I Got Published TNC!

Source: Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier (IA)
Thursday, February 14, 2002

Bad Drug Policy

Fort Dodge, I must take issue with the ad from the anti-drug group in the Feb. 6 Courier. The ad implies that if you buy illegal drugs, then you're supporting terrorism. Read the ad carefully. It states, "buy drugs and you could be supporting it (terrorism) too." Even in the booklet, "Get the Facts," this group uses terms such as, "could be," "maybe," "possibly." These terms do not amount to facts. Merely assumptions. If the ad's claims are true, we must ask ourselves why? The answer is because drugs are illegal.

Here are the facts. Prohibition makes illegal drugs so profitable that various terrorist groups (including reportedly, bin Laden) get substantial funding by trading in them. Thus, self-defeating U.S. drug policy has become a vulnerability we cannot afford.
Prohibition has accomplished many things. Prohibition has brought us more drugs, more drug users, a steadily decreasing average age at first drug use, huge political and law enforcement corruption, and a boom in prison construction. Prohibition creates the atmosphere where market share must be protected with violence. In the last 30 years prohibition has brought us about 200,000 dead innocent people.

Prohibition has, however, brought us no benefits. Several South American countries are currently leaning toward decriminalization. Wisley, they have recognized that the real problem is not the product, but the market. An underground market cannot be controlled, regulated or restricted. A legitimate market can. It's high time America gave decriminalization/legalization, serious consideration.
Bradley David Aukes

Source: AntiShyster magazine, volume 9, number 1

Thanks! I received your latest issue of Anti Shyster, and it truly made my Christmas. I thank you from my heart. I make S25 a month as a law clerk here, and I admire your publication so much. I wrote you about 6 months ago. I'm the one that was caught with 13 grams of pot and pled for 115 Ibs. and got sentenced for 40,750 lbs. and had my appeal dismissed for an "intelligent" waiver of appeal in my plea trap!

My wife of 17 years abandoned me and filed for divorce. My court appointed attorney filed a reply to the divorce and didn't bother to show up, and they took all my stuff and now I cannot even get an address for my 3 children because the *&#@*@ Judge will not look at my motions! There are no Texas law books here (just federal) so I'm stumped on what to do now. It has been a year since I have not seen my children. If anybody can help me on this, please write.

My lawyer duped me into pleading guilty for the 115 Ibs. For promised sentence of 2 or 3 years on a snitch's word I got sentenced for 20 tons. I got an affidavit off the snitch, but the 5th Circuit appeals said my waiver was voluntary and dismissed my appeal. I put in a writ for certiorari to the Supreme Court but it was DENIED. I have a §2255 Habeas left but am waiting till I get more knowledge of the tricks and evil traps of the persecuters. I would like to offer my research services to you, if you need Federal research I would be glad to find a case for you. N/c. Your magazine is my payment.

I would like to see more Federal and prisoner articles as this is where we are literally fighting for our lives. This is the trenches. The Fed has narrowed our time for habeas corpus to one year. Over that - tuff. The only thing is, there is no state books at the fed. My state case is going to go down the tubes for lack of knowledge. I miss my kids so much - do you know why the State Court does not see or respond to my motions7 I cannot get an answer or ruling, any aid will be appreciated. May God bless you and yours. Oh, the Attorney [State] General has been sending a bunch of cons here the child support ultimatums and your article was very helpful. God bless and don t forget about the litigation engines in prison fighting the US with no ammo.
Angel Lerma
Federal Medical Center
Fort Worth, Texas

Source: The Herald-Times (IN), Sun, 30 Dec 2001

Prisoner Of War

To the editor:

This was my 11th Christmas in the federal prison at Terre Haute. Christmas time brings back memories, some good and some bad. It brings back memories of being free, and memories of my Christmases in 1967 and 1968, while serving as a young medic paratrooper in Vietnam. I received hundreds of cards and Christmas packages from people back home, thanking me and showing their appreciation for me serving my country.

When I returned from Vietnam, not only did I bring back the memories, the malaria, the wounds and the medals, (my country said I was a hero), but I also brought back a drug habit. Eventually, the drug habit won over and landed me in a new war. This time, as a "prisoner of the drug war."

I no longer receive the Christmas cards and packages, although I'm still the same person I was back then, when my country said I was a war hero, albeit much older, and I no longer have a drug habit. But, now my country says I'm a threat to society, "for a nonviolent drug crime," and I must spend the rest of my Christmases here in federal prison.

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled, in Apprendi vs. New Jersey, that sentences like mine were un-Constitutional. But, Congress passed a law in 1996 called the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act that says I can no longer file an appeal because of a technicality. So, I must sit here Christmas after Christmas, thinking of the memories, for the rest of my life. Do you really think the "war on drugs" is working?
Michael L. Cummings, Terre Haute

Source: Arizona Daily Star (AZ), Thu, 28 Feb 2002

Majority Of Drugs Are Not Linked To Terrorism

As part of President Bush's war on drugs, he has stated that "using drugs aids terrorists" ("'Get help' is focus of new Bush drug policy, Feb. 13). While using heroin could possibly aid terrorists, seeing as much of the heroin is grown in the Middle East, I fail to see how using most other drugs (cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, Ecstasy, marijuana, etc.) can be said to "aid terrorists."

It is unfortunate that Bush would try to use the war on terrorism in this manner.
As for people giving up drug use in order to help fight the war on terrorism, remember that a lot of tobacco is grown in the Middle East. If Bush were to ask people to stop smoking cigarettes in order to help fight the war on terrorism, how far do you think he would get?
Charles Crehore

Source: Arizona Daily Star (AZ), Jan 22, 2002

U.S. Can't Keep Drugs Out Of Prisons

Re: the Jan. 13 article "Odds against parole were just too long." Former Tucson prison complex warden Glen Parin says the drug treatment unit prisoner Gregory Schack was in "was highest for dirty urinalysis." Parin then said, "I'm tired of spending taxpayer money for drug programs," since prison drug programs don't work.

There is something far deeper here. I don't know about prison drug programs not working, but what about a warden who cannot keep drugs out of his prison? I would think the taxpayers would be tired of spending literally billions of dollars on prisons that cannot keep drugs out and wardens who cannot do their jobs.

It also goes to show how completely hopeless the war on drugs is. If wardens cannot keep drugs out of secured prisons, does anyone really think we can keep drugs out of America - even an America that closely resembles a prison?
Charles Crehore

Getting published in the court's public record­­fruits of writing

Gregory SMITH, Appellant
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Appellee, No. 00-5211
United States Court of Appeals,
District of Columbia Circuit

Argued May, 7, 2001
Decided June 12, 2001

Following denial of inmate's request, under the Freedom of Information Act, for copies of the recordings of the Bureau of Prisons made of his conversations with his attorney, in which the attorney allegedly conceded inadequate assistance, inmate sought judicial review. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Thomas Penfield Jackson, J., granted summary judgment for the Government, and inmate appealed.

The Court of Appeals, Ginsburg, Circuit Judge, held that prison authorities did not "intercept," consensually or otherwise, any communication within meaning of Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act when they routinely monitored and recorded inmate's conversation with his attorney, in case in which inmate chose not to use available unmonitored line, and thus the recordings were not exempt from disclosure under the FOIA as specifically exempted by statute.
Federal Reporter - pg 1047
Criminal Law Reporter - June 27, 2001 / Vol. 69 No. 13 pgs 378 & 379
Full text at http://pub.bna.com/c1/005211.htm

Source: Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), March 8, 2002

U.S. Must Change Its Priorities

Now that our great nation is sliding further into a state of recession with a large loss of employment, our government continues to spend untold billions to revitalize our national defense programs. Now is the time for us, and our political leaders, to carefully examine and reconsider our priorities and our future.

Throughout the 1990s with a prosperous economy, nonviolent offenders comprised over half of our nation's prison population at an annual cost of over $24 billion. Today, our prisons are bursting at the seams. The absurd spending on incarcerating 2 million of our fellow citizens must be redirected into critically needed areas such as health, education, employment and Social Security programs.

Without serious changes in our nation's sspending priorities our children will continue to suffer from inadequate schools, those without health insurance will continue to suffer from inadequate medical care and too many of our elderly will be abandoned to homelessness and the streets. Spending billions to lock up nonviolent offenders while essential government services are inadequately funded is not what Americans need. We must create change in our priorities now.
Glenn H. Early

Source: Wed, 06 Feb 2002, Orlando Sentinel (FL)

Managing Drug Policy

If the United States had about 100 columnists like Mike Thomas, we would already be engaged in a nationwide dialogue about anti-drug policy. In his Jan. 31 column, Thomas tells how to manage addiction, one of the two causes of the social damage of drugs and their prohibition. The other cause is greed.

Greed can be managed only by taking the profit out of the illegal drug trade. With cocaine retailing at $2,500 an ounce that is a tall order. The only way to do that is to reduce the price. And the only way to do that is to sell all these substances, along with alcohol and tobacco, in state liquor stores. Price them high, but not so high that they stimulate an illegal market. Then use a small part of that revenue to offer free treatment to all who ask.
John Chase, Palm Harbor

How to take part in November Coalition's writing project:

I Got Published TNC!

Many Coalition members took up the challenge and wrote hometown and other newspapers about the drug war. We are sharing with you just some of the recent letters published. The offer still stands.

Are you a prisoner of the war on drugs? If your editorial about the drug war gets published, we will send you a copy of Drug War Facts. Like the letters posted here, you might find your own writing published a second time in The Razor Wire, both hard copy and electronic, online editions. We'll be sharing these published letters to inspire more of our readers to take up the pen in the cause of justice.

Ready, set - write those letters! Send original clippings of your recent published letters to the editor to:

I Got Published TNC!
795 South Cedar
Colville, WA 99114

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The Razor Wire is a publication of The November Coalition, a nonprofit organization that advocates drug law reform. Contact information: moreinfo@november.org
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