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Sept. 1998

Hello fear-list subscribers,

I am new to this list and have an item of interest to post. It concerns events of the last week in Linn County, Oregon. I am definitely
an amateur, at either reporting or posting to newsgroups, but the issues are very important, and I hope to learn something about what to know and what to do.

I would welcome any questions, suggestions, directions that you might have after viewing the enclosed material.

I have read the guidelines, particularly the one that says drug cases should not be posted here. In the case I describe there is a drug offense,
however the area of concern that I hope to report to you deals with the seizure of property and records known to be unrelated to any drug crime, as well as the reasons for seizing that property and the use to which it
will be put by local law enforcement.

This post is about a police raid, by Linn County Sherriff Dept., on the home and neighboring business of Bill Conde, a resident of Linn County, Oregon. Bill Conde is a successful businessman and marijuana
reform activist, and has been doing both for at least a couple of decades in this area. He is very well-known, particularly by law-enforcement, and has been investigated extensively by several agencies. He has only one arrest, for a small possession of marijuana in the '70's. The name of his business is Conde Lumber.

Mr. Conde holds events on his property related to marijuana reform, concerts and festivals about law reform or hemp capitalism and such things. He realizes he is in politically risky waters, so he keeps his business very clean, and maintains the festivals are not for promoting crime. Of course, people bring pot and smoke it. Mr. Conde has security that escorts people who commit crimes, like selling marijuana, off the property. In Oregon, possession and use of less than an ounce is not a crime, but a violation, an offense for which you get a ticket.

At least for the moment. There is a ballot initiative in November that seeks to recriminalize all marijuana possession of less than an ounce. Part of the most recent festival was Mr. Conde's _NO on 57_ campaign.

Bill Conde's private life, businesses and events have been investigated for years. And, frankly haven't turned up anything, except personal use of marijuana, which he freely admits.

About a week ago, with his last festival a couple weeks previous to that, the sherriffs raided his home and business. They found an ounce of pot. Even though the police and prosecutors are aware that Mr. Conde has
nothing to do with selling drugs, they seized all of his computers and records, effectively shutting down his business.

While the police say they are looking for records of drug transactions, they are also quite open, as is stated in the warrant, that
they want the names and info about everyone who attended, worked or participated in the festival in any manner, for example working security or in a food booth, or even just buying an admission ticket.

This just seemed outrageous to me, that computers and records admittedly unrelated to any drug crime, could be seized for the purpose of identifying people who participated in a political event, in order to put those people's lives into a police investigation and under suspicion of criminal activity.

As I said at the top of the post, I welcome any questions or suggestions. I hope that an expert in forfeiture/seizure issues might be willing to look into these events. They are still unfolding. Mr. Conde's property may be at risk of forfeiture.

Following are a couple of garbled messages. They are just my ignorant and emotional responses to the events as they occured and posted to a local newsgroup. But the facts are straight, and may provide you with a
little more information.

In the posts, >R-G< refers to the Eugene Register-Guard, the main daily in neighboring Lane County (Conde is in Linn County). >OCF< refers to Oregon Country Fair, which has also been threatened with forfeiture,
but that's another story. Bill Conde's lawyer is Brian Michaels.
 
 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 07:18:05 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bernard Nickerson <berniex@efn.org>
To: eug_controversy@efn.org
Cc: Bernard Nickerson <berniex@efn.org>, dbishoff@guardnet.com,
editor@eugeneweekly.com
Subject: conde bust 1.1

"Anybody who thinks this isn't political hasn't got their eyes open. It's nothing but."
-- Bill Conde

Just a couple of brief comments to follow, but first I wanted to perhaps unnecessarily ask again for folks with info about this case or the
issues, to please post something to the discussion. Some specialized knowledge of the law might be cool. Of if someone did not want to join in the rude debate, and maybe just could post a thousand words on relevant
constitutional case law....and maybe we could get conde's lawyer and the Linn County DA and we could use dad's barn and put on a show....uh, post statements from the adversaries....i swore to myself that i would never EVER get involved again, but i am just about ready to jump into the sky blue carriage of the revolution and blast down 99 for a commando assault, time for zen shock guerilla theater on the steps of the Linn County
courthouse, if it has steps, if there is a courthouse, wherever that is, well, maybe tomorrow.....

So the day after the unreasonable and illegal search and seizure, sheriff deputies show up at conde's place and dump THIRTY-NINE tickets on him, totaling $26,800 (on top of the $19,000 citations two weeks ago) for alleged violations of various county code and reg, mostly i think having to do with the public event in question. Stuff about outdoor assembly, water and sanitation, like inadequte toilets or unregistered security guards. (has me thinking about security crew at the OCF, oh man, perhaps I should not even go near there)

In all these years and so many relatively peaceful events, it would seem that the citizen and the officials might have worked out by now some way to accommodate each other's concerns. Both right of assembly and
adequate toilets. Both sides blame the other for the inability to resolve the issues. The timing of events has me suspicious. But Sheriff Burright says the timing is entirely coincidental. From the R-G: "Authorities are trying to identify vendors and security people hired for the event and are investigating whether Conde promoted or profited from the alleged drug use. Burright said he anticipates more arrests. Now, he said, investigators are 'going through the records, determining what's of value to us and what isn't.'"

Going through the records. Ominous soundtrack. The wind freshens. Storm flashes on the horizon.

What the undercover agents should have done is specifically identify perpatrators of drug transactions to be investigated and later arrested. But to investigate and put under suspicion of criminal activity everyone
who merely attended or participated in a politically charged event where, oh my lord, gasp... crimes may have been committed, is OUTRAGEOUS, GET IT WORTHY OF OUR OUTRAGE, ack. Which is why that warrant will be definitely overturned as way too broad, asking for records that had nothing to do
with criminal activity, especially considering that the police definitively knew that the business was clean and that Conde has openly
admitted personal use. The ninth circuit will declare that warrant illegal in about an hour flat, when it eventually gets there. But that will be too late. All those names named and addresses noted. "Round up the usual suspects." All those lives scrutinized and
criminalized. They will delve deeply into the personal business of all those hemp activists and hemp capitalists and the people that i most fear, the fanatical veggie and rice vendors.

There have been some comments and denials about the stormtrooping nature of the raid. Burright says the characterization is "malarky," and that a briefing stressed a low-key entry. But the reports of neighbors,
who are not assumed to be allies of conde, clearly relate inappropriate behaviour. It is the third party witnesses who say the police conduct was overboard.

I do not know if the sheriff or who called the R-G, but some one got the TV there too. Could be as innocuous as somebody getting a tip from a scanner. Does this story about an ounce pot bust in the next county deserve front page reportage? But, you see, it does deserve front page, because it was not about a dime a dozen possession crime. It was about the state committing a crime upon a citizen. THAT'S news. Did the R-G's presentation and composition seem sensationalized? Any bets on what the R-G's editorial positions will be on measures 57 and 64?

At this moment, possession and use of less than an ounce of marijuana is not a crime, until November anyway.

In an interview, Bill Conde said he is well aware that he treads dangerous political waters, and that is why he made damn sure that his business and events did not encourage or engage in crimes or criminal conspiracies. And the Linn County DA was well aware of that as well.
 

<>enough already for now<>
 
 

"As i walk through this wicked world
searching for light in the darkness of insanity

"I ask myself is all hope lost
is there only pain and hatred and misery

"And each time i feel like this inside
there's one thing i wanna know

"What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding?"

*****************************************************
below is just reposted material, i just had to correct that one letter

*********************************************************************
CASTING THE EVER-WIDENING AND INCREASINGLY VICIOUS NET OF CULPABILITY
*********************************************************************

When Bill Conde's lawyer says, "Linn County has taken a political exception to Mr. Conde's views....This is political intimidation at its worst," at first blush, a listener might take a grain of salt and appreciate a good counselor's vigorous defense. The police raided Mr. Conde's place, they found an ounce of marijuana, Mr. Conde's busted. Fairly straight-forward, no? Well, in a word, no; it is significant that _ALL_ they found was an ounce of marijuana.

Just from the spare facts in the pop media, one can see that the lawyer's assertion is actually understated. The police raid was a large assault, completely out of porportion with the known tactical threat: ie, a peaceful political activist. Neighbors report the inappropriate behavior of the police. While Conde and others were being completely cooperative, repeatedly asking that matters remain peaceful and calm, the officers shouted, threatened, and brusquely shoved and searched the line-up of dangerous potheads. The police raided and searched both Mr. Conde's home and his business (which are located next to each other), and again, at first this may not seem to be an over-the-line police action. But the police took ALL of Mr. Conde's business records and computers, effectively shutting down his lumberyard.

The police and prosecutors know for a fact, from years of investigations, that Conde Lumber is a completely legal and respectable business, that never has been a front for drug perations, that does not profit from drug proceeds, and whose revenues do not finance drug smuggling operations. And yet they confiscated his business. Why? The basis for the search warrant is unbelievably outrageous and obviously political. Anything derived from it is useless because that warrant is dead on appeal.

Quote from the R-G: [my emphasis]

"The warrant stated that deputies were searching not only for drugs, but for records of drug transactions and PAPERWORK TO IDENTIFY PEOPLE WHO ATTENDED OR WORKED AT THE CANNIBUS CARNIVAL - one of many marijuana-themed events Conde has hosted."

This is outrageous. Oh, I used that word already. I am apoplectic. Damn it, how can crap like that happen? So people managed to use drugs at an event Mr. Conde sponsored. So, what!? So maybe they had a legal probable cause to bust Conde on personal use, but THEY KNEW that his business was clean.

Again from the R-G: [emphasis again}

"Sherriff Burright said more arrests are likely if police can identify people who used or sold drugs at the latest festival. "There's alot of people who ought to be watching over their shoulders," he said.

Chilling. Which is exactly the intended effect. Under the guise of criminalizing more innocent citizens, which is bad enough, this is a direct attack intended to chill political activity. Why was this raid engaged now, and not after the many previous events over the last how many decades? Could it possibly be because of the ballot measures being voted on in just a couple of weeks? Well, here is to wishing that the action backfires on the (political expletive deleted). I am speaking from ignorance mostly though. I hope that folks who know more about the case and the issues can contribute to this discussion.
 
 

>>>>><> In accordance with TerranGovReg, Code 333.7: This information is provided free of charge to interested parties for the sole purpose of stimulating interesting threads.
 

Legalize Freedom!

Editors Note:
Are you disgusted that a government is attempting to silence political speach that it does agree with? Especially in a supposedly FREE Country? Click on the "What You Can Do" link below.

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