Monday, July 6, 2009

Bob Newland's last note for a while

(The graphic above was added by me, from NORML's website.)

From: "Bob Newland"
Subject: And Newland gets...
Date: Mon, 06 Jul 2009 19:44:48 -0600

6 July 2009

Hello everyone;

This will be the last email I send under the banner “South Dakotans for Safe Access,” at least for a year.

By now, most of you know I pled to a felony count of possession of marijuana in May. Today I was sentenced.

In an hour-long sentencing hearing, Judge Delaney waxed reminiscent as he described his admiration for Muhammad Ali's stance against an illegal war, which cost him millions of dollars and his peak performing years, during which time he did not complain, nor did he leave the country that so abused him for his beliefs.

Then, citing the fact that he (Judge Delaney) had to account for his actions to the hundreds of kids he sees in juvenile court, he sentenced me to a year in the Penn. Co. jail, with all suspended but 45 days. During the suspended part of the sentence I will wear a bracelet that senses alcohol use and I will be subject to arbitrary piss tests by a probation officer to detect illegal "drug" use. In addition I may have no "public role" in cannabis law reform advocacy during that year.

Work release is an option, but I have few saleable skills, especially in a time when everyone else is getting laid off. I'll follow any leads any of you might have.

It was somewhat harsher than I expected, and probably less than I deserved. At least it did not cost me a career worth millions, and my peak performing years won't begin until July 6, 2010. And that's about all I feel comfortable saying about it. For a year.

I'll turn 61 in prison, doin' six weeks for smokin' a joint. Mama tried.


I will do my time beginning sometime in August. If I have a job of the conventional sort (you know, with a time to get there and a time to leave) I can get work release. So, if you have any ideas for me along those lines…

Thanks again to all who sent letters to the judge, and to those who have sent messages of support to me.

For 40 years I have watched as dozens of people I know--and thousands I know of--go through this same, ummm…, procedure. Now it’s happening to me, and I feel the same frustration over the purposelessness of it all as I have felt for all those other people, many, many, many of whom were treated far more viciously than I.

Someday this war will be over.

So long for now,

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