State Briefs

Thursday September 12, 2002

Santa Cruz Council to pass out  

medical marijuana at City Hall 

SANTA CRUZ — City leaders plan to join medical marijuana users at a pot giveaway at City Hall next week. Their goal is to send a message to federal authorities that medical marijuana is welcome. 

The invitation comes one week after agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency arrested the high-profile owners of a pot farm and confiscated 130 plants that had been grown to be used as medicine. 

“It’s just absolutely loathsome to me that federal money, energy and staff time would be used to harass people like this,” said Vice Mayor Emily Reilly, who with several colleagues on the City Council plans to help pass out medical marijuana to sick people from the garden-like courtyard at City Hall next Tuesday. 

City Attorney John Barisone said that although the City Council did pass a resolution denouncing the raid, there is no official city sponsorship of the event. He said council members and medical marijuana advocates are acting on their own accord in a public space. 

Judge: inmates can receive mail  

downloaded from Internet 

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge has overturned a California Department of Corrections policy barring inmates from receiving mail containing printed material from the Internet. 

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, in an opinion made public Wednesday, wrote that inmates have a right to receive mail and that the government did not adequately justify the ban, first imposed in 1998. 

The case stemmed from a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued that inmates were entitled to communications mailed to them regardless of whether they originated from the Internet. 

The corrections department adopted the policy on grounds that Internet-generated mail may contain hidden coded messages, which could pose a danger in the prison. 

Wilken said the department “failed to articulate any reason to believe that Internet-produced materials are more likely to contain coded, criminal correspondence than photocopied or handwritten materials.” 

Yosemite killer’s lawyer says evidence  

tips scale toward insanity 

SAN JOSE — With no dispute remaining over the guilt of motel handyman Cary Stayner and little question he suffered from mental problems, his lawyer tried to spare his life Wednesday by proving he was crazy when he murdered three Yosemite tourists in 1999. 

Defense lawyer Marcia Morrissey reviewed testimony in the sanity phase of Stayner’s death penalty trial that she said proved he was insane. 

From symptoms of schizophrenia to obsessive compulsive disorder to psychosis, Stayner suffered an illness that was greater than a sum of its parts, she said. 

His problems were so severe that psychiatrists could not agree just what afflicted him. 

“It’s just a function of the fact that Mr. Stayner has so many other problems,” Morrissey said. “It’s hard to say exactly what.”