Hemp News 16
Submitted by restore on Mon, 12/13/1993 - 20:15
Hemp News No. 16
Compiled byPaul Stanford
The following wire stories are provided as a public service by Tree Free EcoPaper, makers of 50% hemp (cannabis) and 50% cereal straw paper. Tree Free EcoPaper is the world's only supplier of wholesale quantities of hemp paper. We offer an electronic catalog which you can recieve by dropping us an e-mail request. We'll send you our free samples and hemp paper catalog if you give us a postal address. You can call us toll-free at 1-800-775-0225 from the U.S. and Canada. Our phone number for calls outside the U.S. is 503-295-6705. Our headquarters is in Portland, Oregon and our paper is produced in Asia. Without further ado, please enjoy the news: APn 09/18/93 Pot Customs BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) -- A woman who has federal permission to smoke marijuana for her glaucoma was refused admission into Canada. Elvy Musikka, 48, of Hollywood, Fla., is one of nine people with U.S. government permission to use the drug as medicine. Musikka and four other members of the Cannabis Action Network were stopped Wednesday while driving to Vancouver, British Columbia, as part of a three-month trip promoting the legalization of marijuana. Al Watt, Canada Customs chief of traffic operations at the Blaine crossing, said neither the marijuana nor T-shirts and tapes that the group sells at events were declared on entry. "She tried to smuggle in some marijuana and she got caught and arrested. The fact that she has a prescription to use it in the United States has no bearing in this country," Watt said. "It's still prohibited." Musikka said she didn't think it would be a problem because she was carrying the marijuana cigarettes in a prescription bottle with a letter from a lawyer explaining her legal use. Glaucoma causes pressure to build up inside the eye, which can impair vision and lead to blindness if not treated. Marijuana use has been credited with relieving the pressure. Watt said Canadian officials were as lenient as the law allowed, but they confiscated the marijuana, impounded the van and fined the group. Musikka and the others returned to Bellingham to raise $1,250 they said was needed to pay their fines and get the van released. UPn 09/19/93 Cuba, U.S. cooperate in drug case MIAMI (UPI) -- The Cuban government has turned over two suspects wanted in the United States on cocaine-smuggling charges in the first cooperative anti-drug effort between the two nations. The transfer of two prisoners at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana Saturday was hailed as historic by officials of the Drug Enforcement Administrtion. Jorge Lam, 33, and Jose Clemente, 31, both of the Miami area, were taken into custody when their 29-foot powerboat, The Thief of Hearts, ran out of gas in Cuban waters last month after it was chased by a U.S. helicopter. "The Thief of Hearts case represents the first time that Cuban authorities have ever returned a boat and its crew for prosecution on narcotics charges in the United States," DEA Administrator Robert Bonner said Saturday in Washington. "The cooperation provided by the Cuban authorites in this case is an important step forward in our bilateral conter-narcotics relationship," Bonner said. UPwe 09/19/93 Marijuana crop discovered in forest SANTA ANA, Calif. (UPI) -- Orange County Sheriff's Department deputies, responding to a report of gunshots in the area, discovered a marijuana crop near the Ortega Hot Springs. About 300 to 400 plants are in the crop, which has recently been pruned, officials say. Deputies on Saturday found an irrigation system, but no booby traps. There are no suspects. Deputies say the marijuana will be picked and flown to the ranger station for storage and eventual disposal. WP 09/19/93 War Over the Drug War AMONG THE many endeavors the United States government has undertaken, few have been more frustrating than the war against drugs. True, there have been some successes in transforming social attitudes toward drugs, which have in turn led to a decline in drug use among some groups. But the sickeningly regular reports about drug crimes here and in big cities throughout the country speak far more to failure. The evidence suggests that neither the street price nor the purity of drugs has been much affected by all the commotion. This is not a war the United States is winning. The hard truth is that all the interdiction and police efforts in the world will not make a dent in this problem as long as so many Americans, many of them poor, fall into the grip of addiction. This is, and always has been, primarily a domestic problem, rooted in other social problems. But as long as drugs remain illegal, the federal government will feel obligated to stop the criminals who sell them. That is the inspiration behind the large military expenditures for operations against drug producers in countries such as Peru, Bolivia and Guatemala. It is the reason so many Coast Guard resources are directed toward keeping drugs from reaching American shores. Frustration over past failures is pushing both the Clinton administration and Democrats in Congress toward a reappraisal of where anti-drug money should be spent. To the frustration of the Customs Service and the Coast Guard, the administration is considering a major shift in resources away from interdiction efforts nearer our borders and toward more military aid to destroy cocaine labs and disrupt trafficking organizations in South America. Democrats in Congress have gone farther, voting sharp cuts in State Department funds that support Central and South American anti-drug activities. "We've spent over $1 billion down there and we've accomplished virtually nothing," Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) told The Post's Michael Isikoff. "We ought to realize it's not going to work and call it quits." The biggest difficulty in "calling it quits" involves American commitments to South American governments that have shown real courage in taking on drug traffickers. If aid is cut from the military programs, should it be transfered to economic development programs aimed at shifting farmers in drug-producing countries to other lines of work? Would this money do any more than the money that's already been spent on the military programs? There is also the fear among drug enforcement agencies that cutting back on efforts to interdict and disrupt drugs would simply make the criminal syndicates even bolder. Yet it's impossible not to share Mr. Leahy's frustration and wonder whether all the high-tech military operations aren't finally a distraction from the real issues: weaning addicts on our streets away from drugs and keeping young people from becoming addicts in the first place. That's why it's hard to understand why Congress and the administration have agreed to cuts in education and treatment programs that President Clinton has praised so often. Unless these issues are addressed better than they have been, the war on drugs will remain a quagmire. UPwe 09/20/93 More marijuana plants found in Lassen forest LASSEN NATIONAL FOREST (UPI) -- Drug agents uprooted more than 300 marijuana plants Monday in Lassen National Forest, marking the third time this month that illegal gardens have been found in the area. Agents said five separate marijuana gardens were found in the remote area near Campbell Creek. Butte County authorities uncovered two similar gardens in the area last week, but said there are no plans to intensify surveillance of the forest. The estimated worth of the gardens topped $500,000. There are no suspects in the case. WP 09/21/93 Schmoke Won't Run for Md. Governor; Baltimore Mayor, Despite Strong Support, Will Seek 3rd Term Instead By Richard Tapscott and Paul W. Valentine Washington Post Staff Writers BALTIMORE, Sept. 20 - Kurt L. Schmoke, once considered the leading Democratic contender in the race to succeed Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer next year, announced today that he instead will pursue election to a third term as Baltimore's mayor. "I have the fire in the belly, but it's for Baltimore," the 43-year-old mayor told a news conference as City Hall loyalists cheered. Schmoke's announcement was promptly welcomed by others already running in the 1994 Democratic primary election, including Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening, Lt. Gov. Melvin A. Steinberg and state Sen. Mary H. Boergers (Montgomery). The three said Schmoke's decision frees up his many supporters in this Democratic bastion, as well as contributions in a campaign that could be the most expensive in Maryland history. Some political observers said the biggest beneficiary today was Glendening, who would have had a protracted struggle with Schmoke for the blocs of support the two shared, including African American voters in Prince George's. "Parris Glendening has got to be doing cartwheels right now," said Brad Coker, a veteran pollster in Maryland. The Democratic field for the governorship began shrinking 11 days ago when another prospective candidate, Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr., decided to seek reelection. Schmoke said today that all signs indicated he could win the primary, but he decided it was more important to continue as mayor and try to complete housing, education and commercial development projects in the cash-strapped city. Schmoke is Baltimore's first black elected mayor and had enjoyed a wide lead over other potential Democratic candidates for governor in early public opinion polls this summer. Michael Barnes, the vice chairman of the state Democratic Party, said the mayor's announcement marked "a very significant moment in the 1994 gubernatorial process." "Had Kurt decided to run, he would have been perceived to be the front-runner, so now you have a much more open process," Barnes said. "It changes the dynamics." Though Schmoke had strong support throughout Maryland and far-reaching name recognition, he also would have confronted formidable obstacles in a general election, if not the Democratic primary itself. His call in April 1988 for a national debate on drug decriminalization stunned political analysts, who figured that it would provide ready-made material for the opposition in a statewide race. Also, several political leaders said today that Schmoke told them recently that he was somewhat hesitant to enter the campaign for governor because he lacked a clear agenda for state government. On the Republican front, likely gubernatorial contenders are House of Delegates Minority Leader Ellen R. Sauerbrey (Baltimore County); Anne Arundel County Executive Robert R. Neall; William S. Shepard, of Montgomery County, who was the 1990 GOP nominee for governor; and Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, of Baltimore. Commenting on yesterday's announcement, Glendening said "there's no question" Schmoke's decision will boost his candidacy, both in allowing him to shore up his base in Prince George's, where Schmoke is a popular figure, and in presenting new opportunities in Baltimore. "We share some of the same supporters," said Glendening, who hopes to become the first Maryland governor in 16 years to come from the Washington suburbs. "Some of the leaders of the black community were torn between the success we had here and some natural affinity for the mayor." Glendening sought immediately to define the Democratic gubernatorial race as contest between the old guard, symbolized by Steinberg, and the new. "The race is now obviously between the lieutenant governor and myself. . . . He really does represent the forces of the past." Steinberg, a former state Senate president and two-term lieutenant governor, said his plans for the upcoming race were unaffected by Schmoke. "Our strategy for the campaign does not depend on who's in and who's out," Steinberg said. "The people of the state are interested in hearing the candidates on the issues of public safety, education and jobs." Boergers said she was "stunned" by Schmoke's announcement and contended that it would boost her long-shot bid for governor. "I think this is very good for me," Boergers said. "A field of three people gives me a good opportunity to talk about the issues, have people focus on the candidates." Coker, whose independent polls have been tracking sentiment in the budding governor's race, said Schmoke's decision creates a wide-open contest and a large bloc of undecided voters. Schmoke also made it clear today that he will seek to exercise influence over the race. Asked if he will endorse another candidate, Schmoke said he plans to meet with the contenders and "see if they share my vision about the role of the city and the importance of the city to the state. I am one who does not sit on the sidelines." Larry Gibson, a key Schmoke adviser, said the mayor had made the decision by last Thursday, despite full support from his family for a run for governor and his strong lead in statewide polls. At the news conference, the former Rhodes scholar said his decision was not triggered by fear that his suggestion about "drug decriminalization" in 1988 would have doomed his gubernatorial aspirations. He said in 1988 that law enforcement had lost the war on drugs and that billions of dollars in law enforcement resources might better be shifted to drug treatment efforts. Schmoke's decision will have repercussions far from the governor's race as well. It opens the door for a possible alliance between Glendening and one of his would-be successors as county executive, Wayne K. Curry, who had been torn between supporting Glendening and Schmoke. Curry, who attended Schmoke's news conference, said Glendening is the clear beneficiary of Schmoke's decision. Montgomery County Council member Bruce T. Adams (D-At Large) said, "I think it strengthens the likelihood that we will be able to elect a governor from the Washington region, and that's what Montgomery County needs." Schmoke's six-year tenure as mayor of Baltimore has received mixed reviews. His supporters point to his strict fiscal management, which has kept the city from the brink of bankruptcy that other East Coast cities have approached. At the same time, he pushed through modest reductions in Baltimore's property tax rate in an effort to stem the flow of middle-class homeowners to surrounding Baltimore County, where taxes are almost half those in the city. He has also endeavored to balance scarce local and federal development money between retaining industries and enhancing tourism in Baltimore's popular Inner Harbor, on the one hand, and improving dilapidated neighborhoods on the other. Schmoke's critics say he often is indecisive and lacks the spark that could galvanize the city. His effort to reduce the high rate of adult illiteracy, for example, has been largely unsuccessful and is symbolized by Baltimore's official slogan, "The City That Reads," not exactly a resounding phrase, critics say. More important, Schmoke has been questioned about the qualifications of some of his key appointees. Earlier this year, he replaced his housing director for several alleged failures, including neglecting to take advantage of millions of dollars in federal public housing money. Schmoke also dumped his handpicked school superintendent in 1991 after community leaders complained there had been no improvement in the city's troubled school system. What has haunted Schmoke most is his drug decriminalization speech. The statements were condemned by many national law enforcement officials and political leaders, who said such a policy would only increase addiction and associated crime. Schmoke, with the support of some drug policy analysts, continues to contend that law enforcement's war on drugs has failed, but he has changed his shorthand terminology for the solution to the problem from "decriminalization" to "medicalization." Staff writers Michael Abramowitz and Charles Babington contributed to this report. APf 09/22/93 Movie Campaign LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A Hollywood studio yanked television and newspaper advertisements for the new movie "Dazed and Confused" because drug references violated Motion Picture Association of America guidelines. "The MPAA is taking a hard line with anything that has to do with drugs," said Russell Schwartz, president of Gramercy Pictures, which is releasing the low-budget high school comedy about the drug-crazed 1970s. The movie's marketing campaign is built around suggestive slogans like "See It With a Bud," "The Film Everybody is Toking About" and "Have a Nice Daze." The MPAA objected to the line: "Finally! A Movie For Everyone Who DID Inhale" -- a parody of President Clinton's campaign admission that he smoked marijuana but didn't breathe in. Schwartz lost an appeal to last week's ruling by the MPAA's advertising administration committee. "This is an R-rated adult movie in the spirit of people having fun," he said in Wednesday's editions of the Los Angeles Times. "All we're trying to do is depict the times." The movie opens Friday in 15 cities. The MPAA approves all advertising on a movie for which it issues a rating. The rating system is voluntary, but if a studio uses it, all guidelines must be met or it will lose its rating. "Times have changed. Sometimes that means we're more liberal, sometimes more stringent. ... With drugs, there's grave concern in America today," MPAA President Jack Valenti said this week. APn 09/23/93 AP Arts: Film Review-Dazed and Confused By PATRICIA BIBBY Associated Press Writer Those of us who came of age in the '70s have never gotten over the fact that our older siblings got to lay claim to the coolest decade of all -- the '60s. They had Woodstock, love beads and love-ins. We had eight-track tape decks, puka shells and beer busts. Being a teen then was an experience in acute anti-climactic cynicism, a prolonged hangover from the '60s. Deflated and filled with a vague sense of distrust of adults but suffering from lingering apathy, the '70s seemed a time only to live through and endure, not to actually live in and enjoy. So the fact that Richard Linklater's "Dazed and Confused" -- an ode to the '70s -- is such a resoundingly uproarious film makes the treat that much richer. And this film is a delirious treat. Linklater, whose montage of aimless Austin eccentrics in "Slacker" became a cult hit, gives us a simple day-in-the-life of a disparate group of teens on the last day of school in 1976 in which the upcoming seniors haze and humiliate next year's freshmen. The boys are harshly paddled and the girls are laid out and sprayed with ketchup, mustard and flour before being taken through a car wash in the back of a truck. What little plot there is hangs around Randy "Pink" Floyd's moral dilemma over whether to sign a form swearing off drugs so he can play football as the starring quarterback in the following year. "You need a serious attitude adjustment," the coach bellows at Pink (Jason London), a line that instantly wins over the audience as Pink's allies. The other plot turns on where to have the all-important school's out blow-out party after a couple of meddling parents thwart one bash. Very little actually happens but -- like life -- it's not always the events that define a time but the characters in it. And "Dazed and Confused" is bursting with wonderfully drawn and completely credible characters. The most adorable is Mitch Kramer (Wiley Wiggins), a freshman whose popular older sister inadvertently marks him by asking the seniors to go easy on him. Wiggins has a delightfully mobile and expressive face that telegraphs a whole range of youthful anxiety, even as he affects that studied blank stare of coolness. There's Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey), a cheesy guy pushing 20 who still hangs around with the high school crowd -- more specifically, girls. "I get older ... and they stay the same," he says, with a toothy grin. There's a trio of bookish, nerdy loners Mike, Cynthia and Tony (Adam Goldberg, Marissa Ribisi and Anthony Rapp, respectively), pained at the prospect of socializing. But they are never at a loss for a wry insight. And, of course, there's the class stoner, Slater, played with manic perfection by Rory Cochrane. Slater is not a blithering idiot but more a rambling philosopher fueled by his last bong hit. As different as these people are, however, they all share a sense of limbo, a feeling that they don't belong to the flower-power decade just past yet they don't have the money lust of the upcoming decade, either. There's an edgy expectation as they drive around relentlessly waiting for something to happen. So, what was once considered a loathsome decade now appears rather sweet and uncorrupted. Drugs had a rather benign feel to them; there was no specter of crack lingering in the clouds of marijuana smoke. And sex, or at least the possibility of sex, wasn't tinged with the deep and dreadful anxiety of AIDS. Perhaps this was really the Age of Innocence. And maybe it wasn't such a bad decade after all. Written and directed by Linklater, "Dazed and Confused" was produced by James Jacks and Sean Daniel. The Gramercy Pictures release is rate R. ------ UPwe 09/23/93 Bumper marijuana crop increases violence UKIAH, Calif. (UPI) -- Escalating violence in Mendocino County's illegal marijuana fields forced authorities to issue a warning Thursday to campers, hikers, hunters and local residents to be very careful when they journey into rural areas. Over the last month, the region has had two marijuana related homicides and several other incidents of reported violence. "The owners of these illegal crops have shown they will take drastic steps to protect them," Sheriff James Tuso said. "We just want people to aware of their surroundings and if they do stumbled onto a marijuana field, to get out of there are quickly as possible." Tuso said the growers are entering the traditional harvesting season which runs until Oct. 1. He said evidence points to a bumper crop this year from the so-called Emerald Triangle. Earlier this week, officials in Humboldt County to the north of Mendocino reported they had already seized 80,000 marijuana plants. "Last year we had a record year for seizures in Mendocino County with 62,000," he said. "It looks like we are on pace to break that mark." Tuso also has become concerned with the number of illegal aliens being transported into the area to tend and guard the crops. "We seem to have a large number of undocumented Hispanics involved in the growing and cultivating of marijuana this year," he said. "A Hispanic man was the victim of one of our homicides and we arrested six others recently when we raided a house used to package marijuana for transportation." The latest homicide occurred early Wednesday morning in Fish Rock Road area near Boonville. Tuso said Kenneth Lee Jones and two other friends were allegedly attempting to steal pot plants from an illegal farm when shots rang out. The three men scattered and authorities later found Jones's body in a nearby field. The incident remains under investigation. UPwe 09/23/93 Series of marijuana raids leads to two arrests CHICO, Calif. (UPI) -- Drug agents in Northern California said Thursday a series of raids in three national forests has led to the confiscation of nearly 450 marijuana plants worth $1.6 million dollars. Authorities said two Grass Valley men were arrested after investigators found 240 marijuana plants in the Plumas National Forest. Two other Northern California men were arrested in Mendocino County after police unearthed a 150-plant marijuana garden at Knee Cap Ridge in the Mendocino National Forest. Agents had placed the area under surveillance for five days before making the arrests. In a third raid, Tehema County drug agents destroyed a 50-plant marijuana garden found in Lassen National Forest at Nine Mile Creek near Chico. There were no arrests. The total value of the plants was placed at more than $1.6 million. UPn 09/23/93 Driver of ambulance carrying marijuana sentenced to prison SAN ANTONIO (UPI) -- A man who admitted driving a marijuana-laden ambulance under the guise of rushing a sick woman to a hospital was sentenced to 46 months in prison Wednesday. Sylvester Lacour Jr. was convicted of hatching a scheme to ship $250, 000 worth of the drug from Laredo to San Antonio in the emergency vehicle, which also carried a bogus nurse and patient. Lacour, 23, told U.S. District Judge Ed Prado he was "sorry" and "didn't think" before becoming involved in the scheme. U.S. Customs agents said a drug-sniffing dog tipped them off that there was something in the ambulance when it passed through a checkpoint outside Laredo on the evening of May 12, 1993. They tracked the vehicle for 153 miles to San Antonio, where Lacour drove it to Santa Rosa Hospital. After doctors at the hospital determined the "patient" was not ill, a police search of the ambulance uncovered a large store of marijuana. Police arrested Lacour, a 41-year-old nurse who worked for the ambulance service, and the "patient." Prado also sentenced Lacour to four years supervised release after he serves his time. Lacour was allowed to remain free until the Federal Bureau of Prisons locates a facility to receive him. UPce 09/24/93 Pot protest planned for Madison MADISON, Wis. (UPI) -- Thousands of marijuana-smoking protestors are expected to descend on the State Capitol in Madison Saturday and they will be making some noise following a victory in court Friday. The Wisconsin chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws sponsors the "pot festival" each year in Madison. Last year close to 5,000 people took part in the march and demonstration on the Capitol grounds and police say it was far from peaceful. When police attempted to arrest several participants for possession of marijuana, a speaker on the podium incited the crowd, resulting in injuries to some police officers. NORML has already received permission from the city to march through the downtown area on the way to the Capitol. But the state Department of Administration denied the group a permit to use amplified sound because of the problems last year. Despite the Department of Administration's objections, a federal court judge ruled Friday in favor of NORML using amplified sound. In past years, up to 12,000 people have participated in the march and demonstration. UPwe 09/28/93 Survey: 42 percent believe war on drugs 'lost' SANTA ANA, Calif. (UPI) -- A survey released Tuesday shows that 42 percent of Orange County residents believe the nation's war on drugs has been lost. Only a slightly higher number, 44 percent, surveyed for Drug Abuse is Life Abuse's second annual poll believed progress has been made in anti- drug efforts. The random telephone survey of 600 Orange County residents also found that 48 percent believe drug abuse is considered a big problem locally. That number remained unchanged from last year's survey. The majority of residents polled said they supported more funding for drug education, law enforcement and drug treatment programs. But the survey also found that Orange County residents were less willing than Americans nationwide to participate in the fight against illegal drugs. Just 12 percent said they would pay higher taxes. APn 09/29/93 Justice Merger By CAROLYN SKORNECK Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) -- Justice Department officials are weighing two options to streamline the anti-drug roles of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI: merging the DEA into the FBI or creating a new authority that would force them to cooperate. "There's no easy answers to the problems we're all wrestling with here," Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann said Wednesday at a hearing before two House Judiciary subcommittees. "The problem is getting these two supremely talented agencies to work together." The panels appeared split on merging the two agencies, as the National Performance Review by Vice President Al Gore seemed to suggest. "The overwhelming weight of informed opinion is against the merger," said Rep. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., chairman of the Judiciary crime subcommittee. The reasons, said Schumer, include the need to maintain the DEA's one-issue focus, and the agency's unique abilities to operate both with foreign officials and on the street. The crime panel's former chairman, Rep. William Hughes, D-N.J., blasted the merger proposed by the FBI as "a hostile takeover." Hughes said the FBI proposal -- "based on assumptions that the FBI is a superior law enforcement agency to the DEA, even for the special function of drug enforcement" -- is already hurting DEA agents' morale. If adopted, it would have "devastating effects" that would take years to overcome. But the merger also got some support. Rep. Pat Schroeder, D-Colo., said each agency's uniqueness can be overstated. "We all do work for the same flag, and I think some of the competition between agencies can be counterproductive," said Schroeder, a member of the Judiciary subcommittee on civil and constitutional rights. Heymann said one drawback of a merger is that it might give the appearance that the government is reducing the fight against drugs. He said another concern was the possible loss of influence overseas where officials who have worked closely with the DEA might be reluctant to work with the FBI. A bureaucratic roadblock -- DEA workers have civil service protection while FBI employees do not -- has stopped previous attempts to merge the two, and Heymann said that could pose problems. He said the notion that the DEA and the FBI had "different cultures" was exaggerated, as the DEA now confronts large, sophisticated organizations and the FBI is learning how to deal with street crime. The other option Justice Department officials are considering is a "formal, permanent point of authority to supervise the federal drug-enforcement effort," he said. It would preserve the FBI and the DEA "while creating a mechanism to resolve the jurisdictional disputes and coordination problems that characterize the status quo." That authority would have budgetary powers and would be able to enforce compliance with policy directives such as getting the two to share information and buying equipment that allows them to communicate. The power might rest with a deputy attorney general, associate attorney general, the FBI director, the DEA administrator, another individual or a committee, he said. Several panel members criticized the administration for refusing to let FBI Director Louis Freeh, DEA Administrator Robert Bonner and Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Lee Brown testify. Freeh was expected to endorse the merger proposal, Bonner and Brown to oppose it. Heymann said the administration preferred to speak with one voice. UPwe 09/29/93 Supreme Court to decide legality of taxes on illegal drugs By MICHAEL KIRKLAND WASHINGTON (UPI) -- The Supreme Court Tuesday agreed to decide whether states can impose a tax on the possession and storage of dangerous drugs, apart from any criminal penalty. The high court is expediting the case, ordering that all briefs be filed before the end this year. The Montana Supreme Court ruled last year that the state's tax of $100 per ounce of marijuana was an excise tax, not a punishment. But in a separate case that made its way through the federal courts, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit disagreed, citing double jeopardy. That is the case the high court has agreed to hear. Texas, Georgia, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota and Nebraska combined to file a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court in support of Montana. In the case, Montana claims that "the extended Kurth family" in the central part of the state was in the growing marijuana business. A 1987 raid on the family ranch yielded more than 2,100 plants, 1881 ounces of harvested marijurana and several gallons of marijuana derivatives, according to the state's brief before the U.S. Supreme Court. After pleading guilty to criminal charges, the defendants filed bankruptcy. Montana's Department of Revenue filed a claim against them for the drug tax assessment. After a bench trial, the bankruptcy court found $208,105 due in drug taxes. However, the bankruptcy court cited a Supreme Court precedent to rule that the tax was a second punishment for conduct the Kurths had already been punished for -- possessing marijuana -- and placed defendants in unconstitutional double jeopardy. Montana appealed the decision through the federal system. UPn 09/29/93 Reno readies DEA-FBI merger proposal recommendation PLYMOUTH, Mass. (UPI) -- U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno says she is preparing a recommendation on President Clinton's proposal to merge the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "One thing I cannot abide by is turf battles," Reno said Tuesday night after addressing an international conference of prosecutors in Plymouth, Mass. "There are real needs to coordinate between those two agencies," she said. "They could work together much more closely," she said. She added that when she was a prosecutor in Miami, "They too often didn't talk." Reno said she expects to release her recommendation on the proposed merger next week. In her address to the conference at the Plimoth Plantation, Reno praised Clinton's health-care proposals, especially as they address ways to protect children from the trauma of family violence. "The child who watches his father beat his mother comes to accept violence as a way of life," she said. She also criticized violence on television, and told the audience her parents would not allow her to watch television when she was a child because it "contributed to mind rot." UPwe 09/30/93 Marijuana harvest keeps cops busy UKIAH, Calif. (UPI) -- Mendocino County authorities said Thursday they had conducted three separate raids that netted over $5 million in marijuana and several weapons as the harvesting season of the illegal crop reached its high point in California's so-called Emerald Triangle. Authorities said the first raid occurred Wednesday evening at 6:15 p. m. in Boonville, where officers had been tipped that marijuana was being processed at a local residence. Officers went to the house and discovered 1,288 pounds of marijuana, a dozen automatic weapons and $28,000 in cash. Taken into custody were Jose Sandoval and Ascension Labra. Both were being held on $10,000 bail. At 7 a.m. Thursday, sheriff's deputies searched a home in Willits, uncovering 10 pounds of marijuana and a .22-caliber rifle. Mark Daniel Long and his wife, Michele Marie Long, were arrested there. Later Thursday sheriff's deputies searched a home in Philo and discovered a 1.5 pounds of marijuana, a shotgun and indoor growing equipment. Taken into custody were Nemsio, Hugo and Purfiria Zarate. All three were being held on $5,000 bail. WP 09/30/93 Justice Department Considers Its Own Antidrug Overseer By Michael Isikoff Washington Post Staff Writer Rather than merging the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI as Vice President Gore recently proposed in his "reinventing government" initiative, the Justice Department yesterday said it might designate a new high-level drug overseer. The idea, outlined by Deputy Attorney General Philip B. Heymann, was derided by some congressional aides as a move to create yet another bureaucratic layer - a sort of mini-drug czar's office within the Justice Department - that would add to the number of agencies involved in the antidrug effort. But it appeared to be a midway step that could smooth over what had become a mildly embarrassing policy dispute between Gore and Attorney General Janet Reno. Although Gore's "reinventing government" plan released earler this month called for folding the DEA into the FBI, Reno immediately threw cold water on the idea, saying she was conducting her study of the issue. Yesterday, Heymann provided a status report on Reno's review, telling a hearing convened by two House Judiciary subcommittees, "There is no division between the vice president and the attorney general." Heymann said the department's study had concluded, as had Gore's, that there was substantial duplication and lack of communication between the FBI and the DEA. In one Latin American country, Heymann said he was recently told "the FBI attache and the DEA resident agent don't talk to one another at all. . . . In short, we're talking about super agencies and a massive failure in communication." Heymann said the department had reviewed four options, two of which - "doing nothing" and stripping the FBI of its authority to investigate drug crimes - had essentially been rejected. The third, still under consideration, was the kind of full-fledged merger outlined in the Gore report. But Heymann strongly indicated that the department was moving in yet another direction: designating "a single point of authority," either a committee of officials or a single high-level official. That authority would review agency budget submissions and consolidate functions, such as separate radio systems and intelligence centers, while leaving the two agencies "substantially intact." One variation, Heymann said later, would be to revive an arrangement ordered by former attorney general William French Smith in 1982, making the FBI director the senior department antidrug official and requiring the DEA administrator to report to him. The new antidrug authority idea drew qualified praise from Rep. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) as a reasonable "compromise." But others were skeptical any arrangement would affect the amount of drugs on the streets. "It seems to me all you're doing is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic because the vice president came up with a report that calls for reinventing government . . . ," Rep. Craig Washington (D-Tex.) said. UPwe 10/01/93 Tehama County's makes huge drug bust REDDING, Calif. (UPI) -- Tehama County officials said Friday they have made their largest marijuana drug bust of the year. Drug agents uprooted 2,000 marijuana plants discovered Thursday night in Lassen National Forest and arrested a Berkeley man at the scene. Police arrested and booked John Regan, 33, on drug charges, but they werestill searching for a second suspect who fled on foot. Authorities said the garden -- worth an estimated $8 million -- was the largest such bust in recent years. The plants were spotted during a routine surveillance flight. Officials said favorable weather has led to an increase in illegal planting,while an increase in patrolling has led to a rise in drug busts. APn 10/01/93 Sheriff-Drugs By RON WORD Associated Press Writer JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- A former sheriff convicted of dealing drugs seized as evidence was sentenced Friday to 16 years in federal prison. Former Nassau County Sheriff Laurie Ellis, 53, was convicted in July on drug and obstruction-of-justice charges. Prosecutor Jim Klindt sought a stiff penalty. "You are not sentencing Andy of Mayberry," Klindt said. "You are sentencing a shrewd politician who abused his trust." Defense attorney Steve Weinbaum said Ellis would likely have to serve about 85 percent of his sentence, or about 13 years, adding that they plan to appeal. "Our quarrel is with the verdict, not with the sentence," said Weinbaum. Weinbaum asked the judge to consider penalties given to the other defendants before sentencing Ellis. Rocky Mistler, Ellis' chief deputy, who was the prosecution's star witness, received a 6 1/2-year sentence. Rancher Tony Peterson, who sold the drugs, got a 5-year term. "This entire scheme was the brainchild of Rocky Mistler. If it had not been for Mistler, Mr. Ellis would not be here," Weinbaum said. Ellis must serve five years on probation after his release, but there was no fine. Prosecutors said Mistler and Ellis pretended to destroy confiscated cocaine and marijuana, then gave it to Peterson to sell. The pair were accused of splitting $350,000 to $450,000 in profits. Ellis was elected sheriff in 1984, but lost a re-election bid last November. He resigned in December while under investigation. RTw 10/02/93 DRUG SQUAD SWOOPS ON CANNABIS COOKIES LONDON, Oct 2 (Reuter) - Anti-drug police swooped on a newly-opened British cafe to seize one of its prime products, marijuana patties shaped like a cannabis leaf. British newspapers reported on Saturday that police arrested but later released former television presenter turned New Age cook Beki Adam at her new Amsterdam-style cannabis cafe in the south-east coastal resort of Brighton. "Marijuana prohibition is a crime against the person and the planet," Adam was reported as saying before police arrived at the cafe, which she has yet to name. REUTER WP 10/03/93 It's Time to Get Real About Guns and Drugs By Kurt Schmoke IN 1988, ON THIS PAGE, I called for a national debate on American drug policy. Five years later, while that debate is underway, the policy is essentially unchanged and drug-related violence is worse than ever. Clearly, we can't simply prosecute our way out of crime. If we want to silence the guns, we have to radically rethink not only our drug policy, but our ideas about the sacrosanct Second Amendment. That was the real message of the tragic shootings in Washington last Saturday that killed four people, including a 4-year-old child. The newspaper stories could just as easily have appeared in the Baltimore Sun or countless other newspapers from cities large and small. In Baltimore last year, a 2-year-old boy was hit by a bullet that came through his living-room window. By good fortune the child lived, but one 6-year-old caught in crossfire a few years ago did not. Urban violence that turns schoolyards into battlefields and living rooms into fortresses is not a Washington, D.C., problem. It is an American problem. At the heart of the plague of violence is the drug trade.There were 335 homicides committed in Baltimore in 1992, 48 percent of which were ruled drug-related. Seventy percent were killed by a handgun. To the extent that we surrender to this violence by throwing up our hands and applying tried and untrue formulas about guns and drugs, then Pogo is right: The enemy is us. Instead, we should be listening to the mayors, police departments and communities throughout the United States who offer new tactics and new determination in the fight against violent crime. One thing needed now is a serious national debate about the Constitution and crime - perhaps one final and unambiguous test of the reach of the Second Amendment and its provisions about the right to bear arms. How far, for example, can the government go in prohibiting the possession and sale of handguns? Should murder be a federal crime if the weapon is transported in interstate commerce? Should advanced military technology be given to local law enforcement? Are there too many procedural safeguards for criminals? Too few alternatives to incarceration? These are difficult questions, and I cannot pretend to have the answers. The experiences I had as a sometimes frustrated federal and state prosecutor are balanced by my fear of tampering with a constitutional system designed to protect the accused from loss of life or liberty without due process of law. Nevertheless, the level of random and casual violence has reached the point where the price of robust democracy is widespread insecurity. When I speak on the subject of violence, I usually start with three questions: Have we won the war on drugs? Are we winning the war on drugs? Will doing more of the same enable us to win in the future? Overwhelmingly, people say "no" to those questions. That's why I have called for a new strategy, one that can greatly reduce urban violence. The war on drugs as it is currently waged feeds the very violence it is intended to stop. Addicts who are otherwise nonviolent steal and injure to get money for drugs. Dealers wound and kill to protect turf and profits. We have to be more than tough on drugs. We have to be smart too. That means recognizing that "the drug problem" is actually three problems in one: addiction, AIDS and violent drug trafficking. Especially at the very highest levels, drug trafficking is very much an appropriate target for law enforcement. But law enforcement has almost no impact on addiction and AIDS. These are closely connected medical problems that require public health solutions. It is worth remembering that, for all our legitimate concern about drug-related violence, AIDS is now the number-one killer of young men and women in Baltimore - and the spread of HIV is now largely drug-related in our city. Sixty percent of new AIDS cases in Baltimore are intravenous drug users; their spouses and offspring are another 10 percent. In 1991, the National Commission on AIDS called the failure of federal agencies to address the link between drugs and AIDS "bewildering and tragic." As a substitute for our current policy, I favor "medicalization" - a one-word description for policies that increase access to drug treatment, slow the transmission of HIV and reduce the black market in drugs and the profit-motivated violence it generates. Here are the basic elements: * Trained health professionals would be allowed to give drugs to addicts as part of a treatment and detoxification program. * Methadone maintenance and other forms of treatment, such as acupuncture, would be available on demand. * Local governments would be allowed to set up tightly controlled needle exchange programs to slow the transmission of HIV. * Drug courts, modeled after the one established in Dade County, Fla., and touted by Attorney General Janet Reno, would require convicted addicts to go through a treatment program. A conviction could be expunged after successful completion of the program. * Closed military bases would be used for drug treatment and to discipline and motivate young drug sellers and users to pursue more worthwhile and fulfilling lives. * Seventy percent of the federal drug control budget would be for treatment and 30 percent for law enforcement. Today those figures are reversed. * Primary care physicians would be encouraged to treat addicts; medical and nursing schools would give more training in addiction treatment. * The government would increase funding for research into substances that block the effects of cocaine and reduce symptoms of heroin withdrawal. * Law enforcement would focus on upper-echelon drug trafficking and gun importation. * Penalties for the sale of drugs to children would be especially severe. I know that medicalization, and alternatives to incarceration such as drug courts and military bases, may seem like a retreat from tough law enforcement. They are not. I support longer jail sentences for predatory violent criminals. That's where most of our police, prosecution and incarceration resources should go. In other words, more jail space and longer sentences for those who commit heinous, violent acts, but also more long-term drug treatment facilities - not mandatory minimum sentences - for nonviolent drug users. In fact, this model encompasses some of the recommendations of a Working Group on Drug Reform that met in Baltimore at my invitation throughout this spring and summer. The mission of the group, made up of experts in public health, law enforcement, economics and public policy, was to propose harm-reduction policies for Baltimore that require few, if any, changes in current law. Unfortunately, modest changes in the direction of medicalization in one city will not be enough to stop the kind of violence that Washington and other cities face. Only a change in national policy, supported by Congress and the president and accepted by the American people, will do that. To come up with such a policy, I have long recommended the creation of a national commission to study how all drugs - legal and illegal - should be regulated. There is a precedent for this kind of commission. In 1928, President Hoover formed the Wickersham Commission to figure out how to better enforce alcohol prohibition. But most of the commissioners concluded that alcohol prohibition was, in the words of Walter Lippman, a "helpless failure." Prohibition came to an end, and so too did an era of prohibition-related violence. Now it's time to recognize that the war on drugs is a helpless failure too. We must let our health professionals assume their proper place in fighting addiction. Otherwise we can look forward to more outbreaks of senseless violence, more funerals, more revolving-door justice, more AIDS, more taxpayer dollars wasted and more young people in state prisons instead of state universities. All is not hopeless in our cities. Efforts we've made at community policing and working more closely with state and federal law enforcement may be responsible for the reduction in 1993 of some serious crimes in Baltimore - although not murder. But those efforts, alone, are not responsible for a more remarkable statistic: In the first three months of this year, crime in Sandtown-Winchester, one of Baltimore's poorest communities, dropped 14 percent from the same period a year ago. Why did candidate Bill Clinton come to Sandtown? Why has Henry Cisneros, secretary of HUD, been there several times, once with Attorney General Reno? Because Sandtown-Winchester is the shape of urban policy to come - a community built through a partnership of residents, religious organizations, the Enterprise Foundation and all levels of government. Sandtown is a big work in progress, whose pieces include 300 new homes, a federal grant for pre- and post-natal care, literacy and job training, family support services, recreation for young people and substance abuse treatment. I certainly know that the Sandtown-Winchester formula - public and private financing of new homes complemented by a full array of community-inspired and run support services - is not the complete answer to urban crime. But it is an important part of the answer. Communities need to take responsibility for their own revival, but they cannot be expected to do that without private and public help. Government, especially the federal government, also needs to be flexible in the enforcement of its rules. As in wartime combat, it's often the commanders on the ground - in this case local government, local law enforcement and residents - who have the clearest picture of the battlefield and who have come up with the most innovative tactics for success. Will greater investment in communities, tougher gun control and a new national drug policy be enough to relegate urban violence to the history books? I think, in large measure, yes. But we should be under no illusion that investment and good intentions alone will completely end the crisis of urban violence. The antecedent to successful new policies is new thinking. President Eisenhower understood this. He knew that transportation and education were more than just local problems. They were matters of national security. So he proposed a new role for the federal government, building the interstate highway system and signing the National Defense Education Act. Urban violence is also a matter of national security. Congress and the president must put this problem at the top of their agendas and write or change laws, appropriate money and provide the leadership necessary to solve it. If millions of Americans living in fear of losing their health insurance deserve the attention of the executive and legislative branches of government, then certainly the millions of Americans living in fear of losing their lives because of urban violence deserve that attention, too. Kurt Schmoke is the mayor of Baltimore. UPwe 10/05/93 Drug search upheld SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) -- A federal appeals court ruled unanimously Tuesday that a search of a suspected drug dealer's home conducted months after a series of narcotics sales was valid, even though the sales did not take place there. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided there was a sufficient connection between the sales and the suspect's residence to permit the issuance of a search warrant. The ruling upheld the conviction of Timothy Pitts of Seattle, Wash., on four counts of cocaine distribution. Pitts was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison. Pitts had asked the appeals court to throw out evidence seized in the search, including a shotgun, marijuana and a bag containing a trace of white powder. He argued there were no grounds for searching his home because it was not involved in the alleged crimes. But the 9th Circuit said the warrant was legal because it was reasonable to infer that drug-related evidence would be found at the home of a suspected dealer. White Flag on Drugs?: Thirty House Republicans wrote Lee Brown, head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, about a perception that "you have raised a white flag in the war on drugs." In the letter, they told Brown they were upset about "announcements and trial balloons" indicating that Attorney General Janet Reno had successfully argued within the administration against including the death penalty for drug kingpins and mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug-related crimes. APn 10/05/93 Property Seizure By RON STATON Associated Press Writer HONOLULU (AP) -- James Daniel Good was in Nicaragua on an international aid project for Project Christ the King when the U.S. government seized his house and four acres of land in 1989. Four years earlier, Good had pleaded guilty to a drug charge after 89 pounds of marijuana and vials of hashish were found in his home near the town of Keaau on Hawaii Island. He served a one-year jail term, part of it on work release, and had nearly completed his probation when the Drug Enforcement Administration seized his property, contending it had been used to facilitate a drug transaction. Good, 49, who works sanding floors, went to court himself, arguing that he never got a hearing and that the unexplained four-year delay was unfair. A federal appeals court agreed, but the Justice Department appealed to the Supreme Court, which will hear arguments on the case Wednesday. The high court will consider two issues: whether the government can seize property in criminal cases without a hearing, and whether there is a statute of limitations on bringing forfeiture action. "The federal statute relating to forfeiture says the government has to act promptly," said Good's attorney, Christopher Yuen. "If they don't act promptly, they shouldn't be able to seize." Good is seeking the $12,600 rent he says the government collected until it sold the house in 1990, as well as the proceeds of the sale. Assistant U.S. Attorney Beverly Wee said no hearing was necessary. He said the government need only show probable cause to believe a crime was committed, the same standard for any arrest or search. In ruling in Good's favor, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the lack of notification or hearing violated his Fifth Amendment due-process rights. It also said that the five-year deadline contained in the forfeiture law establishes only an "outer limit" for filing forfeiture actions. APn 10/06/93 Drug Proceeds By LAURIE ASSEO Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) -- Property owners are not entitled to notification or a hearing before federal agents seize their assets as proceeds of illegal drug sales, the Clinton administration told the Supreme Court Tuesday. A warrant issued by a judge is enough to guarantee due process and protect against unreasonable seizures, said Justice Department lawyer Edwin S. Kneedler. But a lawyer for a man whose Hawaii home was taken from him in 1989 said owners should get a chance to prove a property seizure is not justified before imposition of such "an extraordinarily harsh, punitive and arbitrary sanction." "What we dispute is that there is a government interest in taking the property without a prior hearing," said Christopher J. Yuen, attorney for James Daniel Good. The government in recent years has increasingly used seizures of drug-related property as a major weapon in the war on drugs. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that such seizures are subject to the Constitution's 8th Amendment protection against excessive fines. Good was arrested in 1985 after Hawaii police found 89 pounds of marijuana and vials of hashish at his house in Keaau. He pleaded guilty to promoting a harmful drug and served a year in prison. In 1989, the federal government seized the house and four-acre property where the drugs had been found. At the time, Good was living in Nicaragua and had rented the home to tenants. Good challenged the seizure of his home, but a federal judge ruled for the government. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, saying the seizure violated Good's constitutional right to due process because he was not given notice or a hearing to contest it. The court also ordered the lower court to determine whether the government acted promptly enough. Federal law says seizures of drug-related property must be made within five years after the government discovers the property's link to drugs. However, the appeals court said that was merely an "outer limit." Justice Antonin Scalia expressed skepticism that a judge's warrant provides enough constitutional protection in all instances of drug-related property seizures. "The government doesn't usually tip its hand" before serving warrants and giving property owners notice of a seizure would do that, Kneedler said. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist noted that people can be arrested without a warrant as long as they are given a hearing within 48 hours. "I would think a person would be entitled to more process than a piece of property," the chief justice said. Yuen argued that a house cannot flee as a person can, but Scalia noted that a property owner could burn his home down if he knew it was about to be seized. "You know you're dealing with a criminal. It seems to me he has nothing to lose," Scalia said. Justice Harry A. Blackmun asked whether the government always waits four years before seizing drug-related property. Kneedler replied that there was no evidence that the federal agents who seized the property had known of Good's conviction for a long period of time and deliberately delayed seizing the property. The case is U.S. vs. Good, 92-1180. UPsw 10/06/93 Agent, 9 others arrested in drug smuggling sweep BROWNSVILLE, Texas (UPI) - Federal agents said Wednesday that a Border Patrol officer assigned to Brownsville was among 10 people arrested on drug trafficking charges. The U.S. Customs Service said Pedro Luis Rosario, 34, and 9 other individuals arrested led or were associated with two separate drug smuggling and distribution rings operating in Brownsville. Agents said nearly a half million dollars in cash, cars, jewelry and weapons were seized, culminating a 2-year probe by Customs agents and the FBI that netted 3,500 pounds of marijuana. The suspects face a wide range of charges, including possession with intent to distribute, conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana, engaging in continuing criminal enterprise and money laundering. Agents linked the two groups to organizations that smuggled marijuana and cocaine from Brownsville to Arizona, Illinois and Massachusetts. Authorities said more arrests and seizures were pending. UPce 10/06/93 Road crew bags $6,000 of pot POLK, Wis. (UPI) -- A grocery bag containing marijuana with a street value of more than $6,000 was found by a Washington County road crew doing work near an off-ramp Monday. The workers found the bag containing more than 2 pounds of marijuana along an off-ramp from Highway 45 to Highway 143 in the town of Polk. The bag contained 15 plastic sandwich bags, each holding 2 1/2 ounces of pot. The workers turned the marijuana over to the Washington County Sheriff's Department. UPwe 10/06/93 daybook-6 The MetroWire Daybook for the Los Angeles area Final update for Wednesday, Oct. 6 9 a.m. -- Beverly Hills -- Actress Victoria Sellers to be arraigned on misdemeanor of possession of a small amount of marijuana. District Attorney's Office says it does not know if she will appear. Municipal Court, Division 5, 9355 Burton Way. Contact: Sandi Gibbons 213-974-3528. WP 10/06/93 Court Asked to Require Notice In Anti-Drug Property Seizures; Justices to Hear Arguments Today in Hawaii Case By Joan Biskupic Washington Post Staff Writer After Hawaii state police found 89 pounds of marijuana at the home of James Daniel Good, he pleaded guilty to promoting a harmful drug. He spent a year in jail, was placed on probation and thought his case was closed. But four years later, without notifying Good or giving him an opportunity for a hearing, the federal government seized Good's house and began collecting rent from his tenants. Good sued the government for violating his right to due process of law. Today the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of the potent federal statute that allows agents to seize property allegedly used in drug crimes. At stake are civil forfeiture laws that have allowed the government to seize hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains from drug crimes but also have been used against innocent property owners whose predicaments have become fare for television and newspaper headlines. Because a civil forfeiture action is separate from any criminal proceeding and names the property as the defendant, the government need only show probable cause to believe the property was used in a crime - a standard of proof that is comparatively easy to meet. In such cases, the owner bears the burden of proving the property should not be forfeited. The law has been subject to criticism on several fronts. Civil libertarians say it is abused by unchecked prosecutors who seize first, ask questions later. Members of Congress have proposed several new safeguards in forfeiture actions, including that the government prove by clear and convincing evidence that the property was the proceeds of, or used in, unlawful activity. The Supreme Court last term ruled that such seizures were subject to Eighth Amendment prohibition against excessive fines, barring the government from going after huge real estate parcels for comparatively small drug offenses. After Good protested the forfeiture, which occurred while he was living in Nicaragua, a federal district court ruled for the government. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, finding that Good's rights were violated. The appeals court held that seizing his home denied Good due process of law because he was not notified and did not have an opportunity for an adversarial hearing. The court noted that prior cases had allowed forfeiture without notice but said those rulings were different because they involved property that was easily moved, such as boats, cars and cash. The court also emphasized the importance of a home to an individual. The appeals court further said federal law required agents to begin forfeiture promptly after discovering a drug violation, rather than waiting more than four years. It rejected the government's argument that the law dictates only that forfeiture actions begin within five years of a crime. In the Justice Department's appeal, United States v. James Daniel Good Real Property, the government argues first that civil forfeiture need not meet Fifth Amendment guarantees of due process for deprivation of property, rather only conform to a Fourth Amendment requirement that a warrant be issued by a neutral and detached magistrate or judge. In Good's case, a magistrate signed the warrant based on evidence gathered in the earlier police search of Good's house. "It is through the Fourth Amendment that the framers of the Bill of Rights struck the balance they deemed appropriate between the people's security in their persons, houses, papers, and effects and the public interest in effecting searches and seizures for law enforcement purposes," Solicitor General Drew S. Days wrote in a brief to the court. Drug-related seizures constitute an "extraordinary situation" that justifies postponing notice and an opportunity for a hearing, Days said, backed by several state attorneys general. Good, through his lawyer, Christopher J. Yuen, maintains that the government has no compelling justification for not providing a hearing before the seizure. Yuen quoted the appeals court: "The house is not going anywhere."
Compiled by Paul Stanford