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Governor May Pardon Woman

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MEDFORD - An Oregon woman who could be facing deportation to her native
Norway because of a 10-year-old drug conviction may get a pardon from Gov.
Ted Kulongoski.

But Kulongoski, a Democrat and a former state attorney general, stressed
that he would carefully study the case of Kari Rein, a resident of Williams,
before making any decision.

``I have granted a pardon in similar situations,'' he told the Medford
Mail-Tribune. ``But I am not telegraphing anything when I say that. I
believe my authority to grant pardons and commutations is to be used very,
very rarely. I don't think the citizens ever intended it be done in every

Rein, 42, was arrested Dec. 30 by customs officials at Sea-Tac Airport near
Seattle when she and her husband, James Jungwirth, and their two children
were returning home to Williams from a two-week vacation in Norway.

According to immigration officials, the 1993 conviction of growing six
marijuana plants, albeit for personal use, qualifies as an aggravated felony
and mandates deportation under 1996 immigration rules.

After her green card was flagged by customs officers during a routine
computer check, Rein was arrested and later transferred in handcuffs and
shackles to the Columbia County jail in St. Helens, where she was held for
three weeks before being granted bail.

The couple, who have lived in Williams for nearly 15 years and own an herb
and seaweed harvesting business, borrowed the $15,000 bail from friends.
They also have incurred about $20,000 in attorney's fees.

Jungwirth said Wednesday that they will officially seek a pardon from the
governor on the 1993 conviction, thus erasing the felony charge. They also
plan to plead their case Feb. 11 during an immigration service hearing in
Portland. The hearing falls on the 16th anniversary of their wedding.

``We understand that if the governor does pardon her, then the immigration
service will have no reason to deport her,'' said Jungwirth, who is a U.S.

Rein and Jungwirth were convicted in 1993 of manufacture and possession of a
controlled substance after police found six marijuana plants at their home.
The couple also were charged with endangering the welfare of a minor. Their
daughter was a baby.

The judge, noting that the plants were for personal use, sentenced each to
240 hours of community service, fined them a total $1,200 and placed them on
three years' probation.

Pubdate: Fri, 30 Jan 2004
Source: Manchester Evening News (UK)
Copyright: 2004 Manchester Evening News
Contact: postbag@mcr-evening-news.co.uk
Website: Manchester Evening News: Number one for news, opinion, sport & celebrity gossip
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