Faced with Judge's ruling, I pled guilty to a lesser charge so as not to spend a mandatory ten years in federal prison
On November 19, 1999, I pled guilty to a lesser charge -- conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States government, namely the manufacturer and distribution of marijuana -- or something along those lines. This carries a sentence of 0 to 5 years, and the judge can, if he sentences me to time, order me to serve it under "home detention" with "electronic monitoring." This means I wear an electronic device around my ankle and my whereabouts is tracked at all times. I am not to leave my house except for medical or court appointments.
I "pled out" because, without a medical marijuana defense, I have no defense at all. I would have been found guilty, and I would have been given mandatory ten-year sentence with no possibility of parole. Ten-year sentences, by law, cannot be served with electronic monitoring.
I would have gone to prison for at least one year and three months, the amount of time it takes to make the first round of an appeal, and would only have been released if the appeal were successful. Considering my rapidly deteriorating medical condition and the level of contagion in federal prisons, especially tuberculosis, I probably would have died a miserable death within a year.
The Drug War doesn't need another martyr -- it has too many already.
Caught between a rock and a hard place, I made the choice that gave me the only chance of staying out of prison, continuing my life, and doing what I do best -- writing and other creative expressions designed to make this world a more enjoyable place to live. (Contrary to romantic thought, prison is the worst place in which to write. The month I spent in custody I was in "survival mode" the whole time, and survival mode is the death of creativity.) I'm sorry if I've let anyone down by not going through with the trial.
I will be sentenced in May 2000.
Just now I need money to pay off some bills and to give me some breathing space so I can gather all the information necessary to present to the judge so that he might pass a compassionate sentence. If you have set aside any money to help me at trial or with an appeal, please break the piggy bank now and click here.
Writing letters to the sentencing judge would be most helpful. Please click here. I want to thank everyone for their kindness, encouragement, and support during this horrific time.
I love you all. Enjoy.
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