Portland NORML News - Friday, January 15, 1999
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Waiting to Exhale (Eugene Weekly, in Eugene, Oregon, interviews Gary Webb,
author of the San Jose Mercury News' "Dark Alliance" expose about the
CIA-Cocaine-Contra scandal, prior to his Jan. 16 talk at the United Methodist
Church in Eugene. Webb, whose appearance will be sponsored by Eugene Media
Action, tells the newspaper that ". . . given what has come out since my
series - there were two investigations that were done, by the Justice
Department and by the CIA internal investigations - I didn't go nearly far
enough in retrospect. The CIA knew a lot more about this than I would have
imagined, and they've now admitted it. The problem is you haven't seen these
stories in the paper because they contradict everything they were writing two
years ago. The agency has basically confessed and nobody wants to hear the
confession because [the big papers] had all declared them innocent.")

Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 10:23:18 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US OR: Waiting to Exhale
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Olafur Brentmar
Source: Eugene Weekly (OR)
Copyright: Eugene Weekly 1999.
Website: http://www.eugeneweekly.com/
Contact: editor@eugeneweekly.com
Pubdate: 15 Jan 1999
Author: Alan Pittman

WAITING TO EXHALE

Crack-Contra/CIA scandal still smolders as nation turns its attention to
sex scandals.

The CIA-backed Nicaraguan Contras funded their war in Central America with
crack sold on the streets of L.A. ghettoes, according to Gary Webb, a
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who will speak in Eugene this Saturday.

Webb reported on the links between the CIA, the Contras and the deadly
crack cocaine explosion in the U.S. in a 1996 series of articles in the San
Jose Mercury News. After the series sparked public outrage in Congress and
the African-American community, the national media and the CIA began
attacking Webb's reporting as unfounded.

Webb stuck to his story and quit the Mercury News after the paper failed to
back him up. Now, he's published a book, Dark Alliance (Seven Stories
Press, 1998) on the scandal.

Webb will speak at 7:30 pm Jan. 16 at the United Methodist Church behind
the Eugene Public Library. He spoke to EW by telephone from Sacramento
about his work uncovering the crack-Contra/CIA connection.

How are sales of your book going?

Beyond my wildest expectations. I got my first report, and it was stunning.
We sold like 50,000 books in five weeks.

Why did the mainstream press attack your newspaper series?

There were a number of reasons for that. This was a story that those papers
- specifically the Washington Post, New York Times and L.A. Times - could
have done if they had wanted to back in the '80s when this stuff was going
on. There were certainly enough clues around. But in some cases for
political reasons, in some cases for sheer incompetence, nobody ever put
the pieces together and figured out what it meant. So when a little
Northern California newspaper comes along 10 years later and has this big
huge story, it pissed them off.

The deeper problem was this is not the kind of story these papers have done
for many, many years. Essentially, you're talking about a crime of state -
you've got the U.S. Government complicit in drug trafficking.

The other thing that I think annoyed them was that the story got out in
spite of them. The big papers are used to being able to set the national
agenda for what's news and isn't news. Here we came along, a paper that
nobody on the East Coast reads, and we put the thing up on the Web with all
our supporting documentation, and I went on talk radio. Suddenly we've got
a Web site that's getting a million hits a day, and everybody is talking
about this story that they [the big papers] have never printed a word of,
and their readers are calling them up wondering why the hell they're
sitting on this story.

You put all that together, and I think they're natural inclination was,
well, we're going to knock the hell out of this thing. The fact that nobody
ever found a factual error in it, I thought was lost in the controversy.

Was the CIA involved in the drug smuggling or did they just turn a blind
eye to it?

All my theories ever said was there were CIA agents who knew about it. And
we proved it, we had pictures of a CIA agent meeting with these drug
traffickers.

The scenario a lot of people took from that was that this was a CIA plot to
dump cocaine in the black ghettoes. I never found any evidence of that. But
given what has come out since my series - there were two investigations
that were done, by the Justice Department and by the CIA internal
investigations - I didn't go nearly far enough in retrospect. The CIA knew
a lot more about this than I would have imagined, and they've now admitted
it. The problem is you haven't seen these stories in the paper because they
contradict everything they were writing two years ago. The agency has
basically confessed and nobody wants to hear the confession because [the
big papers] had all declared them innocent.

How does the Monica Lewinsky scandal compare to the story you uncovered?

Well, that wasn't even a scandal as far as I'm concerned. It's just some
guy getting his ashes hauled. This [crack-CIA] thing is a crime of state,
and millions of Americans have paid for this over and over again.

That's the problem with the press today. They'll focus on the trivial and
titillating and let the big huge stories just go by in the night because
they don't want to devote the effort to do them. It took me a year to work
on this full time. Reporters don't get that kind of time anymore, they
don't get the space to do that kind of story. You get the space for sex
stories.

Nobody is going to get in trouble for writing a story about a politician
getting laid. The stories that I like to do are the stories that get
newspapers in trouble. They [the mainstream press] have just become so
timid. I saw it as not even worth hanging around, I mean, who wants to do
that kind of crap?

What's the significance of this story? It happened a number of years ago
under a different president.

Because we're still living with the aftereffects of it. We've still got
crack raging in inner city neighborhoods, they're locking people up left
and right for selling minuscule amounts of what government agents were
bringing into this country by the plane-load.

One of the things I hoped to do with this story is open up people's eyes to
this parallel universe that exists out there in the intelligence community
which we rarely if ever get a glimpse of. I think Washington was scared of
that. I don't think they wanted extensive CIA drug-dealing hearings.
Because people would sort of wonder what they're spending they're $26
billion a year on.

Some of the critics said the story said or implied that the CIA was
responsible for the entire crack epidemic. Is that what you were saying?

All I ever said in that story was they were responsible for starting the
first major market for it. What I really saw was really a chain reaction
rather than a vast conspiracy.

But I think the black community, because they have been so put upon over
the years and have been the victims of conspiracies before, saw this as
another CIA conspiracy to keep them down. I never found any evidence of that.

But the more I think about it, it's the difference between manslaughter and
murder. It's the intent. The intent was not to poison black America but to
raise money for the Contras, and they didn't really care what it came from.
If it involved selling drugs in black communities, well, this was the price
of admission.

The CIA has been involved in some questionable things such as torture and
overthrowing democratically elected governments. Why were your stories
surprising to people?

It beats the hell out of me. This is an agency that has murdered foreign
leaders, why would they have any qualms about selling cocaine?

In this country - and I think in a large part due to the mainstream press -
we have this delusion that the CIA is this noble enterprise of honorable
men, and they're not. You really don't get that prospective until you go to
a foreign country where the CIA is allowed to operate openly and ask people
there what they think of the CIA. It's like asking people about the Klu
Klux Klan, they hate them because of the stuff they do.

Does your experience say a lot about how the press in Washington works?

Absolutely. I get into in the book about the reporter at the Washington
Post who launched the attack against my series. It turns out that the guy
actually worked for the CIA in the '60s [spying on students]. If I was the
editor at the Washington Post, he'd be the last person I'd assign to cover
the CIA. The guy's compromised, he's too close to the agency. You want
someone that's going to go in there and kick some ass, not someone who's
going to go out and have lunch with these guys. But that's the attitude. I
worked in the Washington press corps for a while, they want to be the
people they are covering, they didn't want to be reporters.

I think the alternative press is becoming more important as the mainstream
press becomes more corporatized and more sanitized and homogenized. You'd
be hard pressed to go to any major city in the United States and pick up
the daily newspaper and tell it from any other daily newspaper. They're all
pretty much the same anymore, which is boring.

If the CIA hadn't been involved, would there still have been a crack
epidemic in the U.S.?

There would have been. It was coming anyway. Whether it [crack] would have
wound up in South Central Los Angeles in the hands of the street gangs is a
completely different question. That's one we'll never know the answer to. I
doubt it would have happened the same way, with the same intensity. We're
not talking about a little cocaine, we're talking about tons that were
allowed to come into this country through this drug ring.

editor's note: Eugene Media Action, a committee of Eugene Peace Works,
organized Webb's talk in Eugene. The group works for more accuracy and
diversity in the mainstream media and recently opened a Community Media
Center in the Growers Market at 454 Willamette.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Police Intrusions (A staff editorial in the Orange County Register
says police in Buena Park, California, who have begun to randomly stop cars
in search of unlicensed drivers, violate constitutional protections against
unreasonable searches and seizures. "Unfortunately, the D.A. is correct that
these kinds of searches have been deemed by the Supreme Court to pass
muster," said Tim Lynch of the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. In 1987
the California Supreme Court said drunken driving checkpoints are
constitutional. In 1990 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a similar verdict.)

Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 14:56:37 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: Editorial: Police Intrusions
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John W. Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Pubdate: 15 Jan 1999

POLICE INTRUSIONS

Buena Park police, who have begun to randomly stop cars in search of
unlicensed drivers, say that public safety concerns justify the approach.
They say these checks fall into the same category as drunken driving
checkpoints, which the state and federal courts have found acceptable.

The courts eventually will decide whether the drivers license checkpoints
are a valid extension of the DUI checkpoints, but we believe the concept
violates constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and
seizures. Police should have "probable cause" - reason to believe of
specific illegal activity - before being able to stop and search a driver.

Checkpoint supporters defend the jettisoning of these legal protections,
citing overarching public safety concerns. Drunken drivers, for instance,
imperil the safety of others, and that's true enough.

But the slope keeps getting more slippery. The random license stops were
justified by the fact that unlicensed drivers cause 35 percent of all fatal
accidents in California.

What other safety concern might be next? Surely, drivers in cars with bald
tires are causing dangers.

The checkpoints, too, become a pretext for wider searches. Of the 150
citations issued at the Buena Park checkpoint on Wednesday, one-third were
for registration violations, with others for broken windshields,
outstanding warrants and the like. Buena Park Police spokesman Sgt. Ron
Natale told us that police are 'not going to turn a blind eye to obvious
violations," and that the district attorney's office gave the OK for such
searches.

Two court decisions have bearing on this matter. In 1987 the California
Supreme Court said drunken driving checkpoints are constitutional. In 1990
the U.S. Supreme Court issued a similar verdict.

"Unfortunately, the (Orange County) D.A. is correct that these kinds of
searches have been deemed by the Supreme Court to pass muster by the
Constitution, but I strongly disagree," Tim Lynch told us; he's the
associate director of the Cato Institute's Center for Constitutional
Studies in Washington, D.C. He said that although the U.S. Supreme Court
case appears to open the door to checkpoints for a wide range of reasons,
he believes such rulings weaken the Constitution's protections against
unreasonable government searches and seizures.

Police cannot simply pull over any driver, or search anyone's home or
person, without having probable cause that they committed an illegal act.
But when the courts allow random checkpoints, they are saying that if
everyone's "constitutional rights are violated, then it's not a problem,"
Mr. Lynch explained.

Buena Park police noted their random checks succeeded, considering the
large number of citations they issued at the checkpoint. But "if police had
the power to search everyone's home, they would have impressive statistics
of violations," Mr. Lynch countered. "It's really an issue of limiting
police power .. not a question of effective law enforcement. If the Bill of
Rights was repealed tomorrow it would make law enforcement easier."

The foundation of a free society rests in large part on its ability to
prevent unauthorized searches and seizures by the authorities. The Buena
Park Police Department and even the courts may not grasp that fact at the
moment, but we suspect that most Americans still do.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Prison Shootings To Be Reviewed (According to the Orange County Register,
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer's office will "independently assess
the circumstances of each" of two dozen shootings of inmates by guards at
Corcoran State Prison. Last fall, a special state review panel concluded that
five fatal shootings and 19 incidents in which inmates were wounded between
1989 and 1995 were unjustified. Guards argued the shootings were needed to
break up fights, even though California is the only state that breaks up
inmate fights by shooting to kill.)

Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 18:12:24 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: Prison Shootings To Be Reviewed
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John W. Black
Pubdate: 15 Jan, 1999
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register

PRISON SHOOTINGS TO BE REVIEWED

Sacramento-The state Attorney General's Office will launch an
independent investigation of two dozen shootings of inmates by guards
at Corcoran State Prison.

Last fall, a special state review panel concluded that five fatal
shootings and 19 incidents between 1989 and 1995 in which Corcoran
inmates were wounded were unjustified. Guards argued the shootings
were needed to break up fights among inmates.

"We are going to independently assess the circumstances of each of
them," said Peter Siggins, chief deputy for legal affairs for new
Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

The prison guards' union has vigorously defended the officers involved
in the shootings, arguing that if guards overreacted it was because
they were following flawed Corrections Department policy.

At Corcoran, guards killed seven inmates during fist fights among the
prisoners. None of the inmates were armed or posed an immediate threat
of great bodily harm to another inmate, according to the Los Angeles
Times.

No guard has been prosecuted for murder, manslaughter or assault with
a deadly weapon. Only a handful of officers statewide have been
disciplined for shooting at inmates in fights, the newspaper reported.

One of the cases caught on videotape and being reviewed by Lockyer's
office is the shooting death of William Marinez, the first inmate
slain at Corcoran's Security Housing Unit in April 1989. He was shot
during a fight with a rival gang member.

Videotape from prison cameras shows that Martinez was getting the best
of his rival and had delivered several blows and a single kick before
walking away. The fight appeared over and Martinez stood a few feet
from his rival when the fatal shot struck him in the back. A review
panel at the time exonerated the officer.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Woman Cleared In Deputy Shooting (The Tulsa World says a pistol-packing
70-year-old was cleared Thursday of criminal wrongdoing for shooting a law
officer during an ill-fated drug raid in 1996. After the prohibition agents'
warrant was ruled invalid, Mary Lou Coonfield was able to invoke Oklahoma's
"Make My Day" law, enacted in 1991, which states that an "occupant of a house
is justified in using physical force, including deadly force, against another
person who has unlawfully entered the house if the occupant reasonably
believes that the other person might use any physical force, no matter how
slight, against any occupant of the house.")

Date: Sat, 23 Jan 1999 09:12:06 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US OK: Woman Cleared In Deputy Shooting
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Michael Pearson (oknorml@swbell.net)
Source: Tulsa World (OK)
Copyright: 1999, World Publishing Co.
Website: http://www.tulsaworld.com/
Contact: tulsaworld@mail.webtek.com
Author: Bill Braun World Staff Writer
Pubdate: Fri, 15 Jan 1998

WOMAN CLEARED IN DEPUTY SHOOTING

Based on the "Make My Day" law, the defendant was justified in using
physical force.

A 70-year-old woman who benefitted from a "Make My Day" legal defense was
cleared Thursday of criminal wrongdoing for shooting a law officer during
an ill-fated drug raid in 1996.

A Tulsa jury acquitted Mary Lou Coonfield of two felonies -- assault and
battery with a dangerous weapon and feloniously pointing a weapon.

Testimony indicated that she fired a .22-caliber pistol and wounded Tulsa
County Deputy Sheriff Newt Ellenbarger, one of eight officers from multiple
law enforcement agencies at her Sperry residence to execute a search
warrant around 7 a.m. on Aug. 30, 1996.

Officers were there to search for drugs. However, jurors could not hear any
testimony about drug evidence that investigators reported was recovered
from the premises, because of multiple court rulings in 1996 and 1997 that
determined that officers had used a defective search warrant.

Since the warrant was determined to be invalid after the raid, District
Judge Jefferson Sellers told jurors Thursday that "as a matter of law the
entry of the officers" into Coonfield's house "was unlawful."

Based on the "Make My Day" law enacted in Oklahoma in 1991, the jury was
instructed that an "occupant of a house is justified in using physical
force, including deadly force, against another person who has unlawfully
entered the house if the occupant reasonably believes that the other person
might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant of
the house."

Coonfield testified Wednesday that she had no idea that the people who
entered her home were law officers until after she fired one shot that
struck Ellenbarger in the arm.

"I was not shooting at anyone. I just shot. I'm very sorry. I certainly
wouldn't have shot a policeman," she said. "I just wanted to get them out
of the house so I could get some help."

Assistant District Attorney David Robertson said officers loudly and
clearly announced their identities as law officers with a search warrant --
and wore clothing with departmental badges and markings -- before forcibly
entering the residence.

"This is not Aunt Bea from `Mayberry, RFD,' " Robertson said of the
defendant. Although the warrant was later ruled invalid, there was a reason
that it was issued by a special judge to allow officers to conduct a search
there, he told jurors.

Defense attorney Bob Brown urged the jury to evaluate the situation from
Coonfield's perspective. Brown said she has a hearing problem, was not
wearing her glasses and made a split-second decision after being awakened
and seeing a man with a gun outside her house.

In addition to being cleared of an allegation of assaulting Ellenbarger,
Coonfield was acquitted of feloniously pointing a weapon at Deputy Sheriff
Lance Ramsey.

By law, the prosecution had the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt
that Coonfield was not defending herself against an intruder.

To be convicted of the gun-pointing charge, jurors would have had to find
that Coonfield acted without "lawful cause," and it is lawful to point a
pistol "in defense of one's person against an intruder," according to the
instructions issued by Sellers.

While specific details of the warrant and property recovered in the search
were not allowed into evidence, jurors could have surmised from testimony
about duty assignments of the officers that drugs were a target.

Two other counts -- possessing methamphetamine and possessing a firearm
while in commission of a felony drug possession -- were previously
dismissed against Coonfield because they hinged on drug evidence that could
not be used in court due to warrant problems.

In prior court rounds, Brown successfully argued that the language and
description in the search warrant and supporting affidavit -- naming
Coonfield and her son and describing four buildings on the property -- was
not sufficiently specific. Brown had argued that the law disapproved of a
"blanket" warrant for the search of property involving multiple occupants,
owners and places.

Drug charges were likewise dropped against her son, Johnnie Lee Stafford,
because of the flawed warrant, attorneys said. Testimony indicated that
Stafford lived in a separate neighboring residence when the raid was
conducted.

The search warrant affidavit, signed by a Tulsa police officer, said an
informant reported that Stafford was selling methamphetamine "from his and
his mother's residence" at a Sperry address.

"I live alone," Coonfield said Wednesday. "I always thought everybody had a
right to protect themselves in their own home."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

A Small Victory in the War on Drugs (An op-ed in the Dallas Morning News
tells a poignant tale about a Texan vacationing in London who apologizes
to a Colombian for U.S. drug policy - and gets a surprising response.)

From: "ralph sherrow" (ralphkat@hotmail.com)
To: ralphkat@hotmail.com
Subject: Fwd: OP ED:A Small Victory
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 10:40:11 PST

From: "stuart kocher" (stuart_k@hotmail.com)
To: ralphkat@hotmail.com
Subject: Fwd: OP ED: A Small Victory
Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 07:55:50 PST

Sender: Drug Policy Forum of Texas (DPFT-L@TAMU.EDU)
From: Rick Day (rd@DALLASBBQ.COM)
Subject: OP ED: A Small Victory
Comments: To: letters@dallasnews.com
To: DPFT-L@TAMU.EDU

A Small victory in the War on Drugs

This Christmas, my family and I had the pleasure of spending a few
weeks in London and the surrounding area. Like all first time American
visitors, we saw all the lovely sites of the London area, along with all
the typical tourist stops.

My fifteen-year-old son and I were visiting the National War Museum,
complete with visuals of wars both past and present. Outside the
museum sits a kiosk selling grilled items such as sausage, hot dogs and
snacks.

The owner was a friendly sort, like most Londoners are to us tourists.
He casually asked each person where they were from, what country or
area.

While my son and I waited on our meal, I overheard a small young man
about the age of 18, definitely of Hispanic origin. As with the other
customers, the grill master asked the youngster where he called home.
The lad replied, "Columbia".

I was compelled, being an ardent student of our national policy on
drugs, to approach him. My own stature being of about a foot taller and
150 pounds heavier, I must have cast a long shadow over this young man.
As politely as I could, I removed my cap and asked him if he was indeed
from Columbia. He looked up at me and affirmed that information. What
I said next obviously took him by complete surprise. I said this: "On
behalf of the citizens of the United States, I wish to apologize for
what my country's drug policy has done to your country."

I expected perhaps a stare or mumbled thanks, but not the response
the young man had.

He took two steps back, his eyes widened to the size of saucers and
asked, "you are Americans?" I replied yes, from Texas. What he said
then floored me to no end. As tears welled in his eyes he said these
exact words: "My grandfather and uncles were murdered as a result of
your drug war.

I swore on their graves that the first American I met, I would kick him
in the balls."

At that point, I took two steps back.

He then said, "you do not know what your words have done for my hatred.
I accept your apology, and will take it back to my people."

With that, he embraced me in a surprise hug of gratitude, took his hot
dog, and walked away, leaving me to my dark thoughts, wondering how many
more world citizens carry this hatred toward Americans and their policy
that allows the thugs that killed this man's family, thrive.

Rick D. Day
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Repeal Of Drug Zones Law Is Sought (The Baltimore Sun
says Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke will ask the City Council to eliminate Baltimore's
"drug-free zones" law on behalf of Baltimore Police Commissioner Thomas C.
Frazier, who wants the council to help devise legislation that would allow
officers to more effectively seize illegal guns and drugs.The council
established 50 drug-free zones in 1989, but prosecutors and judges have
opposed the law because they consider it an infringement on the
constitutional right to assemble. Schmoke noted that the city's circuit
courts are so clogged that four first-degree murder suspects were set free.)

Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 23:12:15 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US MD: Repeal Of Drug Zones Law Is Sought
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Rob Ryan
Pubdate: 15 Jan 1999
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Contact: letters@baltsun.com
Website: http://www.sunspot.net/
Forum: http://www.sunspot.net/cgi-bin/ultbb/Ultimate.cgi?action=intro
Copyright: 1999 by The Baltimore Sun, a Times Mirror Newspaper.
Author: Gerard Shields and Peter Hermann

REPEAL OF DRUG ZONES LAW IS SOUGHT

Baltimore judges, prosecutors did not uphold measure

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke will ask the City Council to eliminate
Baltimore's "drug-free zones" law because city prosecutors and judges
did not uphold it.

Schmoke will make the request on behalf of Baltimore Police
Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier, who wants the council to help devise
legislation that would allow officers to more effectively seize
illegal guns and drugs.

The council established 50 drug-free zones in 1989 during the "Just
say no to drugs" movement. In the zones, located around schools and
high-crime areas, police are allowed to search and arrest loiterers.
The council added 10 zones in 1994.

Baltimore did not prosecute almost all of the people arrested by
police in drug-free zones during the first nine months of 1998, a West
Baltimore councilman's recent research showed.

In the survey, conducted by 4th District Councilman Keiffer J.
Mitchell Jr., 25 of 26 misdemeanor loitering arrests in the 60 zones
were not prosecuted. Misdemeanors in Maryland are punishable by up to
two years in jail and a $2,000 fine. Four of the 30 people arrested in
the zone during the study period spent time in jail.

Prosecutors and judges have opposed the law because they consider it
an infringement on the constitutional right to assemble. The U.S.
Supreme Court is expected to rule on a similar Chicago loitering law
used to remove gangs from street corners. During recent arguments before
the Supreme Court, justices expressed concern about the law.

Baltimore police have welcomed the zones, saying they give officers
probable cause for searches and seizures. Police officers worry that
removing the law will hamper their ability to answer resident complaints.

Maj. James L. Hawkins, police commander of the Eastern District, said
yesterday that his officers handle about 20 percent of the city's
80,000 emergency calls each month. Most, he said, are complaints about
people loitering on street corners.

The drug-free zone law gives officers probable cause to move people
along and frisk them. "It's going to be quite interesting how we can
effectively deal with those concerns without this tool," Hawkins said.

Clogged court system

Schmoke noted that the city's circuit courts are so clogged that four
first-degree murder suspects were set free because their cases were
not heard before the expiration of the state's speedy trial deadline.
He said police handling the loitering cases can be better used
fighting crime.

Mitchell called for the abolition of the zones, saying they are a
waste of police effort.

In addition, a study on how Baltimore handles crime is expected to
recommend that the city become more aggressive in searches and
seizures to intercept illegal drugs and guns, Schmoke said.

"We need the ability for police to intervene to find weapons on the
street," Schmoke said. "I'm very, very aware of how intrusive that can
be so we're working together on the protocol, because we don't want to
see an increase in complaints against police."

The Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union welcomes
the abolition of the drug-free zones. ACLU officials cautioned city
leaders to wait until after the Supreme Court ruling before drafting
new legislation.

"We've been traditionally concerned about loitering laws and their
potential for misuse," said Dwight H. Sullivan, the chapter's managing
attorney. "Before we adopt any new legislation, we want to see what
the Supreme Court says about that case."

Circuit Court takeover

In addition to removing the drug-free zones, Schmoke said he will push
for the state to take over the Circuit Court system in Baltimore and
throughout the state. Gov. Parris N. Glendening plans to follow
through on his proposal for the takeover during the current
legislative session, Schmoke said.

Schmoke also said that the city will seek $2 million from the state to
help Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy upgrade her
office's computer system to better track cases. The $2 million state
grant would be matched with $2 million in city funds, Schmoke said.

Last year, America's 10 largest cities reported a 12 percent drop in
murders, compared with 1997, while the number of Baltimore murders
rose from 312 to 314. The city asked a Harvard University professor to
study Baltimore's crime-fighting strategy and suggest ways to help the
city more effectively intercept illegal guns.

"We are not moving in the right direction," Schmoke said. "We can't
let these numbers go in the direction they continue to go."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Shot By DEA Agents (According to UPI, police in Orlando, Florida, are saying
little about the fatal shooting Thursday by Drug Enforcement Administration
agents of a man in a sport utility vehicle said to be a former Central
Florida law enforcement officer.)

Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 06:04:28 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US FL: Wire: Shot By Dea Agents
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: Fri, 15 Jan 1999
Source: United Press International
Copyright: 1999 United Press International

SHOT BY DEA AGENTS

Orlando, Fla., - Orlando Police are saying little about
the fatal shooting of a man by Drug Enforcement Administration agents
as he sat in a sport utility vehicle Thursday afternoon.

The shooting occurred in a busy area in front of a Division of Motor
Vehicles tag office.

Some of the many witnesses said the agent told the man to get out and
he did not comply.

The dead man, whose name has not been released, is said to be a former
Central Florida law enforcement officer. At least one person was taken
into custody.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Former Deputy Killed (UPI says a man killed for refusing to obey federal DEA
agents Thursday in Orlando, Florida, has been identified as Robert Pasteur,
a former Orange County Sheriff's deputy.)

Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 12:37:03 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US FL: Wire: Former Deputy Killed
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: Fri, 15 Jan 1999
Source: United Press International
Copyright: 1999 United Press International

FORMER DEPUTY KILLED

ORLANDO, Fla., - The man killed by federal Drug
enforcement Administration agents in Orlando Thursday has been
identified as a former Orange County Sheriff's deputy.

Forty-two-year-old Robert Pasteur was fired in July 1997 after his
conviction on insurance fraud and arson charges for burning cars for
the insurance.

Orlando Police say Pasteur and another man were sitting in a sport
utility vehicle in the parking lot at a tag office when DEA agents
ordered them out.

They failed to comply and Pasteur was shot. No one is saying why he
was under investigation.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Theories On Ritalin Revamped - Found To Stimulate Regulator Of Mood
(The San Diego Union Tribune says a new study published in the journal
Science suggests that Ritalin diminishes hyperactivity not by lowering
dopamine levels in the brain, as previously thought, but by boosting
serotonin levels, like an antidepressant.)

Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 18:12:23 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: Theories On Ritalin Revamped Found To Stimulate
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: Fri, 15 Jan 1999
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (ca)
Contact: letters@uniontrib.com
Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/
Forum: http://www.uniontrib.com/cgi-bin/webx
Copyright: 1999 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.

THEORIES ON RITALIN REVAMPED | FOUND TO STIMULATE REGULATOR OF MOOD

Millions of Americans young and old take daily doses of Ritalin and
other stimulants because the drugs paradoxically seem to control their
hyperactivity and inattention.

Until recently, most scientists had thought that the stimulants worked
by somehow shorting out the brain's sensitivity to a neurotransmitter
called dopamine, which promotes arousal and activity and which
stimulants rev up. But a new study published in the journal Science
points to a completely different way that low doses of stimulants may
act to calm hyperactivity. It appears that the drugs work by boosting
production of another brain chemical -- serotonin -- which regulates
mood and inhibits aggressive and impulsive behavior, say researchers
at Duke University Medical Center. Although their study was limited
to genetically altered mice, the scientists said they believe that the
same situation exists in people. Attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder is caused as much by having too little serotonin in the
brain as by having too much dopamine. "This suggests that, rather
than acting directly on dopamine, the stimulants create a calming
effect by increasing serotonin levels," said Marc Caron, a brain
researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Laboratories at
Duke and a co-author of the study.
More info and Ritalin and later abuse risks
Caron and his colleagues said they believe that their findings could open the way for hyperactivity disorders to be treated with a new class of drugs which selectively turn up serotonin production without using stimulants. Stimulants can have side effects and are feared by some experts to set children at risk for later drug abuse. "We've always thought of ADHD as a function of too much activity in the brain, and it is, but it also appears to be a function of the brain's failure to inhibit impulses and thoughts that we all have but which we are typically able to control," said Dr. Raul Gainetdinov, a research associate in the department of cell biology at Duke and co-author of the study. The researchers were able to identify the brain's balancing act through a series of tests involving mice which had been genetically altered so that they lack a protein which serves to mop up dopamine after it has been used to transmit impulses between nerve endings in the brain. The mice behaved in a hyper, impulsive and inattentive manner but responded with calmness and focus to a dose of Ritalin or cocaine, just as do humans with ADHD. But the same doses given to a group of normal mice made them hyperactive. When the researchers measured dopamine levels in the brains of the two groups of mice after the dosing, the normal mice had increased levels of dopamine at the impulse exchange points, but the altered mice did not. This meant that Ritalin could not be working by increasing dopamine levels. So the researchers turned to two other neurotransmitters, giving the mice various drugs known to either inactivate or enhance those signaling chemicals. The breakthrough came when the researchers gave the altered mice a dose of fluoxetine (Prozac), which is known to boost serotonin levels. The drug had a dramatic calming, focusing effect on the mice, as measured by their ability to navigate a maze that had previously stymied them.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Study Shifts Thought On How Ritalin Works (A slightly longer version
in the Orange County Register is identified as coming from Scripps
Howard News Service.)

Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 10:26:23 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Study Shifts Thought On How Ritalin Works
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John W. Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Pubdate: 15 Jan 1999
Author: Lee Bowman - Scripps Howard News service

STUDY SHIFTS THOUGHT ON HOW RITALIN WORKS

Medicine: The drug's effect on serotonin-not dopamine-helps manage
hyperactivity, researchers say.

Millions of Americans young and old take daily doses of Ritalin and other
stimulants because the drugs paradozically seem to control their
hyperactivity and inattention.

Until recently, most scientists had thought that the stimulants worked by
somehow shorting out the brain's sensitivity to the neurotransmitter
dopamine, which promotes arousal and activity and which stimulants rev up.

But a new study published in today's journal Science points to a completely
deferent way that low doses of stimulants may act to calm hyperactivity.

It appears that the drugs actually work by boosting production of another
brain chemical - serotonin - that regulates mood and inhibits aggressive
and impulsive behavior, according to researchers at Duke University Medical
Center.

Although their study was limited to genetically altered mice, the
scientists belive the same situation exists in people. Attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder is caused as much by having too little serotonin in
the brain as by having too much dopamine.

"This suggests that rather than acting directly on dopamine, the stimulants
create a calming effect by increasing serotonin levels," said Marc Caron, a
brain researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Laboratories at
Duke and a co-author of the study.

He and his colleagues believe their findings could open the way for
hyperactivity disorders to be treated with a new class of drugs that
selectively turn up serotonin production without using stimulants, which
can have side effects and are feared by some experts to put children at
risk for later drug abuse.

"We've always thought of ADHD as a function of too much activity in the
brain, and it is. But it also appears to be a function of the brain's
failure to inhibit impulses and thoughts that we all have, but which we are
typically able to control," said Dr. Raul Gainetdinov, a research associate
in the department of cell biology at Duke and co-author of the study.

The researchers were able to identify the brain's balancing act through a
series of tests involving mice that had been genetically altered so that
they lack a protein that serves to mop up dopamine after it has been used
to transmit impulses between nerve endings in the brain.

The mice behaved in a hyper, impulsive and inattentive manner, but
responded with calmness and focus to a dose of Ritalin or cocaine, just as
do humans with ADHD. But the same doses given to a group of normal mice
made them hyperactive.

When they measured dopamine levels in the brains of the two groups of mice
after the dosing, the normal mice had increased levels of dopamine at the
impulse-exchange points, but the altered mice did not.

That meant Ritalin couldn't be working by increasing dopamine levels. So
the researchers turned to two other neurotransmitters, giving the mice
various drugs known to either inactivate or enhance those signaling chemicals.

The breakthrough came when the researchers gave the altered mice a dose of
fluoxetine, or Prozac, which boosts serotonin levels. The drug had a
dramatic calming, focusing effect on the mice, as measured by their ability
to navigate a maze that had previously stymied them.

The same effect was obtained with several other drugs that either make
nerve cells more responsive to serotonin or boost production.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Research outlines how drugs calm kids (The Associated Press version)

From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (when@olywa.net)
To: "_Drug Policy --" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: Research outlines how drugs calm kids
Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 19:07:14 -0800
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net

Posted at 06:25 a.m. PST; Friday, January 15, 1999

Research outlines how drugs calm kids

by The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Medical science now may know how the drugs taken daily by
millions of American children to calm hyperactivity affect the brain.

New research in mice suggests that drugs such as Ritalin quiet hyperactivity
by boosting the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, in the brain.

A study was appearing today in the journal Science.

Between 3 percent and 6 percent of American school-age children suffer from
a condition called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Many
adults also have the disorder.

People with ADHD are restless and impulsive, and have difficulty
concentrating.

Drugs such as Ritalin and Dexedrine have a calming effect, but their action
has been poorly understood.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers at Duke University discovered
the serotonin action of Ritalin by eliminating the possibility that the drug
was acting on other brain chemicals.

They used a laboratory mouse strain that had been genetically manipulated to
lack a key protein in the processing of dopamine, another neurotransmitter.
Such mice have symptoms similar to those of ADHD.

When the mice lacking normal dopamine were given Ritalin, they were calmed,
proving that the drug was not acting on dopamine.

The researchers then blocked the effects of norepinephrine, another brain
chemical, but this had no effect on the ADHD symptoms.

Finally, the researchers gave the mice Prozac, a drug that inhibits the
action of serotonin. The ADHD symptoms declined dramatically in the mice.

The results, said the researchers, show that Ritalin acts on the serotonin
levels in the brain by restoring a proper balance between serotonin and
other natural brain chemicals.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Tajikistan, Rakhmonov To Speak On Drugs (Itar-Tass, in Russia,
says Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov will address the nation
on Friday on the problem of illegal drugs, which has acquired immense
scope in the Central Asian republic.)

Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 12:37:09 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Tajikistan: Wire: Tajikistan, Rakhmonov To Speak On Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: Fri, 15 Jan 1999
Source: ITAR-TASS (Russia)
Copyright: 1999 ITAR-TASS.

TAJIKISTAN RAKHMONOV TO SPEAK ON DRUGS PROBLEM.

DUSHANBE - Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov
will address the nation on Friday on the problem of illegal drugs
which has acquired immense scope in the Central Asian republic.

The address is to be made at the conference "Drug-free Tajikistan" in
Dushanbe which is organised by the state commission on drugs control
and the special UNO programme. It is to be attended by foreign
ambassadors and international representatives accredited in Tajikistan.

Tajik drug trafficking poses a serious threat to Russia. Early this
year Moscow customs confiscated six kilogrammes of heroin which
arrived from Dushanbe to the Domodedovo airport. Five Tajiks were
detained on suspicion of drug trafficking. Before new year 800 grams
of heroin were confiscated in the same Moscow airport.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Two Hang For Drug Trafficking (Reuters says the staunchly anti-drug
city-state of Singapore hanged two of its citizens Friday for trafficking
in an unspecified drug. More than half of the 300 people executed
in Singapore since 1975 have been convicted drug traffickers. Singapore
mandates the death sentence for anyone over 18 guilty of trafficking more
than 15 grams of heroin, 30 grams of morphine or 500 grams of cannabis.)

Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 06:04:40 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Singapore: Two Hang For Drug Trafficking
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: Fri, 15 Jan 1999
Source: Reuters
Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited.

TWO SINGAPOREANS HANG FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING

Singapore hanged two men for drug trafficking on Friday, a prison official
said.

The official declined to give more details about the two Singaporeans.

It was the first hanging this year in the staunchly anti-drug city-state,
where more than half of the 300 people hanged since 1975 have been convicted
drug traffickers.

Singapore's tough anti-drug laws include a mandatory death sentence for
anyone over 18 guilty of trafficking more than 15 grams (half an ounce) of
heroin, 30 grams (an ounce) of morphine or 500 grams (18 ounces) of cannabis.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue No. 74 (The Drug Reform Coordination
Network's original compilation of news and calls to action regarding drug
policy, including - 10th Circuit overturns Singleton ruling: feds may trade
leniency for testimony; "Snitch"; Voice of the prisoner; Forfeiture scandal
in Missouri; Report: prohibition and public health; Health emergency 1999;
City of Oakland files states' rights brief in defense of cannabis co-op;
Peyote foundation tests patience of local law enforcement, may test Arizona
religious freedom law; and an editorial by Adam J. Smith: Buying testimony,
perverting justice)

Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 03:02:07 -0500
To: drc-natl@drcnet.org
From: DRCNet (drcnet@drcnet.org)
Subject: The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #74
Sender: owner-drc-natl@drcnet.org

The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #74 - January 15, 1998
A Publication of the Drug Reform Coordination Network

-------- PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE --------

(To sign off this list, mailto:listproc@drcnet.org with the
line "signoff drc-natl" in the body of the message, or
mailto:lists@drcnet.org for assistance. To subscribe to
this list, visit http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html.)

(This issue can be also be read on our web site at
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/074.html. Check out the DRCNN
weekly radio segment at http://www.drcnet.org/drcnn/.)

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the
contents of The Week Online is hereby granted. We ask that
any use of these materials include proper credit and, where
appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If
your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet
requests checks payable to the organization. If your
publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use
the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification
for our records, including physical copies where material
has appeared in print. Contact: Drug Reform Coordination
Network, 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036,
(202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail
drcnet@drcnet.org. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in The Week Online
appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise
noted.

FREE WILL FOSTER! See our alert and web site at
http://www.drcnet.org/foster/ and act if you haven't
already! Gov. Keating must make a decision THIS MONTH, so
please don't wait. EXTRA CREDIT: Print out one or more of
the prison caseworkers' supporting Foster's parole and fax
them to Gov. Keating! Phone, fax, e-mail and mailing
address all online at the above web site -- e-mail us at
alert-feedback@drcnet.org if you need us to e-mail you a
copy of the alert.

The Week Online archives have been updated -- check out
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/archives.html and browse the
happenings of the last year and a half. We are now also
offering archived copies of the DRCNN radio show (preview
versions, broadcast quality available on request), linked
from the DRCNN page at http://www.drcnet.org/drcnn/.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. 10th Circuit Overturns Singleton Ruling: Feds May Trade
Leniency for Testimony
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/074.html#singleton

2. SNITCH
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/074.html#snitch

3. Voice of the Prisoner
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/074.html#voice

4. Forfeiture Scandal in Missouri
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/074.html#missouri

5. REPORT: Prohibition and Public Health
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/074.html#drucker

6. Health Emergency 1999
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/074.html#emergency

7. City of Oakland Files States' Rights Brief in Defense of
Cannabis Co-op
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/074.html#oakland

8. Peyote Foundation Tests Patience of Local Law
Enforcement, May Test Arizona Religious Freedom Law
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/074.html#peyote

9. EDITORIAL: Buying Testimony, Perverting Justice
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/074.html#editorial

***

1. 10th Circuit Overturns Singleton Ruling: Feds May Trade
Leniency for Testimony

In a decision that clearly pleased federal prosecutors, the
full 12-member 10th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the
decision of a 3-judge panel from that court on the issue of
trading leniency for testimony in federal cases. The
decision was 9-3, with the original three judges dissenting.

At issue was the common practice of offering leniency,
including the dropping of charges, in return for the "right"
testimony against others. The practice is nearly universal
in federal drug cases, where it is not uncommon for numerous
defendants to be sentenced to long sentences on the word of
an informant alone.

The three judge panel who rendered the original decision
ruled that federal law, which states that "Whoever...
directly or indirectly, gives, offers, or promises anything
of value to any person, for or because of the testimony
under oath or affirmation given or to be given by such
person as a witness upon a trial... before any court...
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more
than two years, or both" -- applies to the government as
well as to defendants and civil litigants. They equated the
practice of the government as akin to bribery, holding the
futures of cooperating witnesses over their heads to be
determined based on the "nature and extent" of that witness'
cooperation. Such a ruling would have impacted literally
thousands of federal drug cases. That ruling was quickly
set aside and a hearing en banc (in front of the entire
court) was scheduled.

The government's argument was that the statute does not
apply to federal prosecutors, who, acting in the name of the
government itself, are not included in the term "whoever".
The full court agreed with the government on this point, and
further found that it was not the intent of congress to
outlaw this common federal prosecutorial practice.

Nora Callahan, director of the November Coalition, an
organization which advocates on behalf of drug war prisoners
and their families, told The Week Online that the issue is
far from closed.

"In the months since the original decision by the three-
judge panel, there have been similar decisions handed down
in the 4th, 5th, 8th and 11th circuits. This indicates that
there are many federal judges who are deeply disturbed by
the practice of trading freedom for testimony. The
incentive to lie, to tell the feds exactly what they want to
hear, is overwhelming. Today, in America, there are
literally thousands of people who are sitting in prison
based on the bought testimony alone, with no other evidence
against them. It is an affront to justice, and to humanity
itself. And it's important for people to remember that this
can happen to anyone, to anyone's child. If your eighteen
year-old has a friend who is arrested on a drug charge, your
child, regardless of whether he has done anything wrong or
not, could easily be "named", and sent to prison,
conceivably for life."

Eric Sterling, President of the Criminal Justice Policy
Foundation, told The Week Online that while the 10th Circuit
decided the case upon the narrow issue of the federal
bribery statute, there is a broader and more important
question to be resolved.

"The general oversight power of the bench is to ensure that
justice is done," said Sterling. "Therefore, the broader
question involves the integrity of the courts. 'Is this
fair? Is such testimony dependable?' Ultimately, it is
not."

"By offering such testimony to the court, prosecutors make
an unwarranted vouching of authenticity. That in itself
operates as a fraud upon the court. They (federal
prosecutors) are putting forth testimony that they want to
believe, that they hope is true. But such testimony is
inherently suspect, and it is usually offered without
substantial corroborating evidence. Such testimony, given
under threat of imprisonment, ought to be generally
prohibited, and allowed only in cases where it can be
substantially corroborated."

(The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation is online at
http://www.cjpf.org. The November Coalition is online at
http://www.november.org. See our original story from the
Singleton case, featuring interviews with Sonya Singleton's
attorney, John Van Wachtel, and National Association of
Defense Lawyers spokesman Jack King, on our web site at
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/068.html#testimony.)

***

2. SNITCH

If you didn't have an opportunity to see "SNITCH" this week
on PBS' Frontline, you missed one of the most powerful
indictments of bought testimony, and of the drug war itself,
ever to be shown on American TV. Check out the PBS web site
at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/snitch/ for
a primer on mandatory minimums and their history, pro/con
arguments, background readings, case studies, discussion and
more. One of the featured interviewees is Eric Sterling, a
member of DRCNet's advisory board, quoted in the previous
story. Videos can be ordered by calling 1-800-PLAY-PBS --
but call soon, they've gotten so many orders that they're
backed up till February already. Ask them for the paperwork
to get permission to show the tape at meetings of your local
civic groups, or invite your friends or families over for a
private showing. E-mail your comments and compliments to
frontline@pbs.org.

***

3. Voice of the Prisoner

The November Coalition announces the release of their long-
awaited "Prisoner Audio CD," featuring 24 recorded messages
from Drug War Prisoners and family members. The Prisoner
Audio CD is available for $11 postage paid or $10 for $70,
free to radio stations. Hear preview clips on the November
web site at http://www.november.org/prisoncd.html. Comes
with a three-page booklet of facts and figures. Send checks
or money orders to: The November Coalition, 795 S. Cedar,
Colville, WA 99114. To get involved in the CD distribution
effort or find more information, contact project coordinator
John Humphrey, johnh@november.org. The Prisoner Audio CD
was funded by a grant from the Drug Policy Foundation.

***

4. Forfeiture Scandal in Missouri

Lawmakers in Missouri are scrambling to revise the state's
rules about police handling of assets seized in drug cases,
after a five-part expose in the Kansas City Star earlier
this month alleged that local police were diverting millions
of dollars in seized cash and other assets that were
supposed to go into the state's school coffers. Under
Missouri's civil forfeiture laws, forfeited assets must be
turned over to public schools. But according to the Star
story, Missouri police have made prodigious use of a
loophole in the law which allows them to turn the assets
over to federal law enforcement agencies, which as a rule
return 80-90% of the money to the local police. The Star
said it was unable to confirm the precise amount of money
siphoned off from schools in this manner, because both local
and federal law enforcement agencies refuse to release exact
figures. But the paper trail the Star was able to assemble
from police reports, as well as from court documents in
cases where school districts have sued their local police
departments to recover the funds, has led their estimates to
millions, perhaps tens of millions of dollars.

Response from the state legislature was as varied as it was
immediate. One proposal would prohibit police from turning
over any seized assets to federal agencies, while another
bill proposes to cut the feds out of the picture but allow
the police to keep all of the money. Many legislators are
supporting a bill that would split the take between schools
and police 50-50. State Representative Craig Hosmer (D-
Springfield) was quoted by the Star as saying that educators
who had resisted such a compromise in the past were
beginning to warm to the idea because they realize that
"fifty percent is better than nothing."

DRCNet spoke with Tom Gordon, president of Forfeiture
Endangers American Rights (FEAR), who said the police
behavior described in the Star story is "typical" of police
agencies involved with civil forfeiture. "It's ironic that
the law enforcement agencies claim to be going after people
for crimes such as money laundering, when that's essentially
what the police are doing themselves with the assets they
seize. Their behavior is strikingly similar to organized
crime, where the money is taken by force and then laundered
through the federal government, which retains a processing
fee but otherwise hands them back the cash free and clear.
Then you have the state legislature acting like a crime
victim on behalf of its citizens, trying to bribe the police
by saying 'we'll give you fifty percent' in order to get
what their schools are legally entitled to. It's like
they're offering to pay protection money."

It is unclear who will prevail in Missouri. Some law
enforcement representatives have said they will fight any
plan that nets them less than what they get now from the DEA
and the FBI, but the Star's expose has already become a
public relations nightmare for the police, both for the
specifics of the case in Missouri and for the attention it
draws to civil forfeiture in general. "Hopefully," says
Gordon, "this will result in a lot of information becoming
public as citizens become outraged at these abuses by the
police."

Learn more about civil forfeiture at the FEAR web site,
http://www.fear.org. Read the Kansas City Star story at
http://www.kcstar.com/projects/drugforfeit/.

(Tom Gordon has been interviewed for this week's Drug Reform
Coordination Network News radio show, online at
http://www.drcnet.org/drcnn/ from late Friday afternoon.)

***

5. REPORT: Prohibition and Public Health

The lead article of the January/February issue of Public
Health Reports, the official Journal of the U.S. Public
Health Service, argues that increasing U.S. drug enforcement
has driven increased overdose deaths and drug-related
emergencies.

According to Excite News, the author, Dr. Ernest Drucker,
professor of epidemiology and director of the division of
community health at Montefiore Medical Center in New York,
said "While our government officials claim success in
reducing drug use, drug-related deaths and diseases have
increased sharply. That's the best measure of the impact of
our drug policies and they are failing." From 1978 to 1994,
drug-related emergency room visits rose by 60 percent, from
323,100 annually to 518,500, and overdoses increased by 400
percent, from 2,500 to 10,000, according to the report.

Drucker further explained that Hispanics and African
Americans are far more likely to be arrested for drug-
related offenses and suffer a higher rate of emergencies and
overdose deaths than whites, despite using drugs at the same
rates.

Dr. Drucker's article is available online in PDF format at
http://www.of-course.com/drugrealities/. The excite.com
Health New article is available online at
http://nt.excite.com/news/u/990113/13/health-drugpolicy.
For a qualitative discussion of the role of prohibition in
damaging public health, check out our editorial from the
October 1995 Activist Guide newsletter, online at
http://www.drcnet.org/guide10-95/minimize.html.

(Ernest Drucker has been interviewed for this week's Drug
Reform Coordination Network News radio show, online at
http://www.drcnet.org/drcnn/ from late Friday afternoon.)

***

6. Health Emergency 1999

One of the public health consequences of prohibition is the
spread of HIV through sharing of syringes. Read the latest
information on the epidemic of injection-related AIDS, with
a focus on the disproportionate impact of the problem on the
African American and Latino communities, in the Health
Emergency 1999 report from the Dogwood Center, online at
http://www.drcnet.org/healthemergency/.

***

7. City of Oakland Files States' Rights Brief in Defense of
Cannabis Co-op

The city of Oakland filed an amicus curiae (friend of the
court) brief on Monday (1/11) arguing that federal law does
not, as the federal government has argued, always trump
state law, under the 9th and 10th amendments of the
Constitution. The brief was filed in the Ninth Circuit on
behalf of the cannabis co-op, which is appealing an October
19th order by District Court Judge Charles Breyer that the
club be closed.

The club has since been reopened, but it is no longer
providing marijuana to its patient-members. Instead, it is
offering grow tips and related merchandise, trying to raise
money for its defense. The city of Oakland has long allied
itself with the club during this fight with the federal
government; at one point, the city even "deputized" the
club's personnel as officers of the city in an attempt to
take advantage of a loophole in the federal controlled
substances act.

The city's brief calls the federal law on medicinal
marijuana "legislated truths" and that the voters of
California have deemed, by their vote, that access to
medicinal cannabis to be "a fundamental liberty interest."

Jeff Jones, the club's founder and director, is hopeful.

"We feel that the 9th and 10th amendment arguments are very
strong in this case. We're also extremely pleased that even
after we've been shut down by the feds, the city is still
behind us 100%, and that they have been willing to do
whatever is necessary to make sure that the citizens of
Oakland who are suffering from AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and
other serious ailments have safe, legal access to their
treatment of choice."

***

8. Peyote Foundation Tests Patience of Local Law
Enforcement, May Test Arizona Religious Freedom Law

Leonard Mercado says all he wants to do is live a simple
life. But life became much more complicated for him and his
family last Friday, when local law enforcement agents
arrived on his doorstep in Kearny, Arizona to serve a
warrant for unpaid child support payments, and left the next
day with more than 11,000 peyote cacti. According to
Mercado, the officers who served the warrant for unpaid
child support (which Mercado settled that day) were members
of the local narcotics task force. A spokesman for the
Pinal County Sheriff's Department could not confirm this.
Police reports say that in the process of serving the
warrant, an officer noticed the peyote, which was housed in
greenhouses on Mercado's property. The officers then
obtained a search warrant and confiscated the plants, but as
of press time had not decided whether to press criminal
charges.

Mercado is the director of The Peyote Foundation, a private
non-profit organization whose stated mission is to educate
the public about the spiritual significance of peyote and to
promote the plant's genetic diversity through cultivation
and conservation. This is the third time in four years that
local authorities have seized peyote from Mercado.

In 1995, Pinal County Attorney Richard Figueroa declined to
prosecute Mercado for possessing 2,000 plants, and returned
the peyote to the Foundation. Two years later a new County
Prosecutor, Robert Carter Olson, refused to return to
Mercado a single peyote button, known as a "chief" or
"grandfather" peyote, that had been seized from Mercado's
medicine bag. Mercado went to court to have the peyote
returned to him, but the judge in the case denied his claim,
saying that Mercado had failed to prove he had a legitimate
claim to possess peyote under Arizona law.

Under the federal Religious Freedom Act, only members of the
Native American Church are exempted from prosecution for
possessing peyote. But the Arizona law is broader, allowing
a defense from prosecution by anyone who can prove that the
peyote is used in connection with "a bona fide practice of a
religious belief, and as an integral part of a religious
exercise, and in a manner not dangerous to public health or
safety."

Mercado says that he and his family are members of the
Native American Church, but the judge in the 1997 civil case
had not believed him. This week, a spokesman for the Church
confirmed that the Mercados are in fact members and that
religious ceremonies are performed at the Foundation, and
has been negotiating with the county attorney's office for
the release of the plants. For its part, the county
attorney's office, still under the direction of Robert
Carter Olson, has taken pains to assure the public that the
sacred plants will be treated respectfully. Mercado told
DRCNet that Olson's office has indicated its willingness to
release the plants into the care of the Church, but not if
they will ultimately be returned to Mercado. Olson's public
affairs spokesman did not return calls for comment on the
case.

Many of the people DRCNet spoke with in researching this
story said that while Mercado's cultivation of peyote is
unorthodox by the traditions of the Native American Church,
which generally hold that peyote must be found and harvested
in the wild, his earnest belief in the sacred uses of the
plant is obvious to anyone who knows him or visits his
property. Richard Glen Boire, an attorney in Davis,
California and editor of The Entheogen Law Reporter, said,
"What's really frustrating about this is there's no question
that the Mercados are sincere religious users of peyote.
His entire lifestyle is steeped in a reverence for peyote,
so there's no question about his sincerity, and that's
really the only issue under Arizona's exemption. It appears
to me that this is another instance of government trumping
individual rights, and indeed the preeminent right of the
freedom of religion in order to wage this monstrosity of a
war on drugs."

Mercado said he believes the Peyote Foundation is a thorn in
the side of the county attorney's office. "We're not
evangelists here but we're also not doing anything in
secret," he said from his home this week, "and I've heard
throught he grapevine how Robert Carter Olson how he's not
going to have the Peyote Foundation existing in his county."

Mercado is prepared for a court battle, he says, and would
like to see the issue settled. But, he said, "I don't think
this can really get fixed in the courtroom. For me it gets
fixed in the ceremony. I've already settled my heart, but
these guys don't know about that. So I'm going to have to
go in there and play that game, even though for me it's just
not the jurisdiction that I seek my justice in."

In his 1997 decision denying Mercado's civil claim, the
judge wrote that Mercado had "demonstrated himself to be an
addicted user of peyote" who presented himself "as some
carny offering cotton candy for any and all to use." But
Mercado says that is not what he, or the Foundation, is
about. "We're not here because we believe that peyote is
for everybody," he said, "and that's why I believe that this
threat that we seem to pose is really nonexistent. Because
we're not out trying to get people to eat peyote, we're
simply trying to preserve the species and live a simple and
a good life."

The Peyote Foundation is updating its web site daily
throughout this crisis. You can read about it, and learn
more about the Foundation's practices at
http://www.peyote.net.

(Leonard Mercado and Richard Glen Boire have been
interviewed for this week's Drug Reform Coordination Network
News radio show, online at http://www.drcnet.org/drcnn/ from
late Friday afternoon.)

***

9. EDITORIAL: Buying Testimony, Perverting Justice

Adam J. Smith, DRCNet Associate Director, ajsmith@drcnet.org

This week, the full twelve-member panel of the U.S. 10th
Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it is in fact legal for
federal prosecutors to trade leniency, or even freedom, for
testimony in criminal cases. The court reasoned that
Congress, in outlawing the offer of "anything of value" in
exchange for testimony, never meant the law to apply to
federal prosecutors. And in fact, such exchanges have been
an integral part of federal drug cases for quite some time.

The 10th Circuit is probably correct in its assessment of
Congressional intent. Where the court erred, however, was
in its unwillingness to confront a practice that, in the
name of the Drug War, has destroyed countless lives and
corrupted the very principles of justice on which the
Republic was founded. The issue, then, is not one of the
intent of the legislature, or a technical reading of the
federal bribery statute, but whether or not such
inducements, which provide an overwhelming incentive to lie,
are commensurate with basic fairness and due process.

Federal prosecutors, armed with a combination of draconian
federal sentencing guidelines, broadly interpreted
conspiracy laws, and the power to grant leniency to those
who testify "well", have in their hands a power so singular
as to be virtually dictatorial in nature. Once a prosecutor
can make a case, generally a drug case, against a single
individual, that person is offered the following deal: "We
have enough evidence to charge you with crimes that carry
sentences of (insert number, add zeroes) under federal law.
We are going to make sure that you serve every day of those
sentences unless you give us names, as many as you can, of
people who you will swear are involved with drugs, and we
will, if we deem your testimony sufficiently "cooperative",
let you off with a slap on the wrist, or with no penalty at
all."

Some people do elect not to cooperate. And some people are
načve enough to believe that they cannot cooperate simply
because they don't have any information to give. Many
people, however, given this choice, will tell the
prosecutors, and the jury, anything that the government
wants to hear.

Nora Callahan of the November Coalition, a non-profit
organization working with drug war prisoners and their
families, says that there are thousands upon thousands of
Americans who are serving long prison terms based solely on
the word of a snitch, someone whose freedom is at stake
pending the "helpfulness" of their testimony.

Our system of criminal justice is based upon the principles
of due process, which demand that two sides, operating under
the same set of rules, advocate their positions before a
trier of fact. A process determinative of the liberty of an
individual under the laws of a free society demands no less.
When one side, however, is permitted an advantage that tilts
the scales of justice dramatically, then the system is
corrupted. The ability of the prosecution to pay-off
witnesses, in the coin of their own liberty, in return for
the "right" testimony is just such a corruption.

Today, across America, thousands of our citizens sit idly
behind bars, serving draconian sentences, often without any
possibility of ever walking free, for no other reason but
that someone else was bribed to give testimony against them.
Tens of thousands of others, bit players on the fringes of
criminal activity, serve long sentences while more culpable
individuals who testified against them walk free. There is
no societal crusade, least of which a drug war that has over
a period of decades done nothing to reduce the availability
of drugs, that can justify this outrage. It is an affront
to the very meaning of the word "American". This week, the
10th Circuit Court of Appeals chose to ignore the fact that
sworn testimony is being bought and coerced, on a regular
basis, by U.S. prosecutors. Under their ruling, apparently,
justice is whatever the government deems it to be.

***

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