Delay Requested in Chong Term 

Delay Requested in Chong Term 
Posted by CN Staff on October 15, 2003 at 22:20:24 PT
By Torsten Ove, Post-Gazette Staff Writer 
Source: Post-Gazette 
Actor and comedian Tommy Chong, who considers his stint in federal prison akin to "going on location," still would rather be someplace else. Chong, 65, turned himself in at the Taft Correctional Institution near Bakersfield, Calif., last week to begin his nine-month sentence for selling bongs over the Internet.But one of his lawyers appeared in federal court in Pittsburgh yesterday to argue that he should be let out of the lockup pending his appeal to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Pittsburgh attorney Stanton Levenson told U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab that his client, famous for such movies as "Up in Smoke," isn't a threat to anyone, isn't likely to run away and has legitimate reasons to believe he might win on appeal. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary McKeen Houghton opposed the motion to let him out, saying the nine-month sentence Schwab imposed was appropriate. Schwab asked them both to present case law to him by Wednesday. Chong will stay put in the meantime. To get out of prison while an appeal is pending, a defendant has to show some good reasons why the appeal might be successful. Levenson said Schwab made several mistakes in imposing the sentence, saying he felt the judge improperly considered statements Chong gave to the news media in which he made light of the case. After his guilty plea in May, he joked with reporters about putting what he calls "the incident" in his next movie with long-time partner Cheech Marin. In an online chat session with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in April, he also poked fun at the federal government. When asked about a federal crackdown on drug paraphernalia, he replied, "I feel pretty bad, but it seems to be the only weapons of mass destruction they've found this year."Levenson said he didn't think Chong should have made such comments. But he also said Chong's remarks are protected free speech under the First Amendment and argued that the judge shouldn't have considered them in handing down the sentence. Levenson said he felt Schwab improperly took into account the possibility that Chong would capitalize on the case to make money, as the government feared. Chong, whose entire career has been based on playing a pot-addled moron, promised not to use the case to bolster his earnings, and Levenson said he hasn't, although the Los Angeles Times reported that Chong has been telling jokes about the raid on his house in his stand-up act across the country. Levenson appeared at a loss, however, when Schwab asked him what evidence he had that the judge considered Chong's statements in determining the sentence. Houghton said that Chong's plea agreement called for a sentencing range of six months to a year. It's unlikely that Chong will prevail in his appeal because the 3rd Circuit judges do not often reduce or overturn a sentence that falls within the guideline range. Chong admitted to distributing 7,500 bongs and marijuana pipes on the Internet through Nice Dreams, a family company that was named for one of his movies. He also entered a guilty plea for the company, which did business as Chong Glass in Gardena, Calif. The corporation is now defunct. Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)Author: Torsten Ove, Post-Gazette Staff WriterPublished: Thursday, October 16, 2003Copyright: 2003 PG PublishingContact: letters post-gazette.comWebsite: Articles:He's Taking One Big Hit Chong's Freedom Go Up in Smoke? To Appeal Prison Sentence
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Comment #11 posted by Virgil on October 17, 2003 at 07:30:06 PT
Sentenced under an evil law
The evil law that sent Chong to prison is the glaring injustice. Rush while, breaking the law, shows that the laws are bad when he says he will break his addiction and people think that is fine. Both situations show the law to be bad when we have treason in the White House and people are watching the circus brought to you by the War of Insanity.There are some facts presented at this link I will copy here-, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab for selling some 7,500 bongs and pipes through his company, Chong Glass. The Judge gave him nine months in a federal lockup and fined him $20,000. Also, as part of the sentence, Chong forfeited his Internet domain name,, along with $103,514 in cash and all of the drug paraphernalia seized by federal agents during a raid of his home and business on February 24th. A friend of Chong's relates that Tommy told him the following: That if he didn't plead guilty, the Feds would go after his son, Paris, and his wife. 
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Comment #10 posted by Rev Jonathan Adler on October 16, 2003 at 23:46:36 PT:
Taking his medicine is his only choice!
In the joint.... in the facility..... it is called, "taking the burn." You do the crime you do the time. Period. 6 months is not so bad, I can say so cause I had to do just that. If he made almost a million dollars or more selling bongs...... and felt he was above the law........maybe he is supposed to cool his jets for awhile and reflect. I sure did. For all the deals and acts he got away with, and the huge bank-roll he made out of the pot trip, he got off cheap. I wish him well of course and pray for all incarcerated marijuana users. Aloha *Freedom is precious, liberty is irreplaceable.
Hawaii Medical Marijuana Institute 
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Comment #9 posted by E_Johnson on October 16, 2003 at 22:03:30 PT
He doesn't have our backs
He can plead guilty, that's fine.What concerns me about his behavior is his insistence that he doesn't deserve to be punished, because he's "not the same person any more."Is that saying that the guy he used to be deserved the punishment? If so then that's hardly brotherhood he's showing.
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Comment #8 posted by Arthropod on October 16, 2003 at 13:08:30 PT:
This is why the cannabis legalization movement has never been very cohesive. Why do we have a tendency to attack our own? Until you have been there, with your back to the wall and the only way out to fight or surrender, you have absolutely no right to bash the decision of someone who has. And if you have been there, as I suspect most of the readers of CNews have, then why are you attacking someone who just showed that he is trying to fight back with an appeal?
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Comment #7 posted by Treeanna on October 16, 2003 at 06:46:14 PT
I agree that one should always get a second legal opinion...just like for medical issues. And I am aware of what "no contest" does for one in a legal sense (avoiding admission of civil liability for instance). I just dont see much value to personal attacks on the man for probably being legally ignorant (few of us are not), and especially when we are not privy to the details of his case. We have no real idea of what was at stake.In that regard, since I aknowledge Mr. Chong as an icon and a primary mover in bringing a lot of our issues "out of the closet" (intentionally or otherwise), I support him in his time of trial in the face of this absurdity.My first letter to him at Taft CI went out Monday.
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Comment #6 posted by BigDawg on October 16, 2003 at 06:18:35 PT
My thoughts on Chong
I won't argue with his personal decision to cop a plea. IMHO, he should have gotten a better lawyer, but deciding to protect his family was an honorable move.As mentioned before, pleading "No Contest" is a symantic game that gives the prosecutor what he/she wants (an easy conviction) but doesn't actually admit guilt which can be in ones favor in later legal proceedings.If his lawyer didn't suggest this (I don't know) then he REALLY needs another attorney.
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Comment #5 posted by Treeanna on October 16, 2003 at 05:56:32 PT
Think about it
One of the reasons Chong plead guilty was to protect his family.For one, they had threatened to go after his wife as well.Crap like this is always a tough call, and unless you have ever been called on to make it yourself, you really haven't any room to speak. Not only that, but it was HIS choice, not ours.
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Comment #4 posted by OverwhelmSam on October 16, 2003 at 05:11:35 PT:
Tommy Got Exactly What He Deserved
I'm siding with Ron here. Tommy got what he deserved for pleading guilty to a crime that he doesn't believe in. Enjoy your vacation Tommy. Next time, fight it.
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Comment #3 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on October 16, 2003 at 02:49:07 PT
No Contest
Why didn't Chong plead No Contest? In practice, it's a slim difference between that and pleading guilty, but it still allows you to admit that you don't feel guilty of what you're accused. It just says that you don't feel that you would be able to win your case. I hope Tommy at least discussed this plea with his law team...
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Comment #2 posted by Ron Bennett on October 16, 2003 at 02:25:25 PT
Bad Representation...Pleading Guilty Not Smart
I personally don't have much sympathy for Tommy Chong...he typifies the old "pothead" stereotype; he didn't seem to take the charges against him too seriously - probably thought the worse that would happen would be a fine or a few days in jail max.I read message posts all the time from people have been caught with a few ounces of cannabis, etc who aren't that concerned and think that pleading guilty is the easy way out - and further believe that being charged with small-time possession, dealing, etc is not a big deal.How wrong many of them are...sure some get lucky and are accepted into a special ARD program (Pennsylvania) or similar in which they don't go to jail and *portions* of their criminal record are removed after a period of time. But many folks aren't as lucky...and for most all of them the criminal record will cost them far more over time in lost opportunities...lower paying jobs, lack of some legal rights (for example not being able to legally own a firearm), etc...To be fair, for some select folks, pleading guilty may be the only viable option they have, if the charges are severe and evidence in much abundance. However often the charges are questionable and the evidence lacking in most State cases; Feds usually do better case prep...though often in such instances one often has warning - the Feds usually drag investigations out for years, but I digress.I'd bet, for example, that the majority (or darn close to that) of the folks charged with cannabis possession and other so-called "minor" drug offenses plead guilty right away...yet many of those same folks could have likely avoided that situation by KNOWING THEIR LEGAL RIGHTS AND FIGHTING VIGORIOUSLY ... with good representation of course (self-representation is often worse than none at all)...though sadly many folks can't afford good representation and that puts them at a further disadvantage, but that's another issue for another day...Chong on the other-hand can likely afford good representation (though not sure that's what he got based on what I've seen), but he didn't take the matter seriously (his public statements only reaffirm his lackadaisical attitude towards the whole matter) until it was too late...And anyways, trying to get a sentance reduced after pleading guilty is a poor plan...Well, I could go on and on, but I think that's enough rambling for now -;)Ron
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Comment #1 posted by gloovins on October 16, 2003 at 01:41:31 PT
off topic but worth a look IMO
Usually smoked as a cigarette or joint, or in a pipe or bong, marijuana has appeared in "blunts" in recent years. These are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and re-filled with marijuana, sometimes in combination with another drug, such as crack. Some users also mix marijuana into foods or use it to brew tea.The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Short-term effects of marijuana use include problems with memory and learning; distorted perception; difficulty in thinking and problem-solving; loss of coordination; and increased heart rate, anxiety, and panic attacks.Health HazardsEffects of Marijuana on the Brain. Researchers have found that THC changes the way in which sensory information gets into and is acted on by the hippocampus. This is a component of the brain's limbic system that is crucial for learning, memory, and the integration of sensory experiences with emotions and motivations. Investigations have shown that THC suppresses neurons in the information-processing system of the hippocampus. In addition, researchers have discovered that learned behaviors, which depend on the hippocampus, also deteriorate.Effects on the Lungs. Someone who smokes marijuana regularly may have many of the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers have. These individuals may have daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis, and more frequent chest colds. Continuing to smoke marijuana can lead to abnormal functioning of lung tissue injured or destroyed by marijuana smoke.Regardless of the THC content, the amount of tar inhaled by marijuana smokers and the level of carbon monoxide absorbed are three to five times greater than among tobacco smokers. This may be due to marijuana users inhaling more deeply and holding the smoke in the lungs.Effects of Marijuana Use during Pregnancy. Research has shown that babies born to women who used marijuana during their pregnancies display altered responses to visual stimuli, increased tremulousness, and a high-pitched cry, which may indicate problems with neurological development. During infancy and preschool years, marijuana-exposed children have been observed to have more behavioral problems and to perform tasks of visual perception, language comprehension, sustained attention, and memory more poorly than nonexposed children do. In school, these children are more likely to exhibit deficits in decision-making skills, memory, and the ability to remain attentive.Effects of Heavy Marijuana Use on Learning and Social Behavior. A study of college students has shown that critical skills related to attention, memory, and learning are impaired among people who use marijuana heavily, even after discontinuing its use for at least 24 hours. Researchers compared 65 "heavy users," who had smoked marijuana a median of 29 of the past 30 days, and 64 "light users," who had smoked a median of 1 of the past 30 days. After a closely monitored 19- to 24-hour period of abstinence from marijuana and other illicit drugs and alcohol, the undergraduates were given several standard tests measuring aspects of attention, memory, and learning. Compared to the light users, heavy marijuana users made more errors and had more difficulty sustaining attention, shifting attention to meet the demands of changes in the environment, and in registering, processing, and using information. The findings suggest that the greater impairment among heavy users is likely due to an alteration of brain activity produced by marijuana.
Longitudinal research on marijuana use among young people below college age indicates those who used have lower achievement than the non-users, more acceptance of deviant behavior, more delinquent behavior and aggression, greater rebelliousness, poorer relationships with parents, and more associations with delinquent and drug-using friends. *Information provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.* (ahhhh, surprise surprise hehe)----When will our tax dollars go for meaningful studies to help sick people? Our precious tax dollars are being wasted in Isreal, Iraq and Columbia to combat terorism/drugs. The soulution is so simple :TAX AND REGULATE. WAKE UP AMERICAN POLITICIANS, didn't you get the Supreme Courts recent No-hear of Conant v Walters? THIS IS STILL A FREE COUNTRY AND I AM TIRED OF MY TAXES BEING SPENT ON LIES TO PREVENT ILL AMERICANS FROM GAINING ACCESS TO A PLANT AND TO PREVENT FREE SPEECH BTWN DR'S & THEIR PATIENTS.Free Tommy, Lock up Rush. Justice is way over due. Oh and while you're at it abolish the IRS, DEA and make the ATF the ATFN (Alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and Narcotics) I ask you cannabisnews readers, am I that warped or do I make any sense at all...? Eventually this madness must end, check out LEAP, they are the only ones now with a sane policy towards this unwinnable war....sorry just HAD to rant some......FoM, let Gods bless you for all yr tireless work on this site. Stay well all...may be a while before I'm back, new owners of my Apt bldg are evicting me to (illegally) raise my rent, so after this Monday, gloovins may be gone for a while...I love all you people here, you all really make a difference. You speak your minds, somethings increasingly on the edge of extinction nowadays...Peace to all & let your God bless you....stay true, not blue all.
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