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The State Vs. John

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the state vs. john


. Oct. 5, 1966, Lt. Warner Stringfellow threatens John: "We'll get you this time. "

. Oct. 10, '66, "Poem for Warner Stringfellow" published by Artists' Workshop Press.

. Oct. 18, '66, Undercover narc Vahan Kapigian assigned to John Sinclair; attends poetry reading at WSU. Alias "Louie. "

. Oct. 26, '66, Kapigian attends Grande Ballroom; intensive infiltration begins; policewoman Jane Mumford, alias "Pat," joins "Louie. "

. Dec. 22, '66, John alledgedly gives 2 joints to Jane Mumford.

. All thru January, "Pat" and "Louie" attend LeMar meetings, communal dinners, sweep floors of Artists' Workshop, and try to score some weed from John on at least 3 different occassions.

. Jan. 24, 1967, 56 people arrested in "Lightening Dope Raid, " John labled "leader of campus dope ring" and charged with "sale of 11. 5 grains of marijuana (2 joints).

. Jan. 25, John is arraigned, bond set at $1000. 43 people are released without any charges. Everybody else charged with "sale" copped pleas and later got probation.

. John's attorneys prepare motion to dismiss the case on constitutional grounds.

. Judge Crockett invokes a three judge panel to hear the motion. Judges are Crockett, Maner, and Robert J. Columbo.

. April 18, '69, this three judge panel denies the motion to dismiss on the grounds that this lower court is not the place to change the marijuana laws.

. John's attorneys Justin Ravitz and Sheldon Otis file an "interlocutory" appeal of this decision in the Court of Appeals.

. Dec. 31, 1968, this appeal is denied. The appeal goes to the Michigan Supreme Court.

. May 22, 1969, the appeal is denied by the Michigan Supreme Court. The case goes back to Detroit's Recorders Court. A trial date is set. Robert J. Columbo is the trial judge.

. June 20, '69, Judge Columbo throws out the charge of "dispensing" or "sale" on the grounds that it was "illegal" entrapment. He retains the charge of "possession" based on the same two joints which he ruled were illegally obtained.

. June 24, '69, trial starts.

. June 26, '69, mistrial declared because the witness for the prosecution, Vahan Kapigian, made"misleading and prejudicial statements" to the jury.

. July 21, '69, new trial date set; postponed another day because Nixon declared the 21st a national holiday because of the first moonshot.

. July 22, '69, trial starts. Motion asking Judge Columbo to disqualify himself from hearing John's case is denied. Motion challenging the jury selection system whereby people like John Sinclair do not get a "jury of their peers" is denied.

. July 25, '69, Trial ends. Jury deliberates one hour and 15 minutes and finds defendant John Sinclair "guilty as charged." Colombo revokes John's bail and John is held in the Wayne County Jail.

. July 28, '69, Colombo sentences John to 9 12 to 10 years. Refuses to set appeal bond on grounds that John "shows a propensity for committing the same type of offense while out on bond."

. July 28, '69, Emergency application for appeal bond fiJed with the Court of Appeals. This is denied. Emsrgency application for appeal bond goes to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

. Sept. 9, '69, Michigan Supreme Court denies appeal bond on grounds that John has "shown no meritorious basis for appeal. " The decision was 6 to 1, with judge Thomas G. Kavanaugh dissenting, Request for appeal bond goes to the Federal District Court.

. Feb. 4, 1970, appeal is filed in Court of Appeals.

. April 2, 1970, Judge Fred W. Kaess in the U. S. District Court in Detroit denies appeal bond on the grounds that he has no jurisdiction over appeal bond in state cases. Case goes to the 6th District Court in Cincinnati, where it is denied some time later.

. Feb, 16, 1971, Appeal is denied on the grounds that under the existing laws the sentence does not constitute "cruel and unusual punishment," since it is still within the statutory maximum for possession which is 1 to 10 years in Michigan, Judge Bronson issues a strongly worded concurring opinion, urging the state legislature to change the marijuana laws. 

. March 5, '71, Attorney Chuck Ravitz files an application for Rehearing with the Court of Appeals. No decisión has been made on this so far.

. New application for appeal bond will be filed in the Michigan Supreme Court June 4, 1971.