Penn State Professor Appears at Hearing: Continues Protest 3/27/98

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


- Alex Morgan for DRCNet

On Thursday (3/25) Professor Julian Heicklen and three other anti-prohibition advocates were ordered to stand trial for offenses stemming from the Feb. 12 "Smoke Out" at the Pennsylvania State University. Prof. Heicklen, Andrew Burke, Jennifer Corbett and Ken Keltner had their Preliminary Hearings at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Heicklen and Burke each had separate hearings while Corbett's and Keltner's cases were heard together.

Heicklen, who wants a jury trial to nullify the marijuana laws, is challenging not only the drug war but also the manner in which criminal defendants are treated by the courts, demanding that he be accorded "basic human courtesy".

Heicklen walked out of the courthouse last week (3/18) when it became obvious that his scheduled 1:00pm hearing wouldn't take, place till much later. He was arrested a few hours later and although the "Failure to Appear" charge was dropped, he is planning to sue District Justice Alan Sinclair for false arrest for issuing the Bench Warrant.

This week, however, Judge Sinclair called Heicklen's case at 1:27pm, just three minutes before Heicklen's self-imposed deadline. After the judge told the Commonwealth to proceed, Heicklen interrupted, introduced himself and asked the Judge and the prosecutor to introduce themselves. The judge complied with Heicklen's request and instructed the prosecutor to do likewise. The prosecutor reluctantly complied.

Heicklen then asked Judge Sinclair to recuse himself because Sinclair had issued the Bench Warrant from the previous week and therefore would not give him a fair and impartial trial. Sinclair denied the motion that he recuse himself.

After several other motions were denied, Heicklen, though representing himself, sat mute throughout the remainder of the hearing, ignoring Judge Sinclair's offer to cross examine the police officers and make a closing argument.

Jennifer Corbett and Ken Keltner had their hearing next and were represented by State College attorney Joseph Devecka. They are charged with possession of paraphernalia.

On Thursday (3/26,) the day after the hearing, Heicklen and co-defendant Alan Gordon once again smoked pot in front of a crowd of about 125 supporters and four pro-drug-war counter demonstrators.

No one was arrested, but the Penn State Police were present, and they confiscated a joint from Heicklen. Penn State Police said that they will test Heicklen's joint as well as one they confiscated at last week's rally. If the tests come back positive for marijuana, police said they would cite Heicklen for two counts of possession.

Prof. Heicklen told the crowd that "Magistrate Sinclair has trampled on the U.S. Constitution and denied us our basic legal rights. He has committed treason. We will continue our Smoke Outs and make our case in the streets..." Heicklen later told the Week On Line that if necessary he will take his demonstrations to the Bellefonte Courthouse, the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, and the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. The Professor also said that he has been contacted by anti-drug-war activists from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Oklahoma University, and the University of Texas at Austin. "I've been holding them back. I told them they should wait (until the next school year) and learn from our mistakes."

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #35, 3/27/98 Leaked McCaffrey Letter Indicates Opposition to Lifting Syringe Exchange Funding Ban | 17 Year-Old Police Informant Killed, Girlfriend Raped and Shot in California | Plano, Texas Undercover Police Bought Heroin Six Times for 16 Year-Old Recovering Addict | A Strong Day in Court for Medical Marijuana in California: Further Arguments to be Heard April 6 | House Delays Vote on Anti-Medical Marijuana Resolution: Still Time to Contact Your Congressional Representative | Campus Group Advocating Marijuana Law Reform Denied Recognition by University President | Penn State Professor Appears at Hearing: Continues Protest | Basketball Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Busted for Pot at Canadian Border: Claims Medicinal Use | DRCNet Special Report: Colombian Situation Worsens - US Military Involvement Stepped Up - Backsliding Toward a Quagmire? | Classified DEA Report Says Drug Corruption in Mexican Military More Serious than Previously Believed | Swiss Government Angered by World Health Organization's Delay in Evaluating Heroin Maintenance Trial | Editorial: War Crimes and Quagmires... How Low Can We Go, and Where are We Headed?

This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]