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Free John Now!

Free John Now! image
Parent Issue
Day
15
Month
October
Year
1971
OCR Text

John Sinclair is still in prison, held at gunpoint in Jackson State for what has now been 2 yeiurs and 3 months ! The appeal of his outrageous ten-year-fortwo-joint sentence is coming before the Michigan Supreme Court for a hearing on November 2nd. In preparation for the hearing thousands of pages of amicus (friend of the court) briefs were filed before the court on October 15, expressing support for the issues raised in John's appeal (that ten years is cruel and unusual punishment, that the laws which list marijuana as a narcotic are unconstitutional because it's not a narcotic, and that the evidence against John was obtained through illegal pólice entrapment) from prominent, concerned individuals and organizations around the country. Among those filing amicus briefs were: the Michigan ACLU, the Detroit branch of the National Lawyers Guild, the American Orthc-Psychiatric Association (based in New York), the National Organizaüon to Reform the Marijuana Laws (based in Washington, D. C.), the Subcommittee on Drugs of New Detroit, Inc. , the Michigan Americans for Democratie Action, the Penal Reform Institute (of which for m er Attorney General Ramsey Clark is a member, based in Washington, D.C.), Center House in Ferndate, and others. Another new development in John's situation is the preliminary decisión handed down by Judge John, Feikens in Detroit Federal District Court last week on John's civil rights suit against Jackson State Prison and the Michigan Department of Corrections. As reported in last week's SUN, the suit was brought to challenge John's continuing confinement in "administrative segregation" (under which he has almost no contact whatsoever with other inmates, almost no access to the prison yard - it means John spends 22 hours a day locked up by himself) , the continuing censorship and invasión of his mail (inelu ding mail to attornies) , and other examples of political harrassment and intimidation practiced against John while behind bars. Judge Feiken's ruled that "While this court is of the opinión that many of these allegations are without merit, there is one over-riding allegation which cannot be ignored and which underlies much of plaintiff 's complaint- that he is being discriminated against because of his political belief s. . . Such discrimina - tion may constitute a chllling effect on the right of free speech. . . For these reasons, plainflff must be permitted the opportunity of proving in court his allegation of discriminaüon because of his political belief s. " Judge Feikens also ruled that some of the revolutionary literature that has been consistenüy denied to John and not to other prisoners "is of a purely scholarly nature" and that this also deserves a hearing. The State Attorney Ceneral's office entered a motion to dismiss John's suit several weeks ago (we printed it last issue) and the Judge over-ruled it with this decisión. The date of the trial has yet to be announced, but we 11 let you know as soon as it's set. John's right to appeal bond was denied last September 23rd by the Michigan Supreme Court. The court's decisión carne as an unexpected shock to most people, including the lawyers working on the case. Think about it - Lt. William Calley was convicted of murdering 109 Vietnamese people, and he's out on appeal bond ! Murderers and rapists and crimináis of all kinds are routinely granted bond when their appeal s raise substantial legal questions, as John's challenge to the marijuana laws certainly does, yet John was again denied bond! This incredible outrage (they say it's for two joints) clearly reveáis the real intentions of the Supreme Court and the authoriües in this state- to keep John Sinclair locked up as long as possible, thereby (they hope) preventing the emergence of the Rainbow Colony as a powerful weapon against the dying order. John Sinclair is a political prisoner as the civil rights suit further points out in detail. We have no reason to expect the S upreme Court to grant John's appeal, either, unless we make the will of the people enürely clear to the "Justices. " Next week 's SUN will include a special FREE JOHN NOW!- Stage 2 supplement, detailing new prog4ams and strategies you can support aimed at forcing the courts to follow the law and free John Sinclair. Contributions are urgenüy needed: Send them to the John Sinclair Freedom Fund, 715 E. Grand Bi vd. , Detroit, Michigan, 48207. Only the People Can Free John! ! !