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Posts Tagged ‘trial’

I just thought I’d share this email I received via the Friends of Charles Lynch mailing list earlier today:

Today in Federal court Charles C. Lynch’s motion for a new trial was denied. Lynch brought new evidence to court showing that he had nothing to do with his employee’s alleged street sales. Judge Wu stated that this was not sufficient evidence to acquit Lynch on all counts and so the motion was denied. Lynch’s Federal Public Defender’s then asked for more time for sentencing. Prosecutor Dave Kowal erupted with objections stating that the Defense was wasting the Court’s time. The judge agreed to move sentencing out to February 23, 2009 at 8:30am and the January 12, 2009 date is canceled. Supporters are encouraged to attend the Sentencing at 8:30am and the following Rally on Main Street at noon on February 23, 2009. The Federal Court House is located at 312 North Spring Street, Downtown Los Angeles on the Main Street side of the Federal Building. With the new sentencing date the latest to send in a letter of support to Judge Wu would be February 5, 2009.

For more information visit the http://www.Friendsofccl.com website. The http://www.Friendsofccl.com website will be updated with the new information within the next couple of days.

Thank you.
ccl

Note: If you are wondering who Charles Lynch is, check out these excellent Reason TV documentaries (in order, this, this and this) or skim through my various posts on his maddeningly unjust prosecution. If you wish to read the letter I sent to Judge Wu about three months ago, click here.

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Here’s a video of the October 6 protest:

Lynch appears in court for sentencing on November 24. He could theoretically be sent to prison for 100 years.

If you are new to my blog, or unfamiliar with the story of Charlie Lynch, please go through my old posts on the subject. Or better still, watch the excellent Reason TV documentaries on this topic (in order, this, this and this).

And at the end of it all, if you feel that whatever the government is doing to Lynch is fundamentally wrong, please, please help.

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His crime was that he owned a medical marijuana dispensary –fully legal under California law — that sold small amounts of the drug as a pain-reliever to the sick and the dying.

He faces up to 100 years in prison.

It goes without saying that one doesn’t have to be a libertarian or even believe in drug legalization to see the absurdity or the tragedy of the situation. (All you’ll need is a little common sense.)

Added later: Do watch the excellent Reason TV documentaries on Charlie (in order, this, this and this).

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Remember Karen Fletcher? The woman in the centre of the high-profile obscenity case I wrote about earlier? The reclusive lady who wrote violent sexual stories involving children in an attempt to cope with her own history of child abuse and was subsequently hounded by federal prosecuters? Well, the matter’s come to an end.

She battled the federal government’s allegations for more than a year and a half, but in the end, Karen Fletcher’s mental health will win out over her principles. And First Amendment lawyers will lose a key chance to have a court determine whether text-only material can be considered obscene.

Ms. Fletcher has decided to plead guilty to six counts of distributing obscenity online stemming from fictional stories published on a members-only Web site.

First Amendment lawyers thought an acquittal in the case could have begun a trend — proving that text-only cases do not rise to the level of obscenity standards.

The Donora woman was charged in September 2006 based on her “Red Rose” Web site, where Ms. Fletcher, 56, and others posted fictional stories that depicted the rape and torture of children — including infants.

She and her high-profile First Amendment lawyers claimed that what she’d written was not obscene, and they hoped to prevail before a jury.

In their favor, they thought, was the fact that the federal government has never won a conviction based solely on text under current obscenity law.

But Ms. Fletcher, who has agoraphobia — a fear of public places — is not capable of sitting through what likely would be a weeklong trial, said one of her attorneys, Lawrence Walters.

“With a different client, with somebody who had the strength to fight, there might have been a different outcome,” Mr. Walters said. “While we’d like her to be a standard-bearer on First Amendment issues, this is not the person to endure a trial.

“Even worse, should she be convicted, I don’t know that she’d be able to withstand a jail sentence.”

Under the proposed plea agreement, Ms. Fletcher would avoid prison and be sentenced to a term of home detention.

When I wrote about this matter several months ago, I noted that this case would a key test for the greatest American law of all — the first amendment. I ended that post with the words:

It is possible that Karen Fletcher will not be convicted. If she is, God save us all.

I don’t blame Karen Fletcher for the decision she has taken. A trial is a painful affair and I cannot even imagine how traumatic it may be to some one who suffers from agoraphobia, as Fletcher does. Nevertheless, today feels like an anti-climax. A defeat would have been catastrophic, signalling the slow destruction of something precious and irreplaceable; a victory would have reaffirmed the protection enjoyed by free speech in this country. This, being neither, leaves things in the balance, for another day, another case, another hero.

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