BOMA, Assistant U.S. Attorney: I don't find it logically absurd. I'm sorry. I just don't find any real flaw in that. I guess the bottom line is that we're trying to gather information so that we can prosecute narcotics traffickers. And if someone's willing to try to help us, and also it would benefit the person being charged, I'm going to more than meet them halfway. NARRATOR: Jim Settembrino would spend the next few months trying to set up drug dealers. JAMES SETTEMBRINO: I tried to find people who were dealing in drugs by finding people who were using drugs, but it was kind of difficult, very, very difficult. No one would sell to me. Many, many occasions that I tried to, but they just looked at me like, "You're the wrong type. You don't look the part. Something's wrong." And I- I never was able to make a single sale from it. NARRATOR: Then, unexpectedly, he thought he had a break. JAMES SETTEMBRINO: I met a fellow in New York who had been through this with his daughter. He says, "I know what they want, and I've got some good connections." And I says, "And you can help?" And he said, "Yes, but it'll cost you." "So how much will it cost?" "Well, I'll have to make some calls. I'll be back with you in a couple of days." He called back and it was $70,000. At that time, I didn't have $70,000 dollars, but I did have a house, so I mortgaged it. NARRATOR: The money was paid to an informant who identified a South American smuggler who was bringing drugs into the country. Jim Settembrino, accompanied by a DEA agent, would then pretend to buy the drugs. JAMES SETTEMBRINO: We had everything all set up. And then Boma called my attorney, David Bogenschutz, and David called me from his car phone and said, "Jim, we got a problem." I said, "What's the problem?" He said, "Well, the problem is, is that Mr. Boma is unhappy" - that's the prosecutor was unhappy with my filing. "And I got him on the other line right now." NARRATOR: The filing was a routine legal appeal for a reduction of sentence that had to be filed by a certain date, if at all. Jim Boma, the prosecutor, objected. JIM BOMA: Basically, people have to pick which horse they want to ride. Do they want to ride the cooperation horse, or do they want to proceed with the appeal? If our office has to write an appeal, then that costs the taxpayers money. So someone gets a choice. Either you cooperate and take your chances. or you can appeal. NARRATOR: Mr. Boma then reneged on the deal, stressing that his new decision was now irreversible. Settembrino was crushed. JAMES SETTEMBRINO: I says, "Well, what's that have to do with our deal? Why are you taking such offense?" "We got no deal. We got no deal. I'm not doing it. I'm not helping you. You're not helping me. You shouldn't have had him file that. We had deals working. Now we got no deal. I don't care if your son stays in jail for 10 or 20 years. It makes no difference to me." And he hung up the phone. NARRATOR: Once they lost the federal prosecutor's good will, there was nothing else Joey's parents could do for him. They had spent more than $100,000, and Joey is now serving the 6th of his 10-year mandatory minimum sentence, which judge himself pronounced "excessive."[www.pbs.org: Further details on Joey's case] JOEY SETTEMBRINO: They say that they want to get the big guy, they want to get the big fish, and that's why they go about getting all these little fish, because eventually you get the big fish. But what they don't realize is that when the big fish finally gets caught, he tells on the little fish, and he's free. And I think that's what makes the system very, very messed up. KATHLEEN KRIETE: I think that Joe made a mistake. I think that Joe knows he made a mistake. I don't think anybody's doubted that. But nobody's ever, that I've ever talked to- and I've talked to over a thousand people, so this isn't just a mother talking. Nobody's ever said that he should do 10 years for what happened. NARRATOR: The mandatory minimum sentences were criticized by the Congressional Sentencing Commission as early as 1991. In this report, the commission found that all defense lawyers and nearly half of the prosecutors queried had serious problems with mandatory minimums sentences. Most of the judges pronounced them "manifestly unjust." Others were less decisive. JEFF SESSIONS: The Federal system is a very effective system to prosecute criminal cases, and it does a good job at it. You can argue whether the guidelines are too severe or not. I think that's a debatable issue, and I'm perfectly willing to discuss that. But if the guidelines called for a certain sentence, I expected my prosecutors to tell the judge the truth and let the judge sentence. NARRATOR: But the mandatory minimums, in effect, deprived judges of their discretion to sentence, and many were critical. Judge ROBERT W. SWEET: It's a travesty, quite frankly. It's probably the most important- one of the most important functions a judge has: assess the defendant, assess the crime, assess the society and try to reach a just result. I think that's the way the system ought to work, but because of the mandatory minimums, it doesn't. NARRATOR: The 1991 report particularly criticized the transfer of power in courts from judges - who are supposed to be impartial - to prosecutors, who are not. JONATHAN TURLEY: A prosecutor builds a case, that case is supposed to be built on true evidence. But there's always a tendency to fill in gaps, and those gaps are often filled in with informers. What's remarkable is that most criminal cases have people with incredibly low levels of credibility, people who would clearly say most anything to get out of a problem. And we have a system that's becoming so coercive that even ordinary people may end up doing the most extraordinary things in order to get out of that system. PATRICK HALLINAN, Defense Attorney: You know, when you have a war, there's only one point in a war, and that's to win. So whatever impedes victory, you throw out and get out of the way. And so this war on drugs has led to corruption of the American justice system. It's led to a corroding of the moral fiber of this country. And I don't mean the drugs, I mean the kind of things where you can call the wife to testify against the husband, when you can threaten the child to testify against the father. I mean those sort of things. And yes, this is- this is part of the war on drugs. NARRATOR: Patrick Hallinan, a well-known criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, has had his own experience in the war on drugs. PATRICK HALLINAN: I had a client who had come and seen me several times over a period of, well, almost 20 years. And every time he got in some trouble, he'd come and see me and I'd represent him. And then, in the late '80s, he got in trouble which was big trouble. And he was being investigated by a United States grand jury out of Reno as the head of and one of the directors of a major smuggling operation of Thai marijuana. NARRATOR: The client was Ciro Mancuso, a successful building contractor who lived in Squaw Valley, Nevada. In the late '80s, he was accused of being the mastermind of a $140 million marijuana-smuggling ring. PATRICK HALLINAN: In preparing the case, it became very evident to us that they were going to convict him. And when that became evident, I said to Mancuso, I said, "Ciro, you know, they're going to convict you, and the punishment's going to be awful. We have to make some deal for you." And so he said, "Go ahead and make it." He never did admit to me that he really did the things that he was charged with, but he said, "Go ahead and make the deal." NARRATOR: Once the deal was made, it was DEA agent Ron Davis and his partner, Rich Pierce, who debriefed Mancuso and began working with him. He was more than pleased with the results. RON DAVIS: One could not ask more from the person who has cooperated. He was very a credible, very believable individual. He was very articulate and had very detailed information, and he fulfilled the commitment to the government and more. NARRATOR: For four and a half years, Ciro Mancuso worked hard for the government. CIRO MANCUSO: I can't think of anything possibly that I could have done for them that I didn't do. It was implied that if my cooperation went well, that that was my part of it, and then that their part of it was to go to the judge and to make sure that I was fairly treated- in other words, that vast, tremendous consideration would be given to what I had done at time of sentencing. NARRATOR: The cooperation went very well. Drugs were seized, and many arrests were made. RON DAVIS: As a result of his cooperation, we indicted, I believe, between another 20 and 25 other defendants. And I believe we seized off another $10 million to $15 million in drug assets. NARRATOR: Then in August, 1993, with their own cameras rolling, the DEA made one more bust. PATRICK HALLINAN: I was working in my library, and I saw these two figures come out of the kitchen and up the few stairs into the library. And they had machine guns. And they ordered me on the floor, and I thought, "My God, they're going to rob the house." And then they stood up, and I saw across their chest "DEA," and I realized that these were the cops, and I had this feeling of relief. And then it dawned on me that they weren't there by accident. NARRATOR: Implicated by Mancuso, Patrick Hallinan was indicted and arrested. INTERVIEWER: What you were accused of? PATRICK HALLINAN: Well, I was accused in three separate indictments. Each one got worse and worse and worse, so that in the first one I was- I was really accused as being the consiglieri of this marijuana-smuggling ring. In the last indictment, I was charged under RICO with a racketeering- a racketeering charge, which would have put me in prison for the rest of my life. And when you read that indictment, it sounded like I was the capo who was doing the smuggling and planning the operations and marketing the goods. It was ludicrous, but deadly. It was very dangerous. RON DAVIS, Former DEA Agent: No federal prosecutor would have gone forward on a prosecution against Mr. Hallinan if he did not believe that Mr. Mancuso was telling the truth. This support of going forward to indict Mr. Hallinan was agreed at the highest level in the U.S. Attorney's office, all the way back to main Justice. NARRATOR: Defense attorneys saw this as a case of a dangerously overreaching prosecution. JOHN KEKER, Defense Attorney: The war between prosecutors and defense lawyers ebbs and flows, but there are some fanatic prosecutors who believe that people who represent people accused of crime are the same as the people who are accused of crime. And they do not understand either their function or criminal defense lawyers' functions, so they think that going after and intimidating criminal defense lawyers is a good thing for fighting crime. NARRATOR: John Keker, one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the country, represented Patrick Hallinan. JOHN KEKER: Patrick, after learning the evidence, decided and advised his client that the best thing was to make an agreement with the government. Patrick turned him over to the government, and Ciro quickly figured out that what the government would be most interested in is if he could produce for them the head of a well-known criminal defense lawyer. CIRO MANCUSO: I was put under to tremendous pressure to cooperate with the government, including having a direct threat made - and threats followed up on - to indict my wife. We had two small children. I was told that my wife would be indicted. She could very easily get a long prison term, and my children wouldn't have anybody to raise them. DAVID FECHHEIMER, Private Investigator: Well, Mancuso was in a terrible spot. Regardless of whether or not you think he deserved to be in that spot, from his perspective he was in a tight spot, and he'd been offered a way to lessen his pain. And the way to lessen his pain was to serve up Patrick Hallinan. NARRATOR: Private investigator David Fechheimer was hired to help build the case for the defense. INTERVIEWER: Why do you suppose the government wanted Hallinan? DAVID FECHHEIMER: Patrick was among the most successful defense lawyers of his generation in northern California. He'd been a thorn in the government's side. He was rich. He was well known. He had a famous name. He lived in a fancy house. He was just the kind of trophy that these agents wanted. NARRATOR: Patrick Hallinan came from a prominent and controversial family. His parents, Vivian and Vincent, were known radical activists. Vincent Hallinan was one of the most famous lawyers on the West Coast. He was a friend of the left and of labor, and he represented controversial figures in the political arena. His battles with the government were legendary. In 1952 he ran for president on the Progressive Party ticket. His eldest son, Patrick, would also become visible and controversial. JOHN KEKER, Defense Attorney: You could prosecute marijuana dealers all your life and nobody will have ever heard of you. If you prosecute some well-known criminal defense lawyer, you'll be famous. NARRATOR: Patrick Hallinan's trial started on January 26th, 1995, in Reno, Nevada, and lasted seven weeks. Ciro Mancuso was the star witness. CIRO MANCUSO: My testimony about Mr. Hallinan was pretty much limited to obstruction-of-justice-type charges and money laundering. NARRATOR: Yet he testified that Hallinan was the virtual consigliere of his cartel, and that he gave his stamp of approval to everything Mancuso did. DAVID FECHHEIMER: Yes, he did get on the witness stand. And yes, he did say everything he'd agreed to say about Hallinan, but no one believed him. And Hallinan was not convicted. NARRATOR: After seven weeks, it took the jury less than five hours to find Patrick Hallinan not guilty. Mancuso was blamed for the loss of the case. CIRO MANCUSO: The prosecution lost. And being on their team, the blame for that, I believe, was shifted as much as possible to me. And at that point, the betrayal set in. RON DAVIS: And then the government did a 180, so to speak, on their commitment towards Mr. Mancuso, basically holding him accountable for the loss of that trial. So they successfully did discredit him by calling him a liar. And as a person who was responsible for that investigation, I was also expendable. NARRATOR: Ron Davis chose early retirement. The Justice Department and the prosecution distanced themselves from the case. Mancuso, who hoped for probation, got nine years in prison. CIRO MANCUSO: I believe that had the prosecution won the case and gotten a conviction against Mr. Hallinan that I would not have come back to prison at all. PATRICK HALLINAN: And me, I'd have been in deep trouble. The charges for which I was- the charges that I was confronting carried a potential life sentence, a minimum of 19 years. They would have picked me up at that table, from the table where I was sitting and put me in a jail, and I wouldn't have gotten out for 19 years. NARRATOR: Hallinan was exonerated, but he had spent three years of mental anguish and lost a $1.5 million. As a rule, the government does not take on rich, powerful lawyers. In fact, they don't take on very many powerful drug lords, either. In another report issued in 1995, the U.S. Sentencing Commission found that only 11 percent of federal drug trafficking defendants were major traffickers. More than half were low-level offenders. ERIC STERLING, President, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation: Fifteen thousand federal drug cases a year, the bulk of them mandatory-minimum cases, most of them minor offenders. Only 10 percent of all the federal drug cases are high-level traffickers. You know, you wonder, like, who's asleep at the switch at the Justice Department? NARRATOR: But the Justice Department and the U.S. attorneys must enforce the laws created by Congress, and Congress wants them tough. Sen. ORRIN HATCH: In all honesty, I think that when you have people who are pushing drugs on our kids, and that they are pushing significant amounts of drugs on our kids or pushing at all, we ought to get as tough as nails on them. And I don't think that- in many respects, we ought to lock them up and throw away the keys. JONATHAN TURLEY, Law Professor, George Washington University: Right now our population, our jail population, is larger than five of our states. Now, that is a costly war. We are fast approaching a society not just of informers, but we are turning into a criminalized society where a remarkably high number of our population is either in jail or trying to put the other people in jail. NARRATOR: How the drug laws affect the life of a community can be seen in Mobile, Alabama, which has one of the highest federal drug conviction rates in the country. Take the case of number 33. Clarence Aaron was a 23-year-old student and a promising athlete at Southern University Louisiana. His home was Mobile. He was the only one of Linda Aaron's three children who went to college. LINDA AARON: I've always did domestic work, you know, and I've worked all my life, but I just couldn't afford to send none of them to college. And his granddaddy sent him to college, so- NARRATOR: His father, Martin Clarence Aaron, is a musician and a personal trainer. MARTIN AARON: He was the only one that was in college at the time this occurred. He was- he was trying to get an education, trying to better his self. The only one in this whole mess that was doing something positive with the clean- squeaky-clean background was Clarence Aaron. And he is the fall guy out of this whole mess. NARRATOR: Clarence Aaron was accused of conspiring with friends to distribute crack cocaine. He went to trial and was convicted. He was sentenced to three concurrent life sentences without the possibility of parole. He started serving his sentence in 1992. CLARENCE AARON: I just couldn't believe that when the judge told me that- three life sentences running concurrent. When he said that, I was setting in my chair, and I was thinking to myself, I say, "Where in the world do I suppose to start doing three life sentences at? Where am I supposed to start at, in the middle, at the end part of it, where?" I just couldn't believe that this was occurring to me. All I'd seen my whole life, everything that I had strived and stayed out of trouble for all my life, go down the drain, you know? LINDA AARON: Honestly, I expected for them to give him probation - I really did - for the part that he played in this. That's what I was looking for, at least- at least some years on paper, that's all. Nothing else. Because when they gave him life without parole, it literally killed me. I didn't even exist anymore because I couldn't understand it. I said, "How in the world could these people sit here and just take a young man's life away like that, 23 years old, try to take his whole life away from him for something that they know"- and they know, it too. They know they coaxed all those boys to say what they said. They know that. How can they do that? NARRATOR: The boys were Clarence's friends from high school and his first cousin with whom he grew up. The friends were involved in dealing drugs. Clarence introduced them to people he knew in Baton Rouge who were also involved in drugs. He drove them from one city to the other, accompanied by his cousin, and was paid $1,500 for his help. MARTIN AARON: Traveling with the wrong person, the wrong crowd, he's guilty. Of being with people going on certain trips, he's guilty. But so far as the picture that they try to paint him for, he's not guilty. And he's not- and he don't deserve to be punished as if he's some dope kingpin. They- the sentencing that they gave him was as if he was a dope kingpin. This guy didn't even have a brand-new car. NARRATOR: Dennis Knizley was Clarence's defense lawyer. DENNIS KNIZLEY, Defense Attorney: Clarence Aaron was one of the worst cases I've ever had. Clarence tells me that the FBI came to his college classroom and pulled him out of the classroom and arrested him for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. What makes it the worst case I ever had was there was absolutely no cocaine introduced into evidence. There was no cocaine seen. Nobody- the police had no cocaine. The FBI had no cocaine. There was no scientific evidence, no fingerprints, nothing. The entire case was based upon the testimony of what they call "cooperating individuals." NARRATOR: The cooperating individuals were Clarence Aaron's friends from high school and his first cousin. When the friends were finally caught dealing drugs, they all, including the cousin, turned informant and testified against Clarence. They all had prior criminal records, and they were all facing life in prison. Clarence was the only one with no record and no hard evidence of any sort. The U.S. attorney's office in downtown Mobile prosecuted the case. J. Don Foster is the U.S. attorney for the southern district of Alabama. J. DON FOSTER, U.S. Attorney: Well, do you understand that he arranged for the purchase of some nine kilograms of cocaine? Can you imagine how much damage nine kilograms of cocaine, or converted to crack, can do in a community or in this country? Nine kilograms. DENNIS KNIZLEY: There was not any cocaine found anywhere, and certainly no cocaine was never put on any scale to weigh to say, "Okay it was this much cocaine, which then support this"- simply and totally, the entirety of the witnesses against him were people who were exchanging their testimony for their liberty. ERIC STERLING, President Criminal Justice Policy Foundation: There don't have to be drugs. People are amazed. "Well, aren't there drugs?" There don't have to be drugs. All there have to be are witnesses who say, "I saw drugs" or "He said there were drugs." NARRATOR: There don't have to be drugs because in federal cases oral testimony is enough. So when a small technical amendment to the mandatory minimums was issued in 1988, it created a huge change in the prosecution of drug offenders. The conspiracy amendment stipulated that the lowest person in a so-called drug conspiracy could be punished with the maximum sentence designed for a kingpin. ERIC STERLING: If the mandatory minimums were a result of haste and excess by Congress, "conspiracy" as applied to these mandatories was completely by oversight and by accident. It was submitted as part of a simple "technical corrections" amendment. No one even thought at all about what the implications were of applying conspiracy. NARRATOR: Its implications were enormous and would change thousands of lives. ERIC STERLING: Mandatory minimums designed for kingpins with very long sentences, conspiracy bringing in the lowest level offenders who become eligible for those. The only way they can avoid those mandatories is to provide substantial assistance to a prosecutor. And if it means telling a wild story to avoid spending almost life in prison without parole, there are many people who will do that. NARRATOR: Defense attorneys had their work cut out for them. GORDON ARMSTRONG III, Defense Attorney: There is no case that's not a conspiracy case. If I possessed it, I had to get it from somebody or somewhere, so technically I conspired to get it. Every case is a conspiracy case, but conspiracy cases are much easier to prove. BOB CLARK, Defense Attorney: We can call each other on the phone and make an agreement. Once the agreement's made, 30 minutes later you say, "Well, no, I don't think I want to do that," and call it off, you've already committed a criminal offense by making the agreement. INTERVIEWER: You can be indicted? BOB CLARK: You can be indicted and sent to prison. INTERVIEWER: How many witnesses do you need to indict somebody and convict them? LYN HILLMAN-CAMPBELL, Assistant Federal Defender: Under the conspiracy law, you only need one. So one person says you're a drug dealer, you could get convicted and go to jail. INTERVIEWER: That's it? I can put you in jail tomorrow like that? GORDON ARMSTRONG: If the government thought I was involved in drugs, and you told them I was involved, then I would probably get indicted. It's that easy. Sen. JEFF SESSIONS (R), Alabama: Well, you have to be careful. A good prosecutor must always be careful, and if there's not corroboration on the testimony of a co-conspirator drug dealer, you should not proceed with the case. You should have absolute confidence that the facts given to you are true or you should not proceed. NARRATOR: Yet after the conspiracy amendment was enacted, the prison population swelled. Within six years, the number of drug cases in federal prisons increased by 300 percent. From 1986 to 1998, it was up by 450 percent. Not only were there more prisoners, but they were serving much longer sentences as a result of conspiracy charges. [www.pbs.org: More on the laws and statistics] The social costs were also rising. Charged with being involved in a drug conspiracy, Dorothy Gaines is serving a 20-year sentence. DOROTHY GAINES: "Conspiracy" is so broad. Anyone can get caught up in conspiracy- just knowing someone. That's what I constantly tell my kids- just being around someone. But it don't take 20 years to learn your mistake. I know that I got caught up by being associated. NARRATOR: Dorothy Gaines agrees that she did not always keep very good company. Several times in her life she was involved with men who either used or dealt drugs. When one of them was caught, he implicated her in exchange for a reduced sentence. When the case was thrown out of state court for lack of evidence, the federal government picked it up and added a charge of conspiracy with a drug-smuggling ring. When she went to trial, her children were certain she'd be acquitted. NATASHA GAINES: I figured my mother would get a "Not guilty" verdict. There was no evidence. There were four people on trial with her, and everybody was putting evidence on. "Well, this is exhibit A or exhibit B for this defendant or for this defendant." There was never any evidence placed on the table or bar for Dorothy Gaines. NARRATOR: Forty-year-old Dorothy, mother of three and grandmother of two, was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Her then 20-year-old daughter, Natasha, had to leave college and become the head of the family. NATASHA GAINES: I had to become Mother. I had to reverse from sister to mother because I had to take on my sister and brother. I was at an age at that time that I'd learned to do for myself. They didn't. They were 11 and 10 years old. DOROTHY GAINES: Both of them have failed twice since I've been locked up. That's the big worry. They tell me all the time that they are doing the time. "Mamma, when are you coming home?" NARRATOR: They've pinned their hopes on her appeal lawyer, Lyn Campbell, who firmly believes in her client's innocence. LYN HILLMAN-CAMPBELL: I've read all of the evidence in the case, the entire trial, and there's, like, a little voice in the back of my head that says, "Wait a minute. There's just nothing here." It's just these five drug dealers, and who have, you know, great, big reasons not to tell the truth. You know, some of them had guns when they were caught and weren't prosecuted for the guns- you know, extensive criminal histories, everything. And you've got this lady who has no criminal history to speak of. She doesn't have two nickels to rub together. And it just doesn't make sense to me. NARRATOR: U.S. attorney J. Don Foster reviewed the case. J. DON FOSTER: From my review of the record in this case, there is no doubt in my mind about her guilt. She knew a lot about what was going on. Whether she knew absolutely everything, I don't know. But she knew enough to be on the board of directors, in effect. INTERVIEWER: Because the co-conspirators said so? J. DON FOSTER: Confirmed by other witnesses. LYN HILLMAN-CAMPBELL: Well, I guess if you call getting five guys in a room and saying, "Well, is that true what he said? Is that true what he said?"- I mean, that's pretty much the way they corroborate. When I think of corroboration, I think hard evidence, phone records, beeper records, unexplained money. You know, it doesn't take a lot to corroborate that someone's a drug dealer. But when you don't have any of those things, and you see it in case after case after case, how easy it is to come up with that stuff- you know, a snitch corroborating a snitch is not corroboration, to me. NARRATOR: Bob Clark, a well-known and outspoken defense lawyer in Mobile, Alabama, will not represent snitches. BOB CLARK: Snitches are used by the government because it makes their life a lot easier. You put everybody in prison, and then you cut deals with those that are willing to rat on everybody else. And people generally tell the government what they want to hear. In fact, when they try people here in the southern district of Alabama, they put all the rats and the snitches together in one cell. And after they testify, they go back to the snitch cell and compare stories and compare notes. NARRATOR: In the case of Dorothy Gaines, her lawyer moved for a mistrial when he learned that the informants who testified against her were returning to their holding cell, comparing notes. The judge found that as long as the witnesses assured him that they did not discuss their testimony, he couldn't see any problem with that. The motion was denied. J. DON FOSTER, U.S. Attorney: If the judge tells them not to talk and they talk, they're in violation of the judge's order. And the judge does tell them not to talk with each other, does tell them not to tell each other what they're going to- what they have testified to. So if they've- if they obey the judge's orders, which they certainly should do, they're not going to be doing that. BOB CLARK: [laughs] Do I feel that snitches lie? Only when their mouth is moving. You know, if they're asleep, most of the time they don't, but- oh, they'll say anything. They're prostitutes. I mean it is- I don't know how you could run a criminal justice system without the use of informants, but at the same time, it allows itself for such abuse. I mean absolutely unbelievable abuse. INTERVIEWER: Why do you believe these people? I mean, they're felons, they have everything to gain. J. DON FOSTER: Well, you can be sure that defense attorneys remind juries of that every chance they get. They are- the juries are bombarded with the fact that these people are criminals themselves and that they may be trying to help themselves out by testifying, but it's hard to make up a story that fools 12 people. ERIC STERLING: We believe in the presumption of innocence, as a society. Once you get in the courtroom, that presumption is very, very thin. It's not a whole lot of protection. And when you have a witness who says, "Yes, I am getting a deal, but I was there, and this is what the defendant did," jurors will say, "Well, he must"- you know, "Even if I don't believe all that he's saying, I believe enough of it, and that enough is proof beyond a reasonable doubt for me." NARRATOR: Tony told us that in his experience, not only can juries be misled, but that informants often mislead the prosecutors. "TONY": I would like to believe that the majority of the prosecutors are using witnesses they believe to be telling the truth. The problem is, they have no idea if they're telling the truth. For example, when I was in prison, I was asked to cooperate in a case that would have been very dangerous to my family. It would have possibly gotten them killed, and I told the government I couldn't do it. So I mentioned this to my cellmate, that there was this case that was probably my ticket to walk out the door, and I told him I couldn't do it. And he said, "Are you crazy?" He said, "If you can't do it, I'll do it. Just get me some details about the case and get me a picture of this guy, and I'll call the government, and I'll tell them that I've been doing business with him." If I would have gone along with that, he would have all the information which I had, plus any information that he wanted to make up. He would have all the details. He would have a photograph so he could identify the guy, and he probably would have gotten himself out of prison with this testimony. And informants do that all the time. ERIC STERLING: The entire criminal justice system knows that perjury is the coin of the realm. In New York City, police officers call it "testalying." In Los Angeles, they call it "the liars club." Lying- everybody knows that lying takes place. The prosecutors don't feel bad about it. This is simply part of the system. They justify it by saying, "We have to get the bad guy." NARRATOR: In Uniontown, Alabama, getting the bad guy turned out to involve the whole community. Almost every family was affected when the government indicted more than 70 people, accusing them of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 150 kilograms of cocaine. 1st WOMAN IN CHURCH: My name is Christine Johnson. I'm a friend of Leroy Williams. He was sentenced for 13 years on drug conspiracy charges. There were no drugs found in our home. 2nd WOMAN IN CHURCH: I am Ernie Strother's wife. He's serving 13 years for conspiracy 3rd WOMAN IN CHURCH: My brother, Thelbert Staton, is waiting to be sentenced on conspiracy charges. He wasn't even searched. No drugs found. SALLY McGEE: My name is Sally McGee. I have four brothers incarcerated for drug conspiracy, but they did not find any drugs the morning that they picked these guys up. NARRATOR: In the early morning of May 29, 1997, a small army of state and federal agents descended on Uniontown, a small rural community of fewer than 2,000 people in southern Alabama. They arrested more than 70 people, charging them with conspiracy to posses with intent to distribute cocaine. GORDON ARMSTRONG: If you listen to their arguments, if you listen to the amounts that they claimed was involved, the dollar figures, the sources coming in from California, from Texas, from Miami, Detroit, the different areas, you would think that this was a hub, basically, where everything was shipped into and then moved back out of. NARRATOR: With so many people indicted, Gordon Armstrong from Mobile, Alabama, was one of the lawyers, mostly appointed by the court to represent the accused. GORDON ARMSTRONG: Once you see what the evidence turned out to be, and you met the people involved, there's no way that that dollar figure and those amounts were possible. NARRATOR: Yet it was hailed by the government as one of the greatest drug crackdowns in Alabama's history, a result of an intense investigation based on the help of informants. WOMAN IN CHURCH: If these people have that many drugs in Uniontown, and they didn't get the drugs- they have all these confidential informants, why didn't they get the drugs along with the people? 1st MAN IN CHURCH: They charged all of us with a 150-key conspiracy, but yet and still they didn't have no 150 keys. Well, well where's the dope? If everybody had dope, where is it? 2nd MAN IN CHURCH: This town ain't but that big, and they make it seem like this is Florida, where all the kilos coming in at. There wasn't nothing here. Wasn't nothing here. NARRATOR: What was there were a few drug dealers who were caught, pled guilty and turned informant. The main one was 23-year-old Cedric Jones. GORDON ARMSTRONG: He was the stereotypical person that you would think of when you thought drug dealer. He had the cars and the jewelry, and he had the AK-47, the Chinese assault weapon. And he'd- he'd been shot three times in drug deals. He had ordered somebody shot who had disrespected him. He made hundreds of thousands of dollars. Obviously, he had most of the evidence against him. So he went down, and he testified and, basically, he was able to buy some freedom. J. DON FOSTER, U.S. Attorney: We try to go up the ladder, if we can, starting with the little fish and going up the ladder to the big fish. But sometimes you've got the big fish, and you need to come down the ladder. So it just works however it fits for that particular case. NARRATOR: In Uniontown, once they got the big fish, Cedric Jones, he rolled over and informed on the smaller fish. Cedric let it be known that he would snitch on his own mother if it would help him. His mother wasn't indicted, but his uncles were. In trial after trial, Cedric implicated his family, friends and acquaintances. How much of what he said was true is an open question. Sally McGee is Cedric's aunt. SALLY McGEE: Is he telling the truth to the government? I can't see any truth to what he's saying, if he's calling us constantly saying "They're telling me what to say. And I have to please them, I got to help myself." NARRATOR: Whether the informants were truthful or not, their testimony was proof enough for many families to lose their properties through the forfeiture law. LYN HILLMAN-CAMPBELL, Assistant Federal Defender: They say you're a drug dealer, and you have a house, it's gone. I mean forfeitures- it's not even beyond a reasonable doubt. It's a very low burden of proof, and all they have to say is it's more likely than not that you used your house in a drug deal, and your house is gone. It's more likely than not that you used your car in a drug deal, and your car is gone. It's more likely than not that your account is drug proceeds, and your bank account is gone. NARRATOR: There wasn't much all that much to take in Uniontown, but farm equipment, livestock and properties were seized. Sally and Charlie McGee's new house had cost them $90,000, both their life's savings. The government was suspicious. SALLY McGEE: They had us to go down- had me, rather, to go down and testify before the grand jury. They questioned me as to what kind of work we did and how long we had been working and this that and the other. NARRATOR: Sally McGee is a teacher. Her husband, Charles, is a retired NCO in the Army. CHARLIE McGEE: I've been in the military most of my life because I went in at an early age, I came out at an early age. So that's all I ever knew was the military. It's an insult. It's really a insult. For the government to- if they come to me, it's an insult. SALLY McGEE: And I've taught 18 years- no kids, no fancy lifestyle. I'm just plain Sally. And I had to explain how we managed to accumulate what we got, the little we've got. And to be honest, I was taught as a child from growing up to start saving, put away. Worked in the cotton field, picked okra. We farmed. I mean, I know what it means to sow the corn, to help take care of the cows that my deceased father left that the government came and took, all of that. I know what it means to drink out of a jelly jar. I know what it means to eat out of a tin pan. I know how to save, trust me. Ask my husband. I don't need any kind of fancy lifestyle. I know nothing but saving and working hard all of my life. And then, you know, the government has the nerve to ask how did we get this. WOMAN IN CHURCH: Over 80 percent of the people, the residents here, work. I don't care what kind of job they work, they work. And that's the American dream, is to work and accumulate the same thing that you see everyone else have. Here, if you own one house and you drive a nice car, you have to be selling drugs. If you try to get your own business started, like many of the people, you have to be selling drugs. Even though they found out that these cars were financed, these houses were financed, these trucks were financed, they still took them. YOUNG MAN IN CHURCH: How can you come in and take farm equipment that was left from grandfathers and borrowed from people here and people there? How can the government come in and just take this stuff? LYN HILLMAN-CAMPBELL: It's a very, very easy thing for them to do, especially when they've got- you know, snitches come in, and you get convicted, and then all of the sudden you're a convicted drug dealer. Well, of course you were dealing drugs, you know, out of your house. Your house is gone. YOUNG MAN IN CHURCH: How can you take three people's testimony and corral a whole bunch of other people? Like I said, certain people that they said were bringing the drugs in, those people are still riding around like there ain't nothing happened. You know, come to the club, go to the corner. They don't care. They're still free. But everybody else they done rodeoed, and they locked up, hurt many people's lives. GORDON ARMSTRONG: It doesn't make a lot of sense to a lot of people. It really doesn't. It might look good on paper, but in real life the way it works out is an awful lot of people are getting an awful lot of jail time based on the word of other people and without a lot of real proof, just based on snitches. ELAINE ALFORD: [preaching in church] We have in Mobile, Alabama, a population of about 200,000, and guess what? The records are so staggering that I don't even want to go into numbers because that means nothing! NARRATOR: Mobile, Alabama, has the highest percentage of informants in the country. Elaine Alford is a pastor of a small church whose members are deeply affected by these statistics. ELAINE ALFORD: What bothers me the most is that the law puts these young men in a position to snitch on each other. And they'll make them say things, put such fear in them and make them say things, you know, cause them to snitch on people that have been friends and family. That's, I guess, the most profound thing is that family members are telling lies on family members in order to save themselves. NARRATOR: That's what happened to Linda Aaron's son, Clarence, when his first cousin turned informant and testified against him, helping to put him behind bars for the rest of his life. LINDA AARON: It tore the whole family up. Everybody. I couldn't believe it. You know, why would he say the things that he said about Clarence, and he knew that they wasn't true? And then I couldn't even understand why he could even testify against his own cousin, and tell- and tell a lie. If it was the truth, I could have understood it. But it wasn't. None of it was the truth. He was just trying to save his own butt. MARTIN AARON: This is my nephew. This is my sister's child. This is my son's first cousin. They was raised together, from children. I mean, you can imagine what this does to a family. LINDA AARON: It tore the whole family up. It even tore me and his father up. That's the reason why I'm not with him right now. MARTIN AARON: That's what the emotional strain had done to her, some woman I had been with for 30 years. We had stayed together and raised all our children from birth, but because of what happened to Clarence, the trial, it destroyed everything. DENNIS KNIZLEY, Defense Attorney: Drug dealers, they're going to testify against anybody. It doesn't matter who it is. And if Clarence Aaron is out there, and they knew him from childhood, whether they- whether what they say is true or untrue, they're going to find somebody to testify against because if they can't find somebody to testify against, they can't get out of the life without parole. They can't get out of the 360 months to life. They've got to have somebody to testify against. And if they're sitting in jail, they're just going to manufacture the testimony if needed. ELAINE ALFORD: I know several in Clarence's case that have come to me personally and expressed how bad and how sorry they were, how bad it made them feel that they had to do to him what they did- you know, that they had to do it. And if it was anything that they could do to change it, they would. INTERVIEWER: Why did they do it? ELAINE ALFORD: Because that was the only opportunity that they had to be free and to take the minimum that the law offers. Whereas Clarence received the maximum. NARRATOR: Of the four witnesses who testified against Clarence in order to avoid life sentences, two served less than five years and are now out. The self-avowed kingpin is serving a 12-year sentence. Clarence's cousin did not serve a day. INTERVIEWER: Why did they want Clarence? LINDA AARON: Because they wanted Clarence to say something that he didn't know, and he wouldn't say it, and that was the reason why. They wanted him- and they wanted to make an example out of- "If you don't help us, we'll get you," to show all these black boys that, "We'll get you if you don't do what we say do." INTERVIEWER: Is it true? BOB CLARK: It's true. He refused to snitch. He refused to make a deal. So he's now doing life without. J. DON FOSTER: He thought he was going to win. And he was given every opportunity to help himself early on, and he didn't- he didn't want to do it. INTERVIEWER: Why wouldn't you? CLARENCE AARON: Miss Ofra, who was I to testify against? I was the last one to be arrested. When I got arrested, all the guys that was involved in our conspiracy was already cooperating. So what do you want me to tell, what they already told? Ain't nothing else I could tell. Only people I could have testified against, the guy that was already cooperating at that particular time already. J. DON FOSTER: You know, the tendency to feel sorry for him is in relation to these other people that did cooperate and that did help themselves and got less. And even though they were perhaps guiltier or more culpable, they got less because they helped solve the case. They helped to bring everybody to justice. And the one person or two- I think there were two that went to trial in that case- that didn't, you know, suffered the results or the consequences of the arrogance of thinking that you're- you're going to beat this, that "I'm too good. I'm too good to take a deal." NARRATOR: Dennis Knizley is infuriated by this logic. DENNIS KNIZLEY: We're trading our paranoia to get rid of these drugs for our constitutional rights, and we're making a terrible mistake in doing that. INTERVIEWER: And I'm hearing it in Mobile, Alabama? DENNIS KNIZLEY: You're hearing it in Mobile, Alabama, from the conservative guy that went to West Point, that hates drugs and doesn't do drugs. And you're hearing it from him that we- this war on drugs is quickly, quickly eroding our constitutional rights. "TONY": It's no longer about protecting people who are innocent. Now it's part of the casualties of the drug war. "Well, if a couple of them have to go, then that's what has to happen. Just like in any other war, that's what has to happen." That's how they justify it in their minds, I guess. That's how they can sleep at night. "Well, maybe I did prosecute the wrong guy" or "Maybe he wasn't do guilty. But hey, these other 15 guys, they were certainly guilty." J. DON FOSTER: Believe me, we don't want to indict anybody who's innocent. You know, that's what a trial is really for. It's a search for the truth. And it's the best system in this world that we have, and- I mean, right in the United States. It's not perfect, but it's the best in the world. NARRATOR: It is the system that put the fate of Clarence Aaron in the hands of 12 jurors. We talked to one of them, Willie Jordan. WILLIE JORDAN: It's about as fair a system that I guess as we can- you can have because you take 12 people on a jury, they pretty well going to do the right thing, make the right decision, no matter who they are. INTERVIEWER: You felt you had all the information that you wanted to have from the government? WILLIE JORDAN: Yes, I did. It was pretty clear-cut, I thought. NARRATOR: But federal jurors are not let into the sentencing session and often do not know the end result of their verdict. INTERVIEWER: Do you know what the sentence was? WILLIE JORDAN: Well, you know, I meant to look in the paper later to see what kind of sentence they served, and somehow or other I missed it, and I never did know what kind of sentence they got. INTERVIEWER: What kind of sentence do you think he deserves? WILLIE JORDAN: Well, I wouldn't have thought a large number of years, no. Just a- just a- probably a short sentence. Now, what a short sentence is I don't know- three to five years, maybe something like that. I don't know. INTERVIEWER: Do you know that he got life? WILLIE JORDAN: Life! INTERVIEWER: Three concurrent life sentences. WILLIE JORDAN: Three concurrent life sentences. With no hope of parole? INTERVIEWER: No hope of parole. WILLIE JORDAN: Well, that's more than I thought it would be. But see, I had no idea. Well, I'm surprised at that, I really am, that harsh a sentence. He seemed to be a pretty promising boy. Why did they get such a high sentence, I wonder? I wish I didn't know now that they'd got life. [Since the enactment of mandatory minimum sentencing in 1986, the availability of drugs on the street in the U.S. has remained virtually unchanged.]
------------------------------------------------------------------- Supreme Court: Garbage Search Upheld (An excerpt from an article about several U.S. Supreme Court decisions Monday, in the News & Observer, in North Carolina, says the court refused to consider a case from Urbana, Illinois, that raised the issue of whether police have the right to conduct a warrantless search of a homeowner's trash when the trash can is adjacent to the house or garage, well within the property line. In a 1988 case, the court upheld the search of a garbage can left at the curb. But Monday the court rejected an appeal of a cocaine-related conviction by Joseph Redmon, who placed his can at the top of his 28-foot driveway.) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 21:35:32 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Supreme Court: Garbage Search Upheld Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: 12 Jan 1999 Source: News & Observer (NC) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.news-observer.com/ Copyright: 1999 The News and Observer Publishing Company Note1: Excerpted from piece including other Supreme Court actions of 11 Jan 98 Note2: Headline by MAP Editor SUPREME COURT: GARBAGE SEARCH UPHELD Without comment, the court refused to consider a case raising the issue of whether police have the right to conduct a warrantless search of a homeowner's trash when the trash can is adjacent to the house or garage, well within the property line. In a 1988 case, the court upheld the search of a garbage can left at the curb. But in the case Monday, an appeal from a narcotics conviction, an ordinance in Urbana, Ill., prohibited leaving trash at the curb, so Joseph Redmon, the owner of a town house, placed his can for collection at the top of his 28-foot driveway. A drug task force, which had him under surveillance, searched the trash and found evidence of cocaine. That enabled the agents to get a warrant to search the house, where they found more incriminating evidence and arrested Redmon. The case produced a sharp split on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, which upheld the search and conviction by 8-5 with several vigorously argued opinions. "Most urban dwellers would be shocked to learn that the portion of a driveway immediately adjacent to the garage door is considered by this court to be an 'open field,' " Judge Ilana Rovner said in one dissenting opinion. Under Supreme Court precedents, police do not need a warrant to search an open field.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Publisher Larry Flynt Levels Accusations at Rep. Bob Barr (CNN says the Hustler magazine publisher is accusing Republican Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia - the nemesis of Initiative 59, the Washington, D.C., medical-marijuana ballot measure - of hypocrisy and lying under oath.) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 11:01:47 -0800 (PST) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) From: hadorn@DNAI.COM (David Hadorn) Subject: Publisher Larry Flynt Levels Accusations at Rep. Bob Barr Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From the CNN website http://cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/01/12/flynt.01/ The wire services haven't pick up on this as of yet. They're talking about Michael Jordan. Publisher Larry Flynt Levels Accusations at Rep. Bob Barr January 12, 1999 Web posted at: 9:45 a.m. EST (1445 GMT) WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Jan. 12) -- Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt is accusing Republican Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia of sexual infidelity, hypocrisy and lying under oath about an abortion. Barr is refusing to discuss his personal life with the news media, but issued a statement saying "I have never perjured myself...I have never suggested, urged, forced or encouraged anyone to have an abortion." In a late-night news conference in California, Flynt released an affidavit from Barr's former wife, Gail, in which she said Barr paid for an abortion she had in 1983 and that he never objected to it. Barr said under oath in his 1986 divorce testimony that he did object to the abortion. The ex-wife also said in the affidavit that she now believes Barr, while still married to her, began an affair with the woman he married a month after the divorce became final in 1986. Neither Barr nor his current wife, Jeri, denied an affair when asked about it repeatedly during the divorce proceedings. Flynt is offering up to $1 million for information about sexual indiscretions by members of Congress. He wouldn't say how much he paid Gail Barr for her affidavit, but said he found her "destitute" and made a "generous" financial offer. Gail Barr declined comment. ***
------------------------------------------------------------------- Clerics lose bid to legalize pot (According to the Toronto Star, a Canadian federal court has ruled that "The constitutionality of legislation controlling cannabis in the face of religious requirement is a possibly serious issue," and gave Walter A. Tucker and Michael J. Baldasaro of the Church of the Universe until Jan. 10 to refile their suit against the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 09:29:50 -0500 To: email@example.com From: Dave Haans (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: TorStar: Clerics lose bid to legalize pot Newshawk: Dave Haans Source: The Toronto Star (Canada) Pubdate: Tuesday, January 12, 1999 Page: A7 Website: http://www.thestar.com Contact: email@example.com Author: Tonda MacCharles, Toronto Star Ottawa Bureau Clerics lose bid to legalize pot Court official extends deadline for pair to challenge drug laws OTTAWA - The Federal Court says two dope-smoking clerics should take another shot at challenging Canada's drug laws. Walter A. Tucker and Michael J. Baldasaro, of the Church of the Universe, intend to do just that. They also lost a bid to overturn voting restrictions on minors and the new gun-control law, but their somewhat clumsy court challenges didn't completely fail. ``This is a case where the plaintiffs' religious rights are alleged to be threatened,'' ruled Peter Giles, the court's associate senior prothonotary. He noted the two allegedly use cannabis ``in their daily lives on the advice of God.'' ``The constitutionality of legislation controlling cannabis in the face of religious requirement is a possibly serious issue,'' Giles said and gave them until Jan. 10 to refile their suit against the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. That deadline's already passed, but the two ministers say they'll ask for an extension and pursue their cause: to decriminalize marijuana. Baldasaro, 49, who had announced his candidacy for the federal Tory leadership but failed to meet all the filing requirements, dismissed the court official's criticism of their poorly drafted claim. ``That doesn't mean anything, sister,'' he said in a telephone interview from Hamilton. ``If we have a right to worship in this fashion, how technical do they expect you and me to be?'' He said Canada's drug laws that prohibit possession of marijuana violate church members' freedom of religion because smoking pot is part of how they worship God. ``It's our sacrament. ``We're looking for simple justice and a simple declaration that the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act . . . when they're applying it against our freedom of religion, is a violation of the Charter (of Rights and Freedoms).'' Tucker, who got on another telephone extension to join the interview, said smoking a joint for him is no different than a Catholic drinking wine during communion. Baldasaro and Tucker estimate the Church of the Universe, which they describe as all-denominational, has about 30,000 members in Canada.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mayor gets protection (The Toronto Star says Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside got a free $2,200 home security system two months ago after declaring a war on drugs in the city.) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 09:34:35 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Dave Haans (email@example.com) Subject: TorStar: Mayor gets protection Newshawk: Dave Haans Source: The Toronto Star (Canada) Pubdate: Tuesday, January 12, 1999 Page: A6 Website: http://www.thestar.com Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Briefly New Brunswick Mayor gets protection Fredericton has increased security measures to protect the home of its mayor and police station from suspected drug dealers. The decision was made two months ago, after Mayor Brad Woodside declared a war on drugs in the city. Deputy Mayor Walter Brown said the security measures cost $6,500 -- $2,200 of which are spent securing Woodside's house.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mexico Governor Has Secret Accounts Abroad - Paper (According to Reuters, a Mexico City daily, El Universal, said Tuesday that an intelligence report by Mexico's Interior Ministry had traced the ownership of $10 million stashed away in secret bank accounts in California, Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas, to Mario Villanueva Madrid, governor of Mexico's Caribbean state of Quintana Roo.)Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 21:31:03 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Mexico: Wire: Mexico Governor Has Secret Accounts Abroad - Paper Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Source: Reuters Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 MEXICO GOVERNOR HAS SECRET ACCOUNTS ABROAD - PAPER MEXICO CITY, Jan 12 (Reuters) - A controversial Mexican state governor has $10 million stashed away in secret bank accounts in California, Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas, a Mexico City daily reported on Tuesday. The daily El Universal cited an intelligence report by Mexico's Interior Ministry that it said had traced the ownership of the accounts to Mario Villanueva Madrid, governor of Mexico's Caribbean state of Quintana Roo. El Universal said investigators had also traced the ownership of many properties and firms, including one farm each in Panama and Belize, to Villanueva, who has been hounded by allegations of links to drug traffickers but has steadfastly denied them. A spokesman for the state government of Quintana Roo, on the Yucatan peninsula, told Reuters the government had decided not to comment on the allegations but had "reports stating the contrary." Villanueva, whose term ends in April, was unavailable for comment. The Attorney-General's Office said it could not confirm the existence of the report, and no one was available at the Defence or Interior ministries. El Universal said Villanueva had not declared the money deposited in overseas bank accounts. It said investigators alleged that the $10 million was siphoned out of political donations made to the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to support its candidate for mayor of the Caribbean tourist resort of Cancun. El Universal, which said the report was dated Nov. 12, said it cited "sufficient proof" Villanueva was implicated in drug trafficking, money laundering and other crimes. The governor has denied allegations printed by The New York Times and local Mexican newspapers of ties to Mexico's powerful cocaine cartels. The coast of Quintana Roo state is known for sandy beaches and for turquoise seas regarded by scuba-diving enthusiasts as some of the best diving waters in the world. About 2 million tourists a year, mainly Americans, visit Cancun. But anti-drug officials say Quintana Roo, with its long, cove-studded coast, has become a significant conduit for South American cocaine being smuggled to the United States. Universal said Villanueva jointly owned an agricultural trading company in Panama with Panama's Second Vice President Filipe Virzi. It said the state governor had imported 2,277 head of cattle since December 1997 and had sold them at inflated prices under a government agricultural programme. Villanueva also owns a ranch in neighbouring Belize, together with a lawmaker of that country, Florencio Marin, the newspaper said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Colombian Death Squads Endangering Peace Talks, Analysts Say (The Houston Chronicle says a three-day rampage by paramilitary death squads that killed at least 139 people began just a day after peace talks opened last week between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, Colombia's largest anti-government militia. Colombians are demanding that their government either negotiate with the outlawed militias or fight back, but the government is owned by the same small landed class that funds the paramilitary groups. Some of the groups provide protection for illegal-drug traffickers.) Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 14:43:13 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Colombia: Colombian Death Squads Endangering Peace Talks, Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Galasyn (email@example.com) Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Copyright: 1999 Houston Chronicle Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.chron.com/ Forum: http://www.chron.com/content/hcitalk/index.html Author: John Otis COLOMBIAN DEATH SQUADS ENDANGERING PEACE TALKS, ANALYSTS SAY BOGOTA, Colombia, Jan. 12, 1999 - After a three-day rampage by paramilitary death squads that killed at least 139 people, Colombians are demanding that their government either negotiate with the outlawed militias or fight back. The massacres began just a day after peace talks opened last week between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, Colombia's largest Marxist guerrilla group. Analysts warned that the talks could unravel if President Andres Pastrana's administration fails to deal with the far-right paramilitaries - who target guerrillas and their civilian supporters. "These are organized groups that have demonstrated a capacity, an evil ability, to create havoc. We would be naive and stupid if we didn't take them into account in the peace process,'' said Juan Manuel Santos, a member of a government-appointed peace commission. "Pastrana is in a very delicate situation,'' added Robin Kirk, who monitors Colombia for Human Rights Watch, an independent organization, in Washington. "I think the talks will survive this, but they may not survive the fourth or the fifth (paramilitary) offensive.'' Last week, heavily armed gunmen began sweeping through towns and villages in six of Colombia's 32 states. The paramilitaries robbed and burned houses and rounded up men, women and children. The attackers shot, beheaded or slit the throats of the civilians, according to witnesses. "They came in shooting and knocking down doors and grabbed people indiscriminately,'' said one distraught survivor in the village of El Tigre in southern Putumayo state where 26 people were slain. "Children and students who had nothing to do with the war were killed.'' The death toll is likely to climb because scores of people remain missing. Teodoro Diaz, mayor of the northern city of Apartado, announced that the paramilitaries had circulated a "hit list'' with 100 names. The U.N. High Commission for Human Rights accused the paramilitaries of "systematic attacks against the civilian population'' and expressed "dismay" over the failure of the Colombian army and police to protect people from the carnage. On Tuesday, President Pastrana promised a crackdown. "We are going to reinforce (the army),'' Pastrana said. "They are going to embark on operations to control this escalation by the paramilitaries.'' Through massacres and selective assassinations, the paramilitaries, who have 5,000 fighters in 29 fronts, have managed to roll back some of the recent military gains by the FARC and the National Liberation Army, or ELN, a smaller rebel group. By contrast, the 120,000-man Colombian army appears to be losing ground. During the past three years, some 20,000 FARC and ELN fighters have battered the army and the police in a series of attacks, capturing more than 300 troops in the process. Government forces also have been ambushed by the paramilitaries. "They keep 15 or 20 police in a municipality, and then 100, 150, or 200 rebels or paramilitaries arrive and it's impossible to control the situation,'' said Alberto Builes Ortega, the governor of Antioquia state, which was the hardest hit in the offensive. "There needs to be a much better use of military intelligence, better training and more troops.'' The paramilitaries sprang up in the 1980s in response to guerrilla attacks. They are financed by cattle ranchers and other large landowners - many of whom were victims of rebel kidnappings and extortion. Some of the groups, however, provide protection for drug traffickers. According to Human Rights Watch, the paramilitaries are responsible for the majority of human rights abuses committed in Colombia and have carried out hundreds of massacres. Authorities claim that their raids have displaced more than 300,000 peasants. Yet they enjoy the backing of many upper-class Colombians, who credit them with preventing a rebel triumph. Although they have a separate command structure and source of weapons, the paramilitaries operate "frequently and in direct coordination with Colombian security forces,'' according to a report released last year by Human Rights Watch. Experts say that there is little enthusiasm by either the army or the police to go after the paramilitaries because they are often viewed as allies rather than enemies. "The paramilitaries have an important base of support from ranchers, farmers and businessmen,'' said Alfredo Molano, a sociologist and author. "It's not easy to break these ties, or the ties between the army and the paramilitaries. Why? Because they are useful. ... They are the ones who can undertake illegal operations." The government has arrested more than 100 paramilitaries in the past year, and has offered a $1 million bounty for the capture of Carlos Castano, the commander of the paramilitary umbrella organization known as the United Self-Defense Groups of Colombia. However, Kirk, of Human Rights Watch, said the list of detained paramilitaries includes only a few high-ranking members and that the government has ignored the groups' financial backers. "We haven't seen any evidence that there is a plan on the ground or working'' to round up important paramilitary leaders, Kirk said. "At some point, the government has to decide: either they attack the paramilitaries with the possibility that it divides the army, or they accept that the paramilitaries continue and break off the talks with the FARC,'' Molano said. Castano was rumored to have been killed in a rebel raid on his headquarters in northern Colombia last month. But he escaped, and the paramilitary offensive may have been a response to the guerrilla attack.
------------------------------------------------------------------- New Zealand press release (A list subscriber forwards a statement from New Zealand's ruling National Party saying any change to cannabis laws would require a non-party-line "conscience vote" in Parliament. The party is obligated to respond to a Parliamentary select committee's recent report, and is supposed to do so on an evidentiary basis, but instead claims - with no scientific reference at all - that more than 20 percent of cannabis users face mental health problems.) Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 21:19:11 -0800 (PST) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Hadorn) Subject: New Zealand press release Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org This comes from the New Zealand National Party, which is the (relatively) right wing party currently in power. They are the most anti-cannabis of the parties. The NZ Government must respond formally to the select committee's recent report, whose conclusions were--to the committee members' immense credit--very much at odds with prevailing governmental anti-cannabis dogma. Isn't it amazing (and pathetic) how people can simply continue to re-assert their uninformed views without even trying to address why those views vary 180 degrees from those arrived at through a long and careful evidence-based process? What's wrong with these people? D *** Conscience Vote needed for Change to Cannabis laws Tuesday, 12 January 1999, 12:06 pm Press Release: New Zealand National Party Conscience Vote needed for Change to Cannabis laws Health Select Committee Report Treated with Caution For Immediate Release Tuesday, January 12, 1999 Any change to the laws relating to cannabis would need a conscience vote in Parliament, according to National List MP, Annabel Young. She was commenting on the Report of Parliament's Health Select Committee which included a recommendation that "the Government review the appropriateness of existing policy on cannabis and its use and reconsider the legal status of cannabis". "I would vote against the legalization of recreational cannabis use. There is clear evidence that for many people the use of cannabis triggers severe mental health problems. Over 20% of users face these mental health problems. For their sake, we must continue to outlaw the recreational use of cannabis." "MPs get to exercise their individual consciences on matters relating to drugs, sex, gambling, trading hours and the death penalty. Any change to the availability of cannabis would be a conscience vote."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Doctors Check Cannabis For Medical Benefit (The version in the Dominion, in New Zealand, of yesterday's Reuters article about the governing body for British pharmacists saying two clinical research doctors would volunteer to run the first government-sanctioned trials on the therapeutic value of cannabis.) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 20:55:04 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: New Zealand: Doctors Check Cannabis For Medical Benefit Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (David Hadorn) Pubdate: 12 Jan 1999 Source: Dominion, The (New Zealand) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.inl.co.nz/wnl/dominion/index.html DOCTORS CHECK CANNABIS FOR MEDICAL BENEFIT LONDON - Reuter Two clinical research doctors would volunteer to run the first government-sanctioned trials on the therapeutic value of cannabis, the governing body for British pharmacists said yesterday. Two separate trials, examining the effects of cannabis and cannabinoids (its active ingredients) on spasms in multiple sclerosis patients and on pain sufferers, would follow new post-operative protocols to give the results scientific weight, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain said. "Although trials into the therapeutic use of cannabis and cannabinoids have taken place in the past, they have never been accepted by the World Health Organisation as proof of therapeutic benefit," society chief scientist Tony Moffat said. "Nobody has yet conclusively proven there is anything in cannabis which will help alleviate suffering." If the trial results are conclusive, the World Health Organisation line will probably change, paving the way for Britain to reclassify cannabis for controlled medical use. The new clinical tests, each of which would cost about £500,000 (NZ$1.54 million) and involve about 300 volunteers, should present their findings within two years. A spokesman for the Multiple Sclerosis Society said: "We are very pleased to have taken this significant step towards proper trials." British doctors were allowed to prescribe cannabis till 1973, when it was removed from a list of prescription drugs that still includes heroin and morphine.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Doctors Volunteer To Test Cannabis (The Daily Telegraph, in Britain, says the two doctors who have volunteered to run the country's first official patient trials involving cannabis are Dr Anita Holdcroft, from Hammersmith Hospital, London, who will investigate whether the drug or some of its components can relieve post-operative pain; and Dr John Zajicek, of Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, who will run a second trial investigating the effects of cannabis on multiple sclerosis sufferers.) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 21:35:44 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: UK: Doctors Volunteer To Test Cannabis Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (email@example.com) Source: Daily Telegraph (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ Copyright: of Telegraph Group Limited 1999 Pubdate: 12 Jan 1999 DOCTORS VOLUNTEER TO TEST CANNABIS THE therapeutic effects of cannabis are to be tested by two doctors who have volunteered to run the first official patient trials. Dr Anita Holdcroft, from Hammersmith Hospital, London, will investigate whether the drug or some of its components can relieve post-operative pain. A second trial investigating the effects of cannabis on multiple sclerosis sufferers will be run by Dr John Zajicek, of Derriford Hospital, Plymouth. Three hundred patients will take part in the post-operative pain trial and 600 in the MS trial. The doctors signed up for the trials yesterday at a meeting of Government officials and scientists at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in London. Delegates were there to set guidelines for the trials. Cannabis contains chemicals which are said to be useful as painkillers and for treating illness such as MS and epilepsy. Many MS sufferers now take the drug illegally. Dr Zajicek's trial will look specifically at the ability of cannabis to control spasticity - muscle rigidity - in MS patients. The Home Office has already granted special licences to a drug company, GW Pharmaceuticals, allowing it to grow and supply cannabis for medical research. An initial crop of 5,000 plants was sown in August at a secure glasshouse in the south of England. The mature, 8ft plants are now being cut off just above the stem and hung up to dry before being transferred to a laboratory. The aim of the trials is to obtain results that will be accepted by the World Health Organisation. Findings from previous studies have not been recognised as scientifically sound. Acceptance by WHO would pave the way for cannabis to be rescheduled under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Standardised preparations of cannabis or its active ingredients could then be prescribed, subject to certain regulations. Prof Tony Moffat, chief scientist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said that the tests should offer "conclusive scientific evidence" that cannabis could have therapeutic benefit. The trials are likely to start in six months' time. Assuming that they showed cannabis to work as a medicine, it could be prescribed on a named patient-only basis before being licensed. It would take at least five years for cannabis or its active components to be fully licensed so that it was widely available on the NHS. One question that must be settled first is how the drug might be administered to the patient. Dr Geoffrey Guy, chairman of GW Pharmaceuticals, has developed a special inhaler device for taking measured amounts of cannabis. Whether this system or another - such as capsules or injections - will be employed remains to be decided. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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