------------------------------------------------------------------- NORML Special News Bulletin: Federal Bill Reintroduced To Legalize Medical Marijuana (A press release from NORML says Rep. Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat, introduced the "Medical Use of Marijuana Act" today in Congress. Keith Stroup of NORML said, "Historically, states have been more receptive to the medical marijuana issue than the federal government," noting that 36 state legislatures have passed laws recognizing marijuana's medical value. "This legislation addresses this paradigm and effectively gets the federal government out of the way of those states that wish to make marijuana available as a medicine." Co-sponsors of the bill include Reps. Tom Campbell, R-Calif.; John Conyers, D-Mich.; John Olver, D-Mass.; Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Pete Stark, D-Calif.; and Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif.) From: NATLNORML@aol.com Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 16:51:09 EST Subject: NORML Special News Bulletin (II) NORML Special News Bulletin 1001 Connecticut Ave., NW Ste. 710 Washington, DC 20036 202-483-8751 (p) 202-483-0057 (f) www.norml.org email@example.com March 2, 1999 Federal Bill Reintroduced To Legalize Medical Marijuana March 2, 1999, Washington, D.C.: Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.) reintroduced legislation today in the new Congress to provide for the medical use of marijuana. The bill is titled the "Medical Use of Marijuana Act." "I support the medical use of marijuana," Rep. Frank announced. "What we need to do to get marijuana into the hands of people suffering is to set aside the federal controls on marijuana, so the states can determine this issue for themselves." The proposed legislation states: "No provision of the Controlled Substances Act [or] ... the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act shall prohibit or otherwise restrict -- (A) the prescription or recommendation of marijuana by a physician for medical use, (B) an individual from obtaining and using marijuana from a prescription or recommendation of marijuana by a physician for medical use by such individual, or (C) a pharmacy from obtaining and holding marijuana for the prescription of marijuana by a physician for medical use under applicable state law in a State in which marijuana may be prescribed or recommended by a physician for medical use under applicable State law." The legislation reschedules marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II under federal law, thereby making it legal for physicians to prescribe. "This legislation ... recognize[s] that there are valid and important medicinal uses for marijuana," a statement issued by Frank's office said. "The effect of [this] bill would be to make fully operative the laws in those states which permit the medical use of marijuana, without the pre-emptive and controlling restrictions currently in place in federal law on the possession, use, prescription, or sale of marijuana," Frank added. NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq., who worked with Frank's office in drafting the bill's language, said the legislation is a streamlined effort to get marijuana to those who require it. "Historically, states have been more receptive to the medical marijuana issue than the federal government," Stroup explained, noting that 36 state legislatures have passed laws recognizing marijuana's medical value. "This legislation addresses this paradigm and effectively gets the federal government out of the way of those states that wish to make marijuana available as a medicine." Efforts to permit the legal use of medical marijuana gained momentum in November when voters in Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington joined Californians in approving initiatives exempting patients who use medical marijuana from criminal penalties. Voters in Arizona reaffirmed a medical marijuana initiative passed two years ago, and rejected a legislative requirement banning physicians from prescribing marijuana until the drug receives approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Recently, leaders of 17 national AIDS organizations called on White House officials to legalize medical marijuana for seriously ill patients. The Medical Use of Marijuana Act also mandates federal officials to supply marijuana for medical research projects approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Recently, the United Nations International Drug Control Board recommended that the U.S. and others conduct impartial scientific research to determine marijuana's potential medical benefits. Congressman Frank has been joined in co-sponsoring this legislation by Reps. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), John Olver (D-Mass.), Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Pete Stark (D-Calif.), Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.). For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML @ (202) 483-5500. Rep. Barney Frank's office may be contacted @ (202) 225-5931.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Minorities cringe at the sound of sirens (The Oregonian notes a group monitoring the effect of a one-year-old law that gives police virtually limitless powers to stop and search anyone delivered a report to the state legislature Monday. House Bill 2433, sponsored by "the law enforcement community" and passed by the 1997 legislature, allows police to stop a person if an officer "reasonably suspects" the person is about to commit a crime. While the newspaper suppresses the actual results of a survey of Oregon Minorities included in the report, it suggests minorities do not think relations with police have declined since the law went into effect because civil rights violations by police couldn't get much worse anyway.) The Oregonian Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Minorities cringe at the sound of sirens * But a survey shows that racial tensions in the state haven't been exacerbated by a new law permitting routine police stops Tuesday March 2, 1999 By Gwenda Richards Oshiro of The Oregonian staff Every time his teen-age son and daughter go out the door, Darrell Millner worries they will be stopped by police solely because they are African American. It has happened before -- to his children and to him, he said, even though none of them had done anything wrong. "Whenever they go out in the streets of Portland or any part of Oregon, I worry about them," the Portland State University professor said. "It's a constant worry for black parents." Minorities, defense attorneys and civil rights workers say they do not doubt that police in Oregon and elsewhere disproportionately stop African Americans, Latinos and other minorities primarily because of their race. That is a perception mirrored in a report delivered to the Legislature on Monday by a group monitoring the effect of a law that, more than a year ago, gave police broader powers to stop and search suspects. The group of 60 law enforcement, civil liberties and civil rights officials found that while minorities do not think relations with police have declined since the law went into effect, relations are still strained. A survey conducted for the group said African Americans and Latinos were more likely than whites to consider police unfair. But the group also found that documenting the problem remains virtually impossible in Oregon because police departments do not routinely record traffic stops that do not result in a citation. The group worked under the auspices of the governor's Public Safety Planning and Policy Council to monitor the effect of House Bill 2433, passed by the 1997 Legislature. Among other things, the law allows police to stop a person if an officer "reasonably suspected" the person was about to commit a crime. The bill, proposed by the law enforcement community, was aimed at crime prevention and officer safety. To David Fidanque, executive director of American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon and an outspoken critic of the new law, the monitoring group's most important achievement is that members are talking about the disparities in treatment. "I don't think there has been anyone sitting around the table from a police agency who felt that this was purely a problem of perception on part of people of color," he said. "Everyone around the table recognized that even if it is unconscious, it is certainly likely that people of color on the whole are dealt with more harshly." That recognition puts Oregon ahead of other states still arguing about whether there is a problem, he said. But the group was surprised at the findings of a community survey that showed how great the distrust was. About 175 African Americans and about 200 whites living in Multnomah County were surveyed between Jan. 8 and Feb. 5 by Campbell DeLong Resources, a Portland research firm, about their perceptions of police. Another 175 Latinos and 200 whites were surveyed around the state. "Everyone expected some disparity," Fidanque said, "but I don't know that anyone expected the extent that we saw from the African American community." Millner, a black history professor at PSU, wouldn't have been surprised. "I don't know an adult black male who this doesn't happen to," he said. He said his own experiences of being stopped -- first while growing up in California and more recently in Oregon -- prove that a professional, middle-class African American is not immune from such treatment. The experience he remembers most vividly occurred several years ago in front of his home, then in Northeast Portland. "I was stopped when I was driving up to my home, and more or less surrounded, because supposedly someone had shot at a police car somewhere in the neighborhood," he said. As police questioned him, he was torn between wanting to question why they were doing so and not wanting to escalate the situation. "You feel both endangered and compromised," he said, "and you don't know what degree you should really yield the rights you have as a citizen." Ingrid Swenson, a defense attorney who sat on the committee as a representative of Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said she often hears about such stops. "I can't tell you how many black attorneys or business people who have been stopped routinely," she said. "There's never any arrest, never any citation. But I know it happens all the time." Requiring documentation of all police stops would help prove the point, she and others say, but that is a huge task. More than 1 million traffic citations are issued each year in Oregon, and that doesn't include the many other stops for which no citations are written. The monitoring group recommended that it continue its work in sorting out what documentation is possible, said coordinator Marla Rae, a former state Department of Justice spokeswoman. Members also want to keep on monitoring complaints against police agencies and surveying community perceptions. But perhaps no recommendation is more important than to increase police training and community education, said committee member Christopher Santiago Williams, executive director of the state Commission on Hispanic Affairs. "We routinely receive calls from people who feel they're been discriminated against by law enforcement entities," he said. Training officers to more fairly deal with all members of the community, and educating residents about their rights, is key to solving the problem, he said. The expansion of police powers in Oregon frightens Millner. "On the street, there is no more powerful individual in American society than a police officer," he said. "And a black person experiences this." You can reach Gwenda Richards Oshiro at 503-221-8219 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lawmakers May Soften Drug Penalties To Cut Prison Costs (The Seattle Times says skyrocketing prison costs are causing Washington legislators to concede mandatory minimum sentencing hasn't worked, especially with drug offenders. House Bill 1006, introduced by state Rep. Ida Ballasiotes, R-Mercer Island, would free judges from imposing mandatory sentences on controlled-substance violators and allow some offenders to be sentenced to treatment programs in lieu of more prison time. The bill is popular. It was approved unanimously by the House Criminal Justice and Corrections and has the backing of prosecutors, judges and most lawmakers.) Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 20:44:56 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US WA: Lawmakers May Soften Drug Penalties To Cut Prison Costs Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: 2 Mar 1999 Source: Seattle Times (WA) Copyright: 1999 The Seattle Times Company Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/ Author: Jim Lynch, Seattle Times Olympia bureau LAWMAKERS MAY SOFTEN DRUG PENALTIES TO CUT PRISON COSTS OLYMPIA - After a decade of passing pit-bull-tough sentencing laws, legislators are now suddenly discussing ways to get softer and smarter on crime - as a way to save money. For years, the Olympia mantra has been to increase penalties to deter crime. But skyrocketing prison costs are causing many lawmakers to concede stiff sentencing hasn't always worked well, especially with drug offenders. "We filled up the prisons and didn't do a good job on treatment," said state Rep. Ida Ballasiotes, R-Mercer Island. "There's a lot of us who think we should save our prison space for our most violent offenders, and these aren't them." A Ballasiotes bill that came before the House Appropriations Committee yesterday reflects the new tenor of the crime debate. House Bill 1006 would free judges from stiff mandatory sentences for drug crimes and give them freedom to put some offenders into treatment programs in lieu of more prison time. The bill is popular. It was approved unanimously by the House Criminal Justice and Corrections and has the backing of prosecutors, judges and most lawmakers. Ballasiotes says the bill probably would have flopped just a few years ago, but rising prison costs are changing the way lawmakers look at sentencing laws. The state's prison tab is the fastest-growing piece of the state budget. Washington's prisons cost the state almost $500 million annually, and costs are snowballing by almost 20 percent every two years, more than twice as fast as the budget as a whole. There are now 14,300 prisoners in the state; a fourth of them are in for drug offenses. The state Caseload Forecast Council estimates that drug laws passed during the past decade are responsible for about 4,000 inmates now behind bars. At an estimated cost to the state of $23,000 per inmate per year, the drug-sentencing laws are costing the state about $92 million a year. Meanwhile, the state is renting cell space in Colorado while it builds new prisons. Rep. Dow Constantine, D-Seattle, has proposed a bill that would go further than Ballasiotes' in trying to keep drug criminals from clogging prisons. His bill, HB 1859, would give judges the leeway they had in 1988 to give "first-offender waivers" to people convicted of drug crimes for the first time. Instead of being forced, for example, to give a first-time offender 21 to 27 months of prison time for selling drugs, the judge could impose a much smaller sentence and couple it with treatment. While Ballasiotes' bill would give a judge the right to split a sentence between prison time and treatment time, Constantine's bill would give judges the authority to go outside the overall sentencing guidelines in cases where offenders have no prior convictions. The bill is considered too radical by some, including some prosecutors who think it gives judges too much leeway, but Constantine thinks its time will come, too. "It's an important conversation for us to have," he said. "We are being too indiscriminate in how we determine who we're going to lock up for long periods of time. "We've got to figure out how to be smarter on crime and punishment. If we're wasting money and throwing away lives that could have been turned around, that's just wrong. And it's particularly wrong for all of us who are paying for it," Constantine said. Jim Lynch's phone message number is 360-943-9882.
------------------------------------------------------------------- State Liquor Board is due for a wholesale makeover / Five things you can do to support the McCoys (Seattle Times columnist Michelle Malkin gives an update on the city of Seattle's attempt to close the business of innocent restauranteers Oscar and Barbara McCoy under a drug-abatement law. The Washington Liquor Control Board is accused of serving as a patsy for the city attorney in helping to close Oscar's II. Tomorrow a grass-roots group called Citizens for Free-Market Liquor will file a statewide initiative to privatize liquor sales. Exempt from market forces and political accountability, the liquor agency has gradually amassed unchecked authority and personnel. Plus a list subscriber tells you how to help prevent the closure of Oscar's II.) Date: Thu, 4 Mar 1999 15:44:38 -0800 (PST) From: Tim Crowley (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: HT: FWD 5 things you can do Sender: email@example.com Posted at 06:08 a.m. PST; Tuesday, March 2, 1999 Michelle Malkin / Times Staff Columnist State Liquor Board is due for a wholesale makeover WASHINGTON'S most endangered monopolists aren't at Microsoft. They're at the state Liquor Control Board, which has cornered the market on hard booze sales and ruled licensees with an iron first for 66 giddy, uncontested years. No more. In January, the Liquor Board considered an expansive set of alcohol-impact regulations championed by Seattle law-enforcement officials. The hearing on the proposed rules was a public-relations disaster. * Martin Totusek, a Democratic Party precinct committee officer and professional musician in Seattle, noted, "What we need is enforcement of the current, existing laws and we need those laws enforced in a fair and unbiased way, which has not been the case in my own city." * Gen-X political activist Matthew Fox asked: "Will the Liquor Control Board be assuming responsibility for all of the problems in Washington state that stem from their monopoly on the distribution and sale of hard liquor? Is the government going to live by the same standards it intends to impose unconstitutionally on the private sector?" * Scott Semans, a Leschi entrepreneur, raised "the question of whether this board has an independent role or is acting as a patsy for our city attorney's program to close certain businesses." * The last word went to Chris Caputo, a software designer and treasurer of the Libertarian Party of Washington State: "I'd like to suggest that an increase in regulation by the Washington State Liquor Control Board is likely to result in an increase of public disenchantment with the Liquor Control Board. And I wonder how long it's going to take 'til there's a state initiative to eliminate the Liquor Control Board?" Wonder no more. Tomorrow, after the Liquor Board's regularly scheduled public meeting in Olympia, a grass-roots group called Citizens for Free-Market Liquor will rally on the Capitol steps and file a statewide initiative to privatize liquor sales. The initiative would also simplify the liquor excise tax structure and change the current full-time troika of appointees to a part-time panel of seven popularly elected, publicly accountable officials. The Liquor Board faces challenges on all fronts. Mom-and-pop taverns, grocery stores and restaurants in every county of this state have been caught in the Liquor Board's web. Exempt from market forces and political accountability, the agency has gradually amassed unchecked authority and personnel. Ending the state liquor monopoly would get the government out of a business it should not be in - and, by extension, greatly reduce the power of Red Queen regulators to impose arbitrary rules on licensees. Gov. Gary Locke is pushing special-request legislation, sponsored by state Sen. Majority Leader Sid Snyder (D-Long Beach), to restructure the agency. Unfortunately, Senate Bill 6003 would "reform" the agency by concentrating its authority in a single person accountable solely to . . . the governor. State Rep. Kathy Lambert, a Republican from Redmond, is sponsoring a more-aggressive bill (House Bill 1675) to break up the state liquor monopoly. "It is time the citizens look at the role of government and begin to downsize and outsource those areas that are not the role of government," she told me. Local conservative talk-radio hosts have also joined the break-it-up bandwagon. And in a recent editorial, the centrist Vancouver Columbian complained: "The most troubling thing about the whole system may be that it lets legislators and bureaucrats decide just how many choices a consumer should have available." Retail heavyweights such as Costco back privatization. Moreover, an increasing number of small businesses bruised or beaten by the agency's regulatory process - part Orwell, part Kafka and Alice in Wonderland all rolled into one nightmare - are protesting a system that renders verdicts first, trials later. The owners of the renowned Speakeasy Cafe in Belltown blame their financial demise on the Liquor Board's "decision to make messed-up, stupid laws," and are urging customers on their Web site to get active. Oscar and Barbara McCoy, the Central District soul-food restaurant/tavern owners who have survived a double blow from the Liquor Board and the city of Seattle for almost two years, will be at the Liquor Board hearing tomorrow to speak out. In a stunning legal maneuver, the city requested last week that the state Court of Appeals vacate the infamous drug-abatement order sought so vigorously by City Attorney Mark Sidran. In other words: never mind. The McCoys' constitutional challenge to the state abatement law will go on. But now the Liquor Board - which overturned an administrative law judge's ruling and instead relied on sloppy agents and uncorroborated hearsay evidence provided by Seattle officials to pull the McCoys' license - must decide whether to do right by the McCoys or to do the city's face-saving bidding by imposing crippling restrictions on their license. Either way, it may be too little, too late for the out-of-control agency to sober up. Michelle Malkin's column appears Tuesday on editorial pages of The Times. Her e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright (c) 1999 Seattle Times Company *** if nothing else ya gotta love the email address of the sender. From: "stop sidran" (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO SUPPORT THE McCOYS Date: Tue, 02 Mar 1999 08:29:08 PST According to Michelle Malkin's column in today's Seattle Times, the city of Seattle requested last week that the state Court of Appeals vacate the drug-abatement order against Oscar and Barbara McCoy sought so vigorously by Seattle City Attorney Mark Sidran. In other words: NEVER MIND. Now the state Liquor Board - which overturned an administrative law judge's ruling and instead relied on sloppy agents and uncorroborated hearsay evidence provided by Seattle officials to pull the McCoys' license - must decide whether to give the McCoys their license back. FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP 1. Attend the Wednesday, March 3, Liquor Control Board meeting in Olympia and make a short speech on behalf of the McCoys. The hearing begins 9:30 am at 1025 East Union Avenue, Olympia. 2. Call or e-mail the Liquor Control Board and ask them to give Oscar his license back. The number Oscar gave me is 360-753-6262. The general number is 360-664-0012. The liquor board's e-mail address is WSLCB@liq.wa.gov. Direct your comments to Eugene Prince, the chairman of the LCB. 3. A group of Libertarians has introduced an initiative to privatize the LCB. Attend an initiative filing rally at 12:00 noon Wednesday on the steps of the Legislative Building outside the Office of the Secretary of State. Contact Rachel Hawkridge for more information: RaeHawkrij@aol.com. 4. Send contributions to Oscar and Barbara McCoy for their legal defense fund: McCoy Justice Fund, 1411 4th Ave., Suite 1424, Seattle, WA 98101. Contact David Osgood at email@example.com for more information. 5. Distribute this e-mail to anyone and everyone who might be interested in supporting Oscar and Barbara. To those of you who have already done so much to help the McCoys, THANK YOU. Your continued support means more than you know. Liquor Control Board web pages: http://www.wa.gov/liq/board/boardmembers.htm http://www.wa.gov/liq/contact/contact.htm Background: http://pweb.netcom.com/~malkin1/liberty.html
------------------------------------------------------------------- 3 Strikes Law Found to Be of No Effect (The Los Angeles Times says a new study by the Justice Policy Institute, to be released today and published this fall in the Stanford Law and Policy Review, says California's law mandating 25 years to life for a third felony offense has had no measurable effect on reducing violence. Crime has fallen at about the same rate in counties that aggressively enforce the three strikes law as in those that do not. The study also found that the one age group most affected by the law, felons ages 30 to 39, have committed more crimes. "In other words, the age group that is most likely to be sentenced under three strikes witnessed increases in felony arrests and violent crime," the study reports. About one fifth of third-strike inmates were found guilty of a violent offense, including robbery. By contrast, 37 percent were convicted of property crimes, such as theft, and 30 percent were found guilty of "drug" offenses, mostly possession.) Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 10:55:58 EST Errors-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: Jim Rosenfield (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: Multiple recipients of list (email@example.com) Subject: art/lat: 3 Strikes Ineffective March 2, 1999 Author: GREG KRIKORIAN, Times Staff Writer 3 Strikes Law Found to Be of No Effect Crime: Report compares counties that vigorously enforce law with those that don't. Backers dispute result. Five years after it was hailed as a major deterrent to crime, California's three strikes sentencing law has had no measurable effect on reducing violence, according to a study to be released today. Crime has fallen at about the same rate in counties that aggressively enforce the three strikes law as in those that do not, the study found. In addition, violent crime by felons ages 30 to 39 has actually increased. "The study shows that when both the age groups and the areas of the state most affected by the law are analyzed, there is no effect on crime," said the study's coauthor, Mike Males, a doctoral candidate in social ecology at UC Irvine. "The reason is that the law is simply too broad." The study by the Justice Policy Institute, a left-leaning research organization based in San Francisco, found no correlation between California's general drop in crime and the imposition of longer, mandatory sentences for repeat felons. The findings are based on information from the California Criminal Justice Statistics Center and the data analysis unit of the state Department of Corrections. Examining the state's 12 largest counties, which account for three-quarters of California's population and four fifths of its crime, researchers found radically different rates of sentencing under three strikes. The law doubles the sentence of second time felons and mandates 25 years to life for those convicted of a third felony. Researchers found that counties most closely following the three strikes law, including Los Angeles and Sacramento, did not enjoy the greatest decrease in crime. "Data clearly shows that counties that vigorously and strictly enforce the three strikes law did not experience a decline in any crime category relative to more lenient counties," said the study, which will be published this fall in the Stanford Law and Policy Review. "Even more remarkable, the sevenfold proportionally greater use of three strikes in Sacramento and Los Angeles was not associated with a bigger decline than in Alameda and San Francisco counties that barely use the law," the study said. "In fact, San Francisco, the county which uses three strikes most sparingly, witnessed a greater decline in violent crime, homicides, and all index crime than most of the six heaviest enforcing counties." Orange County, which was grouped with those using the law the least, similarly experienced one of the highest declines in homicides, and a greater than average decrease in other violent crimes. Without addressing a study they have not yet seen, prosecutors in Los Angeles and statewide dispute the idea that the three strikes law has not reduced crime. "We think three strikes is an effective prosecution tool and we have used it extensively," said Victoria Pipkin, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, the nation's largest. Tori Richards, a spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney, said her office could not comment without having a chance to study the new report first. Lawrence Brown, executive director of the California District Attorneys Ass., called the sentencing law a tremendous success. The three strikes law, he said, "has done everything that the Legislature and voters intended. We have put away the worst of the worst and have made our communities safer as a result." But the study challenges that assertion. In addition to disputing a link between crime reduction and a county's application of three strikes, the study found that the one age group most affected by the law, felons ages 30 to 39, have committed more crimes. "In other words, the age group that is most likely to be sentenced under three strikes witnessed increases in felony arrests and violent crime," the study found. "I was shocked by that," Males said. "Despite the most punitive sentencing law in state history targeting a specific age group, those over 30, the law registered no deterrent effect." Dan Macallair of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice in San Francisco and one of the study's coauthors, called the new law a costly flop. "If three strikes was successful, we would be able to show that with the very population it was targeting," he said. "And instead, we have the opposite effect." The reason, the authors contend, is that the law does not limit itself to criminals whose second or third offense is violent. The law applies to any third felony offense. Since the law took effect, the study said, less than 1% of the almost 40,000 second and third strike inmates have been convicted of murder. About one fifth were found guilty of a violent offense, including robbery. By contrast, the study said, 37% were convicted of property crimes, such as theft, and 30% were found guilty of drug offenses, mostly possession. "They are not the Richard Allen Harris [type]," Males said, referring to the ex-felon whose slaying of Polly Klaas gave rise to the three strikes law. "If the state is going to spend half a million to $1 million to lock up somebody for 25 to life, we better make sure that he is the worst of the worst. Because for [that amount] you can do a lot to treat a drug addiction . . and return this person to society." Times staff writer Ray Herndon contributed to this report. *** Third Strike and Crime Rate California's "three strikes" law was supposed to reduce violent crime by doubling the sentence for a second felony and putting third time felony offenders behind bars for 25 years to life. But a new study by the Justice Policy Institute shows that counties using "three strikes" the most did not see the greatest drop in crime. In fact, Santa Clara, one of the six heaviest sentencing counties, witnessed a rise in violent crime, while San Francisco, which rarely uses the law, had one of the greatest declines in homicides and other violent crimes. * Sentencing rate is per 1,000 felonies by county. ** Post law change compares reported crime rate per 10,000 inhabitants for 19951997 (post law) to that of 19911993 (pre law). Source: California Criminal Justice Statistics Center; California Department of Corrections, Data Analysis Unit. SENTENCING RATES IN*: 3rd 2nd & 3rd County strike strikes Sacramento 3.6 26.0 Los Angeles 3.6 33.5 San Diego 3.4 35.3 Riverside 2.7 27.1 Fresno 2.6 21.5 Santa Clara 2.6 23.4 Avg. Six Heaviest 3.1 27.8 Orange 2.4 21.1 San Bernadino 2.1 17.0 Contra Costa 1.4 15.7 Ventura 1.3 18.8 Alameda 0.7 5.9 San Francisco 0.3 4.9 Avg. Six Lightest 1.4 13.9 POST LAW CHANGE IN RATE OF**: County Homicide Violent All Index Sacramento 22.1 6.4 3.2 Los Angeles 27.9 28.2 27.5 San Diego 38.2 22.8 28.1 Riverside 25.7 18.0 24.0 Fresno 20.0 1.4 9.2 Santa Clara 24.6 9.0 18.9 Avg. Six Heaviest 26.4 12.7 18.5 Orange 30.9 15.6 28.8 San Bernardino 23.9 20.9 16.1 Contra Costa 32.9 21.7 15.0 Ventura 26.6 24.3 22.0 Alameda 24.2 17.2 13.7 San Francisco 31.8 28.0 24.5 Avg. Six Lightest 28.4 21.3 20.0 Copyright 1999 Los Angeles Times. All Rights Reserved
------------------------------------------------------------------- Real Justice in Riverside, California. Tyisha Miller (A list subscriber forwards a statement that it's "time to force the Riverside Police Department to admit the drug tests for the four police officers that gunned down Tyisha Miller got lost. . . . That explains why the retired doctor was blown away in Redlands. He got access to those test results and they had to kill him.") From: "ralph sherrow" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: email@example.com Subject: Fwd: Real Justice in Riverside, California. Tyisha Miller Date: Wed, 03 Mar 1999 12:43:03 PST >From: Drgwarwhr@aol.com >Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 04:03:20 EST Subject: Real Justice in Riverside, California. Tyisha Miller Is it a war yet? It is time to force the Riverside Police Department to admit the drug tests for the four police officers that gunned down Tyisha Miller got lost. No Justice, no peace, just more war. That explains why the retired doctor was blown away in Redlands. He got access to those test results and they had to kill him. He knew it. That's why he tried to run. What part of domestic covert operations don't we understand? I wonder if I will be next? Sincerely, Jay Lindberg *** That's why they call it a drug war, cause nobody's safe from it now.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Incarceration Won't Solve Drug Problem (Los Angeles Times columnist Robert Scheer comments on Sunday's seminal New York Times article about the role of the 1986 crack cocaine scare in exacerbating America's prison-industrial complex. There are 400,000 people in American prisons simply because the government claims it must save them from themselves. What will it take for Americans to give a damn that so many people who pose little or no threat to others are nonetheless languishing in prison due to an out-of-control "drug war" that has irrationally defined their vices as more dangerous than others that are demonstrably more risky to others? Even driving drunk is punished much less severely than the mere possession of crack cocaine. The nation's drug war is irrational, racist, draconian and hugely expensive.) Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 04:49:28 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Editorial: Incarceration Won't Solve Drug Problem Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison Dunbar Pubdate: 2 Mar 1999 Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Copyright: 1999 Los Angeles Times. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: (213) 237-4712 Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Forum: http://www.latimes.com/HOME/DISCUSS/ Section: Opinion Author: Robert Scheer INCARCERATION WON'T SOLVE DRUG PROBLEM Narcotics: The nation's policy in dealing with violators is irrational, racist, draconian and hugely expensive. How long are we going to pretend that the United States is not one of the major violators of human rights in the world? There are 400,000 people in America's prisons simply because the government claims it must save them from themselves. What will it take for Americans to give a damn that so many people who pose little or no threat to society are nonetheless languishing in prison due to an out-of-control "drug war" that has irrationally defined their vices as socially more dangerous than others that are equally destructive? Even driving drunk is punished far less severely than the mere possession of crack cocaine. We lock up a higher percentage of our citizens than any country in the world except for Russia, and we do so in a pursuit of a policy that is frighteningly irrational in design and extremely racist in its consequences. In a chilling story Sunday, the New York Times reported cases of young mothers torn from their children for sentences as long as life simply for possession of the wrong drug. The article reported this astonishing fact about California, which has added 21 prisons since 1984: "Five black men are behind bars for each one in a state university." But it is an old story repeatedly documented ever since our draconian drug policy was launched in 1986 by a Congress that had held not one single hearing on the subject. Since that time, the number of people in prison for drugs has increased by 400%--twice the growth rate as for violent criminals. The initial impulse for ratcheting up drug penalties was shock over the 1986 death of promising college basketball player Len Bias, which was at first attributed by the media to an overdose of crack cocaine. Simple chemistry would have recognized the basic sameness of the crack and powdered forms of cocaine and that the abuse of either should be treated as a medical problem rather than a crime. At least that was the conclusion of a seminal article in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. in 1996. "Cocaine is cocaine," reported Dr. Marian W. Fischman, a co-author of the article. "Regardless of whether you shoot it up or smoke it or snort it, it has the same stimulant effect." Yet the federal penalty for possession of crack, marketed basically to minorities in the inner city, is 100 times greater than for powdered cocaine, preferred by a customer base that is three times larger than that for crack but also wealthier and whiter. Inspired by the leadership of Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), who has done so much to make the world safe for tobacco, crack came to be legislated against as if it were the devil's own candy invested with supernatural powers to possess the minds of men and turn their actions wild. Ironically, a year after his death, it was revealed that Len Bias had in fact consumed powdered cocaine and not crack, but the damage to the principle of equal application of the law had been done. Thanks to the perversion of the law as constructed, a dealer caught in possession of 499 grams of powdered cocaine would be treated lightly compared to someone who purchased five grams of the powder from that same dealer, mixed it with water and baking soda and cooked it into crack in a microwave oven. The result has been a distorted policing of the black community that has left one in four young black males entrapped in what is euphemistically called the criminal justice system. In the name of saving their lives, the police power of the state has been abused to permanently scar a generation. But the policy has failed miserably to curtail the supply of drugs, which are ever more plentiful on the very streets that have been policed as if they were a war zone. It was also inevitable that the war metaphor be extended to those who lived lives far removed from the inner city. The ravages of drug abuse have been compounded by an emphasis on law enforcement over treatment. As a result, entire families of varying races and income are destroyed not by the drug as much as the state's efforts to ostensibly stem its abuse. Take the example recounted in the New York Times of Gloria L. Van Winkle, a 39-year-old mother of two young children who is serving a life sentence in Kansas under a third-strike conviction resulting from her purchase of $40 worth of cocaine. Even drug czar Barry R. McCaffrey, the four-star general who entered the drug war with gusto, now sees that there is here, as in Vietnam, where he served, no light at the end of the tunnel. "We have a failed social policy, and it has to be reevaluated," he told the New York Times. "Otherwise, we're going to bankrupt ourselves. Because we can't incarcerate ourselves out of this problem." Lord knows we have tried. It costs $150,000 to build a prison cell and $20,000 a year to maintain a prisoner in one, but we have spent on prisons with an abandon unprecedented for any domestic program. Nationally, the drug war costs a minimum of $35 billion annually, and it has bought us nothing but social chaos and much individual and family pain. Robert Scheer is a Times contributing editor. He can be reached by e-mail: Rscheer@robertscheer.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical marijuana legal on Thursday (The Juneau Empire notes the law approved by Alaska voters last November goes into effect March 4.) Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 08:58:53 -0900 To: email@example.com From: Ed Glick (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: DPFOR: Fwd: medical reefer in alaska Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ From: DPM (email@example.com) Subject: medical reefer in alaska Source: The Juneau Empire (AK) Copyright: 1999 Southeastern Newspaper Corp Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: 3100 Channel Drive, Juneau, AK 99801 Website: http://www.juneauempire.com/ Web posted Tuesday, March 2, 1999 Medical marijuana legal on Thursday By MARK SABBATINI THE JUNEAU EMPIRE Don Schmiege is spending more of his Hawaiian vacation seeing doctors than tourist sites. But there is some comfort in knowing that by the time he gets home he'll be able to relax - legally - with some marijuana. A law legalizing marijuana for medical purposes takes effect Thursday and 72-year-old Schmiege, a retired Juneau biologist, is among those intending to quickly seek a doctor's permission to use the drug. He said nagging pain in his chest and neck has been a constant problem for the past three years because of accidents that injured his neck. ``I think it's going to be just a great opportunity for people who are in lots of pain to get some relief,'' he said. The only alternative offered by doctors is morphine, which has a disorienting effect, Schmiege said. Nearly 60 percent of voters approved an initiative last fall establishing the new law, which supporters said allows the best pain relief from serious ailments such as cancer, glaucoma and AIDS. Opponents argued current prescription drugs are sufficient, legalization sends a bad message to children and recreational users may illegally benefit by raiding patients' supplies. The law legalizes use and possession for patients with specially defined conditions, if a physician also certifies marijuana is a legitimate treatment. Buying and selling marijuana remains illegal, however, which some officials said could be a minor problem. ``What one can expect to occur is that patients set up networks,'' said David Finkelstein, campaign manager for Alaskans for Medical Rights, a group supporting the new law. He estimates several hundred Alaskans will seek permission to use marijuana legally. Physicians can recommend the substance as a legitimate treatment, but not prescribe it. A registry of approved patients will not be processed by the state until June 1, so patients caught before they are registered will have to go to court to show they meet the requirements of the new law, said Kristen Bomengen, an assistant attorney general for the state Department of Law. She said patients in the registry will receive identification cards allowing them to keep one ounce of marijuana, or grow six plants (three of which can be flowering), without being arrested. The registry is confidential, but because it is available to law enforcement to ensure cards aren't abused, some patients, such as those with AIDS, might avoid it, Bomengen said. ``One doesn't have to register,'' she said. ``It's available for the ease of the patients, those who are uneasy of being accused of illegal activities.'' Some are worried they won't meet the requirements of the new law, even though marijuana is the best treatment available for them. A 33-year-old woman, who asked not to be identified because she is using the drug illegally, said she has a precancerous stomach condition among other ailments. She said marijuana is the only way she can control her nausea and maintain an appetite, but is having trouble finding a doctor who will declare her eligible to use the substance legally. ``As far as doctor-wise, I don't think anything is going to happen right now, which is not to say I won't take care of it myself,'' she said. Application cards will be issued on an annual basis and must be turned in within 24 hours if a physician determines a patient no longer needs marijuana.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Judge keeps supervision of prisons - System remains cruel, he says; AG to appeal (The Dallas Morning News says after three weeks of hearings in January and February, U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice issued a 167-page decision Monday finding that Texas prisons are still brutal and inhumane, and ordered Texas prisons to remain under federal oversight. Attorney General John Cornyn said "All along we felt the final decision would be made by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, and that's where we head next.") From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (email@example.com) To: "_Drug Policy --" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Feds keep supervision of TX prisons Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 12:50:22 -0800 Sender: email@example.com Judge keeps supervision of prisons System remains cruel, he says; AG to appeal 03/02/99 By Christy Hoppe / The Dallas Morning News AUSTIN - Even after 20 years, a federal judge refused Texas its freedom on Monday, saying the state has failed to rehabilitate the way it runs a brutal and inhumane prison system. "Texas prison inmates continue to live in fear - a fear that is incomprehensible to most of the state's free world citizens," U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice wrote. Attorney General John Cornyn said he will appeal the judge's ruling as soon as practical. "All along we felt the final decision would be made by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, and that's where we head next," Mr. Cornyn said. Judge Justice first took oversight of state prisons in 1979 after finding that the system was unconstitutionally cruel. At the time, inmates were subjected to "unspeakable overcrowding," slept on floors, were denied lawyers and medical attention and endured openly sanctioned beatings. At the time inmates sued, Texas had about 15 prison units housing 18,000 inmates. The system since has mushroomed into one of the largest in the world - 110 units with 150,000 inmates. The state argued that it has added guards for protection and procedures governing everything from use of force by officers to grievances by inmates. But after three weeks of hearings in January and February, Judge Justice said many of the deplorable conditions he found two decades ago persist. Inmates are subject to rapes, beatings and extortion by other prisoners, and their pleas are met with indifference by prison officials, the judge said in his ruling. Many inmates, "especially those with mental illnesses, are subjected to extreme deprivations and daily psychological harm," he said. "Such practices and conditions cannot stand in our society, under our Constitution," Judge Justice said. Inmates' lawyers presented about 80 witnesses, who in grim testimony, told their stories of being gang raped, beaten and abused. They said guards routinely ridiculed their fears and refused their pleas for protection from aggressive inmates or gangs. Lead attorney Donna Brorby described prison units as "shark tanks," where inmates prey on anyone perceived as weak. Co-counsel Ginny Morrison said Monday that the ruling came as good news. "Our approach is to follow the court's order to devise a plan to make life bearable at the prisons," Ms. Morrison said. "That's what we've always been after, and we're happy to do that. We want to fix the cruel and unusual conditions," she said. Cornyn's response Mr. Cornyn said he has no plans to negotiate for a new plan that would continue the oversight of Judge Justice. He said that the inmates who testified told regrettable stories but that he believes the accounts do not reflect the entire prison system. Under federal law, a court must find that prison abuse was systemic and that officials showed "deliberate indifference" toward it. Mr. Cornyn said an appeals court will recognize that the state should win the case on the facts. Judge Justice's ruling "means we lost this battle but are hopeful about winning the war," he said. State Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, who has joined the lawsuit to try to end federal oversight, said the judge's order means the state can appeal and win. "The finish line is finally in sight," he said. Mr. Culberson said that with the expedited hearing expected by the appellate court, "Texas should be free by Christmas 1999." Allan Polunsky, chairman of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, which is responsible for the prison system, said he vigorously supports the decision to appeal. "Judge Justice has held on to this case for a quarter of a century," Mr. Polunsky said. "It is time for him to let go and stop what is from this point on a totally unwarranted intrusion into the authority of the Texas Legislature. "Enough is enough," he said. Mr. Polunsky, a San Antonio lawyer appointed to the prison board by Gov. George W. Bush, defended the Texas prison system as among the best in the nation. State officials said that the level of inmate violence is among the lowest in the nation and that guards' use of force has been significantly reduced as their training has exceeded national standards. Hundreds of millions of dollars has been spent on medical and psychiatric care facilities, including specialized units, they said. Not good enough In his 167-page order, Judge Justice did give a nod to Texas' effort to improve, saying the state has "dramatically overhauled its prison system." But creating extensive policies and imposing bureaucracy "do not, however, immunize the system from constitutional challenge," he said. Linda Reeves, executive director of the Austin-based Texas Inmate Familes Association, said she was relieved at Judge Justice's decision to retain supervision over the prison system. Even though the current prison administration has made tremendous improvements in recent years, the progress might not continue without federal oversight, she said. "We still hear horror stories about inmates being raped, about inmate violence, about inadequate medical care. There has been progress, yes. But there's a lot of work left to be done," she said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- California Medical Marijuana Bills (A news release from California NORML says two medical marijuana bills have been introduced in Sacramento by state senator John Vasconcellos. The first, S.B. 847 would establish a $1 million medical marijuana research program. The second, S.B. 848, would establish a distribution system based on recommendations from the Attorney General's working group on medical marijuana.) Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 22:53:03 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Dale Gieringer) Subject: DPFCA: State, Federal Medical MJ Bills Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com (Dale Gieringer) Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ A bill to legalize medical marijuana has been reintroduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D - Mass). Titled the "Medical Use of Marijuana Act," it would give California and other states legal authority to regulate medical marijuana distribution. The Frank bill is co-sponsored by California Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Tom Campbell and Rep. Pete Stark. Meanwhile, in Sacramento, two medical marijuana bills have been introduced by Sen. John Vasconcellos (D-535); The first, S.B.847, modeled on a bill introduced last year, would establish a $1 million medical marijuana research program to be run by the University of California, or, if U.C. isn't interested, the state Research Advisory Panel. The second, S.B. 848, is a spot bill to establish a distribution system. The content of the bill will be determined following further deliberations by the Attorney General's working group on medical marijuana. California NORML has endorsed the Frank bill as the kind of federal policy change needed to clear the way for state distribution legislation. "Only when the federal ban has been lifted will it be possible to realize Prop. 215's mandate for 'safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need,'" says California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer. For more info, contact Dale Gieringer, Coordinator, California NORML (415) 563-5858. Rep. Barney Frank's office may be reached at (202) 225-5931. The text of Sen. Vasconcellos' bills may be found at www.sen.ca.gov/~newsen /legislation/legislation.htp. Dale Gieringer (415) 563-5858 // firstname.lastname@example.org 2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114
------------------------------------------------------------------- What casualties has the drug war left behind? (Molly Ivins, the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram's syndicated columnist, recapitulates yesterday's seminal New York Times article on what fear of crack cocaine has done to the American criminal justice system. "Unless you are a drug user or know somebody in the joint, all this may seem far removed from your life. It's not. They're taking money away from your kids' schools to pay for all this, from helping people who are mentally retarded and mentally ill, from mass transit and public housing and more parkland and . . .") Date: Tue, 02 Mar 1999 11:53:46 -0800 To: email@example.com From: "D. Paul Stanford" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: "CRRH mailing list" (email@example.com) Subject: Molly Ivins Column What casualties has the drug war left behind? by Molly Ivins AUSTIN -- It's an odd country, really. Our largest growth industries are gambling and prisons. But as you may have heard, crimes rates are dropping. We're not putting people into prison for hurting other people. We're putting them into prison for using drugs, and as we already know, that doesn't help them or us. Our entire system of criminal justice is becoming more and more bizarrely prosecutorial -- a federal court has just held that the Miranda rule no longer applies. (That decision, by the way, was the result of a case brought by the Landmark Legal Foundation, the right-wing outfit that gets money from the same Richard Mellon Scaife so notable in the apparently endless effort to get President Clinton.) Last year, more than 600,000 people in this country were arrested for possession of marijuana, a drug less harmful for adults than alcohol. A famous British medical journal, `The Lancet,' concluded last year: "On the medical evidence available, moderate indulgence in cannabis has little ill effect on health." And according to an ad campaign by Common Sense for Drug Policy, a Department of Health and Human Services study shows that less than 1 percent of marijuana users become regular users of cocaine or heroin. Of course, drug policy in this country has a long history of tragicomic turns. Back in the early '70s, Texas still had berserker marijuana laws (first-offense possession of any amount was a two-to-life felony). I will never forget the jaw-dropped amazement with which we learned that Nelson Rockefeller, then the governor of New York, had proposed a similarly draconian law there on the grounds that "Texas has it, and it works very well." It worked so badly that it was a rank, open scandal, and the very next year, the Texas Legislature -- which by no means had any claim to the progressive credentials for which Rockefeller was noted -- repealed the thing. Even the Texas Lege could see what a piece of folly that was. But the history of our drug policy is that there's always some new drug to be frightened of, usually associated with a feared minority group, as opium was with Asians and marijuana with Mexicans. And in the 1980s, along came crack, associated with inner-city blacks. According to a series currently running in `The New York Times,' "Crack poisoned many communities. Dealers turned neighborhoods into drug markets. As heavily armed gangs fought over turf, murder rates shot up. Authorities warned that crack was instantly addictive and spreading rapidly and predicted that a generation of crack babies would bear the drug's imprint. It looked like a nightmare with no end. "But for all the havoc wreaked by crack, the worst fears were not realized. Crack appealed mainly to hard-core drug users. The number of crack users began falling not long after surveys began counting them. A decade later, the violence of the crack trade has burned out, and the murder rates have plunged." Which would be great news, except for Boots Cooper's immortal dictum: "Some things that won't hurt you will scare you so bad that you hurt yourself." And you should see what fear of crack has done to the American system of criminal justice. The `Times' reports that every 20 seconds, someone in America is arrested for a drug violation. Every `week' , a new jail or prison is built to house them all in what is now the world's largest penal system. A lethal combination of media sensationalism and political law-and-order opportunism pushed through a virulent stew of get-tough-on-drugs laws. The worst were mandatory minimum sentences, which took away the discretion of judges to lighten up when they feel it appropriate, and the three-strikes-and-you're-out laws. The `Times' seems slightly startled by the injustices that these laws have wrought, noting in one alarmed bit of type: "Mother of two gets life in prison for $40 worth of cocaine." Shoot, that's nothin'-- in Texas, we gave a guy life for stealing a sandwich. "Father of nine gets ten years for growing marijuana plants." Hah! In Texas we gave a guy more than that for busting a watermelon. Don't get me stah-ted. A further distortion in the system produced by these wacky laws is that good behavior can no longer get you out of prison early; the only way out is to roll over on somebody else. It pays to sing in this system. And do you think it makes a lot of difference to people doing time whether they get out by telling the truth or by making it up? One defense attorney said: "They're like crazed, berserk rats in there; they'll say anything." And so another unhappy consequence of our fear of crack is that more and more people are being convicted of crimes they never committed because other people in prison are willing to lie about them. "Since 1985 the nation's jail and prison population has grown 130 percent, and it will soon pass two million, even as crime rates continue a six-year decline," reports the `Times.' And on top of that is the particularly ugly racist distortion in the law. The gross disparities in sentencing between powder cocaine users (largely white) and crack users constitute one of the open scandals of America. What is less well known is that most crack users are white, too. But law enforcement has so heavily targeted inner-city black neighborhoods that black users are going to prison at a far higher rate. But none of this -- not all the new drug laws and new prisons or incredible incarceration rates -- has reduced illicit drug use. Far fewer Americans use drugs today than did at the peak years in the 1970s, but almost all of the drop occurred before crack or the laws passed in response to it, according to the `Times.' Unless you are a drug user or know somebody in the joint, all this may seem far removed from your life. It's not. They're taking money away from your kids' schools to pay for all this, from helping people who are mentally retarded and mentally ill, from mass transit and public housing and more parkland and . . . Molly Ivins is a columnist for the Star-Telegram. You may write to her at 1005 Congress Ave., Suite 920, Austin, TX 78701; call her at (512) 476-8908; or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send your comments to email@example.com *** We are working to regulate and tax adult marijuana sales, allow doctors to prescribe cannabis and allow the unregulated production of industrial hemp! 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/ *** To subscribe, unsubscribe or switch to immediate or digest mode, please send your instructions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pataki To Propose Stiffer Sentencing Laws (The Times Union, in New York, says Governor George Pataki, the former cannabis consumer, will propose next week a ban on parole for nonviolent felons. Last year, the governor succeeded in abolishing parole for violent felons. Now, his focus is on nonviolent offenders.) Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 20:45:03 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US NY: Pataki To Propose Stiffer Sentencing Laws Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: 2 Mar 1999 Source: Times Union (NY) Copyright: 1999, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.timesunion.com/ PATAKI TO PROPOSE STIFFER SENTENCING LAWS He admits that plan to ban parole for nonviolent felons will face fight in the Legislature Gov. George Pataki plans to propose next week a major overhaul of New York's sentencing laws, with the aim of ensuring that the term imposed by the judge is the sentence served by the convict. Pataki said Wednesday at a criminal justice conference that he will ask the Legislature to effectively eliminate parole for all felons, scrapping the current sentencing scheme for one embraced by federal authorities more than a decade ago and partially adopted in New York last year. The governor is seeking to replace what is known as "indeterminate" sentencing with "determinate" sentencing. Now, judges sentence felons to an indeterminate term -- sometimes a term as broad as 3 years to life -- but a parole board decides when in the time span prescribed by the judge the inmate is actually released. Pataki would generally abolish parole as a perk offered in lieu of prison time and require convicts to serve six-sevenths of their term, after which they would be under the supervision of parole officials for five years. Last year, the governor succeeded, after a bruising political fight, in abolishing parole and mandating fairly specific prison sentences for violent felons. Now, his focus is on nonviolent offenders. Pataki, speaking to criminal justice experts gathered at the Desmond hotel, said that nonviolent offenders are now sentenced on average to a maximum of 54 months, but serve only 27 months before they are released on parole. Further, he said 40 percent of nonviolent felons return to state prison within three years of their release. "This makes no sense, and we must change it," Pataki said. But Pataki's plan faces an uncertain political future, and a certain battle in the Legislature. "It is going to be a fight," he acknowledged. Although Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, a fellow Republican, endorses the governor's proposal, the Democratic leader of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver, has expressed grave reservations about following the federal model. In the mid-1980s, the federal government abolished parole and established sentencing guidelines that require judges to impose a specific sentence for a particular crime. The goal, in part, was to ensure uniformity in sentencing, so two criminals who commit similar crimes are subjected to similar punishments. But the downside, critics say, is that mandated uniformity can result in illogical, formulaic sentencing that fails to take into account a specific offense and specific offender. As an example, some critics say, a woman who steals powdered milk to feed her starving baby has committed a fundamentally different crime than one who steals powdered milk to cut cocaine. But if a judge lacks discretion to tailor a sentence to a crime, both women could end up with the same prison term. Louise Roback, executive director of the Capital Region chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the potential elimination of judicial discretion is "troubling." But, U.S. Attorney Thomas Maroney, the chief federal prosecutor in northern New York, said a new sentencing statute could be written in such a way that it would addresses those concerns. Federal laws, for instance, allow judges to depart from sentencing mandates and impose a greater or lesser sentence when warranted by extraordinary circumstances. "Determinate sentencing makes a lot of sense," Maroney, a Democrat, said. "Everybody knows where they stand. If the judge says 78 months, by God, it's 78 months." Also at Wednesday's conference, Pataki outlined plans to: Establish a computerized crime-tracking network to link every police agency in the state. The initiative will begin next month when the four Capital Region counties -- Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Saratoga -- are the first to go online. Expand the state's DNA database to include all felons. Now, only about 11 percent of convicts are included. Computerize and centralize mug shot and rap sheet data so police officers can access such information instantly.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Firing Renews Police Debate (The San Jose Mercury News says the allegation that police single out minorities for car stops has arisen again and again, in class-action lawsuits from Gloucester County, N.J., to Toledo, Ohio, to Eagle County, Colo.; in a new suit in Maryland; in judges' findings; in calls for federal legislation - and now, in the firing of New Jersey's state police superintendent, Col. Carl Williams.) Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 20:45:20 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Firing Renews Police Debate Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: 2 Mar 1999 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Copyright: 1999 Mercury Center Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Author: Henry Goldman and Thomas Ginsberg FIRING RENEWS POLICE DEBATE Study: Minorities targeted for stops Robert Wilkins, a black, Harvard-educated lawyer, could see this was no ordinary speeding ticket. The Maryland State Police officers were taking too long. So he climbed out of the rented Cadillac that drizzly dawn in 1992 to find officers questioning his cousin, the driver. Wilkins' aunt and uncle were with them, returning from the Chicago funeral of Wilkins' grandfather. `` `They want to search the car for drugs,' '' Wilkins recalls his cousin saying. Wilkins, a Washington lawyer, told the police they had no reason to suspect a crime; he would not allow a search. So they detained the family for about an hour so that a drug-sniffing dog could check the car. ``It was a very humiliating experience,'' he recalled Monday. ``We had to stand out in the rain. The traffic passed and saw us standing there, like criminals. The police just said it was standard policy.'' Wilkins sued, and Maryland's state police rules will never be the same. Lawyers unearthed a police memo advising that ``drug couriers were likely to be black males and females.'' The state settled the suit for $95,600. The police agreed to retrain officers and take other steps to avoid targeting members of racial minority groups on the road. But the basic allegation -- that police single out minorities for car stops -- did not end there. It has arisen again and again, in class-action lawsuits from Gloucester County, N.J., to Toledo, Ohio, to Eagle County, Colo.; in a new suit in Maryland; in judges' findings; in calls for federal legislation -- and now, in the firing of New Jersey's state police superintendent, Col. Carl Williams. Williams was fired Sunday by Gov. Christine Todd Whitman after saying in a newspaper interview that he had warned his officers against profiling, but that he believed minorities conduct most cocaine and marijuana trafficking. His comments came as New Jersey officials are appealing a 1996 Superior Court decision in which a Gloucester County judge threw out criminal charges against 19 black drug defendants, saying the state police had ``allowed, condoned, cultivated and tolerated discrimination . . . in its crusade to rid New Jersey of the scourge of drugs.'' The judge based his decision, in part, on research conducted by John Lamberth, a Temple University professor who used a staff of observers in Maryland and New Jersey to keep records of the racial composition of motorists on the states' highways, and then compared them with police records of traffic stops and vehicle searches. In each case, Lamberth said Monday, his research found disproportionate numbers of black and Latino motorists targeted by police. Lamberth, widely seen as an expert on racial profiling, found that in New Jersey, about 15 percent of motorists on the turnpike were black, but they represented 35 percent of those pulled over by police. Those figures were echoed in statistics released last month by New Jersey Attorney General Peter Verniero, showing that in two months of 1997, three of four turnpike drivers stopped by state police were minorities. In Maryland, in 1996 and 1997, Lamberth's observers drove on Interstate 95 at 60 miles an hour, and noted something else: About 98 percent of the other cars were speeding. He found that although 17.5 percent of the traffic violators on I-95 north of Baltimore were African-American, 29 percent of them were stopped, and 71.3 percent of those searched by state police were African-American. Such statistics helped persuade U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake to rule that the American Civil Liberties Union had made a ``reasonable showing'' that Maryland troopers on I-95 were continuing to engage in a ``pattern and practice'' of racial discrimination, despite Wilkins' lawsuit settlement. Last year, in response to concerns from lawmakers, the House passed a bill to require the Justice Department to conduct a two-year, $500,000 nationwide study to determine whether blacks are being harassed through routine vehicle checks. The bill did not pass the Senate.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Police Chief Fired For Race-Drugs Slur (The Irish Independent version) Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 20:45:07 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US NJ: Police Chief Fired For Race-Drugs Slur Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: 2 Mar 1999 Source: Irish Independent (Ireland) Copyright: Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.independent.ie/ Author: David Usborne in New York POLICE CHIEF FIRED FOR RACE-DRUGS SLUR AS POLICE in New York City battle allegations of racism following the shooting last month of an unarmed West African by four white officers, the chief of New Jersey's state police was without a job yesterday after being fired for publicly blaming drug trafficking on ethnic minorities. The abrupt dismissal of Colonel Carl Williams by the Governor of New Jersey, Christie Todd Whitman, has thrown a fresh spotlight on simmering tensions between the African-American community and state and city police forces around the country. Col Williams was sacked after saying blacks and Hispanics were more likely to be involved in the drugs trade than whites. In a newspaper interview, he said: ``Two weeks ago, the president of the United States went to Mexico to talk to the president of Mexico about drugs. He didn't go to Ireland. He didn't go to England. ``It is most likely a minority group that's involved with the drug trade. They aren't going to ask some Irishman to be part of their gang because they don't trust him.'' His sacking will feed a widening debate in New York about racism in law enforcement. Black and Hispanic leaders in the US have long complained about unfair police harassment of non-whites. New York, where the police have been credited with a dramatic lowering of crime rates, witnessed large protests early last month after the shooting of Amadou Diallo in the hallway of his apartment building in the Bronx. The officers are being asked to explain why they fired 41 shots at Diallo, who apparently was breaking no law and carrying no weapon.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Political Fallout Over NJ State Police Col. Carl Williams (The Philadelphia Inquirer says a day after New Jersey Governor Whitman ousted Col. Carl A. Williams as the head of the state police for saying the drug trade is handled mostly by minorities, a top black leader and Democratic legislators demanded that she delay the nomination of her attorney general to the state Supreme Court until his office completes a review of the state police force.) Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 15:17:30 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US NJ: Political Fallout Over NJ State Police Col. Carl Williams Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Tue, 02 Mar 1999 Source: Philadelphia Inquirer (PA) Copyright: 1999 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc. Contact: Inquirer.Opinion@phillynews.com Website: http://www.phillynews.com/ Forum: http://interactive.phillynews.com/talk-show/ Author: Tom Avril, Douglas A. Campbell and Suzette Parmley, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS POLITICAL FALLOUT OVER NJ STATE POLICE COL. CARL WILLIAMS TRENTON -- A day after Gov. Whitman ousted Col. Carl A. Williams as the head of the New Jersey State Police for saying that the drug trade is handled mostly by minorities, a top black leader and Democratic legislators demanded that she delay the nomination of her attorney general to the state Supreme Court until his office completes a review of the force. She refused to take that step but continued to fault Williams' comments as being insensitive. In an interview, she declined to discuss whether his remarks were factually correct, but said they damaged the credibility of the state police. "I'm not arguing with what he was saying. I'm arguing with how he said it, and when he said it, and the way he said it," Whitman said in an interview in her office. Her remarks were echoed by a former state police superintendent and the head of the state Fraternal Order of Police, as they danced uneasily around the thorny issues of race and crime. Williams' ouster was hailed by civil-rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers, but they warned that the problem runs deeper than the remarks of one man. Several called for a delay in the nomination of Williams' boss, Attorney General Peter Verniero, as a state Supreme Court justice -- a position that Whitman said last week she would like him to have. And Sen. John Adler (D., Camden) went so far as to demand Verniero's resignation. Verniero called Williams' comments insensitive and inappropriate, but he said he looked forward to the confirmation process in the state Senate. A spokesman for Whitman said the governor was not going to reconsider or delay Verniero's nomination. Williams' forced resignation Sunday afternoon came after his comments were published in that day's Star-Ledger of Newark, touching off a renewed firestorm of the kinds of criticisms that have dogged the state police for years. He reiterated that the state police do not promote or condone "racial profiling" -- targeting someone as a crime suspect because of race -- but said that drug trafficking is often done by Jamaicans and other minorities. "Today with this drug problem, the drug problem is cocaine or marijuana," Williams was quoted as saying in the article. "It is most likely a minority group that's involved with that." Whitman said those remarks damaged the agency's credibility at a time when it is already under review, both by the Attorney General's Office and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department. "The fact that he couldn't understand that the kinds of comments he was making could be taken as being racially divisive was a level of insensitivity that just wasn't going to cut it anymore," the governor said. Whitman declined to identify any candidates who might succeed Williams, but said she will look both inside and outside the agency and will focus on people from New Jersey. Williams' deputy, Lt. Col. Michael Fedorko, is serving as acting superintendent. A spokesman for Williams and Fedorko said they would not comment on the matter. Whitman said the new superintendent must be someone who understands a "quasi-military" organization such as the state police, someone who knows law enforcement and the judicial system, and "someone with good diplomatic skills who can communicate." At a news conference yesterday afternoon, the Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, executive director of the Black Ministers Council of New Jersey, said Verniero's confirmation to the Supreme Court should be delayed until his office's review of the state police is completed. If that review indicates Verniero bears responsibility for state police problems, Mr. Jackson said, the council will oppose his confirmation as a justice. Mr. Jackson and the council had called for Williams' resignation or removal, but the minister said he was saddened when he read Williams' comments Sunday. The minister said there still need to be other changes in the state police leadership. "It became clear to us that the problems . . . are deep and pervasive," he said. With attitudes such as those expressed by Williams, Mr. Jackson said, "it is difficult for me to believe that . . . has not trickled down" throughout the 2,600 state troopers. The council met with some troopers last week, Mr. Jackson said, and "discussed some things which are very troubling. We are concerned that this selection of trooper of the year[the division's highest award]is based solely on arrests, and arrests that sometimes are bogus." Mr. Jackson said the council recommends that Whitman not rush to hire a replacement for Williams. He said the council "insists" that the new superintendent come from outside New Jersey and have no ties to the New Jersey State Police. The council has been pushing for an investigation of the state police since two troopers fired on a van carrying four unarmed young minority men on the New Jersey Turnpike on April 23. Three of those men were wounded. Meanwhile the American Civil Liberties Union said yesterday that it has joined private attorneys to expand a 1998 suit by two out-of-state lawyers into a class-action suit accusing the state police of racial profiling. The original suit was filed Oct. 30 in Middlesex County Superior Court on behalf of Laila Maher, 31, and friend Felix Morka, 32. Maher is a native of Egypt and Morka is a Nigerian national. Both were law students then. Maher and Morka allege they were stopped on Jan. 16, 1996, near Exit 8A of the turnpike by two troopers who, they assert, assaulted them and then laughed about it. The suit says one trooper banged Morka's head against the steering wheel as he reached into his hip pocket for his license. The suit adds that this scared Maher, who jumped out of the passenger side and found herself staring into the barrel of a gun. While Whitman declined to address the substance of Williams' remarks, others were willing. Justin Dintino, who was New Jersey State Police superintendent from 1990 to 1994, said on Sunday that Williams in fact may have been correct if he was basing the remarks on police intelligence reports. However, Dintino said, Williams erred in failing to make a distinction between the crime statistics and illegal profiling, a distinction that Dintino said must be made to maintain public confidence by rooting out abuse of the tactic. "Random stops are the root of the problem," he said. "Target cocaine cartels and money-laundering operations, not this nickel and dime[traffic arrests]that have no significance on the drug problem in New Jersey." Another police official said it was the timing of Williams' comments, not the substance, that did him in. Williams' comments were "the result of actual arrests and investigations. . . . I don't think profiling had anything to do with the remarks," said Rick Whelan, president of the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police, which represents about 14,000 officers in the Garden State. According to the 1997 Uniform Crime Report issued by the State Police, 32,456 whites and 32,863 blacks were arrested that year for drug violations. Whelan said he believed Williams was "scapegoated for political reasons," rather than for whether his comments were true or not. He suggested that Whitman, who is considering a run for the U.S. Senate next year, may be trying to placate African American constituents. "Nobody knows what she is doing in the next couple years, and the group making the demand is saying thanks for responding to[us]," he said. "I would be among the last to shed a tear for Carl Williams," wrote Assemblyman LeRoy J. Jones Jr. (D., Essex) in a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman William Gormley (R., Atlantic), "but I can't help think that he has become an easy scapegoat in the saga of the more troubling racial profiling issue." Inquirer staff writer Thomas Ginsberg contributed to this article.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Racial Attitudes In Jersey's State Police (A staff editorial in the New York Times says New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman did the right thing in dismissing Col. Carl Williams as superintendent of the state police. Williams' comments linking minorities with drug trafficking provided new insight into the possibility that racial profiling may be deeply rooted in the police agency.) Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 18:09:11 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US NY: Editorial: Racial Attitudes In Jersey's State Police Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 Source: New York Times (NY) Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Forum: http://forums.nytimes.com/comment/ RACIAL ATTITUDES IN JERSEY'S STATE POLICE New Jersey's Governor, Christine Todd Whitman, did the right thing in dismissing Col. Carl Williams as superintendent of the state police because of comments he made in an interview with The Star-Ledger of Newark. Colonel Williams had asserted that certain crimes were associated with certain races, and he specifically linked minorities with drug trafficking. His remarks betrayed pernicious racial stereotyping that cannot be allowed to guide a police force that must deal fairly with all members of a diverse society. Beyond that, the comments provided new insight into the possibility that racial profiling, or the tendency to stop drivers of certain races and skin colors as potential lawbreakers, may be deeply rooted in the police agency. Although Colonel Williams insisted in the Star-Ledger interview that racial profiling would not be condoned, his comments associating crimes with particular racial groups sent the opposite message. Coming from a 35-year veteran who rose through the ranks to lead the 2,700-member force, the remarks suggested that such attitudes may be endemic. In appointing a successor to Colonel Williams, Mrs. Whitman needs to find one who will make a personal commitment to root out all traces of racial stereotyping in the state police and eliminate all individuals in command positions who harbor such attitudes. For years minority communities have complained that New Jersey troopers target black and Hispanic drivers for unwarranted stops and searches in trying to make drug arrests. The charges, though denied by police officials, are the subject of multiple investigations. A grand jury is looking into an incident in which troopers fired on four unarmed minority men who were traveling in a van to a basketball clinic last April, and both the State Attorney General's office and the Federal Department of Justice's civil rights division are investigating race-based traffic stops in New Jersey. In 1996 a Gloucester County judge ruled that state troopers used illegal profiling along the southern end of the New Jersey Turnpike. Evidence in that case showed that while 13.5 percent of the motorists on that stretch of highway were black, 46 percent of those stopped by the police were black. More recent data collected by The Star-Ledger found that in the first two months of 1997, fully 75 percent of the motorists arrested on the Turnpike were minorities. Several former and current troopers have filed lawsuits charging racial discrimination in the agency and alleging that racial profiling is encouraged as a way to get arrest numbers up. Anger at the situation has prompted some minority leaders to criticize Attorney General Peter Verniero, who has recently been nominated by Governor Whitman to the State Supreme Court, for failing to act forcefully on the matter. Mrs. Whitman can help ease tensions by making sure her next choice for superintendent takes all steps required to restore public confidence in a police force whose fair-mindedness is under challenge.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Judge Says Ban Against Hemp Growing Doesn't Hurt Kentucky Farmers (The Lexington Herald-Leader says U.S. District Judge Karl S. Forester has dismissed a lawsuit filed last May by Kentucky farmers and the 100-member Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association, seeking to overturn the state and federal ban on industrial hemp. The judge never actually examined the law and how it affects hemp. Forester ruled that the farmers do not have standing to challenge the law that prohibits growing hemp because they are not being hurt by it. And they are not being hurt by the law because nobody grows hemp.) Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Tue, 02 Mar 1999 Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) Copyright: 1999 Lexington Herald-Leader Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.kentuckyconnect.com/heraldleader/ Forum: http://krwebx.infi.net/webxmulti/cgi-bin/WebX?lexingtn Author: Janet Patton, Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky. JUDGE SAYS BAN AGAINST HEMP GROWING DOESN'T HURT KENTUCKY FARMERS Mar. 3 - Kentucky farmers won't be growing hemp this year - not that they had much serious hope of it anyway, they say. Gaining the right to grow hemp was the goal of a civil lawsuit filed in May, but U.S. District Judge Karl S. Forester has dismissed that suit, ruling that the Kentucky farmers couldn't grow hemp because state law forbids it. Fayette County farmer Andy Graves, one of the plaintiffs, said he was not surprised by the dismissal and that they will appeal. "It's the same old tennis match we've been playing all along," Graves said. "We thought this lawsuit would clarify some things." In his ruling, Forester acknowledged the farmers' "frustrating position. As it now stands, Kentucky law must change if plaintiffs ever want to grow hemp in Kentucky. However, in the present-day climate, lawmakers are understandably hesitant to take any action which might possibly be construed as being 'soft' on a substance that is - rightly or wrongly - closely associated with marijuana." But the judge never actually examined the law and how it affects hemp. Forester ruled that the farmers do not have standing to challenge the law that prohibits growing hemp because they are not being hurt by it. And they are not being hurt by the law because nobody grows hemp. "The federal government's position on hemp is clear -- it's illegal," said Rogene Wait, spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration. "I can't tell people how to go about changing the law." Kentucky farmers and the 100-member Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association filed the suit as part of what has become a two-pronged assault on national and state policy that lumps industrial hemp with marijuana as a controlled substance that's illegal to produce. The farmers contend that if 27 other nations, including Canada, can grow hemp for the industrial market, U.S. farmers should be able to try their hands at something that was once Kentucky's major cash crop. Changing Kentucky's hemp law is what hemp activists have been attempting in state courts through actor Woody Harrelson's case. Harrelson was arrested on a charge of marijuana possession in June 1996 after he planted four hemp seeds. Hemp activists challenged the state law and its definition of hemp as marijuana before Harrelson could go to trial. District and circuit courts agreed that the statute was overly broad. However, an appeals court decided those rulings were premature, and sent the case back to district court to actually try Harrelson. The case is pending appeal. Plaintiff Graves said the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative had been a leader in the movement nationwide to try to legalize hemp, but that the state is falling behind. The co-op is tracking pending legislation in 19 states, he said, that would allow hemp to be grown if the federal government would permit it. "We've got a political problem," Graves said. "I am frustrated with it. There are a lot of people across the state who would like to try this." But no farmer, including Graves, is likely to attempt growing hemp just to try to change the law. "I'm not really anxious to make myself a martyr," Graves said. "I wouldn't want to criminalize my family. Perhaps that verges on being timid. Somebody has to take a stand." *** Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 12:23:02 -0800 To: "CRRH mailing list" (email@example.com) From: R Givens (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Re: KY: Judge Says Ban Against Hemp Growing Doesn't Hurt U.S. District Judge Karl S. Forester made a ruling in this case that is going to come back to haunt the Reefer Maniacs: "Forester ruled that the farmers do not have standing to challenge the law that prohibits growing hemp because they are not being hurt by it. And they are not being hurt by the law because nobody grows hemp." That last line holds the means to demolish Federal prohibition of hemp growing by merely legalizing it in one state. To wit: Minnesota is very likely to pass a hemp growing bill soon which would mean that somebody IS growing hemp! That would mean that Kentucky farmers and all other farmers are being hurt by being prevented from competing in the market! Hence farmers WOULD have standing to challenge these laws. In other words, legalizing hemp in just one state can undermine hemp prohibition in the other 49! R Givens
------------------------------------------------------------------- Number Of Blacks In Prison Nears 1 Million (A Boston Globe article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says an analysis of Justice Department statistics by the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, an Arlington, Virginia, legal reform group, shows the number of black adults behind bars will hit the 1 million mark - roughly one in 10 black men - for the first time in 2000. That represents nearly an eightfold increase from 30 years ago. "We're incarcerating an entire generation of people," said Laurie Levensen, a former federal prosecutor and associate dean at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.) Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 18:09:18 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Number Of Blacks In Prison Nears 1 Million Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) Copyright: 1999 Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.seattle-pi.com/ Author: LOUISE D. PALMER, THE BOSTON GLOBE NUMBER OF BLACKS IN PRISON NEARS 1 MILLION 'We're incarcerating an entire generation of people' WASHINGTON -- Come the new millennium, the number of African American adults behind bars will hit the million mark for the first time, according to an analysis of Justice Department statistics. That represents nearly an eightfold increase from three decades ago, when there were 133,226 blacks in prison. By 2000, roughly one in 10 black men will be in prison -- a statistic with major social implications because prisoners don't have jobs, pay taxes or care for their children at home. And because many states bar felons from voting, at least one in seven black men will have lost the right to vote. "These numbers are staggering," said Laurie Levensen, a former federal prosecutor and associate dean of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. "We're incarcerating an entire generation of people." Why blacks constitute about half of all prison inmates when they are only 13 percent of the U.S. population is subject to much speculation. Some specialists blame poverty or lack of opportunity. Others say police concentrate in poor urban areas because street crimes such as drug dealing and armed robbery are more visible, and residents there demand more police protection. The bottom line is that crime policy has become a substitute for public policy, said Jerome Miller, president of the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, an Arlington, Va., legal reform group that analyzed the Justice Department data. "Over the past 20 years, there has been a terrible propensity on the part of politicians to deal with difficult economic, social, family and personal problems with a meat ax -- the criminal-justice system," said Miller, a former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services. Over the past five decades, the disparity between races has widened dramatically as minorities have replaced whites in the prison population, according to the center. In 1950, whites made up about 65 percent of all state and federal inmates, while minorities made up 35 percent. Today, the opposite is true, with 35 percent of the prison population made up of whites. In Washington state, blacks make up 23 percent of the inmate population in the state Department of Corrections, while constituting just 3.4 percent of the state population, state officials say. American Indians make up 3.2 percent of the state prison population while representing 1.9 percent of the general population. Asians account for 2.4 percent of the state prison population and 5.9 percent of the general population. Those of Hispanic origin (who may also be counted among the other categories) make up about 13 percent of the state prison population and 6 percent of the general population. "The face of crime to white Americans is now that of a black man," said David Bositis, senior political analyst at the Center for Political and Economic Studies, a think tank that specializes in black community issues. "It means 10 percent of (black men) are not productive," said Massachusetts state Rep. Byron Rushing, a Boston Democrat. "Not only are their talents not available for development of the community, but the community spends a large amount of time dealing with their absence." "There are so many people in the community going to prison you start to have the welfare effect, where it becomes acceptable -- a rite of passage -- for African American men to go to prison," said Hilary Shelton, director of the Washington bureau of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Another concern is the mass disenfranchisement of African Americans. According to an October 1998 report by The Sentencing Project, a Washington-based legal research and services organization, in a dozen states, 30 percent to 40 percent of the next generation of black men will permanently lose the right to vote if current trends continue. In nine states, one in four black men can never vote again because they were convicted of a felony. Upon release from prison in Washington state, felons automatically lose the right to vote. They may petition the state for reinstatement of that right, according to Veltry Johnson, public information chief for the state Department of Corrections. This loss of voting rights nationwide not only highlights the eroding political power base of blacks, but it also calls into question the notion of democracy in America, Shelton said. Some sociologists say the explanation lies in high rates of poverty. African Americans are more likely to end up with a prison term because they can't afford a good legal defense team, or a "sentencing consultant" who can help reduce time spent locked up. Lack of opportunity plays a role as well, they say, pointing out that the vast majority of inmates are functionally illiterate, which means they can't even fill out a job application. More money for alleviating poverty, however, is not the answer, said Robert Woodson Sr., president of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, a non-profit group working with low-income black communities. He said the key is money for programs that reach into the community to help build character and values. "The reason young men engage in criminal behavior is not just for money, it is to make a name for themselves, to have some expression of worth, even if that expression is self-destructive," he said. Woodson also said he believed blacks are not discriminated against by the criminal-justice system. Rather, he said, there is a greater concentration of police in black communities because the residents there insist on more policing to deal with street crimes. Looking at the prison population through the race lense is a flawed project, agreed Robert Pambianco, chief policy counsel at the Washington Legal Foundation, a conservative think tank. "All this talk about race and statistics is a red herring thrown in by people who want to return to the '60s," said Pambianco. "It is an attempt to undermine efforts to keep violent offenders in prison." The question, he said, is whether the individual committed the crime. And if so, was race a factor in how the individual was convicted or sentenced? And the answer, some criminologists say, is that often it is. Evidence of prejudice in the criminal-justice system is overwhelming, they say. First, criminologists such as William Chambliss, professor of sociology at George Washington University and past president of the American Society of Criminologists, point to law enforcement. Police, he says, admit that they focus their resources on black communities, particularly when enforcing drug laws and despite studies that show whites consume more drugs than blacks. "It is much easier to go into a black community and pop someone selling drugs on the street corner than to go into a suburb where drug use happens behind closed doors," Levensen said. Blacks are also more frequently viewed as suspects, pulled over and targeted by raids, Chambliss said. A survey of traffic stops in Volusia County, Fla., for instance, showed nearly 70 percent of those stopped were black or Hispanic, according to Georgetown University Law Professor David Cole, author of "No Equal Justice." "Police look for crimes in the ghetto, and that's where they find them," Chambliss said. Criminologists say sentencing guidelines were imposed in part to rid the criminal-justice system of sentences that varied dramatically because of prejudicial factors such as race, gender, individual circumstance or geography. But African Americans still received sentences an average of six months longer than whites for committing the same crime, according to a 1998 University of Georgia study. This report includes information from P-I staff.
------------------------------------------------------------------- "Effective National Drug Control Strategy" released (A news release from Common Sense for Drug Policy, in Virginia, says the Network of Reform Groups, a coalition of two dozen organizations working for more sensible drug policies and representing more than 100,000 people, will release a report tomorrow while the White House drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey, testifies before a House subcommittee on his year 2000 budget request. The report - available online - used government data and independent research to show current policies have failed to protect America's children from drug abuse and failed to reduce the availability of cocaine and heroin. The report also suggests a comprehensive alternative strategy.) From: LawBerger@aol.com Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 13:41:25 EST To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: DPFOR: Fwd: [NLC] Effective National Drug Control Strategy released Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ ---forwarded message--- Date: Tue, 02 Mar 1999 09:16:51 +0000 From: kevin zeese (firstname.lastname@example.org) Organization: Common Sense for Drug Policy To: NORML Legal Committee (email@example.com) Subject: [NLC] Effective National Drug Control Strategy released Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Clinton Drug Plan Fails to Prevent Adolescent Drug Use or Reduce Disease or Drug Overdoses, New Report Concludes Drug Czar To Justify Call for More of the Same Drug War Policies at March 3 House Committee Hearing Coalition Urges Reversal in Budget Prioirites $2 out of $3 Should Be Spent on Prevention and Rehabilitation Washington, D.C. - The war on drugs has failed to protect America's children from drug abuse and has failed to reduce the availability of cocaine and heroin, according to a new report being released on March 3, 1999. It is the first report to suggest a comprehensive alternative strategy. The report can be viewed on line at: http://www.csdp.org/edcs/. The report, "The Effective National Drug Control Strategy," is being released on March 3 when Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey testifies before a House Subcommittee on his year 2000 budget request. The "Effective Strategy" is the first comprehensive alternative to the war on drugs. The "Effective Strategy" recommends spending two out of every three dollars of the drug control budget on prevention and rehabilitation. It also recommends tripling funding for adolescent drug use - with the emphasis on investing in America's youth through after school programs, mentor programs and honest drug education. "Contrary to General McCaffrey's claims, the drug war still relies overwhelmingly on incarcerating drug users and trying to interdict drugs - the two least effective methods of reducing drug abuse," said Kevin Zeese, President of Common Sense for Drug Policy and one of the report's lead authors. "We know what works, but General McCaffrey keeps investing in strategies that are destroying families, hurting kids and undermining the Constitution." The Network of Reform Groups (NRG) - a coalition of two dozen organizations working for more sensible drug policies, who collectively represent over 100,000 people - examined government data and independent research, concluded that the drug war has not deterred children from using illegal drugs, nor has it resulted in fewer deaths and injuries from drug use. The report found that: * The U.S. government spent $3.6 billion on the drug war in 1988, and will spend $17.9 billion in 1999 - $2 out of $3 are spent on law enforcement. * From 1985 to 1995, 85 percent of the increase in the federal prison population was due to drug convictions. Due to mandatory sentencing drug offenders spend more time in jail (82.2 months) than rapists (73.3 months). * Drug overdose deaths are up 540 percent since 1980, 33 people per day are infected with HIV from injection drug use and it is becoming the engine for a new epidemice -- Hepatitis C. * The price of heroin and cocaine has dropped since 1981, while purity of both drugs has increased. The report recommends that the Drug Czar: * Create a non-partisan panel of experts to evaluate current drug control efforts. All options from legalization to prohibition should be considered. * Provide funding for drug treatment on request and require coverage of drug treatment by health insurance. * Increase funding for drug abuse prevention and redirect DARE funding into more effective programs. * Increase drug treatment services for women. * End the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine as well as racially disproportionate law enforcement. * Allow judges to sentence drug offenders by eliminating "mandatory minimum" drug sentences. * Provide federal funding for needle exchange programs. * Reverse the trend toward cutting school budgets to invest in prisons. * Enact "family friendly" laws that keep families together, kids in school and social networks intact. *** This is the NORML Legal Committee Mailing List. To unsubscribe, send email to email@example.com with only the word UNSUBSCRIBE in the message body. A password protected archive of this list can be read on the web at: http://norml.org/cgi-bin/nlc/lwgate/NORML%20LEGAL%20COMMITTEE/archives/ For password information, please contact Tanya Kangas at NORMLATTY@NORML.ORG or call 202.483.8751
------------------------------------------------------------------- U.S. Congressmen Want Mexico Blacklisted For Drugs (Reuters says a group of Republican congressmen introduced a resolution Tuesday to overturn President Clinton's decision last Friday to certify Mexico as a fully cooperating ally in the United States' war on some drug users. But Republican Sen. Paul Coverdell of Georgia said he did not think decertification of Mexico would pass in the Senate.) Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 20:45:11 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Wire: U.S. Congressmen Want Mexico Blacklisted For Drugs Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: 2 Mar 1999 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. U.S. congressmen want Mexico blacklisted for drugs WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) - A group of Republican congressmen vowed on Tuesday to blacklist Mexico for what they said was a failure to crack down on drug traffickers. The congressmen introduced a resolution to overturn President Bill Clinton's decision last Friday to approve Mexico for fully cooperating in the war on drugs in the annual drug certification process. "President Clinton knows that to certify Mexico is a fraud," said Representative Spencer Bachus of Alabama, author of the resolution. "Mexico is not cooperating. In fact, they are resisting cooperation." Republicans want to keep the controversial annual evaluation of other countries involved in the drug trade, but approving Mexico made a "mockery" of it, he said. Bachus said U.S. anti-narcotics officials were unhappy with Mexico's efforts due to what he said was widespread corruption and because government statistics show a drop in Mexican seizure of cocaine and heroin last year. Refusal to extradite a single Mexican drug trafficker wanted by the United States was reason enough to blacklist Mexico, Bachus said. Congress has 30 days to accept or reject the White House's decisions on drug certifications of 28 countries involved in narcotics producing or trafficking. Republican Sen. Paul Coverdell of Georgia said he did not think "decertification" of Mexico would pass in the Senate.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug War Pretenses (A staff editorial in the Orange County Register about the annual battle over certifying Mexico as an ally in the drug war says the president will pretend that Mexico is cooperating. The Mexican government will go along with the pretense. But the annual pretense is only a small part of a larger, ongoing game of pretense and denial. The government pretends that the drug war is a good idea. It pretends that dealing with drug use as a law-enforcement problem rather than a personal or medical problem doesn't make every aspect of drug use worse rather than better. Until citizens are ready to deal with the larger game of "Let's Pretend," the annual pretense over certifying Mexico will continue.) Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 17:27:21 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Drug War Pretenses Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W. Black Pubdate: 2 March,1999 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Section: Metro,page 6 DRUG WAR PRETENSES President Clinton announced on Friday that he will participate in the annual game of "Let's Pretend." The president will pretend that Mexico is a cooperating partner in the War on Drugs, the United States will continue to send Mexico aid that it and the Mexican government will pretend will help to win the war, and citizens will pretend that it all is helping the cause. In 1986 Congress passed a law requiring the U.S. government to certify each year that drug-producing and trafficking countries are cooperating in the war. But in reality, in Mexico, especially since the passage of NAFTA, the economic and diplomatic stakes are too high for decertification, which could carry trade penalties. Thus this annual ritual is a nothing short of an empty exercise. By most measures, the year has been a lackluster one for Mexican drug warriors - despite a reported expenditure of $770 million by the Mexican government. Drug Enforcement Administrator Thomas Constantine says Mexico is losing the drug war and claims Mexican drug traffickers have increased their penetration into the United States. U.S. agents say Mexico has done little or nothing to combat corruption, even among elite units trained by U.S. drug agents and the CIA. Charges against a couple of alleged methamphetamine kingpins were dismissed and the Mexican government refused to extradite suspects nabbed by a U.S.Customs operation. Seizures and arrests were down. But the annual pretense of certification is only a small part of a larger ongoing game of pretense and denial. The government pretends that the drug war is a good idea. It pretends that dealing with drug use as a law-enforcement problem rather than a personal or medical problem doesn't make every aspect of drug use worse rather than better. It pretends that the end result of the war is something other than the enrichment of brutal traffickers, the expansion of corruption, the diversion of law enforcement resources from real crime, the creation of crime that wouldn't have occurred otherwise, the death of innocents and the imprisonment of people who should be in some kind of treatment for an addiction instead. Until citizens are ready to deal with this larger game of "Let's Pretend," the annual pretense will continue. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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