Multiple Sclerosis Caregiver Goes On Trial in DC 

Multiple Sclerosis Caregiver Goes On Trial in DC 
Posted by FoM on February 29, 2000 at 19:03:28 PT
NORML & NORML Foundation News
Source: NORML
Washington, DC: On October 21, 1999, Toms River, NJ resident Jim Miller assisted his seriously disabled wife Cheryl at a protest in U.S. Rep. Bob Barr's (R-GA) Congressional office and was subsequently arrested after helping her lie down on a sleeping bag in Barr's office doorway. They were there to protest Barr's involvement in preventing the implementation of the DC medical marijuana initiative (I-59), which passed with 69 percent approval of DC voters.
 During Miller's last court hearing on January 10, Jim was scolded by DC Superior Court Judge Evelyn Queen for having his wife in court in her advanced state of multiple sclerosis. Cheryl can only move her head as she lies in a specially designed reclining wheelchair. The nursing staff at the DC Superior Court refused to care for Cheryl while she was waiting to testify for her husband and was left alone in her wheelchair in the court's hallway.   Tomorrow at 9 AM at the Carl H. Moultrie Superior Court Building located at 500 Indiana Ave., NW, Jim will return to the DC Superior Court facing charges of disorderly and disruptive conduct on U.S. Capitol grounds and unlawful entry. The trial is expected to last two days.If convicted, both charges are punishable by a $500 fine and could include six months imprisonment.   "While they say they are not trying a patient, they know full well that if I go to jail, they are sentencing Cheryl to a nursing home because I am her primary caregiver," Jim said.Contacts: Jim Miller (at the Best Western Hotel) (202) 488-7500 Mark Goldstone Esq., (301) 530-6612 Scott Colvin (202)483-5500  For more information and photos, please visit: Page Article From Cherylheart Home Page:MMJ Caregiver from New Jersey goes on trial March 1st, for defending DC Home Rule, concerning Initiative 59!Jim Miller goes on trial in Washington D.C. Superior Court at 9:00 AM, March 1st on a charge of creating a disturbance, unlawful entry, and parading within a Capitol building. This charge stems from the October 21st action in response to Rep. Bob Barr's callous treatment of Medical Marijuana Patients, and his outright contempt for Home Rule in the district.During the last hearing, Jim was scolded by Judge Evelyn Queen for having no one to look after Cheryl while he testified. It is VERY IMPORTANT that our friends in the Distict, for whom they had come to show support, make yourselves available and lend a hand caring for Cheryl, if possible.They have suffered a great deal of inconvenience during the repeated trips from New Jersey, and have had to spend money set aside for Cheryl's badly needed dental work, to come to D.C. for trial. We would like to see a large number of people in front of the courthouse to show support for Cheryl and Jim, and to express your outrage at this clear violation of the First Amendment.Jim was told by the arresting officer, Lt. Freah, that the reason he was not "cited out" was because of the disturbance caused by the activists who had filed into the office. At the last court date, Prosecutor Richard Rennert added the "unlawful entry"charge, which was granted by Judge Evelyn Queen. Although Jim was an active participant both in the planning and facilitation of this action, neither he, nor Cheryl ever "entered" the office or carried a sign, and Jim had no prior knowledge that there would be any chanting. (Although, I personally feel that it was a nice touch!)Nonetheless, he was the only one arrested. The photo at left shows some of the bruises inflicted by Capitol Police during his arrest. This photo was taken a week later. Jim did not resist arrest, and this treatment was uncalled for.Is it reasonable to assume that Capitol Security had to use that much force to apprehend a non-violent citizen who was simply excercizing his Constitutional right to petition the Congress for a redress of grievances? I don't think so!It would be a nice show of solidarity if members of those groups which took part in this action, were on hand to help in any way possible. Jim faces some these charges largely because of the "chanting" and subsequent "occupation" of the Congressman's office by members of SSDP, MPP, and DRCnet. It is also important to remember that this action was planned to be an orderly and solemn act of civil disobedience.We will be distributing Signs and Green Armbands to anyone who wants them on Wednesday morning.Please be at the Courthouse between 7:00 and 7:30 AM on March 1st.At 8:00 any participants able to provide care for Cheryl during the trial, are encouraged to enter the courthouse and see Jim for any necessary instructions. We are hoping that others will pack the courtroom at 9:00 AM in a show of support.Thanks to everyone who participated in the October 21st action. Any help that D.C. activists could lend during the trial will certainly be appreciated!G. SageRelated Articles & Web Sites:Cherylheart StorckDrug Policy Forum of Wisconsin: Policy Project: Users Invade Barr Office Use Advocates Stage Protest at Barr's Office Busted, Cheryl Put Back in Chair CannabisNews NORML News Archives:
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