DRUG WAR BRIEFS: The Right to Remain Silent?

November 25- Los Angeles Times reports: Maybe you don't have a right to remain silent after all.

The Supreme Court told police in its famous 1966 Miranda ruling that they must respect the rights of people who are held for questioning. Officers must warn them of their right to remain silent and, equally important, honor their refusal to talk further. But that widely known rule is about to be reconsidered in the Supreme Court in the case of a man shot five times after a brief encounter with police in Oxnard.

Legal experts say the case has the potential to reshape the law governing everyday encounters between police and the public. As Oliverio Martinez lay gravely wounded, a police supervisor pressed him to talk, to explain his version of the events. He survived, paralyzed and blinded, and sued the police for, among other things, coercive interrogation.

But the Oxnard police assert that the Miranda ruling does not include a "constitutional right to be free of coercive interrogation," but only a right not to have forced confessions used at trial. Bush administration lawyers have sided with the Oxnard police in the case. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Dec. 4.

November 26- The Winston-Salem Journal reports: More than 30 drug defendants have had charges dismissed or convictions overturned since the officers investigating their cases were charged in December with distributing drugs.

But a request by Terrence Maurice Barriet breaks new ground in the case of the former Davidson County narcotics officers. Included with the motion is an affidavit from one of the officers, admitting that the crack cocaine used as evidence against Barriet was planted.

"Terrence Maurice Barriet did not have drugs on his person or property on May 22, 1999," former officer David Scott Woodall said in the affidavit.

"The crack cocaine was provided ... in order to facilitate an arrest ... that would result in prison sentence for Terrence Maurice Barriet."

Woodall also said in the affidavit that Barriet was threatened "to not give trouble to the case, or his wife would be victimized also."

November 27- The BC Daily Courier reports: Teammates, students and teachers have been blindsided by the death of a popular 15-year-old, who apparently took his own life Sunday in Surrey.

The teen was a member of the Kelowna midget AA team that travelled to the Lower Mainland for an exhibition game and to watch a Canucks game.

After the exhibition game Saturday, the teen and another player were reportedly caught with marijuana and were told it could result in suspension from the team.

At 12:30 a.m., the coach and the teammate found the boy's body hanging in the hotel bathroom.

The death comes eerily close to another teen suicide in Kelowna.

On Oct. 1, a Constable Neil Bruce Middle School student took his own life, immediately following a suspension for drug use at school.

November 27- Canada's Globe and Mail reports: A BC provincial judge has ordered the Mounties to return a batch of home-grown marijuana to American refugee claimant Steve Kubby, a cancer patient who smokes up to 12 joints a day to ease his symptoms.

In the latest twist to a bizarre, cross-border legal drama that began when Mr. Kubby fled California, a federal Crown prosecutor has dropped drug charges against the Sechelt man, who says he will die if he doesn't light up each day.

Mr. Kubby has been using marijuana daily for nearly 20 years. He says it controls pain and nausea, and has stopped tumours from spreading. High-profile cancer specialists on both sides of the border have backed his claims with written testimonials.

Last spring, the RCMP arrived at Mr. Kubby's home about two hours north of Vancouver, seized dozens of plants and charged him with cultivating marijuana and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Since then, Health Canada has granted Mr. Kubby a medical exemption that allows him to use and grow pot. His exemption -- the largest in Canada -- allows him to possess up to 59 marijuana plants.

With that waiver, a federal Crown prosecutor on Monday dropped the drug charges and Judge Dan Moon ordered police to return Mr. Kubby's pot and growing equipment.

Send tips and comments to Kevin Nelson at kcnelson@premier1.net.

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