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... a weekly service for the media on news items related to Marijuana Prohibition.

February 16, 1995

Michigan Lawyer Still Being Persecuted By The Feds
After Serving Eight Months In Prison For
ONE Joint!

        February 16, Bay City, Michigan, in the latest twist in a federal marijuana case involving attorney Edward Czuprynski, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, all fifteen judges, ruled en banc that a search of Czuprynski's law office and home was constitutional.
        Czuprynski was federally indicted in May, 1992 for 1.6 grams of marijuana [about a joint -ed.].  Following a trial, he was sentenced to serve a whopping 14 months in a federal penitentiary.  After eight months, however, a panel of three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals ordered Czuprynski's release from prison in July of 1993 and ruled in his favor four months later on constitutional grounds, the first of seven issues Czuprynski raised on appeal.
        Upon the government's appeal, the full court's recent decision examined only one raised constitutional issue and sent the case back to the original three judge panel to review and rule on the remaining six issues.
        In the 11-4 split decision, the dissenting justices commented that they "can not condone the type of prosecutorial overkill that has taken place here," adding that "it only points out the great expense of this court's time and resources in hearing a case en banc [which involves] such an insignificant amount of marijuana."
        Czuprynski said he is considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and has secured the commitment from the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Lawyers Guild to support his effort.
        Czuprynski commented that "I may have lost the latest battle, but I'm confident I'll win this war," adding that, "the conviction against me resulted from a real railroading that trampled all over my rights."

        [For further information on this truly bizarre case, contact attorney Edward Czuprynski at 517-894-1155.  The U.S. Attorneys Office that is prosecuting [persecuting -ed.] Mr. Czuprynski can be reached for comment at 517-895-5712.]

U.S. House Resolution 97 -- Seeks To Create Law Enforcement "Rapid Strike Force"
To Aid America's
Failed Drug War

        January 4, U.S. Representative Barbara Kennelly (D-CT) introduced a bill to the Committee on the Judiciary that would, among other things:

        -Empower the Attorney General to establish in the FBI a unit, to be known as The Rapid Deployment Force (RDF), which shall be made available to assist units of local government in combating crime.

        -The RDF will be comprised of approximately 2,500 Federal law enforcement officers with training and experience in...drug-related crime.  [emphasis added -ed.]

        -Members of the RDF who are deployed to a jurisdiction shall be to empower such officers to make arrests and participate in the prosecution of criminal offenses under State law.

        (For a copy of H.R. 97 [cite as: Rapid Deployment Strike Force Act -ed.], contact Rep. Kennelly at 202-225-2265.)

MTV Affirms Its Censoring Of Music Videos

        February 10, a Johnson County Community College NORML member e-mailed an inquiry to MTV regarding it's censoring of Tom Petty's hit music video "You Don't Know How It Feels".  MTV's reply follows:
        MTV has very strict program standards...MTV will not air videos, images, or messages that promote or condone the use of illegal substances.  We asked Tom Petty's record label to edit "You Don't Know How It Feels," deleting the reference to smoking a joint so that the clip would meet our standards guidelines.

Pot Case Could Set Precedent In Kansas

        February 3, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported on the conviction of two Douglas County residents suspected of watering 172 marijuana plants.  The defendants Nancy Hadley and Michael Wyman were charged with multiple felonies [including intent to distribute, conspiracy, etc...] that could have yielded them more than 40 years in prison.
        Wyman's attorney, Pedro Irigonegaray, commented that the defendant was willing to admit to the possession charge, but not to the multiple charges for distribution.
        NORML National Legal Committee (NLC) member William K. Rork, Hadley's attorney, asserted that the government erred in assigning the potential weight of the 172 plants at 840 pounds.
        Rork and Irigonegaray called upon High Times editor Ed Rosenthal, an expert on cannabis cultivation, to refute the government's assertion.
        Rosenthal testified that 1.) the total bud yield from the 172 plants when mature would have been approximately 9.6 pounds and, 2.) the shelf life of marijuana is indefinite if frozen.  Therefore, the defendants were able to effectively claim that the marijuana they were alleged to possess was compatible with personal use.
        The jury agreed.  Hadley and Wyman will likely receive probation on two misdemeanor charges according to Irigonegaray.
        The Capital-Journal reports that one officer said this case sets a dangerous precedent [For law enforcement! -ed.].

        [For more information on this potentially precedent setting case in challenging the weight assigned to grown marijuana -- that at the very least has a substantial impact on sentencing -- contact NORML NLC member attorney William Rork at 913-233-7428 or cannabis cultivation expert Ed Rosenthal, 510-533-0605.]

Trading The Fourth Amendment For A Baggie Of Pot

        If anyone doubts the importance of the role played by marijuana prohibition in undermining the Constitution, consider the case currently before the Supreme Court, Arizona v. Evans (#93-1660).  The case at bar, which threatens the Fourth Amendment requirements of a valid warrant, involves an arrest for possession of "a baggie" of marijuana.
        Because marijuana is so widely used by so many Americans, the enforcement of prohibition frequently brings up constitutional challenges that impact the lives of all non-violent citizens.