ACLU Files Lawsuit to Protect Privacy Rights 

  ACLU Files Lawsuit to Protect Privacy Rights 

Posted by CN Staff on June 05, 2006 at 16:20:02 PT
For Immediate Release 
Source: ACLU 

Juneau, AK - The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska today filed a state constitutional challenge to a newly enacted law criminalizing adults’ possession of small amounts of marijuana in the privacy of their homes. The ACLU of Alaska’s lawsuit seeks an immediate court order blocking enforcement of the law and an eventual ruling permanently striking down the legislation as unconstitutional.
“With the stroke of a pen, the Governor has signed away Alaskans’ right to be free from unwarranted government intrusion into the home,” said Michael Macleod-Ball, Executive Director of the ACLU of Alaska. “This legislation is an end-run around the Constitution, and we intend to put a stop to it.” The legislation, House Bill 149, signed on Friday by Governor Frank Murkowski, violates the state Constitution’s privacy protections and contradicts longstanding legal precedent, according to the ACLU. The Alaska Supreme Court ruled in 1975, in Ravin v. State, that possession of small amounts of marijuana in one’s home is protected by the state Constitution's privacy provision – a decision repeatedly affirmed by Alaskan courts, most recently in 2004. The ACLU of Alaska represents two individuals who use marijuana within the privacy of their homes, Jane Doe and Jane Roe. Both plaintiffs must remain anonymous, as they are subject to arrest and prosecution for their use of marijuana under the new law. The ACLU of Alaska is also a plaintiff on behalf of itself, as a civil liberties organization, as well as its members, some of whom use marijuana in the privacy of their homes. Under the new law, Alaskans engaged in purely personal and private conduct in their homes now face the prospect of surveillance, searches and criminal sanctions. In addition, individuals who use marijuana to treat severe and disabling illnesses will now be at risk.Plaintiff Jane Doe, for example, relies on marijuana to treat symptoms associated with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, a chronic neurological condition characterized by severe pain, tissue swelling and extreme sensitivity to touch. The legislation makes no exception for individuals like Doe who are dependent on the medicinal properties of marijuana. “Even if the legislature makes marijuana illegal, I will continue to use and possess it in my home,” said Doe, in a declaration accompanying the lawsuit. “It is not an exaggeration to say that if I stop it would kill me.”Approximately 600 patients have been issued identification cards under Alaska’s medical marijuana registry program – a number that would most certainly be higher absent the state’s longstanding recognition of the right to private marijuana possession. Under the new law, all of these patients, as well as their homes and possessions, are subject to search and seizure simply for engaging in the legally protected conduct of using medicine based on a physician’s advice.Plaintiff Roe told the court, “I am very concerned about my privacy. I feel like what I choose to do in my own home is not something the government can just come in and regulate.”After several failed attempts to pass the controversial law on its own merit, Governor Murkowski urged the Senate to combine the marijuana provisions with a piece of legislation primarily concerned with methamphetamine. The House, which had already passed the methamphetamine measures, initially rejected this move, but eventually acquiesced and enacted the altered legislation under intense pressure from the Governor’s office.“Our representatives would do well to heed the words of our state’s high court upon first establishing Alaskans’ right to privacy in this arena,” said Macleod-Ball, referring to the Alaska Supreme Court’s decision in Ravin, which stated: “[Alaska] has traditionally been the home of people who prize their individuality and who have chosen to settle or continue living here in order to achieve a measure of control over their own lifestyles.”The ACLU’s lawsuit was filed in the Alaska Superior Court in Juneau. The State of Alaska and Alaska Attorney General David W. Marquez are named as defendants.Complete Title: ACLU Files Lawsuit to Protect Privacy Rights of Alaskans After Governor Signs Unconstitutional Marijuana Law The ACLU’s legal complaint may be viewed online at: ACLU’s motion seeking to immediately block implementation of the law may be viewed at: memorandum in support of the motion is available at: letter previously sent by the ACLU to Alaska Attorney General Marquez explaining the constitutional basis for its legal challenge is also available at: Source: ACLU (NY)Published: June 5, 2006Copyright: 2006 ACLUContact: media Website: Articles & Web Site:ACLU Bill Becomes Law To Enforce New Marijuana Law Target Regular Alaskans 

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Comment #11 posted by FoM on June 07, 2006 at 10:22:52 PT

Thank you. I have the article posted now.
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on June 07, 2006 at 09:47:17 PT

Eye Eating Fungus
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Comment #9 posted by Max Flowers on June 07, 2006 at 09:42:44 PT

Speaking of civil liberties
This excerpt from a BBC news article about the failed anti-gay-marriage amendment is very interesting (and very telling):The founding fathers had set the bar to re-writing the hallowed Constitution suitably high. The president's amendment is once again destined to fail.None of this seemed to depress the rabbis, monks, priests and evangelical bigwigs who had gathered in room 450 of the Executive Office Building.They interrupted the president's short speech with enthusiastic applause and like teenagers at a pop concert many brandished sleek mobile phones to snap grainy mementoes of their hero. 
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on June 06, 2006 at 09:47:56 PT

I think what seems to be hard for many people is the need to defend what doesn't seem defendable. Anger towards the ACLU isn't productive. Without the ACLU would we be at all free anymore? Civil Liberties must always be defended or what will our country become?
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on June 06, 2006 at 09:08:10 PT

I know I am offended by the ACLU needing to defend the funeral protesters but the bottom line is we need the right to protest and gather. I do understand.
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Comment #6 posted by Max Flowers on June 06, 2006 at 09:03:46 PT

An interesting aside about the ACLU: the beginning of my awakening from being a kool-aid drinking, brainwashed pseudo-republican (just copying my dad really, and having no view of my own) young man came when George H.W. Bush was president and I remember him saying, in a very nasty and condescending tone, something about someone being a "card-carrying member of the ACLU" and I realized that that stood for American Civil Liberties Union, and I thought, "now that's weird, why would an American president be putting down having civil liberties like that?" It was my first real "a-ha moment" where I realized that the reality was different from what I was assuming it to be. The tone of voice he used made it sound like members of the ACLU were like communists (another word that has lost a lot of its negative connotation for me).It wasn't long after that that I read a book that told of Bush's coke-running operation with his CIA stooges, and things started getting real weird... I was down in the rabbit hole and haven't seen daylight yet...
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on June 06, 2006 at 05:45:51 PT

American Civil Liberties Union
Right?I like it. Way to go!People who whup out the knee-jerk dislike of the ACLU...I get a knee-jerk thing to dislike them.Some of their cases have been unpopular, to say the least...but they have done many good things to help keep us watchful of our freedoms...and the ones we've lost.Way to go American Civil Liberties Union!Thank you, so much.
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Comment #4 posted by ekim on June 06, 2006 at 04:57:03 PT

Jerry Brown will be running for AG of Cal.
Jerry is seeking his 7 elected positiion. i can't help but feel he will make a good AG for the people.
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Comment #3 posted by ekim on June 05, 2006 at 20:21:14 PT

*Wrongful Death civil suit Jury trial in Kalamazoo
Dean Kuipers
Deputy Editor
Los Angeles CityBeat
5900 Wilshire Blvd., #2211
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 938-1700 x 207
deank lacitybeat.com_______________________________________________________________________MISHAWAKA, IN
Saturday, June 172:00 PM to 3:30 PM  ANOTHER BOOKSTORE
100 Historic Center
Mishawaka, IN 45644
Contact: Patty 
anotherbookstore sbcglobal.net_______________________________________________________________________KALAMAZOO, MI
Sunday, June 18  2:00-4:00 PM BARNES AND NOBLE, KALAMAZOO
6134 South Westnedge
Portage, MI 49002
Contact: Mike Culp
crm2588 bn.comAuthor's Reception afterward:Bell's Eccentric Café
355 E Kalamazoo Ave.
Kalamazoo, 49007
(269) 382-5712
5:00 PM to Whenever 
Hors d'oeuvres and cash bar with superb Bell's beer_______________________________________________________________________DETROIT, MI
Monday, June 197:00 PM to 9 :00 PM  BOOK BEAT
26010 Greenfield Rd
Oak Park, MI 49237
Contact: Cary Loren
248 968-1190_______________________________________________________________________BIRMINGHAM, MI
Tuesday, June 206:45 PM arrival
7:00 PM to 8:00 PM  BORDERS
34300 Woodward
Birmingham, MI 48009
Contact: Amy Stanton
astanto1 bordersgroupinc.com_______________________________________________________________________GRAND RAPIDS, MI
Wednesday, June 217 :30 PM arrival
8:00 PM to 9:00 PM  RIVER BANK BOOKS
86 Monroe Center NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Contact: Debra Lambers
debra riverbankbooksgr.com_______________________________________________________________________ANN ARBOR, MI
Thursday, June 226 :45 PM arrival
213 South Fourth Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48140
Contact: Robin 
Friday, June 237:10 PM arrival
2820 Towne Center Blvd
Eastwood Shopping Center
Lansing, MI 48912
Contact: Whitney Spotts
amanda schulerbooks.com_______________________________________________________________________COLUMBUS, OH
Saturday, June 24  COMFESTMarch 2006Dear Editor/Producer:On the Labor Day weekend before September 11, 2001 a battle for American
civil liberties was taking place in a small, blue-collar town in
southwestern Michigan. BURNING RAINBOW FARM: How a Stoner Utopia Went Up in
Smoke (Bloomsbury; 1-59691-142-5; July, 2006; $24.95; 304 pages) tells the
gripping true story of how a peaceful campground in rural Michigan became
the setting for a five-day standoff with the FBI and a battle over the role
of government in our daily lives.In 1993 Tom Crosslin and his partner Rollie Rohm opened Rainbow Farm, a
well-appointed campground with a mission: to advocate the decriminalization
of marijuana. Rainbow Farm festivals featured top entertainers like Tommy
Chong and drew over 5000 blue-collar libertarians, hippie liberals,
evangelicals, and militiamen. Ambitious Tom, gentle Rollie, and their crew
loved America but they didn't like its War on Drugs. The duo had never dealt
pot; they made their money in real estate, but their pro-pot stance put them
at odds with the local authorities. When Rainbow Farm launched a popular
statewide ballot initiative to change marijuana laws, those authorities
began an all-out campaign to seize the farm using those very statutes.Finally, in May 2001, Tom and Rollie were arrested for growing marijuana in
their home, and Rollie's 11-year-old son was placed in foster care. Their
anger mounted, and on the Friday of Labor Day Weekend, Tom and Rollie didn't
show up for a court date. They knew that if they were jailed, they'd lose
the farm to the restrictive Drug War forfeiture laws. So the state's two
best-known hippies holed up at Rainbow Farm and defiantly burned the deluxe
property to the ground. County officials called the FBI, and within five
days Tom and Rollie were dead. The FBI claims both men pointed their weapons
first. Eyewitnesses say otherwise. Dean Kuipers investigates exactly what happened during the years leading up
to that explosive weekend. Through interviews with friends, family, law
enforcement officials and farm employees, Kuipers tells their whole story
for the first time, which was obscured by the events of September 11.
Americans of all political stripes discuss the role of government and our
personal freedoms; BURNING RAINBOW FARM is a celebration of a utopian dream
and a sober warning for our times. Dean Kuipers is the deputy editor of Los Angeles CityBeat and the author of
I Am a Bullet and Ray Gun out of Control. His work has appeared in Rolling
Stone, the Los Angeles Times, and Playboy. A native of Michigan, he now
lives in Los Angeles. *Wrongful Death civil suit (filed by the estate of Rollie Rohm against the
prosecutor, state police and FBI) is scheduled to go to Jury trial in May
2006. *News footage (from 2001) is available upon request.*Key farm employees and supporters are available for interviews.I hope you will consider BURNING RAINBOW FARM for review or feature
attention. Best wishes,Yelena Gitlin Laura Keefe
Publicity Manager Associate Publicist
646-307-5063 646-307-5580
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Comment #2 posted by MikeC on June 05, 2006 at 16:27:28 PT

That's great news. After they knock Murkowski on his ass I hope they go after the prohibitionists in the Federal Government.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 05, 2006 at 16:20:45 PT

Good News
Thank you ACLU!
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