MARIJUANA SMOKEOUT NEWS

Bellefonte, PA

July 6, 1998

by Julian Heicklen

http://www.personal.psu.edu/jph13

E-mail: jph13@psu.edu

Smart on Crime & Centre County Libertarian Party

There was no Marijuana Smoke Out in Bellefonte on July 6, because Carla Moquin was unable to return from Philadelphia, and she had all of the signs. However here is the speech that I had prepared.

Hello! Thanks for coming out. The preliminary hearing for my arrest of June 22, 1998, was held on July 1, 1998. It was scheduled for 9:00 AM. District Magistrate Lunsford appeared at 9:10 AM, heard two other preliminary hearings, and left the courtroom at 9:55 AM. He returned at 10:15 AM and convened my hearing. Stephen Sloane was the assistant district attorney prosecuting the case. I introduced my court reporter, Lahana Judy, and myself. I pointed out that my hearing was starting late by 1hour and 15 minutes. I was paying the court reporter by the hour, so that this was a prejudicial action against me. Magistrate Lunsford told me to be quiet and not make statements. I ignored him and read my request for indictment by a grand jury. He tried to interrupt, but I did not stop. He found me in contempt of court, sentenced me to 4 days in prison, and ordered me removed from the court. Two deputy sheriffs placed their hands on my shoulders just as I completed my statement. Magistrate Lunsford then asked if I was done, and I said yes. He told the deputy sheriffs to release me and let the hearing continue.

The prosecution called and questioned Bellefonte Police Officer McGarvey, who made the arrest. I cross examined the witness, made a statement to show that the evidence was inconclusive, and asked for dismissal. Mr. Sloane objected and stated that I should be tried because I had 4 previous convictions for possession of a small amount of marijuana. I pointed out to the court that I had never been convicted of any crime whatsoever. Mr. Sloane then corrected his request by stating that I should be tried because I have been arrested 4 other times for possession of a small amount of marijuana. I pointed out to the court that there is a presumption of innocence until convicted. Magistrate Lunsford agreed with that and remarked that previous arrests could not be used as a reason to bind over for trial. He then proceeded to bind me over for trial, but stated that if the crime lab report were to prove negative, he would dismiss the case. I was bound over for trial on evidence that did not even exist.

Magistrate Lunsford then called me to the bench and said I should not ignore his rulings, and that he did not want to put me in prison. I said that I wanted my statement in the record. He agreed to attach my written statement in the record and to rescind the contempt charge, if I wrote a letter of apology. I agreed to do so and left at 10:40 AM.

On July 4, 1998, I addressed about 3000 people at the hemp rally in Lafayette Park in Washington, DC. With the help of two other State College activists, we passed out brochures about the 30-hour Marijuana Smoke Out to be held July 9—12, 1998. Many people said that they planned to attend.

I will not be smoking today, because it is more important that I be present at the 30-hour Marijuana smoke Out than that I be arrested today. However anyone else 18 or more years old is free to smoke.

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.