Time: Wed Jul 16 05:59:16 1997
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Date: Wed, 16 Jul 1997 05:58:06 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: NORML News Bulletin (7/15/97) [I] (fwd)

>July 15, 1997
>(This is not a joke.)
>July 15, 1997, Los Angeles, CA: In an eleventh hour reversal, Wayne County
>prosecutors switched from compassion to zero-tolerance in its prosecution
>of AIDS-cancer patient Peter McWilliams for possession of medical marijuana.
>In a sudden strong-arm attempt to force McWilliams to make a guilty plea,
>Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Maria Petito sent an ultimatum to
>McWilliams in a fax on July 11, 1997: "to take the pleas indicated in my
>prior letter. Absent such an immediate request by you, we will see you in
>trial." Ms. Petito also pointed out, "That date is now set for July 18,
>1997 at 9:00 A.M."
>"How can I prepare to defend myself against a possible year in prison in
>less than a week?" asked McWilliams, who was stunned by the sudden
>reversal. "As late as July , the prosecutor's office led me to believe a
>letter from my doctor was all I needed, so I didn't prepare for a trial.
>The prosecutor's office was not happy with a few of the words in my
>doctor's first letter and we were discussing changes-which I'm sure my
>physician would have made-and then, without warning, this."
>Ms. Petito began the second and final paragraph of her fateful fax with a
>significant psychological blow: "Luke Skywalker will be the assistant
>prosecutor handling the trial."
>"How can I prepare to fight Luke Skywalker in less than a week?" McWilliams
>asked in desperation.
>[Again, this is not a joke. There is an assistant prosecutor in Wayne
>County named Luke Skywalker. Honest. The number of the Wayne County
>Prosecutor's Office is 313-278-8310. Mr. Skywalker's extension is 33. The
>office is located in Dearborn Heights, Michigan should you care to verify
>the number with information (which we had to do before we dared send out
>this release).]
>McWilliams will be asking the 34th District Court judge handling the case,
>the Honorable Tina Brown, for a 60-day delay in the trial date. His motion
>to the Court reads in part:
>I have not asked for this fight (at least not in this forum), but if the
>prosecutor thinks that putting me in jail for treating my AIDS is in any
>way representing the best interests of the people of Michigan, then let the
>people of Michigan know what's going on and let them speak out.
>I am a visible person. Too many invisible people are in Michigan prisons
>right now who sought medical relief for themselves or their loved ones and
>found themselves without the luxury of being offered a plea. I stand trial
>for those people, and for myself. I ask the prosecutor's office, through
>this Court, to not toy with us. Either drop the case now and state there
>are far more important crimes in Wayne County--murders, rapes,
>robberies--that need the prosecutor's office's valuable, seriously
>overextended resources, or see this prosecution through to the end and let
>a jury speak.
>Star Wars jokes aside, this is a very serious matter that effects the
>health and lives of tens of thousands in Michigan. It is time those in the
>prosecutor's office stop acting like bullies and begin being ministers of
>justice and Officers of this Court, dedicated to the common good of the
>people of Wayne County, as they have sworn to do.
>McWilliams uses medical marijuana to ease the nausea of his AIDS treatment.
>A published writer for thirty years, McWilliams' books have appeared on the
>New York Times bestseller list five times. McWilliams was for two years a
>correspondent for the Today Show and has appeared on Larry King Live,
>Oprah, ABC Evening News, CBS Morning News, and thousands of radio talk shows.
>McWilliams is the publisher of The Medical Marijuana Magazine Online
>(www.marijuanamagazine.com) and the founder of the Medical Marijuana
>Foundation, a nonprofit educational organization.
>For a copy of Peter McWilliams' July 14, 1997 motion to the Court, which
>contains the pertinent correspondence between McWilliams and the
>prosecutors, please call 213-650-9571 x125 for a fax.
>To interview Peter McWilliams, please contact Ed Hashia at 213-650-9571 x125.
>To be put on the hot list for priority sending of future press releases in
>this case, or to never have this story clog your fax machine again, please
>contact Ed Hashia at 213-650-9571 x125.

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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