DRCNetDrug Reform Coordination Network

2/6/97

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Patient Gets 93 Years

Will Foster is a 38 year-old father of three, a computer programmer and medicinal marijuana user for Rheumatoid Arthritis in Tulsa OK. Acting on an anonymous tip, the Tulsa police conducted a search of Mr. Foster's home and found a 5'x5' grow room in his basement containing 66 plants in various stages of development.

A jury in Tulsa recently sentenced Mr. Foster to 93 years in prison. 70 years for possession, 20 years additional for cultivation in the presence of a minor, and 3 years for possession with intent to distribute (Mr. Foster admitted at trial that he had, on occasion shared his marijuana with a friend). While the prohibitionists drone on about research and science and the perceived threat to our children of providing this herb to the sick and dying, this is the result of the lack of protection for patients.

But there is hope for Mr. Foster, and it rests with us. It seems that the trial judge, B R Beasley, erroneously disallowed the testimony of two witnesses for the defense. This ruling was based upon the Assistant D.A.'s assertion that Mr. Foster's defense attorney, Stuart Southerland, had failed to provide timely notice as to their appearance. This was not the case. Mr. Southerland has ample evidence of providing this notice, including the fact that the A.D.A. acknowledged in court the receipt of several enclosures which were sent in the same communication.

If these witnesses were, in fact, improperly excluded from the proceedings, Mr. Foster has a chance to have the trial thrown out on appeal and a new trial ordered. As things stand now, Mr. Foster's official sentencing date (where the judge essentially passes down the decision of the jury) is set for February 20th.

WHAT WE NEED TO DO:

According to Mr. Foster's attorney, the newly elected District Attorney for Tulsa County is an upstanding and reasonable man named Bill Lafortune. Mr. Lafortune will have the opportunity, at sentencing, to request that the judge order a new trial in view of the fact that his office DID IN FACT receive timely notice of Mr. Foster's witnesses and that justice was therefore subverted by their exclusion. This Just act by Mr. Lafortune would eliminate the necessity of a lengthy, costly and uncertain appeals process.

We are asking our Rapid response Network to PLEASE CONTACT THE TULSA COUNTY D.A.'s OFFICE (letters are better than phone calls) and ask that Mr. Foster receive a new trial. Please be polite.

AND:

These letters should articulate either: that two of Mr. Foster's witnesses were wrongly excluded and the injustice of sentencing a father and medicinal mj user to 93 years in prison; or else with medical mj itself, in relation to Mr. Foster's sentence. Members might also wish to write letters concerning a juror's right to vote not guilty if he or she feels that the law was broken, but that justice requires that the defendant go free. (Oklahoma has no medical marijuana provision in its state code.)

It will be helpful to us if you would be so kind as to send copies of your correspondence to DRCNet, either via email at drcinfo@drcnet.org or at 4455 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite B-500, Washington, DC 20008-2302. In any case, PLEASE DO SOMETHING! A man's life, and his family's future are in peril due to our nation's insane war on citizens who choose to self-medicate.

Adam J. Smith
ajsmith@drcnet.org

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