MARIJUANA SMOKEOUT NEWS

March 26, 1998

by Julian Heicklen

Smart on Crime & Centre County Libertarian Party

About 200 people participated. Present were campus police and anti-drug legalization protesters. A lively discussion followed Heicklen's opening remarks given below. Police confiscated a lit marijuana joint from Heicklen, but not from two other smokers, who swallowed their joints. The demonstration lasted about 1-1/4 hours.

Hello! Thanks for coming out. Preliminary hearings were held for Julian Heicklen, Andrew Burke, Ken Keltner, and Jennifer Corbett on March 25, 1998.

 

PRELIMINARY HEARING

of Julian Heicklen

Docket Number CR—153—98

March 25, 1998

 

The preliminary hearings were scheduled for 1:00 PM. At 1:00 PM, another preliminary hearing was in progress with District Magistrate Bradley Lunsford presiding. This hearing concluded at 1:17 PM, and Magistrate Lunsford left the courtroom. The bench remained empty until 1:25 when District Magistrate Alan Sinclair appeared. He called Heicklen's case at 1:27 PM. The hearing started at 1:30 PM.

Mr. Sinclair did not introduce himself. He did not explain nor apologize for the tardiness. He asked the Commonwealth to proceed. At this point Heicklen interrupted and asked for introductions. Heicklen introduced himself, stated that he would act as his own counsel, and introduced his court stenographer, Sue Patterson. Magistrate Sinclair introduced himself, and asked the Commonwealth to introduce itself. The Assistant District Attorney trying the case, Tony Deboef, refused to do so. Magistrate Sinclair asked him again to introduce himself, which he then did.

At this point I asked the Magistrate to recuse himself, because he had made a false arrest of me the previous week, and could not conduct a fair trial. He denied my motion. I then read the following statement into the record:

"A citation for my arrest was issued on February 13, 1998, for possession of a small amount of marijuana on February 12, 1998. My preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 25, 1998.

I requested that my preliminary hearing be moved to March 4, 1998. It was moved to March 18, 1998. I appealed that hearing date on the grounds that my 6th Amendment right to a speedy trial was being violated.

I wrote to the Court Administrator, Maxine Ishler, on February 24, 1998, indicating that I was available on February 25, 1998, after 2:00 PM; on February 26, 1998, after 2:30 PM; all day on February 27 or March 2 or 3, 1998; on March 4, 1998, after 2:00 PM; and on March 5, 1998, after 2:30 PM.

I wrote that I would appreciate being assigned a specific time of day (within 15 minutes). I will be accompanied by a video camera man and my own court stenographer, both of whom I will be paying by the hour. In addition, it is likely that many spectators and press people will be present in the courtroom. Therefore it would be a courtesy to the others that have preliminary hearings that day, if mine was scheduled late in the day.

In a letter of February 27, 1998, Ms. Ishler informed me that the date of my preliminary hearing would remain at March 18, 1998. All preliminary hearings are scheduled for 1:00. Rule 27 of the Pennsylvania Criminal rules of Court prohibit cameras in the Courtroom. I was notified that the earliest possible date for the pretrial conference was May 26, 1998.

I appeared in Court at 1:00 PM on March 18, 1998. The District Justice appeared at 1:20 PM. He did not introduce himself nor apologize for his tardiness. He did not request nor announce a delay in my case. He proceeded with another case, which lasted until about 3:00 PM.

Any reasonable person would conclude that my case had been dismissed. I left the courtroom at 1:25 PM, and returned to State College. Magistrate Sinclair issued a bench warrant for my arrest for failure to appear at about 3:00 PM. Three police officers arrested me at my home at 4:21 PM and brought me before District Magistrate Carmen Prestia at 4:35 PM. He rescheduled my preliminary hearing for 1:00 PM on March 25, 1998, and released me on my own recognizance.

I have been denied a speedy trial. When I was arrested in California, the prosecutor could not prepare for trial within 30 days, so the judge dismissed the complaint.

The prohibition on cameras in the courtroom denies me the right to a fair trial. It means that I will have no visual record to present on appeal.

The procedure of assigning everyone a time of 1:00 PM for his or her hearing indicates that the Court already considers defendants undeserving of common courtesy. Some of the defendants will have to wait until 4:00 or 4:30 before their cases are called. In my case, I was paying a court stenographer by the hour. Thus any delay incurs an unnecessary expense to my defense. This indicates that I will not receive an impartial trial.

The arrest for failure to appear was a false arrest. It is a form of harassment that the Court uses to intimidate defendants. It also indicates that I will not receive an impartial trial.

When the District Magistrate failed to appear and try my case, it was tantamount to dismissal. Now I have been falsely re-arrested and required to stand trial again for the same crime. This violates the U. S. Constitution's 5th Amendment protection against being twice put in jeopardy for the same crime.

Because I have been denied a fair, impartial, and speedy trial, and have been twice put in jeopardy for the same crime, I am requesting that my case be dismissed and charges dropped."

Magistrate Sinclair denied my motion. I then read the following statement into the record:

"The 5th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution requires that, in order to hold a federal criminal trial, the defendant must be indicted by a grand jury. The crime that I have been accused of is both a federal and state crime.

If I had been arrested by federal agents, rather than by the local police, I would have been entitled to a grand jury indictment. It makes no sense that the procedure for a fair trial depends on who happens to make the arrest.

Therefore I am requesting that a grand jury be convened to determine if I should be indicted. I am entitled to a public trial. Therefore, I request that the grand jury proceedings be public, and that I be allowed to address that grand jury before an indictment is issued."

Magistrate Sinclair denied my motion. The prosecution called two witnesses: First Robert Noel testified. He was the uniformed officer that seized my marijuana cigarette and issued the citation. Second Detective William Wagner testified. He was in plain clothes at the Marijuana Smoke Out of February 12, 1998. Both officers are with the State College Police Department.

Heicklen sat mute throughout the rest of the trial. He did not cross-examine any witnesses nor call witnesses of his own. Neither the Assistant District Attorney nor Heicklen made closing statements.

Magistrate Sinclair took a 2-minute recess. Then, at 1:48 PM, he bound Heicklen over for trial . He issued two forms for Heicklen to sign, but Heicklen refused to do so. One of these was a Waiver of Court Arraignment. The other notified Heicklen that his arraignment was scheduled for April 20, 1988, at 1:00 PM; his pre-trial conference, for May 26, 1998, at 8:00 AM; and jury selection, for June 8, 1988, at 8:30 AM.

 

PRELIMINARY HEARING

of Andrew Burke

Docket Number CR—147—98

March 25, 1998

 

Andrew Burke had his preliminary hearing on March 25, 1998. When called, he introduced Julian Heicklen and himself as co-counsels. The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Tony Deboef, objected on the grounds that Heicklen was not an attorney. The Magistrate sustained the objection, whereupon Mr. Burke said that he would not proceed. Since Heicklen was not going to participate that day, it was agreed to proceed and settle the matter of counsel later.

Mr. Burke tried to read his statement into the record, but the magistrate stopped him. Later in the hearing, when Mr. Burke was making his closing statement, he entered his statements into the record. His statements were similar to the ones made by Heicklen at his preliminary hearing, but with omissions that did not apply, and with some additions.

During the testimony part of the hearing, the same two officers testified that did so at Heicklen's hearing. However, unlike Heicklen at his hearing, Mr. Burke cross-examined both witnesses.

In his opening statement (which was interrupted and concluded after the testimony of the Police officers) , Mr. Burke apologized to the other defendants and their attorneys that the court was wasting their time on our cases, when it had real criminal cases to consider.

A citation for Mr. Burke's arrest was issued on February 13, 1998, for possession of a small amount of marijuana on February 12, 1998. His preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 25, 1998

Mr. Burke said that he had requested that his preliminary hearing be moved to March 4, 1998. His request was granted. On March 2, 1998, Mr. Burke called the Court Administrator to find the exact time of his hearing on March 4, 1998. This was important, because he had hired a court stenographer, who is being paid by the hour. He was informed that his hearing was not rescheduled for March 4, but would be held on March 25. He received no other notice of the shift back to March 25. Had he not called the Court Administrator, he would have appeared on March 4 for nothing and had to pay the stenographer. Furthermore Mr. Burke was notified that the earliest possible date for the pretrial conference was May 26, 1998.

In a letter of February 27, 1998, Ms. Ishler informed Heicklen that all preliminary hearings are scheduled for 1:00. Rule 27 of the Pennsylvania Criminal rules of Court prohibit cameras in the Courtroom.

Mr. Burke has been denied a speedy trial. This imposes a particular hardship on him, because after the University semester is completed, he will move back to his mother's home in West Virginia. For him to have court proceedings during the summer will place an unnecessary and unfair burden on him.

The prohibition on cameras in the courtroom denies Mr. Burke the right to a fair trial. It means that he will have no visual record to present on appeal.

The procedure of assigning everyone a time of 1:00 PM for his or her hearing indicates that the Court already considers defendants undeserving of common courtesy. Some of the defendants will have to wait until 4:00 or 4:30 before their cases are called. In addition Mr. Burke had an examination that evening. He could better be using his time studying than waiting around for his hearing to be called. This indicates that Mr. Burke will not receive an impartial trial.

Because Mr. Burke has been denied a fair, impartial, and speedy trial, he requested that his case be dismissed and charges dropped. Magistrate Sinclair denied the motion.

Then Mr. Burke requested that a grand jury be convened for the same reasons as given by Heicklen in his preliminary hearing. He requested that the grand jury proceedings be public, and that he be allowed to address that grand jury before an indictment is issued. This motion was denied also.

At the end of the hearing, Mr. Burke was given some papers to sign, which he did. The magistrate allowed Heicklen to sign as counsel.

 

PRELIMINARY HEARING

of Ken Keltner and Jennifer Corbett

March 25, 1998

The preliminary hearings of Ken Keltner and Jennifer Corbett were joined. They were represented by attorney Joseph Devecka. The same two officers testified for the prosecution. Mr. Devecka cross-examined the witnesses. He called no witnesses for the defense. Nothing unusual happened at this hearing.

For all four defendants and Alan Gordon, arraignment was set for April 20, 1998, at 1:00 PM in Courtroom #3. The pre-trial conferences were set for May 26, 1998, at 8:00 AM on Courtroom #1. Jury selection was set for June 8, 1998, at 8:30 AM in Courtroom #3.

Magistrate Sinclair has trampled on the U. S. Constitution, and denied us our basic legal rights. He has committed treason.

We will continue our Smoke Outs and make our case in the streets. I ask that no-one under 18 years old smoke marijuana. We appreciate your support, but if minors smoke, it will hurt our cause. If arrested, give only your name and address. Go limp and make the officers carry you away from the demonstration. Plead not guilty and ask for a speedy, jury trial.

If you are attacked by either police or bystanders, go into the fetal position, and use your hands to protect your head. Under no circumstances, even if provoked, use violence. Thank you for your cooperation.