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United States v. Vernon Rylee (2003-2010, Trinity County)

posted Jan 29, 2013, 9:50 PM by The Editor   [ updated Jan 31, 2013, 12:41 AM ]
The case of Vernon Rylee shows the cold reality that no one is too sick to be imprisoned by the federal government. A northern California medical marijuana patient and caregiver, Rylee was initially arrested in August 2003 on charges of cultivating over a thousand marijuana plants. After replanting his garden the following year, the bust repeated itself, but this time with federal agents confiscating the plants. In October 2005, the Trinity County District Attorney dismissed the state charges against Rylee and promptly handed the case over to the U.S. Attorney for prosecution.

Pending trial in his federal case, Rylee was held at the Sacramento County Jail, where the wheelchair-bound inmate claims he was continually deprived of prescription medications for diabetes, blood pressure and pain from a crippling back injury. His health deteriorated so severely that he ended up being transferred to a medical facility in Texas for intensive care in early 2006, around which time he accepted a plea deal offered by the prosecution for up to 60 months in federal prison. Rylee was incarcerated until 2010. According to his daughter, he is unable to read or write very well, but he appreciated receiving mail and supporters were encouraged to send messages nonetheless.

Last updated December 21, 2010 by Vanessa Nelson for (now defunct).