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Committee To Free John Sinclair

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If You are Concerned with Justice and Drug Laws . . . THIS IS YOUR CASE!

"Now, as to bond, in view of the fact that Mr. Sinclair shows a propensity and a willingness to further commit the same type of offenses while on bond, and I am citing you the cause of People v. Vito Giacalone just decided by the Michigan Court of Appeals, this is one instance where there is a likelihood of that type of danger and which the Court of Appeals said that refusal to set bond is a good grounds. And based on that and my belief that he will continue to violate the law, and flaunt the law in relation to narcotics, I deny bond pending appeal." - Judge Robert J. Colombo, in sentencing John Sinclair to 9 1/2-10 years in prison on July 28, 1969.

With those words John Sinclair was shipped off to prison two years ago for possession of two marijuana cigarettes. His attempts to secure an appeal bond from the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court were denied over a year and a half ago without a hearing. The Michigan Supreme Court stated, in denying John Sinclair's application for appeal bond, that "the defendant and appellant has failed to persuade the Court that he has a meritorious basis for appeal or that the determination of the Court of Appeals was clearly erroneous."

"No one should go to prison unless it's absolutely necessary. It should be the last resort. And to send this kind of person (John Sinclair) to prison is a kind of mockery. It's often [...] of putting them away. [...] you shouldn't use [...] as a subterfuge and as a means to get somebody locked up, and I think is what's happening..."

Gus Harrison, Director of Corrections, Michigan Corrections Department, March 28, 1971.

On July 12th, John Sinclair entered a new application for appeal bond with the Michigan Supreme Court. This application asserts that "the determination of the Court of Appeals" to uphold Judge Colombo's denial of appeal bond "was clearly erroneous.". We believe the facts bear this out. There has never been a hearing on the "facts" cited by Judge Colombo. We have, therefore, taken this method to bring the facts to you:

- Marijuana is not a narcotic.

- John Sinclair has never used narcotics, or "flaunted the law in relation to narcotics."

- John Sinclair was free on bond for 2 1/2 years before his trial and was not once arrested "for committing the same type of offense."

"Marijuana is not a narcotic, and it is not rational for the law so to classify it . . . (This) causes many innocent people to be labeled as criminals." - Michigan Public Health Association, May 20, 1971.

"The hypocrisy of our present law, which falsely classifies marijuana as a narcotic, affects the credibility of our entire drug abuse program." - Governor William Milliken, March 4, 1971.

We think it is clear that John Sinclair is not a criminal trying to escape justice on a technicality. He has made a substantive challenge to the constitutionality of the state's marijuana laws - a challenge which after four years in the state's courts has not yet been given its due consideration. The Court of Appeals has twice refused to grant a full hearing, [...] Supreme Court once [...] yet John Sinclair is forced to part with his freedom for the court [...] grapple with [...].

The [...] first proposed in John Sinclair [...] to the state's unconstitutional marijuana law has been embraced by the Michigan House of Representatives, which twice in 1970 passed new marijuana bills (by margins of 83-3 and 71-1) based on the language and substance of John Sinclair's appeal; by House Bill #4882 now before the legislature, based on a proposal by Governor Milliken, which removes marijuana from the narcotics statute and provides a maximum 90-day penalty for possession; by the Michigan Public Health Association; by the Director of the Governor's Office of Drug Abuse; by the U.S. Government, which has already removed marijuana from the federal narcotics statutes and deemed possession a misdemeanor; and by the cities of Ann Arbor, Berkley, Birmingham, Dearborn, East Detroit, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointe Shores, Grosse Pointe Woods, Harper Woods, Livonia, Redford Township, and St. Clair Shores which have already passed legislation designating possession of marijuana as a misdemeanor.

Yet in 1969 the Supreme Court refused to grant John Sinclair bond pending the final determination of his appeal. And the Supreme Court continues to accept the version of the facts proposed by Judge Colombo, without making an investigation into the veracity of those "facts."

"Michigan law prohibiting the possession of marijuana violates equal protection guarantees of federal and state constitutions because marijuana is classified in this statute as a "narcotic drug" and treated like heroin and other hard drugs to which it bears no rational resemblance." - Brief for Defendant-Appellant John Sinclair, in State of Michigan v. John A. Sinclair. 

John Sinclair is [...] punished [..] imprisonment without bond for having the [...] constitutionality of the marijuana laws, and the [...] these laws are enforced by the Detroit Narcotics Bureau. He is further being punished for his constitutionally protected political activity in Michigan's Youth Community. A fair bond hearing would demonstrate why John Sinclair deserves his freedom pending the final determination of his appeal.

John Sinclair has never missed a court date; he is in no way "a threat to the community;" his constitutional challenge to the Michigan marijuana statutes is substantive and a matter of first impression in the state courts.

If his conviction is ultimately upheld on constitutional grounds, John Sinclair will return to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence, of which two years have already passed.

Lastly, we believe that the case for John Sinclair's freedom on appeal bond has been decisively stated by Justice William O. Douglas of the U.S. Supreme Court, in Garbo v. Illinois:

"Where the constitutionality of an act is at issue, the likelihood that the applicant, if released on bail, might repeat the offense is not a proper circumstance to take into consideration...For it is deep-seated in our law that one may take his chances and defy a legislative act on constitutional grounds."

Ten years for two marijuana cigarettes - and no appeal bond. Think about it . . . We have.

We Support John Sinclair's Right to Freedom...

Roger Craig - Americans tor Democratic Action

Nadine Brown - Michigan Chronicle

Zolton Ferency - Human Rights Party

Hugh M. Davis - National Lawyers Guild

Paul Lowinger, M.D. Lafayette Clinic 

Ernest Mazey 

Jane Fonda

Allen Ginsberg

William Kunstler, Attorney, Law Center for Constitutional Rights

Jackie Vaughn III, State Representative 

Mitch Ryder, Musician

Danny Fields - Atlantic Records 

Robert J. Harris 

Shirley MacLaine 

Dennis Hopper

Judy Collins

Anetta Miller, Michigan State Board of Education

Basil Brown, State Senator.

Coleman Young, State Senator

Melvin Wulf, Legal Director, Natl. ACLU 

Thomas Fleming - President, P.E.N. American Sector

Norman Dorsen - Prof. of Law, N.Y.U.

Anthony G. Amsterdam - Prof. of Law, Stanford U.

Jerry Wexler - Pres. Atlantic Records 

Bob Thiele - Flying Dutchman

Bob Krasnow, Blue Thumb Records 

Maynard Soloman, Vanguard Records 

John Sack - Esquire Magazine

Jann Wenner - Rolling Stone

Nat Hentoff - Village Voice

Jack Newfield - Author

Ralph Gleason - Writer

Ken Kesey - Author

Cheryl McCall

Bennet Sims

Gregory Armstrong - Bantam Books 

Ross Fireitone - Douglas Comm.

Alan Dourlas 

Howard Smith - Village Voice

John Lombardi - Esquire Magazine

Peter Max

Rick Ives - New Democratic Coalitlon

Allen & Susan Jones - New Democratic Coalition

Leonard Weinglass - Attorney

David Lubbel - Attorney

Bill Schaap - Attorney

Vincent Hallinan - Attorney

Terrence Kayo Hallinan - Attorney

Robert G. Faber

Gary Snyder

Jerry Schwarzbach - Attorney

Sheldon Halpern - Attorney

George Goldstein - Attorney

Harry M. Philo - Attorney

D. William Maki - Attomey

Justin Ravitz - Attorny

Kenneth V. Cockrel - Attorney

Clarice Jobes - Attorney

Barbara Robb - Attorney

F. Randall Carfonta - Attorney

Sol Plofkin - Attorney

Dick McMillin - Attorney

David Goldstein - Attorney

Martin Reisig - Attorney

James Neuhard - Attorney

Lawrence Farmer - Attorney

Bill Friedkin 

Tom Donahue

Chuck Ferry - Producer

Dr. John Spellman - Head of Asian Studies, U. of Windsor 

Steve Roday 

Lawrence Ferlinghetti 

George Manupelli

Alex Bennet - Radio Announcer, WPLJ-N.Y.

Art Penhallow

Barbara Holliday - WRIF

Dan Carlisle

Jerry Lubin

Paul Greiner

John Detz 

Jim Dulzo

Dave Dixon

Paul Krassner

Craig Karpel

Barry Kramer - CREEM Magazine

Dave Marsh - CREEM Magazine

Peter Werbe - Fifth Estate

Michael Spepanian

William F. Costello - D.O.

Watson A. Young - M.D.

Dr. Al Schneider

Isadora Lampe - M.D.

Tod Mikuriya - M.D.

Dr. Robert E. Beyer

Gene & Ruth Gladstone

Dave Gordon

Mr. & Mrs. John A. Sinclair

Ralph Hogg - Contractor

Linda Chabot - Staff, Labor Defense Coalition

Very Rev. Charles D. Robertson

Dr. & Mrs. J. E. Lenzo

Rev. Michael J. O'Connor

The Rev. Charles D. Robertson

Adrienne James

David Y. Klein

Stanley Krippner

Bill Allgeyer

David Wineman

Nancy Hartsock

Rd. Robert A. Kreucher

Anthony F. & Karen Friess Perrino

Harvey A. Silverglate

Hugh H. Hobart

John L Erlich

Sam Bass Warner, Jr.

The Divisionaries

Duncan McNaughhton I

Irvinging J. Gordon

Mike Forman

Dennis Frawley

Larry Monroe

Bud Spangler - Program Director, WDET

Charles Moore - Musician

Rob Rudnick

Stetve Roday - University Review

Michael Aldrich - Ph.D.

Ann Smith

Warren L. Smith

Dorothy Herberg

Charlotte A. Wolter

Elinore Maki

Christine Thomas

Bonnie McFadden

Godfrey Gillard

J. Nell Hunt

Kenneth Mogul

Theodore Spearman

John L. Erlich

Charles Garvin

Jack Rothman

Don Chamberlain

Janet L. Handy 

Betsy Robertson

Cecil Thomas Ault

Charles Thomas


* Affiliation listed for identification purposes only.

715 E. Grand Blvd. Detroit, Michigan 48207

Contributions are  urgently needed to help with the substantial legal costs.

Make checks payable to: John Sinclair Freedom Fund, 715 E. Grand Blvd., Detroit, Mich. 48207

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