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Maptalk-Digest Sunday, December 3 2000 Volume 00 : Number 257

LTS Sent
    From: "Dave Michon" <>
New Zealand to review cannabis policy...submissions invited
    From: "Ken Russell" <>
Institute for Justice Media Center


Subj: LTS Sent
From: "Dave Michon" <>
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2000 12:55:09 -0600

Sent a short note in support of Minn. Sen. (D) Paul Wellstone's trip to
Colombia, his opposition to Plan Colombia, and urging him to denounce WOD.
Thought some may like contact info on Sen. Wellstone:
Contact Information

Phone: (202) 224-5641
Fax: (202) 224-8438
136 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
District Office: St. Paul
District Phone: (651) 645-0323

 Background Information

Hometown: Northfield
Previous Occupation: Professor
Previous Office: no prior elected office
Education: BA University of North Carolina, 1965; PhD University of North
Carolina, 1969
Birthplace: Washington, DC
Birthday: 7/21/44
Spouse: Sheila
Religion: Jewish


Term: 2nd
First Elected: 1990
  Small Business
  Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
  Veterans' Affairs
  Indian Affairs
  Foreign Relations


Subj: New Zealand to review cannabis policy...submissions invited
From: "Ken Russell" <>
Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2000 17:13:48 +1100

For the first time in 26 years, New Zealand is officially reviewing its
policy towards cannabis.

A parliamentary subcommittee, the Health Select Committee is to conduct a
review in 2001 and is inviting submissions from interested groups and
persons. These should be sent to
 The Clerk
 The Health Select Committee
 Parliament Buildings

and posted to reach the clerk of the committee by   7th February 2001

The terms of reference for the  enquiry are somewhat prejudiced but can
still be a lead-in to whatever submission one wishes to make:

The terms are:

"To inquire into the most effective public health and health promotion
strategies to minimise the use and harm associated with cannabis, and
consequently the most appropriate legal status of cannabis"

Any submission, must, at least initially, address these terms or it may
not be considered.

Submissions may be emailed instead of posted. The address is

However it  probably has much more credibility to post a paper version,
as email tends to be anonymous and is easily forged.

New Zealand first banned cannabis under the Dangerous Drugs Act in 1928.
This prohibition was reaffirmed, after much debate but little
thought, in the 1975 Misuse of Drugs Act.

The Act defines three classes of drug: Class A's are really bad, class
B's are pretty bad, and class C's are bad, as, of course, all drugs are.
Cannabis falls into class C, but if it is processed in any way, eg oil
extracted then it becomes a  class B.

Penalties are prescribed for possession, possession for supply, supply,
culitvation, cultivation for supply, sale etc...

THere are typically 20000 prosecutions for cannabis "offences" annually
in NZ, and pro rata of population (a bit under 4 million) this is one of
the highest rates in the world.
Authorities would claim that prosecution for mere possession is rare, but
this seems to not be true, even though police sometimes just confiscate
the stash and give a warning.

We are hoping for  as many submissions as possible, and encourage our
international comrades/friends/co-conspirators to file one. The drug war is
international campaign and this will be a small but significant battle in
that war.

Submissions shouldn't be too to four pages;
supporting data and references can form the appendix.

Submissions from those with some credential (Dr, Professor, Researcher
etc) will have good credibility as will those from groups or
orgs. whose names  sound like they they know what they are talking about.
Submissions from individuals are great also. Telling of personal
experience  is great. Clearly written and novel arguments will be good:
Cliched and dubious arguments will be counter-productive.

If you want to see more about the New Zealand scene, visit these websites

or for more details on writing submissions in an NZ context visit  which has links and
downloadable pdf files ..

Can you please forward this message to anyone you know who may be
interested in helping this campaign.


Brandon Hutchison
General Secretary, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party


Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2000 11:44:14 -0500 (EST)

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College kids affirming rulings and prison sentences for "invisible"

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Children in Charge

More and more families are experiencing the heartbreak of
having a family
member or friend who has or will spend time in prison. As
the legislatures
pass additional laws, it is inevitable. A large number of
black males have
already suffered that fate. So have the Hispanic population.
It is only a
matter of time before larger numbers of the remainder of the
will suffer through this legal grist mill.

Let's pretend that you become entangled in this severely
dysfunctional legal
system. You may be a defendant or plaintiff. It matters not
which: Your
chance for genuine justice is highly unlikely. You are more
apt to receive
true justice in Las Vegas than you are in the present legal
system. In
addition, a trip to Las Vegas will cost a whole lot less if
you lose.

Before proceeding, some background.

It was in the early seventies, while Richard M. ("I am not a
crook") Nixon
was president, that the Appellate courts suddenly became
overwhelmed with an
increased caseload. This overload was largely due to the
insane war on
drugs - err - aka the War on the Bill of Rights. In order to
relieve this
problem of an overloaded court system, a three-pronged plan
was devised to
eliminate it.

One part of this strategy was to temporarily employ - for
one to two years -
1st and 2nd year law students. In the 11th Circuit Court of
Appeals, some of
the judges do not even require these law students to have
taken - much less
pass - a bar exam before they are hired.

A longer-lasting solution was to hire a permanent staff of
attorneys to
screen, sift and categorize cases into important ones that
would receive a
hearing before a three-judge panel. The remainder - mainly
social security,
pro se, black lung and sentencing guideline cases - were to
receive -
according to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals internal
procedures -- a bench memorandum prepared by the Staff
Attorneys for
judicial "review." According to one survey, memoranda of
this type were
adopted by the court unchanged and without a second thought
percent of the time. In such instances, not a single piece
of evidence or a
brief from either side was ever seen by a judge. An opinion
was issued and
the rights of all Americans were adversely affected with NO
real judicial
accountability. This practice was described by one Judge
Robert Thompson of
the California Court of Appeals for the Second Appellate
District as a "no
judge opinion."

The solution eventually found for judges who had qualms
about approving one
of these many judicial opinions written and issued by a
bureaucrat or
college kid was described in a 1999 article in the Journal
of Appellate
Practice and Process. In it, Judge Richard Arnold, a judge
on the 8th
Circuit Court of Appeals, said it is tempting for those
judges who want to
rule differently from prior cases, but who can't come up
with a
justification, to resolve the dilemma ".by deciding the case
in an
'unpublished opinion' and sweeping the difficulties under
the rug." Tony
Mauro, Judge Ignites Storm Over Unpublished Opinions, Fulton
County Daily
Report - Tuesday, September 5, 2000, Volume 111, No. 173,
pages 7, 8.

Difficulties such as having your right to keep and bear arms
abrogated or
your property seized and confiscated by the IRS. Perhaps the
denial of your
spouse's claim to your social security payments after you
are dead and gone.

"Fully 78 percent of the case dispositions by federal
appeals courts last
year were by unpublished opinions," according to the
Administrative Office of
the U.S. Courts - an amazing number given that the practice
only began in
1964 as a cost-cutting and working-saving measure." Id.,
page 8.

"Critics say that unpublished opinions are often the product
of barely
reviewed assessments by law clerks or circuit staff
attorneys. Law clerks
say that dissenting judges will sometimes agree to withdraw
their dissents
if the majority marks the opinion 'unpublished'." (Emphasis
added), Id., p.

The third solution to the problem of overcrowded court
dockets is the legal
system's use of a practice common in medicine. Both use
college students to
perform different functions within their respective domains.
Medicine calls
their college students "interns." It is a term used to
describe a medical
student getting his or her first shot at cutting on
something more exciting
than a pickled frog. In teaching hospitals, medical students
even operate on
patients - under the full supervision of an experienced,
licensed doctor.
In some perverse desire to be different, the legal system
calls ITS college
students "externs." That is not, however, the only area of

"These students, known as 'externs,' either work part-time
for their judges
while carrying a reduced load of law school classes, or are
given academic
leave from law school for one term to work full-time. In
either case, the
student is unpaid but receives academic credit from his or
her law school,
and thus continues normal progress toward a law degree.
Because no public
resources are involved, the use of externs has generally
been left to the
initiative of individual judges and law schools. The law
schools themselves
have played an active role in the growth of extern
programs." (Emphasis
added). Oakley and Thompson, Law Clerks in Judges' Eyes:
Tradition and
Innovation in the Use of Legal Staff by American Judges, 67
California Law
Review 1286, 1293 (1979). (This "Thompson" is the same
Associate Justice
Robert Thompson, who coined the phrase "no judge opinion").

How comforting to know that if your home has been seized by
the tax man,
that some "wet behind the ears" child will be deciding where
your next
living quarters will be or who will have custody of your
child. Some rich,
usually white, college kid devoid of most life experiences,
who has not
faced monthly bills or the extreme tax burden most Americans
face. The major
decision for most of these "externs" is where the next beer
party will be.
While we delude ourselves that these "college kids" are
merely looking up
citations or shelving the judge's law books, the reality is
that they are
changing lives. These "children", who have not yet completed
their studies
in law school or in some cases have not taken -- much less
passed -- a bar
exam are playing God. How does this differ from practicing
law without a

A quote from a publication from one of these institutions of
higher learning
should bring the matter into focus: "What are these able,
mostly young people doing? Surely not merely running
citations in Shepard's
and shelving the judge's law books. They are, in many
situations, 'para
judges.' In some instances, it is to be feared, they are
indeed invisible
judges, for there are appellate judges whose literary style
appears to
change annually." (Emphasis added). Rubin, Views From the
Lower Court, 23
UCLA L. Rev. 448, 456 (1976).  Rubin was Alvin B. Rubin,
U.S. District Judge
for the District Court for the Eastern District of
Louisiana, when this
article was published.

Imagine, if you will, waiting for a decision from the court
as it is being
prepared by some dumbed - down twenty-year old hidden by the
doors of the
judge's sanctuary. And imagine that he or she is watching
the clock,
counting down the minutes before the next big keg party
begins, while
writing that decision - which the judge may never see!
Imagine further that
the decision he or she is writing is a binding opinion
affirming a lower court
ruling allowing the seizure of your property or affirming a
friend's ten
year prison sentence! No accountability, and apparently
little or no
supervision. All done to cut costs and lighten work loads in
the court
system - with the added bonus that these colleges students,
these children -
may receive academic credit.

The next time you are dragged into a court, take comfort in
those images.
Perhaps you can formulate a few questions about that at your
next lawyer

Bar members know of these practices - and do nothing to
correct them.

Until the rest of us complain, why should they?

 FTG Publishing, 2000. Larry Bolin
Respond to 

Please forward far and wide, just give credit to the author.

Shared by Kay Lee
2613 Larry Court
Eau Gallie, Florida  32935

A Project of the Journey for Justice

Arlene Johnson
News Source, Inc.
The Company That Cares About People

Please visit

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Subj: Institute for Justice Media Center
Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2000 14:46:45 -0500 (EST)

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Libertarian public interest law firm, Institute For Justice, seeks end
to direct profit incentive of civil forfeiture in NJ (and rest of

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End of Maptalk-Digest V00 #257

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