Court Cases

Read about the prosecution of medical marijuana patients on the state and federal level in these WEED WARS court case profiles.  United States v. Marijuana court cases include federal jury trials that resulted in sentences of up to 25 years for medical marijuana dispensary owners, protracted legal battles after child protective services steals children from their parents for farming a plant, plus numerous of cases destruction and forfeiture of property in a massive SWAT-style raid, followed by a prolonged period of waiting to see which entity (state or federal) files charges against the defendant.

Due to the possibility of decades-long sentences in the federal system, the vast majority of cases are never heard by a jury; defendants are sentenced by federal judges to mandatory minimums after pleading guilty to a reduced set of charges offered by the prosecution in a plea deal.

Alphabetical Index to Court Cases
Status unclear:
United States v. Steele Smith (CA-2007 arrest)
United States v. Mark Whitney (CA-2002 arrest)
State of California v. Addison DeMoura (CA-2007 arrest)
State of California v. Rob Taylor (CA-2005 arrest)
State of California v. Martin and LaVonne Victor (CA)
State of California v. Jason Browne (CA-2002 arrest)

Raided / Seizure / Forfeiture / No Criminal Charges:
State of California v. Jason Browne (CA-2002 arrest)

Plea Deals:
United States v. Jason Burns, Jesse Leland, and Joshua Schultz (MT-2011 arrest)
United States v. Jonathan Janetski, Michael Kassner, and Tyler Roe
United States v. Chris Lindsey (MT-2011 arrest)
United States v. Tom Daubert (MT-2011 arrest)
United States v. Evan Corum and Ryan Blindheim

United States v. Troy Conte (CA-2009 arrest)
United States v. Jimmy Halloran (CA-2002 arrest)
United States v. Bill Connelly (CA-2007 arrest)

Home Detention / Probation / Time Served:
United States v. Anna and Gary Barrett
United States v. Scott Imler, Jeff Yablan, and Jeff Farrington
United States v. David Arnett and David Kephart
United States v. Ed Bierling and Dan Nelson
United States v. Michael Teague (CA-2002 arrest)
United States v. Mike Foley (CA-2002 arrest)
United States v. John Seidenberg (CA-2007 arrest)
United States v. Robert Rasmussen (CA-2007 arrest)
United States v. Ronald Naulls (CA-2007 arrest)
United States v. Mike Foley (CA-2002 arrest)
United States v. Ken Hayes and Rick Watts (CA-2001 arrest)
State of California v. Shannon and Michael O'Leary (CA-2006 arrest)

Pending POWs:
United States v. Jason Washington
United States v. Paul Schmidt (MT-2011 arrest)
Died in custody / Died pending trial or appeal
United States v. Richard Flor (MT-2011 arrest)
United States v. Donato Canceleno (CA-2005 arrest)
United States v. Steve McWilliams (CA-2002 arrest)
United States v. Chris Giauque

Incarcerated prisoners of war:
United States v. Jerry Laberdee and Dennis Whited (WA-2011 arrest)
United States v. Chris Williams (MT-2011 raid)
United States v. Richard, Sherry, and Justin Flor (MT-2011 arrest)
United States v. Aaron Sandusky
United States v. Roger Christie (HI-2010 arrest)
United States v. Chris Bartkowicz (CA-2010 arrest)
United States v. Joshua Hester (CA-2010 arrest)
United States v. Eric Stacy, Charles Kisor (CA-2010 arrest)
United States v. Virgil Grant (CA-2007 arrest)
United States v. Chiaverini, Payne, Westfall, Squier, and Herschel (CA-2007 arrest)
United States v. Luke Scarmazzo and Ricardo Montes (CA-2006 arrest)
United States v. David Chavez et al. (CA-2006 arrest)
United States v. Dustin Costa (CA-2005 arrest)
United States v. James Holland (CA-2005 arrest)
United States v. Marc Emery (Canada-2005 arrest)
United States v. Eddy Lepp (CA-2004 arrest)
United States v. Timothy Dellas (CA-2003 arrest)
United States v. Scott Feil
United States v. Bryan Epis (CA-1997 arrest)

Released prisoners of war:
State of California v. Daisy Bram (CA-2011 arrest)
United States v. James Stacy and Joseph Nunes (CA-2009 arrest)
United States v. Gary Hulsey (CA-2007 arrest)
United States v. John Moreaux (CA-2007 arrest)
United States v. Chiaverini, Payne, Westfall, Squier, and Herschel (CA-2006 arrest)
United States v. Phung Van Nguyen (CA-2005 arrest)
United States v. Richard Marino (CA-2004 arrest)
United States v. Lynn and Judy Osburn (CA-2001 arrest)
United States v. Roy Lee Sharpnack (CA-2000 arrest)
United States v. Donald Lee Hunt, Jr. and Donald Lee Hunt, Sr. (CA)
United States v. Robert and Shawna Whiteaker (CA)
United States v. Bill Riddick and Peggy Riddick (CA-1997 arrest)
United States v. Todd McCormick, Peter McWilliams, and Renee Boje (CA-1997 arrest)
United States v. B. E. Smith (CA-1997 arrest)
State of California v. Bryn Anderson and Paul Shaw
State of California v. Sister Somayah Kambui
United States v. Charles Lynch (CA-2007 arrest)
United States v. Mickey Martin (CA-2007 arrest)
United States v. Michael Lombardo (CA-2007 arrest)
United States v. Kenneth Affolter (CA-2006 arrest)
United States v. John Sullivan (CA-2006 arrest)
United States v. David Harde and Toby Landis (CA-2006 arrest)
United States v. Alice Weigand and Jeffre Sanderson (CA-2006 arrest)
United States v. Larry Kristich and James Carberry (CA-2005 arrest)
United States v. Thunder Rector (CA-2005 arrest)
United States v. Sparky Rose (CA-2005 arrest)
United States v. Vernon Rylee (CA-2003 arrest)
United States v. David Davidson and Cynthia Blake (CA-2003 arrest)
United States v. Kevin Gage, Thomas Kikuchi, and Stephanie Landa (CA-2002 arrest)
United States v. Keith Alden (CA-2002 arrest)
United States v. Robert G. Schmidt (CA-2002 arrest)
United States v. Bernie Ellis (TN-2002 arrest)
United States v. Lynn and Judy Osburn (CA-2001 arrest)
United States v. Ken Hayes and Rick Watts (CA-2001 arrest)
United States v. Robert and Shawna Whiteaker (CA)
United States v. Dennis Hunter (CA-1998 arrest)
United States v. Joe Fortt (CA)
State of California v. Matthew Zugsberger (CA-2008 arrest)
State of California v. John Bearden (CA-2007 arrest)
State of California v. John Berchielli (CA-2005 arrest)
State of California v. Steve Kubby (CA-1999 arrest)
State of Oklahoma v. Will Foster (OK-1995 arrest)

United States v. Larry Duke (Life Without Parole)

posted Mar 25, 2015, 10:07 PM by The Editor

Larry Ronald Duke was convicted of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute in excess of 1,000 kilograms of marijuana –and attempted possession with the intent to distribute in excess of 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.

In 1989, Larry and co-conspirators purchased marijuana from a government confidential informant–who had a prior marijuana arrest. Undercover officers set up the sale, and arrested Duke and his co-conspirators after delivering 4,800 pounds of marijuana to them.

Larry is a decorated Vietnam combat veteran who served two tours of duty in Vietnam with Delta Company 1st Battalion, 7th Marine regiment. Mr. Duke has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder due to his military service in Vietnam.

“While I was there, I often thought I would probably die in a firefight in Viet Nam, and then later, I thought maybe I’d catch a streamer while sky-diving and crash and burn. Or perhaps, lose control of a car at a very high rate of speed, but never in my wildest dreams have I ever imagined I’d die in prison.”
–Larry Ronald Duke, Jesup Federal Correctional Institution, Jesup, Georgia, April 27, 2013.
Larry has been incarcerated since 1989. Prior to his arrest Larry was a carpenter and inventor. Larry continues to work on engineering problems in prison. Larry Duke obtained a federal patent for a clean water-delivery system while serving his life sentence.

Larry has a wife, two children, two grandsons, and a large extended family who needs him home. Larry fervently wishes that Congress will “opt to give some degree of hope of our having one more shot of Tequila, and one more slow dance with Sheila before we go.” –Larry Ronald Duke, Jesup Federal Correctional Institution, Jesup, Georgia, April 27, 2013.

United States of America, Plaintiff-appellee, v. Richard Williams, William Scott Hames, Defendants-appellants.united States of America, Plaintiff-appellee, v. Larry Ronald Duke, Defendant-appellant, 954 F.2d 668 (11th Cir. 1992)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit - 954 F.2d 668 (11th Cir. 1992)
Feb. 27, 1992

UPDATE: Larry Ronald Duke IS A FREE MAN!!!

#40734-019
FCI JESUP

FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION
FEDERAL SATELLITE LOW
2680 301 SOUTH
JESUP, GA 31599

Race: White Sex: M
Release Date: MARCH 6, 2015!!! (PREVIOUSLY LWOP)
DOB: 1947  Age: 68

Larry Ronald Duke WAS LWOP POW- this means Life Without the Possibility of Parole. Larry is a 68 year old man who has served 26 years of his two life-without-parole sentences for a marijuana-only conspiracy ~ HE WALKED AWAY FROM PRISON A SOMEWHAT FREE MAN ~ PROBATION FOR A DECADE BUT ON THE OUTSIDE ALL THE SAME!!!

We were lucky enough to hear from Larry on THSI Radio on Sunday, March 8, 2015, just 72 hours after he walked away from prison.  Larry said he was in his old house-robe which his wife had saved along with his other clothes & shoes.  He said it was like "stepping back in time."  You can listen to the archived show here.

Because No One Should Go To Jail For A Plant!

http://www.thsintl.org

United States v. Aaron Sandusky (CA-2012 arrest)

posted Mar 24, 2015, 11:11 PM by The Editor   [ updated Mar 24, 2015, 11:12 PM ]

POW Aaron Sandusky
Southern California medical marijuana patient and provider Aaron Sandusky is serving a 10 year federal prison sentence for operating a medical cannabis cooperative in full compliance with state law.


Federal authorities threatened clinics such as Sandusky's G3 Holistics, Inc. (Upland, CA) in 2011.  In June 2012, Aaron Sandusky, his brother, and four other people were arrested during a DEA raid of the G3 Holistics medical cannabis clinic.  

At a jury trial in fall 2012, Sandusky was convicted of possession with intent to distribute marijuana involving at least 1,000 plants.  Sandusky received a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years on January 7, 2013.

United States v. Dale Schafer and Marion (Mollie) Fry (CA-2001 raid)

posted Mar 24, 2015, 10:31 PM by The Editor   [ updated Mar 24, 2015, 11:42 PM ]

Civil attorney Dale Schafer and his wife, physician Dr. Mollie Fry, began serving 5 year sentences on May 2, 2011 for cultivating medical marijuana in a home garden that never had more than 44 plants at a time.  However, the federal government added up the number of plants grown in the seasons between 2001 and 2005 and charged the couple with growing 100 or more plants, which carries a 5-year mandatory minimum sentence.  The couple spent more than six years of litigation and three years of appeals for charges of manufacturing and conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cannabis.

Dr. Fry, a breast cancer survivor who had gone through a radical mastectomy, grew her own medicine throughout her illness, surgery, and chemotherapy.   Schafer suffers from hemophilia and failed back syndrome, is under constant care, and also medicated with cannabis legally.

The judge wouldn’t allow any medical evidence. They wouldn't let us tell the jury I was sick, or that I was a doctor.  They wouldn’t allow that I was helping sick patients. Ironically, two years before the raid, local authorities asked me to tell them who of my patients were 'really' sick, and who wasn't." I told them it wasn't my job to police my patients, and that everyone who came to me had legitimate health issues. They have treated us like criminals.
~Dr. Mollie Fry

Cannabis is proven medicine. Why would the state of California create laws based on what the people want, and then allow the federal Government to override them?  I had cancer, we were growing medicine. I was helping people.
~Dr. Mollie Fry

###

Physician and Attorney Call Medical Marijuana Case a Vendetta
Couple questions role of local law enforcement, dismisses allegations.

A Report from the Fry-Schafer Legal Defense Committee
July 18th, 2005

Contact:  Bobby Eisenberg
         530-823-9963
         Bobby@freedocfry.com
         www.freedocfry.com

An El Dorado County physician and attorney, facing 40 years in prison for allegedly selling marijuana from their medical clinic, are accusing prosecutors of building their case on a foundation of lies and law-enforcement bias against medical marijuana.

"I don't believe a jury of California citizens will find the conduct of these two people was in any way criminal", said defense attorney Laurence Lichter following the arraignment June 22 of Dr. Marion "Mollie" Fry and husband and attorney Dale Schafer.

Fry and Schafer return to federal court at 9 a.m. on July 22 for a status conference before U.S. District Court Judge Garland Burrell.

Dr. Fry and Schafer contend that El Dorado law-enforcement officials encouraged the couple to open a medical-marijuana practice consistent with state law, and then conspired with federal anti-drug officials to enforce federal law, in direct violation of their state constitutional duty. Further, the couple adamantly denies the allegations raised by a prosecution witness, someone they believe traded false accusations in return for leniency from prosecutors.

Any trial will revolve around the issue of whether or not Fry and Schafer were protected by federal law during the period that the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club case was before the courts.

On the morning of June 22, El Dorado County Sheriff's deputies stopped and arrested Dr. Marion "Mollie"  Fry on her way to her medical office in Cool, where she has operated a cannabis-consulting practice since August, 1999. At the same time, El Dorado deputies took Fry's husband, attorney Dale Schafer, into custody at the couple's Greenwood home. After handcuffing Fry, 49, and Schafer, 51, the deputies turned the pair over to agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, who transported them to the Federal Courthouse in Sacramento.

At the arraignment later that day, the U.S. Attorney's Office unsealed an indictment handed down by a federal grand jury a week earlier, accusing Fry and Schafer of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and conspiracy to grow 100+ plants with known and unknown persons. Each of the two felony counts carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison up to 40 years, a $2 million fine and four years of supervised release.

At the hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter A. Nowinski agreed to release Fry and Schafer on a $25,000 unsecured bond apiece. At the urging of Asst. U.S. Attorney Anne Pings, neither will be allowed to use marijuana, or the FDA-approved Marinol, while awaiting trial. Dr. Fry and Schafer pled not guilty and agreed to abide by the bail conditions. Outside the courthouse,
Lichter blasted the U.S. Attorney's Office for prosecuting Fry and Schafer for actions that were legal at the time under federal law.

"My clients are being tried under the new law for behavior conducted under the old law", Lichter said.

The arrest of Fry and Schafer followed a four-year investigation, highlighted by the DEA's search of the couple's Greenwood home, office and a storage facility on Sept. 28, 2001. The DEA seized the medical records of an estimated 6,000 patients, and confiscated 32 cannabis plants and an amount of processed marijuana from their residence. Schafer and Fry were both allowed to use medical cannabis under the law in California. At the time, Schafer was campaigning for the office of El Dorado County District Attorney, and eventually finished third in the race won by incumbent District Attorney Gary Lacy.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento met with Fry and Schafer previously in a pre-indictment conference, but was unable to persuade the couple to accept a plea agreement. Schafer said prosecutors broke their promise to allow the couple to surrender if an indictment was issued in an apparent attempt to humiliate the professional couple.

"We would have come down here, but they showed up instead with guns and handcuffs", said Schafer, who was cooking breakfast for his children when the El Dorado deputies and DEA agents arrived at his doorstep.

Fry and Schafer contend that they opened the California Medical Research Center after El Dorado County Narcotics Office Tim McNulty asked for their help in determining who in the county were valid medical-marijuana patients, and who were not. A deputy district attorney had also inspected the couple's personal cannabis garden to see that it complied with the county's standard. Fry and Schafer helped negotiate the county's 10-plant guideline along with other members of the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis.

Schafer, who advised Doctor Fry's clients on the legalities of medical marijuana, maintains that El Dorado law-enforcement officials are bound by the California Constitution, namely Article 3, Section 3.5, to uphold a state law that conflicts with federal law, unless it is overturned at the appellate level. No public or private interest has sued to overturn Prop. 215, so California peace officers are duty bound to uphold the controversial measure.

"You can't work hand in hand with the feds and, yet, have a constitutional obligation to support the state law when it conflicts with federal law", Schafer said. "That's entrapment by estoppel".

However, at the same time local authorities were ostensibly cooperating with Fry, Schafer and other El Dorado County medical users, the county's application for federal marijuana-suppression funds painted a starkly different portrait. In a 90-day Status Report for the county's 2000-01 Byrne Memorial Grant of $171,100, El Dorado Sheriff's Lt. William Whealton identified the couple's cannabis consultations as "a sham" and questioned the validity of their patients medical needs. Here is an excerpt:
"In El Dorado County, we experienced an attorney/doctor team that specialized in helping 'patients' obtain the certificate that enabled them to grow marijuana under Proposition 215. This team then would supply the 'patients' with marijuana. They also conducted seminars in the growing and cultivation of marijuana. The process of obtaining a certificate was such a sham that we were able to send undercover officers into the office without medical records and obtain the certificate".  ["Patients" quote marks in original.

To convince a jury Schafer and Fry must persuade them to reject the testimony of two former employees. According to Schafer, the employees stole patient recommendations, and engaged in illicit activities they later blamed on Fry and Schafer.

"We weren't selling marijuana out of our office, that's an outright lie", insisted Schafer. "We've been smeared for years by what these snitches claimed we were doing".

Law enforcement remains antagonistic toward medical cannabis. Agents denied Schafer the right to take his pain medication before arresting him and as a hemophiliac he was forced to have a costly infusion due to internal bleeding caused by the ankle cuffs the couple were forced to wear during their entire incarceration of over six and a half hours on June 22nd. Upon release that day, Dr. Fry was devastated to learn that federal marshalls had lost her wedding ring and the crucifix the devout Catholic wears on a necklace.

Fry and Schafer are native Californians who led exemplary lives before coming to the attention of law enforcement. Fry, who earned her medical degree from the University of California at Irvine, comes from a family with a long tradition of practicing medicine. In fact, her grandfather, Francis Marion Pottinger was a leading expert in the treatment of tuberculosis decades before an effective treatment was developed and he employed the use of Cannabis before it was deemed to be illegal. Dr. Mollie Fry is a breast cancer survivor, having undergone a double mastectomy 10 years ago. Fry and Schafer have five children with three still at home.

Please show your support for Prop. 215, SB 420 and the Doctors, Patients and Lawyers who continue to uphold the Law in California and in so doing affirm the will of the People of California.

Rally at the Federal Courthouse, 501 I St., Sacramento this Friday morning, July 22nd, 2005 at 9AM.

We encourage you to bring signs that say things like "My Vote Counts", "Yes on 215", "Compassion Yes, Incarceration No", "Free My Doctor".

Donations to the Fry/Schafer Defense Fund can be sent to P.O.Box 634, Cool, CA. 95614

####################
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appearances, check out "NORML in the Media" at:


                                                                        ###

Feds Raid El Dorado County Medical Cannabis Center (Updated Nov. 14, 2001)

Cool, CA. Sep 28. In the first federal raid of a medical cannabis clinic, DEA agents raided the office and home of Dr. Marion "Mollie" Fry and her attorney husband, Dale Schafer, directors of the California Medical Research Center in El Dorado County, seizing all of their patient records.

The CMRC provided medical recommendations and legal consultations for over 6,000 Prop. 215 patients in California. The government is now holding all of their records for further investigation.

DEA agents also seized 33 plants and processed marijuana belonging to Dr. Fry, who is herself a breast cancer patient. Dr. Fry says that she and her 14-year-old son were thrown to the ground at gunpoint and handcuffed while agents ransacked their house.

No charges have been filed yet, pending further investigation. The government has indicated that it is interested in prosecuting Fry and Schafer, not their patients. It contends that the couple helped patients obtain marijuana in violation of federal law by selling recommendations as well as cultivating and distributing it from their garden.

Schafer admits that he provided marijuana for some sixty patients prior to the Supreme Court decision, acting in the capacity of a legal Prop. 215 caregiver. He says that he supplied it free to those who were poor and charged $80 per ounce (one-fourth the regular black market price) to the others to pay for the costs of a gardener.

Although the U.S. district court in San Francisco has issued an injunction barring the DEA from going after physicians for recommending marijuana, the order does not apply to cases involving manufacture or distribution. Also, Attorney General Ashcroft has appealed the injunction to the Ninth Circuit in the hopes of opening up yet more federal prosecutions of doctors.

A federal court denied a motion by defense attorney J. David Nick to have the CMRC's records returned, ruling that they were not protected by attorney-client or physician-patient privilege. U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell overruled an order by U.S. Magistrate Gregory Holllows that the records first be reviewed by an independent special master to screen out personal medical information in the patients' files. Burrell ruled that the government could review all of the information it pleased, insofar as there was no indication that the CMRC was engaged in any lawful business. Defense attorney J. David Nick has appealed Burrell's ruling to the Ninth Circuit.

The detention of Fry's records has jeopardized the legal status of her many patients. Some law enforcement officers have refused to honor her recommendations because she no longer has her files to confirm them.

The federal investigation of the CMRC had its origins in another, sizable cultivation case last year involving former employees and patients of Fry and Schafer. One of them turned informant and claimed that the couple were selling marijuana. The government put their office under electronic surveillance, and claims to have got a recording in which Dr. Fry told patients they could buy clones for $5. However, agents were turned down when they tried to buy pot from the center.

U.S. prosecutor Anne Pings described the CMRC as a criminal enterprise, permeated with fraud." However, Schafer and Fry insist that they were trying their best to comply with state law. Schafer says he consulted with the Attorney General's office and the Medical Board before opening the CMRC, although they were unable to offer concrete guidelines. The center opened in 1999 and attracted a large clientele through advertising and the Internet (www.cannabisdoctor.com). Schafer says the CMRC enjoyed a good relationship with El Dorado County narcotics deputies, who told him they would not have raided it except for federal orders.

"This is so much bigger than medical marijuana," says Dr. Fry, "The voters of California passed this law by referendum and have every right to expect it would be respected."

DONATIONS AND SUPPORT:

Mollie Fry and Dale Schafer Legal Defense Fund
PO Box 634
Cool CA 95614
(530) 823-0992

http://www.canorml.org/news/molliefryraided.html  

United States v. Noah Kleinman (2011-present)

posted Jun 2, 2014, 12:13 PM by The Editor   [ updated Jun 2, 2014, 12:22 PM ]

The Obama administration's tactic against medical marijuana in California has been to have US Attorneys send letters threatening landlords with property forfeiture for renting their property to dispensaries deemed too close to "sensitive areas" such as schools and parks. In October 2011, as another round of federal assaults on medical cannabis providers was launched, a criminal indictment was unsealed against the operators of the North Hollywood, CA medical marijuana collective NoHo Caregivers. The dispensary was closed at the time of the indictment; the actions of the defendants had been monitored via a set of government-owned encrypted Blackberry devices during 2008 and 2009. Co-defendants Paul Montoya, Kathy Thabet, James Stanley, and Bryant Watson agreed to testify for the prosecution in exchange for a plea deal on a reduced set of charges.

Knowing his actions to be legal under state law, (namely, the voter-approved California ballot initiative Proposition 215), Noah refused cave to federal pressure to accept a plea deal. Read his own words below:

As of April 8th the government has offered me this crazy deal basically sign a guilty plea and get a 10 years in federal prison  (btw they actually are recanting this email they sent to my defense team saying they made a mistake, if I sign they can ask for more than 10 years as ten years is the mandatory minimum)  or go to trial and if I lose get  292-365 months 24.3- 30.41 years.  Below is a copy of the letter.

April 8, 2014
VIA U.S. MAIL; E-MAIL
Allison Margolin
J. Raza Lawrence
8484 Wilshire Boulevard
Suite 440
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Re: United States v. Noah Kleinman,
CR No.11-893(A)-ODW

Dear Ms. Margolin and Mr. Lawrence:
In the event that your client pleads guilty under the terms previously discussed with you,the government would propose and advocate that he receive a sentence of ten years imprisonment (the statutory mandatory minimum), pursuant to the draft plea agreement.

In the event that a trial takes place and he is convicted, here is the sentencing guidelines calculation for which the United States will advocate:
Base offense level: 32 (U.S.S.G. 2D1.1(c)(4) (more than 1,000 kgs)
Role adjustment: +4 (U.S.S.G. 3B1.1(a) (organizer, leader)
Specific offense characteristics: +2 (U.S.S.G. 2D1.1(b)(12)) (maintaining premises for the purpose of distribution)
+2 (U.S.S.G. 2D1.1(b)(14) (livelihood, pattern of conduct)
Total adjusted offense level: 40 = 292-365 months (Criminal History Category I)

This is a huge difference "“ more than twice the amount of time the government is offering -- and I wanted to make sure that this is understood in the context of the proposed plea agreement.

In addition, because this appears to be a point of contention, it is important that your client understand that it is clear from the case law that defendant need not be the sole organizer or leader of the drug trafficking organization in order to warrant the upward adjustment so long as he is one of the organizers or leaders with respect to five or more individuals. The facts here, as illustrated by the email evidence and the testimony of the witnesses, will demonstrate that your client played a supervisory role regarding more than five people. For this reason, we believe that he will be subject to the four-level enhancement in his guidelines range as shown above.

By this letter, I am specifically requesting that you make clear to your client the possible consequences of the failure to accept the plea offer.
If you believe that this calculation is in error, have any questions, or wish to discuss it further, please feel free to contact me.
Very truly yours,

ANDRÉ BIROTTE
United States Attorney

/s/

JULIE J. SHEMITZ
Assistant United States Attorney
Organized Crime Drug Enforcement
Task Force Section

Noah Kleinman is currently in jury trial at the Untied States Federal Courthouse, 312 N. Spring St., Los Angeles. Community support for our brother bravely exercising his Constitutional right to a jury trial has been strong. Please join us this week.

Last updated June 2, 2014 by Lex Libreman for United States v. Marijuana.

Sources:

Clough, Craig. "Feds Raid North Hollywood Area Pot Shop and Charge 6 From Another With Drug Trafficking." North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch. Patch.com, 8 Oct. 2011. Web. 02 June 2014. <http://northhollywood.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/feds-raid-north-hollywood-area-pot-shop-and-charge-6-20223672c1>.

Kleinman, Noah. "Help End Federal Marijuana Prohibition!" Go Fund Me. GoFundMe.com, 15 Apr. 2014. Web. 02 June 2014. <http://www.gofundme.com/endmarijuanaprohibition>.

"OBAMA ADMINISTRATION RAMPS UP WAR ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA, ATTACKS DISPENSARIES IN "SENSITIVE AREAS" WITH PROPERTY FORFEITURE." California NORML. CANORML.org, 6 Oct. 2011. Web. 2 June 2014. <http://www.canorml.org/news/fedMAMM.html>

United States v. Roger Christie (2010-present, Hawai'i)

posted Jun 11, 2013, 4:16 AM by The Editor   [ updated Jun 11, 2013, 5:17 AM ]

As of June 2013, Roger Christie has been held without bail in federal custody for over three years.  He is currently incarcerated at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center awaiting trial:

Roger Christie #99279-022
FDC Honolulu
P.O. Box 30080
Honolulu, HI  96820

Roger Christie is a commercial pilot, former US Army conscientious objector who refused his orders to serve in Vietnam, and longtime drug policy reform advocate.  As a resident of Big Island, Hawaii, he co-founded the Hawai'i Hemp Council and the Hawaiian Hemp Company. By 1991, he had one of the first retail hemp stores in the world. In June, 2000, he was ordained as a minister through the Universal Life Church and founded the THC Ministry as a cannabis sacrament minister.  In 2004 and 2008, Christie ran for mayor of Hawai'i County.

Christie ran the THC Ministry in Hilo, Hawaii for ten years.  For a $50 donation, a person could become a “Practitioner” and receive a plaque, an “affidavit of religious use”, two ID cards, and seven “Sacramental Plant Tags”. For $250, the donor would get a “Sanctuary Kit” which also included the “THC Minsitry Cannabis and Religion Guide."

On March 20, 2010, Federal agents raided the downtown Hilo sanctuary of Christie's Hawaii Cannabis Ministry, assisted by local police.  Christie said authorities spent about seven hours searching his home and ministry, starting around 6 a.m. The Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Postal Inspector and U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service were involved in the search. 

A three-count sealed indictment in June 2010 charged Christie with conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 100 marijuana plants, manufacturing marijuana and possession with the intent to distribute 240 marijuana plants.  According to court documents, authorities also confiscated approximately 845 grams of processed marijuana in the Wainaku apartment and more than $34,000 cash from the apartment and a bank safe deposit box. The money and the apartment face possible federal forfeiture.  Christie allegedly provided a daily average of one half pound of cannabis to 60 to 70 spiritual customers each day, or about 180 pounds (82 kg) per year.

Christie was arrested on Thursday July 8, 2010, along with 13 others from the Big Island.  The arrests culminated a two-year investigation by federal and county law enforcement during which they seized 2,296 marijuana plants, nine weapons, 33 pounds of processed marijuana, more than $21,000 cash and four properties.  He was taken to Oahu, where he was incarcerated at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center. All other detainees were speedily released on bail or signature bond before trial. But Hawaii Federal District Court Judge Alan Kay ruled that Christie must remain in federal custody until his trial, because Christie represents a “danger to the community.” Judge Kay's ruling was upheld by 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.  Christie is being represented by a public defender.

Continuing the family tradition of civic leadership, Roger's wife Share Christie ran for Mayor of Hawai'i County in 2012.  Hawaiian senators Russell Ruderman and Will Espero have called for Roger Christie's release from prison pending trial; both senators visited Roger Christie at the Honolulu FDC on April 3, 2013.  Sen. Ruderman has stated, “I have known Roger for over 25 years. He is one of the most peaceful persons I know. To anyone who knows him, the claim that he is a danger to the community is absurd.”

Christie’s trial was set for January 23, 2013; however, on Jan. 17, 2013, a federal grand jury in Honolulu returned an updated indictment with additional counts of marijuana sales in 2008 and failure to file a tax return in 2008 and 2009.  Christie’s trial on federal drug trafficking charges has been set for July 23, 2013; he faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.  Six co-defendants have already made plea deals with the prosecution to cooperate with authorities.

Last updated June 11, 2013 by Lex Libreman for WEED WARS: United States v. Marijuana.

Sources:

Blair, Chad. "No Christmas in Hilo for Roger Christie." Civilbeat.com. Honolulu Civil Beat, 19 Dec. 2012. Web. 11 June 2013. <http://www.civilbeat.com/articles/2011/12/19/14142-no-christmas-in-hilo-for-roger-christie/>.

Christie, Roger. "History, Beliefs and Practices of the THC Ministry." THC Ministry: The Hawai'i Cannabis Ministry. THC-Ministry.org, n.d. Web. 11 June 2013. <http://www.thc-ministry.org/?page_id=362>.

Christie, Share. "Please Vote *Christie For Mayor* on August 11th!" The Last Marijuana Trial. The Last Marijuana Trial, 13 July 2012. Web. 11 June 2013. <http://the-last-marijuana-trial.com/please-vote-christie-for-mayor-on-august-11th/>.

Lincoln, Mileka. "Hawaii Senators Seek Release of Roger Christie - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL." HawaiiNewsNow.com. Hawaii News Now, 22 Mar. 2013. Web. 11 June 2013. <http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/21769496/hawaii-senators-seek-release-of-roger-christie>.

"Roger Christie." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 31 May 2013. Web. 11 June 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Christie>.

State of New Hampshire v. Rich Paul (2010 arrest, Cheshire County, NH)

posted Jun 11, 2013, 1:06 AM by The Editor   [ updated Jun 11, 2013, 2:39 AM ]

New Hampshire liberty activist Rich Paul freely admits that in May 2012, he delivered multiple ounces of marijuana to a confidential informant, leading to his arrest by the Keene, NH, police department.  Instead of being booked for a crime, Mr. Paul was interrogated by an FBI special agent who threatened him with 81 years in prison for the sale of controlled substances, while at the same time offering the suspect a "one time only" deal to drop the charges in exchange for entrapping other members of the Keene Activist Center by wearing a wire during felony drug transactions. 

Viewing the FBI special agent's offer as entrapment of peaceful liberty-minded citizens, Mr. Paul refused the deal and invoked his right to legal counsel.  He was booked and released from jail on his own recognizance (O.R.), to be later indicted on four charges of selling marijuana and one of selling a substance alleged to be LSD (which Mr. Paul claims was a legal hallucinogenic).

Immediately prior to his April 2013 trial, Rich Paul refused a "no jail time" plea deal, insisting publicly that he was not guilty because drug prohibition laws are inherently unconstitutional.  United States juries have the power to nullify, or vote "not guilty" on charges they believe to be unjust or immoral.  Jury nullification is the power of the people to change "bad laws" by refusing to convict.  In fact, New Hampshire has a 2012 law permitting defense attorneys to inform juries of their right to "judge the application of the law in relationship to the facts in controversy." 

Relying on this law, and his belief in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, Rich Paul took his case to trial.  “Somebody had to stand up and say that this is wrong, and I thought I might well be that guy,” Rich told Vice magazine. “I took the risk and now we'll find out whether I bet my life well.”

On the advice of his public defender, Mr. Paul did not take the stand at trial to testify on his own behalf.  In her instructions to the jury, defense attorney Kim Kassick quoted Socrates, "To find yourself, think for yourself," and explained that, "If you feel that it is unjust to apply the law to him, you can acquit him."   In his instructions to the jury, Judge John C. Kissinger emphasized that the jury had to follow the law as he explained it.  The judge did not permit any mention of jury nullification in the official jury instructions.

After a three-day trial, the jury returned a guilty verdict on all charges, with a maximum penalty of 100 years in prison.  In June 2013, Rich Paul was sentenced to 12 months in jail, plus a suspended prison sentence, plus probation of three years, plus a $650 fine. 

Rich Paul is appealing his conviction on the grounds that the jury was denied knowledge of their power to decide the law shouldn’t be applied in particular cases. He was denied bail pending appeal and is currently serving his sentence in the Cheshire County Department of Corrections.

Last updated June 11, 2013 by Lex Libreman for WEED WARS: United States v. Marijuana.

Sources:

Rich Paul Full Trial Video by FreeKeene

Cheadle, Harry. "Eighty-One Years for Weed?" VICE.com. Vice Media Inc., 16 Apr. 2013. Web. <http://www.vice.com/read/eighty-one-years-for-weed>.

Cheadle, Harry. "Rich Paul Is Appealing His 81-Year Prison Sentence for Selling Pot." VICE.com. Vice Media Inc., 29 May 2013. Web. <http://www.vice.com/read/rich-paul-is-appealing-his-81-year-prison-sentence-for-selling-pot>.

French, Wendy. "Rich Paul, from Trial to Appeal and Beyond." FreeKeene.com. Free Keene: Peaceful Evolution, 3 May 2013. Web. <http://freekeene.com/2013/05/03/rich-paul-from-trial-to-appeal-and-beyond/>.

Lynch, Tim. "Jury Nullification Law Signed by New Hampshire Governor." PoliceMisconduct.net. CATO Institute, 27 June 2012. Web. <http://www.policemisconduct.net/jury-nullification-law-signed-new-hampshire-governor/>.

Paul, Rich. "Arrested Activist Blackmailed by FBI, Fights Back!" Web log post. Facebook.com/rich.paul.freeman.  Facebook, 10 Apr. 2013. Web.  <https://www.facebook.com/notes/rich-paul-freeman/activist-entrapped-blackmailed-by-fbi-fights-back-part-1/372899792823749>.

Schlessinger, James B., Jr. "The Growth Operation for Freedom." Cannabis Culture. Cannabis Culture Marijuana Magazine, 9 Apr. 2010. Web. <http://www.cannabisculture.com/content/2010/04/09/Growth-Operation-Freedom>.

Taylor, Adam. "Pot Activist Risking Life In Jail Says He's A Victim Of FBI Persecution." Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc., 6 June 2013. Web.  <http://www.businessinsider.com/rich-paul-says-fbi-targeted-libertarians-2013-6>.



State of California v. Sister Somayah Kambui

posted Feb 22, 2013, 2:48 PM by The Editor   [ updated Jun 6, 2013, 2:22 AM ]

Medical marijuana pioneer Sister Somayah Kambui publicized the use of hempseed oil and cannabis to treat sickle-cell anemia.  Sickle-cell anemia is a debilitating disease in which round red blood cells get deformed into a "sickle" shape, blocking blood vessels, causing intense pain, and damaging organs due to lack of oxygen.  Sickle-cell disease rarely affects anyone without African ancestry; as such it primarly strikes the African American community and is largely unknown by the American public at large.

There is no cure for sickle-cell anemia; morphine is the standard treatment for the debilitating pain of the disease.  The use of morphine has produced thousands of medical junkies.  Marijuana, however, works as a vasodilator, opening up the blood vessels, allowing the hook-shaped cells to move freely.  Marijuana also provides analgesic pain relief in addition to physically relieving the blockage in the blood vessels. If marijuana is substituted for opiate-based medicines, patients can obtain more effective relief and avoid narcotics addiction.

A veteran of the U.S. Air Force and the Black Panther Party, Sister Somayah Kambui received treatment for sickle-cell disease at the local hospital, where she would drink a small cup of morphine, then be told to come back in two days for another dose.  "I couldn't do anything on the morph," Sister told High Times reporter Peter Gorman. "And neither can a million other people. That's why you see so many middle aged and older black folk sitting on stoops looking like junkies.

"They are junkies. They're US government junkies."

According to Peter Gorman, who received an education in the disease from Sister Somayah, "About one out of 12 African-Americans carries the recessive gene that causes it; the gene apparently helped carriers survive malaria." 

Kacj Herer & Sister Somayah - 2002 Los Angeles Global Marijuana March

It has passed largely under the radar of medical marijuana activists, but as a California resident with the benefits of Proposition 215, Sister Somayah was able to establish the patients' group Crescent Alliance Self-Help for Sickle Cell to provide marijuana to other sufferers of the ailment.

Sister Somayah was raided five times for marijuana cultivation following the passage of Proposition 215. Her backyard garden was uprooted and seized twice in 2001.  After her acquittal by a jury on all felony charges in early 2002, her garden was again raided by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).  After she lost her garden and spent painful days in jail without her medicine, the D.A. declined to press charges. Another raid of Sister Somayah's garden prior to the harvest in September of 2002 left her without cannabis or hemp oil, resulting in a flareup of sickle-cell symptoms that put her in the hospital on morphine for two weeks.

In October 2003, Sister Somayah's garden was raided by the DEA and a dozen plants were uprooted, with no charges immediately filed.  California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer denounced the raid as a "mean-spirited, gratuitous attack on a seriously ill woman who has been judged guiltless by her peers under California law.  Like other victims of DEA's medical marijuana raids, Somayah was targeted because she was a vocal, legal patient activist who was a thorn in the side of the law enforcement establishment."

Sister Somayah Kambui produced the first Los Angeles Global Marijuana March with fellow activists in 1999, acting as executive producer of all subsequent marches until her death in 2008.

Rest in peace, Sister Somayah Kambui.

Last updated February 22, 2013 by Lex Libreman for WEED WARS: United States v. Marijuana.

Sister Somayah's Original Tune to the District Attorney

Sources:

California NORML. DEA Raids MMJ Garden of L.A. Patient Sister Somayah. CANORML.org. California National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, 18 Oct. 2003. Web. 22 Feb. 2013. <http://www.canorml.org/news/Somayahdeabust.html>.

California NORML. LA Jury Acquits Sister Somayah of Medical Marijuana Charge. CANORML.org. California National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, 18 Mar. 2002. Web. 22 Feb. 2013. <http://www.canorml.org/news/somayahacquitted.html>.

Gorman, Peter. "Med-Pot Activist Sister Somayah Kambui In Hot Water Again" Hightimes.com. High Times, 12 June 2002. Web. 22 Feb. 2013. <http://hightimes.com/news/ht_admin/316>.

Gorman, Peter. "SISTER SOMAYAH KAMBUI: Burning the Bush for Sickle Cell." Hightimes.com. High Times, 17 Dec. 2002. Web. 22 Feb. 2013. <http://hightimes.com/news/ht_admin/757>.

Hardin, J. Nayer. "Our Sister Somayah Kambui Is Gone?" Web log post. Hemp For Victory Now!, 29 Nov. 2008. Web. 22 Feb. 2013. <http://h4v.blogspot.com/2008/11/our-sister-somayah-kambui-is-gone.html>.


State of California v. Martin and LaVonne Victor (Temecula, CA)

posted Feb 22, 2013, 2:33 PM by The Editor   [ updated Feb 25, 2013, 1:02 AM ]

July 18th, 2002. In a unanimous ruling, the California Supreme Court granted medical marijuana patients powerful legal protection against state prosecution for possession and cultivation of marijuana. The court ruled that Prop. 215 is more than just a criminal defense but also provides qualified immunity from prosecution, and that defendants must be found guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt," not merely by "preponderance of evidence," a weaker standard that had previously been used by the courts.

A critical issue left unresolved by Mower is how much marijuana patients may cultivate or possess. In one of the first post-Mower trials in the state, patients Martin and LaVonne Victor of Temecula were denied a pre-trial dismissal by Judge James Warren on account of the fact that the amount of marijuana they had harvested (between 8 and 21 pounds) created a reasonable doubt as to whether they intended to sell it. The Victors say they had never grown marijuana before, and were told by police they could grow 15 plants. Having done so, they say the plants yielded more than expected. A defense fund has been established to cover the costs of their jury trial: Victors’ Legal Defense Fund, c/o MAPP, PO Box 739, Palm Springs CA 92263.

Information courtesy of CANORML.org.

State of California v. Jason Browne (2002, Sonoma County, CA)

posted Feb 22, 2013, 2:33 PM by The Editor   [ updated Feb 25, 2013, 12:50 AM ]

July 18th, 2002. In a unanimous ruling, the California Supreme Court granted medical marijuana patients powerful legal protection against state prosecution for possession and cultivation of marijuana. The court ruled that Prop. 215 is more than just a criminal defense but also provides qualified immunity from prosecution.

Patient cultivator Jason Browne has filed a complaint against Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies Steven Gossett and Andrea Salas for raiding and destroying his medical garden on July 18th, the same day as the Mower decision. Browne, who had been involved in efforts to establish legal medical gardens in Humboldt County, charges that the deputies falsified his record to obtain the search warrant, wrongly claiming that he had been arrested and charged for prior marijuana violations.

Information courtesy of CANORML.org.

State of California v. Marvin Chavez (1999-20??, Orange County, CA)

posted Feb 22, 2013, 2:23 PM by The Editor   [ updated Feb 22, 2013, 2:32 PM ]

July 18th, 2002. In a unanimous ruling, the California Supreme Court granted medical marijuana patients powerful legal protection against state prosecution for possession and cultivation of marijuana. The court ruled that Prop. 215 is more than just a criminal defense but also provides qualified immunity from prosecution, and that defendants must be found guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt," not merely by "preponderance of evidence," a weaker standard that had previously been used by the courts.

The Mower decision was of no help to Prop. 215 patient Marvin Chavez, who was ordered back to state prison after a court turned down his sentencing appeal. Chavez, the founder of the Orange County Cannabis Cooperative, had been sentenced to six years in 1999 for selling small amounts of marijuana to two narcotics agents posing as patients, but was released on bail pending appeal in 2000. He was sentenced by Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Borris [...] remains at large despite having wrecked his car while driving with twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system. Chavez has another 20 to 24 months left to serve.

Information courtesy of CANORML.org.

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