Pot Advocate Sows Seed of Doubt!

Pot Advocate Sows Seed of Doubt!
Posted by FoM on June 02, 1999 at 07:29:37 PT
Appeals court grants trial! 
Source: SF Gate
On the surface, the Hawaiian hemp bust looked like real chicken feed: In 1991, a grand jury on Hawaii's big island indicted Ernest Anderson for possessing 25 pounds of birdseed that contained sterilized hemp. The grand jury charged Anderson with promoting a detrimental drug -- marijuana. 
The charges were eventually dismissed, however, and yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the indictment may have violated Anderson's constitutional rights. In a 20-page decision, appeals Judges Susan Graber, John Noonan and Jerome Farris ruled that the county prosecutor who sought the original indictment may have known that a deputy in his office had submitted falsified evidence in support of the charges, and had offered to dismiss the case if Anderson, an advocate of legalizing marijuana, would stop writing letters about the case to local newspapers. The judges ruled that a lawsuit filed by Anderson should go to trial in order to determine whether the government in Hawaii County is liable for cash damages for violating Anderson's constitutionally protected right to free speech. According to the court's opinion, Anderson and another marijuana advocate, Roger Christie, were indicted by a Hawaii County grand jury in 1991 for purchasing 25 pounds of sterilized hemp seed. Nobody else in the island's history had ever been charged with buying sterilized hemp seed, a material that is often mixed with other vegetable seeds and used as bird and hamster feed, and which is available commercially in Hawaii from such public sources as Wal-Mart. However, Christie and Anderson were active with the Hawaii Hemp Council, an organization that advocates legalizing growing industrial hemp. Local authorities saw their purchase of the material as part of their campaign to legalize industrial hemp. When somebody known as a potential marijuana grower buys 25 pounds of hemp seed, the purchase ``is very vocally, very outwardly advocating the legalization of marijuana,'' Deputy Prosecutor Kay Iopa told jurors when the case came to trial in 1992. To secure the indictment, the court opinion says, Iopa produced falsified evidence that seeds seized from Christie and Anderson had germinated, when they actually had not. Later, as Anderson and Christie were awaiting trial, Iopa offered to drop the charges against them if they would agree to stop writing letters about the case to local newspapers. Charges against Christie were dismissed in October 1995. Last year, the charges against Anderson were dropped after the jury hearing the case deadlocked. Meanwhile, Anderson and Christie filed a civil suit in U.S. District Court in Hawaii, claiming that Iopa and her boss, County Prosecutor Jay Kimura, had violated their free speech rights. In 1997, the U.S. District Court in Hawaii awarded a summary judgment to the county and prosecutors, in effect dismissing the lawsuit. In yesterday's ruling, the appeals court said the lower court's ruling against Christie had been correct, but that Anderson had raised questions about Kimura's role in the prosecution that made it necessary to take the case to trial. 
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