ACLU Sues Over Faith-Based Rehab

  ACLU Sues Over Faith-Based Rehab

Posted by CN Staff on December 06, 2005 at 13:29:29 PT
By Norman Sinclair, The Detroit News 
Source: Detroit News  

Detroit -- In a lawsuit filed on his behalf by the civil rights group, a 23-year-old Catholic man from Genesee County is asking a federal judge to set aside a drug conviction, saying he was punished for not completing a Pentecostal rehabilitation program.Joseph Hanas was 19 when he pleaded guilty to a marijuana possession charge in February 2001 in Genesee Circuit Court and was placed in a diversion program for young, non-violent offenders.
Upon the recommendation of a probation officer, Judge Robert Ransom sentenced Hanas to the state-sponsored rehabilitation program - the Inner City Christian Outreach Residential Program, run by a Pentecostal church.Hanas said the program did not offer drug treatment or counseling, nor did it have any organized program other than reading the Bible and attending Pentecostal services.He said his rosary and prayer book was taken from him and his religion was denounced as witchcraft. Hanas said he was told his only chance of avoiding prison and a felony record was to convert to the Pentecostal faith.After seven weeks, his mother and lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union in Flint succeeded in getting Hanas back to court.The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, claims Ransom acknowledged the failings of the center but ruled that Hanas did not satisfactorily complete the program and sentenced him to three months in jail, three months in a boot camp, and placed him on a tether for three months. Ransom also placed Hanas on four years probation, which he continues to serve.This man was punished for insisting on the right to practice Catholicism and refusing conversion to the Pentecostal faith, said Kary Moss, director of the Michigan ACLU.The pastor who operates the center, Rev. Richard Rottiers could not be reached for comment.Ransom has retired. Before leaving the bench he said he would not send any more prisoners to the Inner City center, citing a lack of accountability.Complete Title: ACLU Sues Over Faith-Based Rehab: Catholic Man Forced into Pentecostal ProgramSource: Detroit News (MI)Author:  Norman Sinclair, The Detroit NewsPublished: Tuesday, December 06, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Detroit News Contact: letters Website: Related Articles & Web Site:ACLU Drug Wars is a Key - Washington Times Asks Church Groups' Help Vs. Drugs

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Comment #2 posted by rchandar on December 07, 2005 at 14:18:46 PT:

...I mean, I just can't BELIEVE this is what's happening in our legal system. Give me a GOD DAMN BREAK, this is persecution. Pentecostalism or jail? This is a case that should be sent to the Supreme Court. You gotta feel for the guy. He's been honest about having a Catholic faith and heritage. Aren't religious rights protected in our CONSTITUTION? Where's the outrage? How GOD DAMN SICK this is, and I'm GLAD the nut who sentenced him took his ASS off the BENCH. People like that should NEVER be judges.-rchandar
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on December 06, 2005 at 14:10:10 PT

News Article from
Bill Would Let Medical Marijuana Patients Include Medicinal Use as Part of Defense12/06/2005 HR 4272 SAYS, "LET PATIENTS TELL THE TRUTH, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH" In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Raich case earlier this year, which permits the federal government to continue arresting and prosecuting medical marijuana patients and their caregivers-- even in states where medical use of marijuana is permitted-- U.S. Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) and his bipartisan co-sponsors have re-introduced legislation to that would let medical marijuana defendants have the right to tell the truth in court. H.R 4272, officially dubbed “The Steve McWilliams Truth in Trials Act”, guarantees medical marijuana defendants the right to introduce evidence demonstrating that the marijuana-related activities for which they stand accused were performed in compliance with State law regarding the medical use of marijuana. In addition, the bill specifically limits the government’s ability to seize assets – including medical cannabis plants. Americans for Safe Access is encouraging people to contact their member of Congress to urge him or her to co-sponsor H.R. 4272. Steve McWilliams was a medical marijuana patient and activist who died earlier this year. He had apparently overdosed on the medications that he had been given in place of the marijuana that he had been denied since his 2002 arrest.Link:
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