Christie Denied Bail A Fourth Time
A Hilo marijuana activist and minister facing a federal trial next April for allegedly operating a pot distribution ring has been denied bail a fourth time — and his girlfriend has broken her silence on the subject.
U.S. District Judge David Ezra on Friday denied a motion by the Hawaii Cannabis Ministry founder Roger Christie to set bail in his case.
Christie and 13 co-defendants, who call themselves the “Green 14,” were arrested in July raids by federal agents, assisted by local police. It was the second raid on Christie’s home and ministry in four months. The others, including Christie’s girlfriend, Share e. St. Cyr have been released on bail. At his initial bail hearing, Federal Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang called Christie “a danger to the community.” He remains in custody at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu.
“He is definitely a political prisoner. Period,” St. Cyr said Saturday morning at the Wainaku condominium she and Christie shared prior to the arrests. “… This is a time for the church. These questions are coming up now with the elections. State. Church. Our First Amendment rights are definitely being hampered.”
Christie’s attorney, federal Public Defender Matthew Winter, wrote that factors in favor of granting bail for Christie are: The complexity of the case and the length of time before trial; that Christie is no longer opposed to being released to a halfway house; the closure of the THC Ministry; and that friends have agreed to post Christie’s bond.
In his rebuttal, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Kawahara wrote: “When Christie represents in his motion that the Ministry is presently closed, the only reason … is because Christie has been detained up to this point in time.”
St. Cyr noted that $1 million bail was set for Mordechai Orian, accused of human trafficking of Thai farm workers, and for Steve Dingle, accused of fatally stabbing his wife, Cathy, on the Hilo Bayfront.
“It may be high bail, but at least they got bail,” she said.
A three-count sealed indictment in June charged Christie with conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 100 marijuana plants, manufacturing marijuana and possession with the intent to distribute 240 marijuana plants. According to court documents, the feds also confiscated approximately 845 grams of processed marijuana in the Wainaku apartment and more than $34,000 from the apartment and a bank safe deposit box. The money, as well as the apartment, are facing possible federal forfeiture.
St. Cyr talked to the Tribune-Herald against the advice of her lawyer, Dana Ishibashi. She was accompanied by supporters Mike Aiello and Matt Rifkin — neither of whom are co-defendants in the case.
“I signed up for a man with a large vision, so I’m on deck with this,” she said. “My heart was pierced (Friday), but only for an hour or two. Now, I’m the peaceful warrioress, putting on my moccasins and pulling my bow back.
“In many ways, I feel I’m more in prison than Roger. I don’t have as strong a spiritual connection yet. Roger has a very strong base. I’ve had that, but I’ve been sick for awhile (with Lyme disease). And for someone who goes with three hours of sleep for night after night after night, I finally found something that works for me. And that was cannabis.” She said she has a medical marijuana permit, but is subject to drug testing by authorities and cannot use it.
St. Cyr said that “about 50 people” have received letters from the feds stating they were recorded in wiretapped conversations with Christie. She said that some were potential defense witnesses who’ve now backed out of testifying.
“They’re trying to intimidate them,” she said. “… I’ve lost three of our witnesses this last month. It costs the government about $6 to send this pathetic letter to scare people. That’s all it is, a scare tactic.”
St. Cyr said the money confiscated was the amount it took to operate the ministry for about three months. She said that it takes about $600 a month to provide Christie with the basics in detention — food, phone calls and Internet access. She said supporters can help financially and educate themselves on the case by going to The Last Marijuana Trial. She also urged supporters to attend the “Light Up the Vote” candidate forum from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Mooheau Park Bandstand.
St. Cyr, Aiello and Rifkin all said they are “disappointed” that Christie’s lengthy incarceration is occurring during the administration of President Barack Obama, who admitted to smoking pot in high school and college. Aiello added that Christie has been accepted in the Big Island community, and his arrest and incarceration show disdain for local community standards.
“The federal government said, ‘No. We don’t like your community standards,’” he said. “They came in. They spent apparently $10 million on this investigation they put together. They arrested him. They have deprived him of his constitutional right to bail. Everyone has the right to bail, unless you’re Jack the Ripper.”
NewsHawk: User: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Peaceful Sky Alliance
Author: John Burnett
Copyright: 2009 Peaceful Sky Alliance
Contact: Contact Us – Peaceful Sky Alliance
Website: Christie denied bail a fourth time – Peaceful Sky Alliance
Re: Christie Denied Bail A Fourth Time
The story originally appeared in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
Hawaii Tribune-Herald :: Hilo, Hawaii > Archives > Local News > Christie denied bail a fourth time
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West Hawaii Today - from archives > Local > No bail for Christie
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Re: Christie Denied Bail A Fourth Time
from the Hawaii Tribune Herald....
Free Roger Christie
Published: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 9:47 AM HST
It's shocking and unjust that ordained minister Roger Christie is to remain locked up and refused bail for the fourth time (Tribune-Herald, Oct. 24). The judge said he is a "danger to the community."
What an odd comment when there are murderers, sex offenders and habitual drunken drivers who kill people and are offered bail. Roger never hurt a soul.
He is a man of God. His compassion and aloha for all people, sick people and practitioners runs as deep as his love for the island.
Christie is being denied the basic constitutional right of due process (right to bail) which impairs his ability to prepare an effective defense. Add denial of his First Amendment rights, which guarantee religious freedom, and it is clear he is a political prisoner. And we thought that was something which only happens in totalitarian countries.
There is an expression "that is the best government in which an injury to one is the concern of all."
Despite your connection with Christie or how you feel about the religious use of cannabis, if we don't all speak our outrage now and come together in solidarity as sovereign island people, who will they come for next?
The federal government has already spent millions to investigate, arrest and confine him. Millions more will be wasted before Christie and the other 13 defendants ("The Green Fourteen") are found innocent. To what better good could that money have been put to? Sad it's happening on Obama's watch.
Visit Christie's defense fund at The Last Marijuana Trial.
Hawaii Tribune-Herald :: Hilo, Hawaii > Opinion > Your Views