August 30, 1996
I've changed my mind, again. Sorry. I would like a copy of your original DEA Petition for an exemption and the appeal stuff. The reason is that, regardless of the outcome of my case, I think my Sacred Mushroom Church has a real chance for an exemption - since Psilocybe mushrooms are situated much more similarly to peyote than marijuana. Besides, I have used them as a religious sacrament for 22 years and it's about time I was able to do so legally.
We plan to incorporate our church also. Having your original Petition, etc., would guide me in the process I need to follow. I think my argument has a much better chance than marijuana, as, from the Spanish Inquisition on, peyote and mushrooms have been used and persecuted/prosecuted together. I think the religious use history, medical safety (Psilocybin is THE SAFEST HALLUCINOGEN, 10 TIMES SAFER THAN MESCALINE; AND MUCH LESS TOXIC, EVEN, THAN THC), and "pervasiveness" of actual use in the U.S. is so close to that of peyote that we'd really be in good shape under the RFRA of 1993.
So, if it isn't too much of a problem, I would like the copies you said you'd make.
This doesn't cancel the other items my last letter raised on the FIJA stuff. If a new trial is necessary, I will want to raise, not only the religious freedom issue, but want the jury to be "fully informed."
I have Jonathan Ott (PHARMACOTHEON, AGE OF ENTHEOGENS, HALLUCINOGENIC PLANTS OF NORTH AMERICA, and other books) lined up to come from Mexico as on Expert Witness. Also, Dr. John Beresford, retired Psychiatrist who did psilocybin experiments in the '60s, and now heads The Committee on Unjust Sentencing and The Albert Hoffmann Museum will be an Expert Witness. I'm hoping for others, perhaps even Dr. Hoffmann, although his age, 93, might preclude his being able to come. (He's close to both Dr. Beresford & Jonathan Ott)
I'm proceeding as if the new trial will be necessary. Better to be prepared. And I am getting ready to do a first class trial - and represent myself. The motions are done, with supporting briefs, and I'm studying on trial presentation, objections, cross examinations, etc. I'm preparing a trial notebook a'la F. Lee Bailey. And with the cops & prosecutors destroying all 4,860 Mason jars of cultures, (knowing & ADMITTING I said I was growing many types of mushrooms), 2 weeks after I got in their jail, but before I could ask for preservation and independent testing - then lying on the stand about a "court order" to destroy the jars when it was the prosecutor who told the cops to destroy them - well, Mark Furman will look like a saint when I get through with the Quad City MEG officers who lied and the prosecutor who let them!
No Iowa choo-choo train trial this time, my friend. Oh, I'd take a stand-by counsel to help - but I am going pro se. Jury voir dire will be extensive this time. Discovery motions, jury questionnaire motion & 75 sample questionnaire, etc., etc., are all typed and ready to go.
They probably will decide not to even retry me at first glance of all the motions. And each one is proper - not "frivolous" or like most "jail-house" lawyers do. But then I am a trained paralegal. I should have represented myself the first time - but, in county jail, there was no way to prepare. Here in Anamosa ... I've got afternoons and all day Thursdays and Fridays and have been using the time in the law library and on the typewriters. It has been my only activity. Then, in my cell, I study for trial presentation - the one area of law I wasn't trained in at paralegal school. Lists of questions for "cross," for me "Experts," exhibits, order of proof, etc., will all be in the trial notebook - ready to go. And, I've got the luxury of the first trial's transcripts to prepare with. All they have to present I've got time to prepare to counter.
Well, I rattled on for more than you probably wanted to read. Thanks for all the help. Let me know about the FIJA stuff when you send the "EXEMPTION" stuff. I can't tell you how big a help you've been. Hope we get to meet someday - I'm sure we will ....