An update below, from Aron Kay (for many decades known
in circles of the Liberation Movement and the Press as
"the Pieman"), about the case of Ed Rosenthal.
Whether we like Ed or not, the combined illegal-legal
assault by the US Government on Ed's participation in
the medical cannabis efforts, is a terrible blow to all
of us, especially to those among us (myself included)
who for many years had naively thought that reading,
writing and researching are "safe" activities.
Date: Sat, 01 Feb 2003
From: ARON KAY <pieman@...
Subject: ED Rosenthal Case news
Ed Rosenthal Found Guilty -- New Trial Sought
Friday, January 31 -- In front of a crowd of spectators
and supporters, many of whom sobbed as the verdict was
read, noted author and activist Ed Rosenthal was
convicted in federal court today of marijuana
Upon leaving the courthouse with his family, a subdued
but defiant Mr. Rosenthal was greeted by a mob of
cameras, microphones and well-wishers. He and his
attorneys vowed to fight on, saying this was a struggle
for patients' rights that would win out in the end.
While he was found guilty of all three counts, the most
serious related to conspiracy to grow more than a
thousand plants, and on that count the jury found that
he had conspired to grow more than a hundred but less
than the thousand the indictment had specified -- a
finding defense attorneys counted as a victory.
That leaves his conviction for cultivation of more than
a hundred plants as the offense with the stiffest
penalty, with a sentencing range of from 5 to 40 years
and a fine of up to $2 million dollars.
But after dismissing the jury, Judge Charles Breyer
said that he would be conducting his own "independent
inquiry" into determining whether he could make a
"downward departure" on the sentencing, meaning impose
less than the minimum sentence mandated by law. Such an
inquiry would be to determine Mr. Rosenthal's
eligibility for an extraordinary exception to normal
Judge Breyer noted the extraordinary circumstances of
the case in rejecting the motion of Assistant U.S.
Attorney George Bevan, Jr. to have Mr. Rosenthal placed
in immediate detention.
Judge Breyer granted Defense Counsel Robert Eye and
William Simpich an additional 30 days beyond the normal
ten to file their request for a new trial. He also set
the sentencing date as June 4th, much farther out than
The nearly six months until sentencing should allow
enough time for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to
decide the appeal of another of Judge Breyer's cases
that dealt with a similar question of immunity from
prosecution in the context of medical marijuana
distribution. Mr. Rosenthal had made a nearly identical
claim in his case, which Judge Breyer had refused to
allow. If the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturns
Judge Breyer's interpretation of the federal statute,
as he himself said they very well might, it would
guarantee that Mr. Rosenthal's conviction would be
Jurors told the press that while they'd been distressed
by the verdict they'd reached, they'd felt their hands
were tied. The jury foreman said he, for one, hoped
their decision would be reversed on appeal.
For a statement on the verdict from Ed Rosenthal and
information on what you can do to help in his appeal,
Rosenthal Trial Pic's and News Articles