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Luke Scarmazzo POW #63131-097

posted Jan 28, 2013, 5:12 AM by The Editor   [ updated Jan 28, 2013, 5:16 AM ]

Luke Scarmazzo #63131-097
USP Lompoc
3901 Klein Road
Lompoc, CA 93436

After the City of Modesto failed to shut down the California Healthcare Collective by banning dispensaries, the DEA was called in.  After a 15-month investigation, the DEA and Modesto Police Department raided CHC and arrested four staff members of the collective.

Beyond his local circle, the first impression of Luke Scarmazzo was that of a talented young rapper who brags about "incorporating dope" and conspicuously flips off the U.S. government in his debut music video. The release of the video came just a month before federal agents stormed into the California Healthcare Collective.

Even though Luke claims that his music and his work at the CHC were separate, government prosecutors explicitly intertwined them by playing the music video during the federal trial. Defense attorneys protested that move, saying it was highly prejudicial for the jury to watch a video where Luke utters obscenities, portrays drug-dealing scenes and raps about threatened violence.

In mid-May of 2008, the jury returned guilty verdicts for the manufacture of over a hundred marijuana plants, and also for various counts of possession with the intent to distribute. But the life-shattering conviction was on another count – running a continuing criminal enterprise – which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years and the possibility of life behind bars. Due to the severity of the penalties, Luke was immediately booked into Fresno County Jail to await his fate. During a hearing in November 2008, Luke was sentenced to 21 years and ten months in federal prison.
I gave medical cannabis to the seriously ill. I did not do so out of lawlessness or lack of respect for the law, but was authorized to do so under state law.
~Luke Scarmazzo,
January 2011
before the 9th  Circuit Court of Appeal


My sentence was decided when I was eight years old.
~Luke Scarmazzo,
referencing 1988 mandatory minimum sentencing legislation passed by Congress
 

I accept responsibility in the same way the government should accept responsibility for taking away these rights, but I will still be moved by compassion and against unjust law.

~Luke Scarmazzo,
January 2011
before the 9th  Circuit Court of Appeal
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