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Ruling Elates John Sinclair, Upsets Police

Ruling Elates John Sinclair, Upsets Police image
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John Sinclair, political activist and foundêr of the fermer White Panther Party who yesterday had his marijuana conviction overturned by a Michigan Supreme Court which denounced the state law under which he was impnsoned, is "happy and excited" about the decision. But City Police Chief Walter K. Krasny and Sheriff Douglas J. Harvey are embittered by the high court ruling ,1abeling it f "political blackmail and a 'CIn the middle of the dispute is Ann Arbor City Attorney Jerold Lax whosaid the ruling probably will not affect the tTresent city ordinance on marijuana and County Prosecutor William F. Delhey who said what the ruling means outside the citv limits is unknown at present Chief Justices Thomas M. ivavamBu id Justices John Swainson and G. Mennen Williams all said the state law makten marijuana a "hard" narcotic is ? vio'lation'of the equal protecüon clauses of the state and federal constitutÍOSwainson also said Sinclair was entraDDed by Detroit pólice in the arresi whfch brought him a 9V2-to 10-year priSJustrke Thomas Giles Kavanagh agreed with Swainson on the entrapment but added that the Michigan law on drues is unconstitutional on the basis of fnvasion of privacy rather than cqual I PrAÍlCtÍfour justices voted to reverse the conviction of Sinclair and declare him Khsticees fThommPaasrEeBrennan and Paul I I L Adams said the Sinclair sentence was crutf Tnd unusual punishmeni violatmg I state and federal constituüons. They I said Sinclair should be resentenced. I Sinclair, when informed late ycsterday I afternoon by The Ann Arbor News of the I decisión, called the ruling "really _good I He was reached at the house at 1520 Hill I which serves as the headquarters for his 1 party, now called the Rainbow Peoples I Pa"This is what 'we've been working for ■ for five years in the court. It's all worth 1 now. Ifs a victory for the people. The I people carne forth and demanded tius. I When the court was quivering and shakI ing about what to do, the people said it I was all " "iH Sinclair 'relea sed f rom Southern í igan Son in Jackson on a $50,000 bond f st December, served two years oftas sentence. He was sentenced in Detroit for possession of two marijuana cigarettes after the sentencing ]udge had called him a continual offender of the wTsVreed on bond pending his aPneal of the law under which he was sentenced and is currently suing the state for $50 000. He says he was impnsoned because of his political views Chief Krasny called the decisión "political blackmail." - "These judges coppéOúno those pushing marijuana," the veteran pólice chief said. "They've just created an instant black market because they've said the only thing you can get arrested loris selling it. This means simply that pusners can stock pile the stuff, sell it on the sly as they have been doing and mase millions." Krasny chargd the "real facto" of Smclair's arrest on the marijuana charge have never been brought out. I Sheriff Harvey called the ruling a very poor decisión." "Certainly I'm upset about it -who wouldn't be who is thinking straight? It s going to make law enforcement in this field that much more difficult, probably impossible. The only thing we in Michigan c a n hope for is' that the U. S. Supreme Court wffl show more brains, I HaAr„VnyArtr City Attorney Jerold Lax said today he did not bebev e the cour J s ruling would have any effect on the city. "From the littie I have heard about the ruling I'd have to say I don't think it has much to do with-our own ordinance he said. Lax pointed out that one of the main thrusts of the outlawed state statute was the classification of marijuana as a narcotic. The city ordinance does not put pot in this classification Ann Arbor City Council adoptad the I marijuana ordinance last March, 1 ing the charge of possesion from a I ny (under the existing state la w) to a misdemeanor. The reason for the ordinance was that councilmen beüeved a felony charge was too stiff for marijuana possession. The city's law is more in line with the new state marijuana law that becomes effective next month. Lax, however, qualified his remarks by saying he would have to read the ]ustices' opinión before making a final clrteiiniiuition. g He said there are a few other com-B munities in the state that also have theirl own marijuana laws which might not bel affected by the court's ruling. But Laxl said he has heard that one of these '!H laws, in Birmingham, was recently nVJH unconstitutional by a district cour tl judge. Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attor- ney .Delhey also said he would have tol read the entire 70-page decisión beforel any determination is made about how tol handle pot arrests. Delhey agreed with I Lax that from news accounts of the 1 sion it appears Ann Arbor will still be I covered by its own ordinances. What the situation will be outside the city limits is still in a state of flux, Delhey said. One attorney contacted said, however, if a very liberal interpretation is given to the ruling it would appear that for the next three weeks there may be nothing to keep marijuana from being sold in the open, at 1 e a s t in political units without their own laws.