In The Interest of Justice

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Aloha. On September 4th our lawyers Tommy Otake and Lynn Panagakos filed the final argument for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) motion in our marijuana conspiracy case. Judge Kobayashi said that she’ll issue her opinion on it by September 10th. At this time the motion is only for the benefit of Roger and/or Share Christie.

Share and I are now wondering more than ever, “Where are our other co-defendants? Why haven’t they all joined us in this RFRA defense, and/or in the religious defense? Why haven’t their lawyers ever visited me to help build their defense?” These powerful defenses are based on our truth and we feel strongly that all of our other co-defendants qualify for one or both of them. We all got raided and arrested together; Share and I have thought that we could all win our cases together.

We’ve read that many of our co-defendants (who have been our friends, THC Ministry members and two of our secretaries) have already pled guilty to “KNOWINGLY AND WILLINGLY conspiring to cultivate, possess and distribute over 100 marijuana plants”. For most of the co-defendants this is a totally false charge with zero basis in fact. Why plead “guilty” to it?

We have all been facing enhanced “mandatory minimum” prison sentences which adds tremendous stress and pressure to make a guilty plea rather than face a trial – even if the defendant is completely innocent. We readily admit that we all have free-will and each person needs to make-up their own mind based on their unique circumstances, but even at this late date Share and I would like to respectfully add our sincere prayer and strong intention for the complete freedom and “justice for all” of the Green Fourteen co-defendants.

From the transcript of our Status Conference of July 31st, 2013:

Page 9 line 14 Mr. Domingo (co-defendant Aaron Zeeman’s attorney): ” … hey, I relied on the fact that these guys were telling me that this was a religious thing that they were doing and everything was aboveboard and it was legal. And then it was subsequentially prosecuted.”

Page 9 line 19 Judge Kobayashi: “Right. That would be the religious defense.”

Page 9 line 25 Judge Kobayashi” “RFRA basically says, you know, you could have intended to distribute and everything, but you were doing it in furtherance of your exercise of religion. And if you can show the prima facie case (that you are “sincere”), the burden shifts to the government. And if they can’t meet their burden, then you can’t be prosecuted for it because that’s your exercise of your religion.”

Since our mass arrest in July 2010 Share and I have been concerned about all of our other co-defendants; what’s going-on with each of them, how are they and their families all doing? We’ve wondered for more than three years now why none of their attorneys have ever come for a legal visit with me here at FDC to see about helping to build the case for their clients! I used to tell everyone at the THC Ministry, including all of our co-defendants, that I could provide the “legitimacy” if they could provide the “sincerity”; the two basic elements for a religious defense to prosecution for marijuana charges. This is true, now more than ever.

From the transcript of our Status Conference of July 31st, 2013:

Page 7 line 2 Judge Kobayashi: “I’m comfortable ruling that Defendant Christie and Defendant St. Cyr Christie have made their prima facie case (they are legitimate and sincere) through their declarations and that of Dr. Cozad. At this point then, the burden shifts to the government to prove compelling interest and least restrictive means … ”

Page 7 line 19 Judge Kobayashi: ” … oh, and the last issue is, are all the defendants — I have a motion in limine from Defendant Christie and Defendant St. Cyr Christie. So I am operating, since we have trial scheduled for October 8th, that only these two defendants are raising RFRA as a defense that the court will rule on pretrial.”

Page 7 line 19 Judge Kobayashi: “My rulings are not going to affect the other defendants because, one, they didn’t file it, and two, the government’s burden is to show, as you folks are very familiar, as to each individual defendant whether there’s — it was the least restrictive means. It’s a defendant specific standard. First they have to show compelling government interest, but then to least restrictive means (it) is defendant specific.”

Page 8 line 7 Judge Kobayashi: “So I just wanted to be clear on that because the other defendants haven’t — …” (joined in this motion).

The federal charges against all of us co-defendants say that we “KNOWINGLY AND WILLINGLY conspired to cultivate, possess and distribute 284 marijuana plants”. The truth is that none of us knowingly and willingly conspired to grow 284 plants. Can that truth set us free? Even after a guilty plea has been made?

The government has outlined on August 29th all of its eight “compelling interests” for marijuana enforcement. In our opinion, none of these interests apply to any of us co-defendants! In addition, arresting and charging us all with “draconian” mandatory minimum prison sentences is NOT the “least restrictive means” required by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

We’re not lawyers, and we don’t know the specific legal, financial, physical, emotional, mental or family situation of our other co-defendants. We respect the free will of each of our co-defendants to choose how to navigate the charges they face and the life they lead. That being said, we pray that under the new guidelines of the Department of Justice mandatory minimum prison sentences beginning on August 12th, combined with the new marijuana enforcement guidelines released on august 29th, that all of the Green Fourteen co-defendants can have their pleas reversed, their charges reduced and their cases won. Mahalo.

All the very best to everyone,

Roger and Share Christie

www.thc-ministry.org
www.the-last-marijuana-trial.com

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3 Responses to “In The Interest of Justice”


  1. Anthony
    on Sep 20th, 2013
    @ 5:52 pm

    Hope all is well Roger!

    I don’t understand why the news Media stations all report on this American Pastor Saeed Abedini jailed in Iran for his religious ways when you are jailed for yours!

    I also find it funny that they arrest you after they started selling Cannabis in stores like candy for Medical reasons but yet you can’t have anything to do with it with your religion! Only if your selling it for Medical Reasons? Yeah right! So I say why should we the people care that some American pastors locked up in Iran? Infact I’ll mail the Iran gov and show them how they are treating you!

    It just goes to show that this Saeed Abedini is just a hypocrite exploit while turning away from what’s going on here at home.

    Stay Strong Roger!

    Magician Anthony,
    http://www.MagicianAnthony.com


  2. Erin Keppel and Ricky Hofmann
    on Sep 20th, 2013
    @ 10:39 pm

    Roger,
    Hi. In 2010 we were arrested and our home was raided for the cultivating of our medicine and helping out those who were in need of our medicine. The police lied about our situation and had Child protective services take away our 3year old daughter. We have been through the ringer, basically, and we are still on probation.
    We were a part of your ministry and had all if your documents with us and the cops just laughed and threw our binder aside.
    We realize that you are paying time for your decisions in this type of ministry, but is there something that you or your lawyer could do to help out our situation?
    Please let us know what you think .
    Mahalo,
    Erin Keppel and Ricky Hofmann


  3. Rev. Roger Christie
    on Mar 6th, 2016
    @ 10:04 am

    @@@

    Hello Erin and Ricky,

    Aloha. It’s Roger Christie here just seeing your troubling email news of September 20, 2013 for the first time. I’d like to know what happened to you and your daughter and how you are now. Please contact me as soon as you can. Thanks.

    All the best to you,

    Roger

    rogerchristie@gmail.com

    @@@

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