Paid my $3000 fine to US District Court today thanks to all of you!!! It has been both humbling and inspiring to get this support when I really needed it. If we get the $ back on appeal or Stay of Sentence funds will be used to take the case up to the US Supreme Court if necessary. If we get the fines returned and they are not needed for addtl court costs I will contact donors and ask that the funds be donated to PhillyNORML and CMMNJ. I pledge to work even harder to end prohibition. Again; THANK YOU ALL for your help and support!
We have just 24 hours to raise the balance of our fines! Don and I need to pay a combined $6,070 by 5PM on April 25, 2014 or we will be in violation of our probation and could be arrested and/or sent to prison. Please share this page and sincere thanks to all of you who have already made a donation!
This video shows the civil disobedience action 8/31/13 at Smoke Down Prohibition that resulted in our prosecution and sentence. The US Attorney forced us into court, offered no simple fine or plea. Although President Obama said that federal resources should not be used to "police people smoking a joint on the corner" the local federal prosecutor has ignored that notion.
Our Stay of Sentence motions and appeals are still in progress! But because Judge Hart ordered our $3035 (EACH) fines be paid within 30 days we really need your help...$3500 raised here has already gone to attorney fees, meaning we REALLY need to reach our $10,000 goal this week as our fines are due by this Friday April 25th! Please share this page among your networks so we don;t go to prison for 1 protest joint.
Good news: after appealing Don was granted a new trial at the US District Court. I am still waiting to hear about my appeal. Both of us still waiting on "Stay of Sentence." We are still on the hook for $3035 in fines EACH due on April 25th unless a stay is granted. Thank you for your support!
Don's probation has been transferred to Trenton and mine to Camden. We are subject to frequent drug testing and may not leave the State of New Jersey without special permission. This is a true irony for me as my work on reform (and doing media appearances) in Philadelphia will be severely affected. Our $6, 070 in combined fines are due no later than April 25th or we will be held in jail.
Update: Judge Jacob Hart handed down the following sentence to us today: 2 years supervised probation; $3000 fine to be paid within 30 days; a ban from 100ft of Independence Hall National Historic Park during any future marijuana demonstration. We will keep everyone apprised of any developments and THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Our sentencing hearing takes place today at 10:30AM. The US Attorney's sentencing memorandum has requested a $5,000 fine and "more than" 18 months of supervised probation along with a ban from Independence Hall National Historic Park and 100 hours of Community Service. This is the penalty leveled at us for consuming cannabis on federal property. We may need to raise additional funds to cover these massive fines, if they are imposed. Thank you all for your support! Stay tuned...
Thanks to all of our supporters! UPDATE: Don and I had our hearing today before Judge Hart. After several legal arguments we were convicted on the summary citations of possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) on 8/31/13. The US Attorney (prosecutor) again declined to recommend a simple fine for us today, thus extending our case. Judge Hart noted that there was technically no "upward limit" to the fine he could impose, including up to six months in prison, although he noted that jail was unlikely. The US Attorney asked for us to be banned from "100ft of Independence Hall National Historic Park" but that motion was denied by Judge Hart. We were sent to "pre-sentencing" officer to fill out paperwork. We must perform a full financial disclosure, a 30-minute interview and a visit to our homes in the next 10 days. A "Sentencing Memorandum" will then be filed by the US Attorney and evaluated by our legal team. A sentencing hearing will then be set by the court. Please share this page!
Our full trials will commence on December 19, 2013 at the Federal Courthouse in Philadelphia. We are being prosecuted by the Eastern District US Attorney for smoking a single marijuana joint during a protest of federal cannabis prohibition on August 31, 2013.
UPDATE: VERY grateful for the support of friends and fellow activists! The prosecutor could have offered us simple fines or dropped charges...but no offers there. The US Attorney is intent in seeking my incarceration or probation on the premise of the single joint. But, clearly we are being prosecuted for protesting. Full trial beings in December w discovery in between. Currently I am not under any restrictions other than to appear at my next court date and I plan to attend SDPX this Saturday. However, if I am cited again I will be immediately taken into custody. HUGE thanks to William H Buckman who is representing me and to George Newman who represents Don. They are willing to see us through every phase of the case (at a much reduced fee). They also have the right focus to help us continue our protest of cannabis prohibition right into the federal court.
Video highlights of Smoke Down Prohibition VIII August 2013 when Don and Chris received their second citations ...Deputy US Attorney Richard Goldberg was on-site and demanded the two appear in federal court to face full charges
We have two attorneys: Both have agreed to work with us on fees but they usually retain for $8K-$10K, each. We are hoping to raise $5K for each attorney to see us through every phase of our upcoming cases. This is also why so many people do not offer a vigorous legal defense for simple marijuana possession: it's expensive!
Some activists have had sucess relying on appointed public defense attorneys or even representing themselves in municipal or state court on marijuana cases. But this case is in federal court, rare for a simple possession charge.
Usually these minor federal pot citations are settled with a fine, but the Deputy US Attorney in Philadelphia is using all legal options to prosecute some of us who have participated in the Smoke Down Prohibition protests.
Because of the case is in federal jurisdiction and has the obvious focus of the federal prosecutor Don and I have reached out to the best attorneys we can find to represent us.
Six months in prison for a joint? Two marijuana legalization activists in Philadelphia are facing six months in federal prison and/or a $1000 fine for smoking a single marijuana joint in protest of federal cannabis prohibition laws at Independence Mall National Historic Park. The Eastern District of Pennsylvania US Attorney's office refused to allow Chris Goldstein and Don DeZarn to pay a simple fine, instead they must appear in Federal Magistrate Court on October 24, 2013 at 10:30AM.
Goldstein and DeZarn were cited twice in the last year during the monthly Smoke Down Prohibition protest in Philadelphia. Both have delivered speeches and then participated in planned civil disobedience actions. The rally takes place on an open area preserved for First Amendment activity and within sight of the Liberty Bell.
Goldstein and DeZarn do not deserve to be put in jail or on supervised probation for protesting America's unjust marijuana laws!
They will both need separate, highly qualified attorneys certified to practice in the local federal court. This fund is to cover BOTH Chris and Don's upcoming legal fees.
Very few simple marijuana possession cases go before federal courts each year. It is of vital importance to Chris, Don and to anyone arrested for marijuana possession to offer the most vigorous legal defense possible.
Further, the federal government should not make a practice of targeting marijuana reform activists for their harshest legal treatment.
Please make a donation today! Two top-level lawyers have agreed to start while we raise funds to pay them! Again the first court date is coming up fast 10/24/13 at 10:30AM.
Campaign Not Ready
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account.
Our team has contacted them with the solution, it's a simple fix!
Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account.