|Federal Judge John Woodcock|
a/k/a Captain Joint
Jeffrey P. Barnard, a legal medical marijuana patient with a card in Maine has been ground through the system for many years. He racked up an impressive amount of federal release violations for testing positive for THC, twenty three of them. He has petitioned the federal courts for the right to use marijuana as a medicine. He has just this January lost his lower leg due to infections contracted in federal jail. He has been beaten so badly by police in the past that he had to urinate through a tube for months. He was told by Judge John Woodcock in federal court that there was a cell with his name on it for life. His home was then raided by the state ad local police, MDEA, federal parole officers, everybody but the dwarfs and donkeys came on this one!
What they found was Jeffrey healing from the loss of one foot and in pain, his other leg bearing metal pins showing signs of infection.
They also found his wife Vicki's medical marijuana garden, she is also a legal card carring patient, her garden locked and posted as required by state law. They proceeded to rip it apart and listed it as Jeffreys marijuana.
At this point it is easy to see why Jeffrey was not in a rush to turn himself in to Judge Woodcock. There was an 18 hour lapse on Jeffrey's release time but he had still turned himself in after working with his lawyer. Still the system has to have their pound of flesh, so Jeffrey was charged with an escape attempt as a violation.
Jeffrey had again been released for a medical appointment, but didn't feel safe returning to custody and had stated that he would kill himself prior to again facing Judge Woodcock.
He was looking for any kind of help he could get with his case. Just the night before he was arrested I was working on press releases to get his story in the public view. He had stated he would cut his own throat if the police tried to take him in.
Coming from his doctors office the very next day he was confronted by police and we all found out Jeffrey was a man of his word. He let go of his walker, hopped back, and cut his throat as he was tackled to the ground, handcuffed, then maced...
He was presented in court before Judge Woodcock with his neck stitched across the front. At this point Jeffrey was in the news, along with some of the treatment he had recieved at the hands of the police and the system.
Judge Woodcock recanted his statements about having a lifelong cell for Jeffrey and stated ir was not in his power to lock him up for life. He then tossed him a new court date of May 17th to deal with the latest violation, his "escape" attempt.
By this time much more of Jeffrey's story became public, along with the actions that Judge Woodcock could take in the case to end it in a very civil and compassionate way.
May 17th rolled up on us and we rallied some family and friends together along with Jeffrey's wife Vicki and headed to the Bangor Federal Court.
Even though there were 23 marijuana violations on the books along with the documented requests to use marijuana as a medicine, and the fact that Jeffrey has had a doctor prescribe marijuana for him and he has been granted a Maine DHHS State Medical Marijuana Card, the court was very careful to state that this was "not a medical marijuana case even though some people had tried to classify it as one."
That said, this simple hearing on a violation attempt took 3 1/2 hours,with many witnesses called to the stand, including Jeffrey's federal parol officer. Judge Woodcock took many recesses and spent a good bit of time going over records.
The DA was asking for 24 months jail time, the starting time on the books for the violation was 18 months, and supervised release would only lead to more violations.
Judge Woodcock went over Jeffrey's history with the court point by point and again made it clear the case had nothing to do with medical marijuana.
He then did show he had compassion, and handed down a term that was simply "time served" and Jeffrey was processed out a free man and returned to his loving wife Vicki.
They hugged outside the courthouse and tears streamed down both their faces as Jeffrey told the media that "I just want to go home and hug my wife."
Thank you, Judge Woodcock for giving this family their lives back.
Jeffrey while in jail was very active, and worked through the system to make changes. Now he is out, he is ready to work for more changes, and will be sharing his story from the stage this weekend, May 20-22 at the Maine Vocals Mainepeace Jam in Harmony Maine.
Details for that show can be found at mainevocals.net