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Ten Years For One Joint?

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Nov. 5 Dallas alternative newspaperman Stoney Burns goes to prison for ten years and a day for possession of 1/20th of an ounce of marijuana seeds and stems, surpassing even John Sinclair's record ten year sentence for possession of two joints.
Burns' sentence comes despite the liberalization of Texas marijuana statutes last year, making possession up to an ounce a misdemeanour. Under the old law, marijuana possessors could and were sentenced to between two years and life for any amount.
Burns' sentence also comes despite Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe's stated intent to review the cases of all those now in prison for marijuana violations. The peculiar ten year and a day sentence was designed to preclude a suspended sentence, possible only for sentences under ten years in Texas law.
A thorn in the side of the ranch and oil Dallas establishment, Burns was busted several years ago in his van while running for sheriff of Dalls County. He now edits Buddy (for Texan Buddy Holly), a giveaway musical monthly, but formerly worked for the Dallas Iconoclast and Dallas Notes from the Underground.
While all appeals in Texas state courts have been exhausted, appeals for clemency may help. Write Gov. Dolph Briscoe, State Capitol, Austin, Texas 78711 and ask for a pardon for Brent Stein (Stoney Burns) and all persons serving similar sentences.