Saturday, December 20, 2014

By JOHN BURNETT

Tribune-Herald staff writer

For the third time, federal trial for marijuana minister Roger Christie and 13 others has been delayed, while a plea deal may be in the works.

Christie and his co-defendants, who collectively call themselves the "Green 14," were set to face trial July 6 before U.S. District Judge David Ezra in Honolulu. That proceeding is now set for 9 a.m. Oct. 4 before Judge Leslie Kobayashi.

Christie, who'll turn 62 on Wednesday, was originally scheduled to face a jury last Sept. 8. He's accused of operating a marijuana distribution ring out of The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry in Hilo. He and the others are charged with conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute 284 marijuana plants, which carries a mandatory minimum prison term of five years and a maximum of 40 years if they're convicted.

The delay was requested by Christie's new attorney, Alexander Sivert, first assistant federal defender. Sivert inherited Christie's case after Christie's former lawyer, Matthew Winter, resigned May 1 from the Office of Federal Defender.

Sivert's motion to continue the trial says that he needs time to prepare, citing "over 12,000 taped phone calls provided in discovery (none transcribed) and at least four to five wiretap warrants to become familiarized with."

According to the document, Sivert is considering filing a motion to dismiss the case "based upon the mis-classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug," as well as a motion "to suppress evidence seized as a result of the wiretaps."

A letter from Christie published May 30 in Hawaii News Daily, a blog run by his supporters, claimed that a possible plea bargain "is on the table for consideration."

"It's obviously a big deal for each of us faced with a life-altering decision to make, either way we choose to go," Christie wrote.

Christie and the others, all Big Island residents, were arrested July 8 last year in raids by federal agents, assisted by local police. All but Christie have been released on bail.

Christie was denied bail by federal Judge Kevin Chang, who called him "a danger to the community," and remains incarcerated at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu.

Christie's downtown ministry and Wainaku apartment also were raided March 10, 2010, by the feds and local police. According to court documents, authorities confiscated approximately 845 grams of processed marijuana from the Wainaku apartment, along with more than $34,000 cash and a bank safe deposit box. The money and the apartment face possible federal forfeiture.

Email John Burnett at
jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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Comments

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I keep meaing to ask...isn't it the media that dubbed the group the "Green 14" ...do they really call themselves that collectively? 

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MPAiello is correct!

Hawaii News Daily is an e-news site which has the guts to cover what the Hawaii Tribune Herald does not - namely Corruption in the County of Hawaii, the Continuing Poisoning of our Earth by the Japan Nuclear Crisis, the failing economy of our United States, as well as Cannabis issues which are near and dear to a large percentage of us here on the Big (Best) Island of Hawaii! Put Hawaii News Daily on your bookmark of favorites, and add your voice (and submit articles for consideration) to our "blog" of choice!

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Thank you HPPres. John Burnett's article above describes Hawaii News Daily as "a blog run by his supporters". That is not entirely a fair characterization. For one thing I would not call it a "blog". Here's a story just published on Hawaii News Daily that covers a serious local issue that most other media on the Big Island will not touch : Mayor Kenoi’s “Public Relations” Staff Quiet on Kama’aina Pumping Scandal 

It is true that Hawaii News Daily supports Roger Christie, but the content of the site is much bigger than the Green 14 or even the drug war. 

 

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The dismissal of this case based on the MIS-CLASSIFICATION of marijuana as a CLASS I drug is the best argument I've heard so far.  There is overwhelming evidence that the medical benefits to society are huge; the DEA and FDA denials of that fact are ridiculous.  Recently, several drug companies (read Big Pharma) approached the FDA to pave the way for licenses to encapsulate the cannabis plant and sell it as "medicine". This presents the Feds with a dillema: If they approve the requests, they acknowledge that YES, cannabis has medicinal value; if they deny them,  they are retracting their own admissions, facing ridicule and possible job loss.  

The whole US is poised on the verge of legalizing marijuana.  Let us hope that the judge dismisses this case before it becomes "The Last Marijuana Trial", embarrassing her and causing undue pain to the innocent "Green 14", some of whom are my friends.  They have suffered enough from injustice handed down for over a year.  It is time for that "Just Judge"  to recognize the truth.

 

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Thank Jah for the new public federal defender!

That is exactly the type of dismissal - THE ERRONEOUS SCHEDULING OF CANNABIS AS SCHEDULE 1 that is called for here. There is no possible way that cannabis is a schedule 1 since the first state accepted it as medicine in 1996. Since then the U.S. has patented THC as medicine also. It just does not fit the requirements and it is up to Judge Kobayashi to do what is right and just - since the government is too concerned with keeping it illegal for the common man and keeping their status quo of always finding pot users to arrest and fill their coffers with seized property. I wish I could be in Honolulu on June 17th for the demonstration at the Capital. I urge all of you who can possibly attend to do so for those of us who cannot, including our dear Roger.

taxedtodeath's picture
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A retired law enforcement officer I know here e-mailed the following obsevation about this article to me this morning and I thought it should be passed it along so everyone else can  see what a political prosecution this case is.

At the bottom of the page, two inches under where Judge Kevin Chang calls Roger Christie a 'danger to the community' and has held him without bail for over a year - is an ad for medical marijuana. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

This begs the question Is marijuana dangerous or not? I know the answer and suspect just about everyone else knows marijuana is one of the safest theraputic plants known to man. That was the conclusion of the DEA's own adminesrtative judge.

The previous posters point out that accused killers are walking in our community even now. One is free on $10,000 bail, yet Christie sits in jail held without bail almost a year after his arrest held as to dangerous to be released on bail.

 

 

 

 

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I think http://the-last-marijuana-trial.com/ is specific to the Roger and the other members of the Green 14, whereas www.hawaiinewsdaily.com is far broader in the scope of stories posted. 

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"In this past couple of weeks, 2 drunk drivers, no insurance, no license, kills innocent people and they are let go on bail. What is wrong with this picture?" Yes Spur there IS something very wrong. Not only are they let go on puny bail amounts, they are free to drive around and kill AGAIN. Roger Christie has ZERO convictions, provided safe access for plant medicine, and did his best to keep "at risk" people off of Meth and other far more harmful substances. He gave away A LOT of cannabis for donations which meant anything from bags of rice, cans of spam and handmade crafts and artwork. He has always been about helping others in need, (that's what ministers do!) gave away tens of thousands of dollars to nearly anyone who asked. I'm not saying he was a saint, FAR from that, he has plenty of flaws and made lots of mistakes which is why he is in trouble with the Feds. But....does he deserve to be held WITHOUT bail for distributing a plant??????? Yes Spur, there is certainly A BIG WRONG in this picture.
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Too many of our government representatives are opportunistic sociopaths and criminals of various stripes.  I've spoken with some state officials about this issue and they were ignorant and callous.   Yet, these are the people crafting and profiting from these corrupt prohibition laws.

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In this past couple of weeks, 2 drunk drivers, no insurance, no license, kills innocent people and they are let go on bail.  What is wrong with this picture?

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