I am Spartacus!
Ed Rosenthal: Faces Re-Trial for Old Medical Marijuana Charges
by Ed Rosenthal (12 Sept, 2006)
Ed Rosenthal needs help - the federal government is raising a dead issue to try and jail him again.
The outcome depends on whether people like you chose to help Ed, who has helped so many growers and tokers over the years. Want to help? Read the full letter from Ed below.
Hello. My name is Ed Rosenthal and I was tried in 2003 for providing marijuana starter plants to medical marijuana distribution centers. The exact charges were manufacture, providing a place to manufacture and conspiracy. The jury found me guilty.
Within four days of the trial, eight of the jurors repudiated the verdict. After leaving the jury box they had learned the whole truth: I was appointed as a City Officer empowered to provide patients with medical marijuana. They told the media that they felt that they had been used and worse.
After considering all the facts of the case the judge sentenced me to one day in prison, time served. I appealed the convictions on three grounds: improper actions by the juror, the fact that I was a city officer should have exempted me from prosecution under federal law and that even if I was not protected I had been led to believe I was by proper authorities and thus should be free from prosecution under the rules of estoppal.
The 9th circuit reversed the conviction on the basis of improper actions by the juror and held that I could be re-tried. On August 30, the judge held a status hearing. The prosecutor told the court that he intends to retry the case and the judge ruled that according to law the trial must start by the end of October. In addition, this time I will be tried with three co-defendants. Two of those people were subpoenaed by a grand jury and have refused to testify.
This is an extremely important case for the government and for medicinal marijuana supporters. They hope that a win here against me will give them a pass to attack all providers functioning under the California Medical Laws, then they will move on to decimate progress made in other states with similar medical marijuana laws. As you probably know, the federal authorities closed all of the medical facilities in San Diego in early August 2006. Our win in this case will be a major setback for the government's efforts to contain the medical marijuana phenomenon.
However, wins are costly. The last trial, which cost over $350,000, left me in a critical, vulnerable position financially. I donÕt have the money to finance a trial for myself and my co-defendants are in worse positions than I am. I am assembling the legal team now. Each of the four defendants is interviewing attorneys and we are planning a joint legal strategy. We are recruiting prominent and qualified attorneys to work at a reduced rate. Even so, we will need funds for various court expenses as well as publicity. This is a critical moment in the fight for medicinal marijuana.
Could you help us win this battle so that we can protect medical marijuana users and dispensaries throughout California and country?
Since my finances are depleted I don't have the funds to mount the defense my co-defendants and I require. Unless we can raise money very quickly we will be left to federal public defenders.
Perhaps you or someone you know are one of the millions of people I've helped over the years. It is essential that you help support this trial. Millions of sick of people, perhaps yourself, will be affected directly by the outcome. The verdict will also set the mood for general marijuana policy in California and throughout the country. The federal government needs to understand the public will not tolerate federal interference in the state medical program.
Thank you for reading this and for your consideration.
How to help: Donate to Green-Aid, The Medical Marijuana Legal Defense Fund, a California charitable corporation with 501(c)(3) non-profit tax status. All contributions are tax deductible.
Green Aid Ð Postal Mail Box 172, 484Lake Park Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610 Online: www.green-aid.com.