Portland NORML News - Tuesday, January 12, 1999
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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: restore@crrh.org
From: "D. Paul Stanford" (stanford@crrh.org)
From: "CRRH mailing list" (restore@crrh.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 restore@crrh.org e-mail list, send
e-mail to restore-owner@crrh.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/
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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" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: Floyd F Landrath AAL (AAL@InetArena.com)
Subject: PORTLAND, ORE., MONTHLY POTLUCK
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.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.)
Link to follow-up
Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 21:46:35 -0800 To: dpfca@drugsense.org From: canorml@igc.apc.org (Dale Gieringer) Subject: DPFCA: Alameda Co. Joins Lawsuit Against Feds Sender: owner-dpfca@drugsense.org Reply-To: dpfca@drugsense.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 // canorml@igc.apc.org 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 (ammo@levellers.org)
X-Sender: ammo@saturn.eagle-access.net
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
Subject: Colo. Prison Moratorium Bill
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

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 cohip@levellers.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: cohip@levellers.org.

***

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
letters@denverpost.com,

Rocky Mountain News
letters@denver-rmn.com

Colorado Daily, Boulder
talbot@bcn.boulder.co.us

Daily Camera, Boulder
marshallj@boulderpublishing.com

Boulder Weekly (alternative weekly)
bweditor@tesser.com

Boulder Planet, Boulder
news@boulderplanet.com

Summit Free Press, Breckenridge
freedom@colorado.net

Colorado Springs Gazette
editor@gazette.com

Colorado Springs Independent
letters@csindy.com

Westword, Denver (alternative weekly)
denver-editorial@westword.com

Pueblo Chieftan
comments@chieftain.com

Fort Collins Coloradoan
news@coloradoan.com

The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction
letters@gjds.com

The Durango Herald
letters@durangoherald.com

Valley Chronicle, Hotchkiss
donolsen@compuserve.com

Mountain Ear, Nederland
mtn-ear@indra.com

Mountain Messenger, Idaho Springs
mountain-messenger@juno.com

Estes Park Trail Gazette
jesse@eptrail.com

Glenwood Post
letters@durangoherald.com

Greeley Tribune
cobler@greeleytrib.com

Gunnison Times
gunnisontimes@sni.net

Montrose Press
dailypress@gwe.net

The Mountain Mail, Salida
mtnmail@chaffee.net

Leadville Herald
herald@amigo.net

Steamboat Pilot
gmaitland@amigo.net

***

Distributed as a public service by the:
Colorado Hemp Initiative Project
P.O. Box 729, Nederland, CO 80466
Vmail: (303) 448-5640
Email: cohip@levellers.org
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." (when@olywa.net)
To: "_Drug Policy --" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: CA Border Patrol Can Be Sued for Stops
Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 19:34:12 -0800
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net

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 majordomo@hemp.net. 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" (sburbank@orednet.org)
To: "DPFOR" (dpfor@drugsense.org)
Subject: DPFOR: Supremes rule on initiatives
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 12:22:46 -0800
Sender: owner-dpfor@drugsense.org
Reply-To: dpfor@drugsense.org
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
sandee@mamas.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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: WIRE: Supreme Court Strikes Down
Colorado Ballot Initiatives System
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Patrick Henry (resist_tyranny@mapinc.org)
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" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: JonGettman (Gettman_J@mediasoft.net)
Subject: Supreme Court on Ballot Initiative Regulations
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US TX: PUB LTE: Juries And The Law
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jan 1999
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Contact: letters@star-telegram.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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US TX: Editorial: Utmost Care
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jan 1999
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Copyright: 1999 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas
Contact: letters@star-telegram.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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US TX: Witness May Be Able To Testify In Oregon Case
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Pubdate: 12 Jan 1999
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Contact: viewpoints@chron.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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US WI: State Lawmaker Attempting To Legalize Industrial Hemp
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Contact: jsedit@onwis.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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US IL: Dear Abby: Warning Signs Help Identify Drug Abuse
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Steve Young
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Contact: tribletter@aol.com
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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Channel Surfing: Snitches
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Steve Young
Pubdate: 12 Jan. 1998
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Contact: tribletter@aol.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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Interview With Eric Sterling For 'Snitch'
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.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: frontline@wgbh.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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Frontline SNITCH Transcript
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.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: frontline@wgbh.org
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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Supreme Court: Garbage Search Upheld
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: 12 Jan 1999
Source: News & Observer (NC)
Contact: forum@nando.com
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" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: hadorn@DNAI.COM (David Hadorn)
Subject: Publisher Larry Flynt Levels Accusations at Rep. Bob Barr
Cc: editor@mapinc.org
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.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.

***

'Larry Flynt for President' bumper sticker

-------------------------------------------------------------------

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: mattalk@islandnet.com
From: Dave Haans (haans@chass.utoronto.ca)
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: lettertoed@thestar.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: mattalk@islandnet.com
From: Dave Haans (haans@chass.utoronto.ca)
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: lettertoed@thestar.com

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.)
'The first narco-state in Mexico'
Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 21:31:03 -0800 From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews) To: mapnews@mapinc.org Subject: MN: Mexico: Wire: Mexico Governor Has Secret Accounts Abroad - Paper Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Colombia: Colombian Death Squads Endangering Peace Talks,
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Jim Galasyn (blackbox@bbox.com)
Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jan 1999
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 1999 Houston Chronicle
Contact: viewpoints@chron.com
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" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: hadorn@dnai.com (David Hadorn)
Subject: New Zealand press release
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: New Zealand: Doctors Check Cannabis For Medical Benefit
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: hadorn@dnai.com (David Hadorn)
Pubdate: 12 Jan 1999
Source: Dominion, The (New Zealand)
Contact: letters@dominion.co.nz
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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: Doctors Volunteer To Test Cannabis
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Martin Cooke (mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie)
Source: Daily Telegraph (UK)
Contact: dtletters@telegraph.co.uk
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.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

[End]

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