THE GREAT CALAMITY

VOTE SMART FORUM

CLARION STATE UNIVERSITY, CLARION, PA

By Julian Heicklen

September 27, 2000

Fellow Americans! Our nation is in the midst of its greatest calamity since the Civil War. The Bill of Rights has been trampled. Free speech and gun ownership has been infringed.

Searches are made without warrants. At Penn State, police come to a student’s room at 8:00 AM, wake the student and ask him to come into the hall. Then they ask for permission to search the room. The student is told that if he refuses, he will be held until the police can get a warrant. The student almost always agrees. Why didn’t the police get the warrant before they came to the student’s room?

Police seize our assets without due process of law.

Cheryl Sanders was driving in Sulphur, LA when she was stopped by police. She was handcuffed and taken to the police station where she was strip searched and her car searched. Nothing was found. She did not have a criminal record. She was told that she was free to go, but that the police were keeping her car. She hired a lawyer and sued the police to recover her car. She had to sell the car to pay the lawyer’s fee of $7000.

Angela Jenkins gave birth to her second son on September 22, 1999. One week later both of her children were taken from her by the Children's Protective Service without a court order. Jenkins and her newborn son had both tested positive for marijuana.

In Pennsylvania courts there are no indictments by grand juries and no guarantee to a speedy trial. You can be held in prison for six months before being brought to trial. How would you like to spend six months in prison and then found to be not guilty?

The jury pools are not representative of their county populations. In Centre County about 12% of the adult population lives in University Park, but the jury pools contain only about one percent of University Park residents. Twenty four percent of the adult population is between the ages of 18 and 21. However the jury pools contain only about four percent of this age group.

There are no fully public trials. By Pennsylvania law, cameras are barred from the courtroom. How can there be a fully public trial in this day and age if TV is barred from the courtroom?

Excessive bail often is imposed. At the Republican convention in Philadelphia in 2000, protesters were arrested. One was held on one million dollar bail and two others on $500,000 bail. There is nothing that these people could have done to justify this bail. The purpose of bail is not to detain or punish people, but to insure that they appear at their trials.

The most fundamental of all human rights is the right to control one’s own body. It is wrong to arrest mentally-competent adults for engaging in consensual acts. I do not advocate drugs (including alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine), sex outside of marriage (prostitution, sodomy, or adultery), consensual violence (e. g. boxing, football, and hockey), gambling, ticket scalping, or fortune telling (a crime in PA). However, these should not be criminal matters. They are better handled by religious, medical, educational, and family groups.

Greta Slovensky experienced slurred speech, drooling, blurred vision, headaches, trembling in her extremities, and falling. By the time that she was diagnosed with Wilson’s disease, she could not talk. She was told that her larynx was paralyzed and that she would never talk again. She was put on a feeding tube. Conventional treatment did not help. She did not talk for two years when she started smoking marijuana. After seven days, she could talk again. The tremors are almost gone. Her walking is stabilized. In our society, this woman is a criminal for using marijuana.

Cathy Jordan developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease). She was told that she would not live for five years. For two years she was on conventional medication, but her condition continued to deteriorate. She started smoking two marijuana cigarettes per day. Her appetite returned. The marijuana eases the constant twitching in her extremities, the pain from muscle spasms, the ache in her hands and neck, and the headaches. Not only is she alive after 12 years, but she still can talk as much as ever.

Two million of our people are in prison or jail. This compares with 200,000 in 1972. Today, with 4.6% of the world's population, the United States houses 25% of the world's inmates. We have the highest per capita inmate population of any country. Nine percent of all males in the U. S. will be sentenced to at least one year in state or federal prison during their lifetimes. Their lives will be altered or ruined. About 5% of the adult males in the U. S. currently are under supervision of the criminal justice system (prison, jail, probation, or parole).

The abuse of our prisoners is unconscionable. They suffer from medical neglect. Larry Albury, a prisoner at the State Correctional Institution at Rockview, needed a kidney operation. Most of the time he couldn’t walk and would swell up. Since he was due to be released in six months, the operation was scheduled for after his release. He argued with the nurses about his lack of treatment. As a result, he was put in solitary confinement. Dr. Solomon had him transferred from solitary to the infirmary and then returned him to general population. Albury died in March 1997, four months before his release from prison.

There is a hepatitis C virus epidemic that is not being treated. In California prisons, 39% of the males and 54% of the females have hepatitis C.

In Greene County, the inmates are routinely handcuffed and shackled and then beaten with night sticks by a dozen guards. Anthony Williams refused to come out of his cell when ordered by the guards to do so. Four guards came into his cell for him. He threw a typewriter at them. Then the extraction team entered. There were about eleven guards in his cell. In an adjoining cell, Anthony Bennett heard the beating and screams. Then the guards carried Williams out of the cell. He was shackled and handcuffed and carried out face done by the chains in the spread eagle position. Blood was coming from his head. His head was bumping on the floor. He was unconscious, and Bennett thought that Williams was dead. Williams was taken into the yard, dropped face down still unconscious. The guards kicked and beat him and then carried him away by the chains.

Foreign material is put into the food of selected inmates. I received a piece of metal from one inmate, who said that it was in his food. Alfonzo Salley sent me three new staples that he found in his strawberry shortcake this past July. He says that the guards also spit in his food. He will not eat the food served on the 6 AM to 2 PM shift.

Inmates are stripped naked and left in unheated cells for days without bedding, running water, toilet paper or soap. Alfonzo Salley has been subjected to this, once for five days and once for seven days.

Inmates are sent to the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) on false or unproven charges regularly. One inmate has been in RHU for 24 years. Amnesty International and the U. N. Commission on Torture have chastised the U. S. for its treatment of prisoners.

I am angry about these abuses. Also I am ashamed that I have not done more to stop them. That is why I am running for attorney general of PA. What is morally necessary must be made politically possible. I have unique credentials for this job.

I have been active in many human rights organizations for 55 years. These include the Congress of Racial Equality, the American Civil Liberty Union, Amnesty International, the Committee on the International Freedom of Scientists, the Committee of Concerned Scientist, and the Pennsylvania Prison Society. I founded Smart on Crime, a non-partisan citizen lobby to reduce prison populations and reform prison abuses. I organized and am the current Chair of the Libertarian Party of Centre County.

I have been involved in 34 civil and criminal court cases in the last 2-1/2 years. Of these I tried 19 myself. I have tried cases before every kind of court in Pennsylvania and federal District and Circuit Courts.

I am Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at Penn State. I have done research in chemistry, environmental science, and medicine. I authored two books. One of these was the world-wide standard text and reference in atmospheric chemistry for 12 years. During my professional career, I authored 27 review papers and 257 research articles. In recent years, I have written several reports on crime and drugs.

Many politicians make promises, but fail to keep them. I mean what I say. I do not use illicit drugs recreationally. However I am so opposed to the war on drugs that I have smoked a marijuana cigarette every Thursday at noon for the last 2-1/2 years in front of the main gates of Penn State University and announce what I am doing on a bullhorn. I have been arrested six times for publicly smoking marijuana. Once I was arrested for using a bullhorn at a political rally. As a result, the municipal bullhorn ordinance was declared unconstitutional and my case was dismissed. I sued the Borough of State College and was given $8,000 in an out-of-court settlement. I have been arrested twice for distributing campaign literature in front of a Wal-Mart store and held on $75,000 bail. These cases were dismissed also. Twice I was found in contempt of court, because I requested indictment by a grand jury.

I have been arrested 15 times and incarcerated 5 times in the last 2-1/2 years. Based on arrest record, I am the number one criminal in the U. S. I am the most dangerous man in the U. S., because I intend to restore the Bill of Rights, stop prosecution of consensual acts involving mentally-competent adults, reduce the prison population, and reform the prisons. But I need your help.

Some of you may wonder if Libertarian candidates can be elected. Last year we ran 39 candidates in PA and won 6 elections. Though not Libertarians, two of our 50 state governors are from minor parties. We can win, but only if we get your vote. Thank you.