02/17/13 Janet Goree

Janet Goree of November Coalition, Fox re S. Carolina Moms for MJ, Atlanta MDMA, Atlanta Grandma deals weed & Atlanta corrupt cops story

Program: 
Century of Lies
Date: 
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Guest: 
Janet Goree
Organization: 
November Coalition
Download: Audio icon COL021713.mp3
Share

Comments

Transcript

Century of Lies / February 17, 2013

-----------------------

DEAN BECKER: The failure of Drug War is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more. Now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies.

-----------------------

DEAN BECKER: Welcome to this edition of Century of Lies. Sometimes this show is difficult. It is mentally challenging. It is emotionally draining. This is one such show.

Each week I read and hear the stories of mothers and fathers who lose their children for years to this drug war. One organization that provides a sounding board, a means to reach out to those who are under similar circumstance and to learn how they can contact elected officials to maybe make a difference to the lives of their children – the November Coalition does that.

A member of that organization is joining us today to talk about what happened to her family, her son – how the drug war has taken him away for half a lifetime. With that I want to welcome Janet Goree. How are you doing, Janet?

JANET GOREE: I’m doing great. I’m glad to be here, Dean.

DEAN BECKER: Tell us the story of your son. What has happened?

JANET GOREE: Bobby started his journey with drugs at the age of 15. His first treatment was in a juvenile facility. It was a really good one. It was in the mountains of Virginia. He actually stayed clean until his senior year of high school when his girlfriend got pregnant. After the birth of the baby they broke up and he started using again. It just spiraled out of control.

He was in and out of prison. The condensed version is he was on legal methadone to try to get off the heroin when he came back to us after being released from prison in Virginia. He wasn’t doing well on it. He wanted to get into treatment. They said he had to be off the methadone so they took him down. We realize now it was way too quickly. He had a seizure and went to the hospital. Because he was an addict they wouldn’t give him anything so he stole a knife from a grocery store, walked into a drug store and robbed it at knife point. Thank God he did not physically injure anyone.

He went in the bathroom of the grocery store with the intent of taking the pills and ending the pain once and for all. The police caught him. The public defender said that because of the mandatory minimums in Florida he was being charged with trafficking. He offered a plea bargain of 30 years because otherwise he would get life. That’s what he did. He’s 5 years into a 30 mandatory minimum sentence with absolutely…nothing he does…he hasn’t been in trouble once but that doesn’t matter.

If he serves this sentence, if we can’t find some way to make a difference he will be 62-years-old when he leaves that prison. I’ll probably be dead. His children will be grown with children of their own. And for what? Because he had an addiction.

DEAN BECKER: We hear the Drug Czar and other similar folks talking about the need to treat drug addiction as a health problem, to stop incarcerating people, to give people a second chance and on down the line but none of their thoughts, none of these ideas have been put in place. We continue to treat drug users as unconditionally exterminable, as worthless. Your thought there, Janet.

JANET GOREE: As a piece of trash. We’re locking up and throwing away an entire generation of sons and daughters and mothers and fathers and nobody’s even thinking about all these kids that are growing up without their parents because they’re locked up and they’re angry and they’re embarrassed. Their grandparents are trying to do the best to raise them.

In Florida we sought treatment repeatedly for him. Most of the few beds that are available for treatment are tied up with the court system in DOC so he would have had to have been in trouble to get one of those beds.

We went and sat day after day after day to try to get him help. People are under the misnomer that if an addict wants help he can get help. OK, go try to help an addict get help. Go see what’s available in your community. I challenge you to see what’s available in your community for treatment if you have no insurance, no Medicaid and no means to pay for it. In most communities there is virtually no help.

DEAN BECKER: I think of the thousands if not millions of other children, teenagers and young 20s that experiment with drugs sometimes get a little too involved, get too addicted and the fact is without those treatment beds, without the availability of those treatment beds their options are slim and far between and we punish them because we have not provided the cure for them. Your response, Janet.

JANET GOREE: I think that’s why I’ve had a profound shift in what I’ve always believed in. I truly believe now (and people look at me like I’ve grown three heads when I say it) we should legalize everything across the board. It should be like alcohol. Teenagers should not be able to buy it. All this money that we spend in punishment and corrections and police officers and jails should be spent on treatment and people helping them to get treatment and to get well and to learn to cope with this disease.

It’s become big money. It’s become big business. Towns depend solely on the prisons because they are the major employer in towns. That’s trading on the misery of human beings. I told you this earlier that our family has been on the victim family member and we’ve been on the offender family member. My granddaughter was violently shaken by her father when she was 6 months old and died in my arms 3 years later as she never recovered from that. 67% of her brain died.

He got probation. How can you ever tell me that the legal system is fair when a man can murder a child with his bare hands and get probation and then a man can rob a drug store because he’s withdrawing probably in a psychosis from methadone, doesn’t physically injure anyone…maybe he should have gotten a sentence maybe he should have gotten help a long time ago. I don’t know. But he shouldn’t have gotten the rest of his life.

DEAN BECKER: Yah, 30 years. That is enormous. The fact of the matter is the state is not going to be any safer for him having spent those 30 years. It’s not going to be a miracle cure for drug addiction across the board. It’s not going to do anything except – as you say - punish him and, more importantly, his children, his extended family.

JANET GOREE: And they’ll have to take care of him as he becomes an old man. On top of the 30 years they hit him with a $500,000 fine. Not real sure of who the rocket scientist was who came up with that one but I can’t imagine that too many people getting out of jail after 30 years are going to be able to come up with $500,000 to pay the state of Florida.

DEAN BECKER: We have situations where states are beginning to relax their mindset and their laws gradually. The mandatory minimum frenzy that rose up in the 80s and the lock them up forever attitude is going away. Prime example is they revised the crack cocaine sentencing laws. It used to be 100 to 1 power versus crack. Now they’ve reduced it to 18 to 1 which is a good thing but the fact of the matter is they’re still thousands of people in prison based on the old understanding that were sentenced to enormous sentences that thus far have not been exonerated or diminished. We need to look back at the history of this drug war. We need to reexamine our prior stance taken. Your thoughts, Janet Goree.

JANET GOREE: How can we keep someone in jail for something that’s no longer a crime? Or they served the time…it just proves that it’s lining somebody’s pockets and there’s financial reasons for doing that.

I was with you. I really thought we were heading down that road of doing away with the mandatory minimums but I see now not around the drugs but with the gun legislation and…I’ve only been going to political sites as it’s such a hot issue but a lot of people are saying that what we should do with that is create mandatory minimums for anybody who has any kind of these weapons that they want to outlaw. So here we are coming back to mandatory minimums.

What we really do is we make the judges impotent. The judges have absolutely no say. In my son’s case I know he did not want to give him a 30 year sentence. I could see it in his eyes. When I walked out of the door the prosecutor and the one victim that…there were 3 pharmacists that day and the other two were willing to let him serve a lesser sentence but there was one that wanted him to get the maximum that he could get. When I walked out to the courtroom she was standing with the prosecutor and they were laughing about how my son would be an old man before he ever saw daylight.

I thought, you know, “Do you not understand that this man is not a piece of trash. He’s a human being. He has an illness and he has children. He has nieces and nephews that love him and a mother and a sister and a father. He has all these people who love him and care about him and you act like he’s just disposable. You’re going to go on and live your life and all of our lives are disrupted forever.”

DEAN BECKER: Janet…you know…

JANET GOREE: I’m sorry. I try not to cry.

DEAN BECKER: I’m starting to cry. The fact of the matter is we have overdone it. We have way, way overdone it and we need to rethink not just the future but what we have left in the past, what we have created and set in play.

Janet, your closing thoughts. What would you like to tell to the mothers or maybe any legislator that might be listening.

JANET GOREE: I would like for the legislators to understand that you got to think about the kids. I have one grandson that can’t be authentic with any of his friends. He’s 15-years-old and he can’t tell any of his friends that both of his parents are in prison for drugs. He lies and tells them that his mom’s in law school and that his dad is just never around.

Can you imagine being 15 and not being able to be honest with any of your friends? He’s not by any stretch the only one. These kids are suffering. They’re hearts are broken and they feel like that there is something wrong with them that their parents didn’t love them enough to stay out of jail.

Think about the kids. Think about the next generation. We got to fix it for them.

DEAN BECKER: Indeed we do. Once again we’ve been speaking with Janet Goree. She’s a member of the November Coalition. They’re out there on the web at http://november.org.

-----------------------

FEMALE ANCHOR: Tonight Fox Carolina Investigates. We’re talking about the push to legalize marijuana. You’ve probably heard all the talk about that. Supporters say they’re efforts are working because voters in Colorado and Washington State recently approved measures to legalize and regulate pot.

One of the groups rallying around legalization are moms. The organization called Moms for Marijuana has members in North and South Carolina and in Georgia.

MALE ANCHOR: That’s right. They say it is a time to have a conversation about pot. We’re talking about it tonight. That’s for sure. They also say it is time to legalize it but not for the reasons you might think.

Fox Carolina Derek Dellinger explains.

DEREK DELLINGER: Cannabis, marijuana pot – whatever you call it merely having it could get you in serious trouble. But the messages that people see…

REEFER MADNESS CLIP: If you want a good smoke try one of these.

DEREK DELLINGER: …can be seen by many as either laughable or just over the top. But this is what many think of when they think of pot…

SHARON RAVERT: [Moms for Marijuana] When I was growing up you were way more concerned about your parents or your preacher finding out that you had smoked marijuana than you would have been the police.

DEREK DELLINGER: Sharon Ravert is a North Georgia mother who’s part of Moms for Marijuana and NORML. Both organizations are tied to marijuana legalization.

SHARON RAVERT: If prohibition worked – by all means – I would be all for it but it hasn’t worked and it won’t work. We can’t arrest our way out of this.

DEREK DELLINGER: Ravert says marijuana needs to be legalized because she believes the war on the drugs has long been over. She tells us the stigma of a marijuana possession arrest is more damaging than the actual use of the drug. She says the numbers speak for themselves.

Marijuana has been illegal in the United States since 1937 but even the federal government’s own studies show over 17 million Americans are regular marijuana users – more than any other illegal drug combined – with rates growing on children as young as 12.

ADAM BROOKNER: We know that it’s an addictive substance. We know that there’s harm associated with taking marijuana. It impacts an adolescents brain in a horrible way.

DEREK DELLINGER: Adam Brookner is with the Phoenix Center in Greenville which specializes in drug addiction treatment. He believes marijuana shouldn’t be legalized and says keeping it from children is the biggest reason why. He sees about 100 adolescents come in for treatment every year because of chronic marijuana use.

ADAM BROOKNER: They’re smoking a lot of marijuana by the time they’re coming to us. We don’t usually see somebody who’s smoking once a week or so.

DEREK DELLINGER: There’s evidence to back up his claims too. A study done last year by the University of Oregon found that adolescents that were chronic marijuana users had an 8 point drop in their IQ. They also found the effects were non-reversible heading into adulthood. This is where marijuana advocates and their opposition meet.

SHARON RAVERT: We do not advocate the use of marijuana – especially for young people. That is the main reason we do this because we want to protect our young people from drugs and marijuana specifically and get it out of our schools.

DEREK DELLINGER: Both sides say marijuana use will likely never stop. The solution that each side has to combatting the use among teens is different. One side recommends keeping marijuana illegal.

ADAM BROOKNER: My concern is that if it becomes …when it becomes legalized more adolescents will engage in the behavior and more people will have lifelong problems associated with that.

DEREK DELLINGER: The other says pot should be regulated like alcohol.

SHARON RAVERT: If my kid has a marijuana cigarette in their bedroom and I find it you can rest assured I’m not going to be happy. I’m going to deal with it but I don’t want the police to come in my house and pull my kid out of bed and search her room to find it.

DEREK DELLINGER: Despite efforts to legalize marijuana legislators in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia aren’t taking up marijuana measures anytime soon. Both sides of the debate say this is a conversation that is long overdue. No matter what anybody thinks of marijuana they say it’s high time to talk and that conversation is getting louder.

Derek Dellinger, Fox Carolina News Tonight.

FEMALE ANCHOR: Alright and obviously this is an issue that a lot of people are talking about. People on both sides of this thing feel very, very strongly. If you legalize marijuana maybe it will take away some…

MALE ANCHOR: Usage will go up.

FEMALE ANCHOR: Right. It takes away the money factor. Some people say you do it some people say, “No way. Why would you ever legalize it.”

Really interesting to hear the different viewpoints on it, though.

MALE ANCHOR: Right but for now, as Derek said, legislators are not taking up the issue.

-----------------------

DEAN BECKER: The following from CNN.

-----------------------

BROOKE BALDWIN: You may have seen these. You see these packets in convenience stores. It’s so-called synthetic marijuana. These chemically involved treats, these herbs are sold in packaging usually brightly colored. It attracts the eye, looks like candy but they are anything but harmless.

Smoking one nearly killed 17-year-old Emily Bauer of Houston. The experience landed her smack dab in intensive care unit on life support and her family expected she would die.

These pictures are of Emily from last December. I want to bring in CNN’s legal analyst, Sunny Hostin.

We have talked about synthetic marijuana in the past. It is the kind of thing, the stores and the packaging, it almost creates this illusion that they're harmless.

SUNNY HOSTIN: Looks like candy.

BROOKE BALDWIN: Looks like candy. Young people grab them. In actuality, they're linked to, what, thousands of medical emergencies.

SUNNY HOSTIN: That's right, thousands.

What is so fascinating, and I went to a convenience store to look for it, because, I thought, gosh, it looks like candy.

BROOKE BALDWIN: Really?

SUNNY HOSTIN: Here in New York, I couldn't find it.

But what is fascinating about this is these items aren't legal. In 41 states, including Puerto Rico, or -- and Puerto Rico, they're just not allowed. And so law enforcement is sort of on to it now, but kids are still buying it. This kid bought it in Texas, where it is illegal. So it still made its way on to the store's shelves and it can be really dangerous.

Get this, Brooke. It is 100 times more potent than marijuana in many settings. So I don't know why it is still kind of there, but I suspect...
BROOKE BALDWIN: What about Emily Bauer? She was in the ICU. Her parents thought she was...

SUNNY HOSTIN: Well, I would love to say she's doing great, but she suffered severe stroke. She has brain damage.

BROOKE BALDWIN: Wow.

SUNNY HOSTIN: And so, you know, day by day , her family says she's getting better. She's in physical therapy and other kinds of therapy, but she was severely injured by this. I just hope folks that are watching will speak to their teens, will speak to their kids about this because this is still out there on the shelves killing people.

-----------------------

DEAN BECKER: And now to close us out, help us frame the stupidity of the drug war we have 3 stories out of Atlanta from Fox and WSB.

-----------------------

JUSTIN FARMER: Drug is being pushed and widely used through the Atlanta club scene. It is targeting teenagers and college students. A Channel 2 investigation we look at the illegal drug called Molly.

Nothing new, really but just marketed in a new way. It produces feelings of euphoria but the side effects could be deadly.

[club scene]

Music and drugs – they’ve been intertwined for decades. Now a dangerous drug with an innocent name is making waves through the music world.

DIGITAL VOICE: [at club] Please help me find Molly.

JUSTIN FARMER: The popularity of the club drug Molly has been growing for years. Listen to Madonna at a music festival in Miami last year.

MADONNA: How many people in this crowd have seen Molly?

MUSIC VIDEO: Talking about Mary she don’t off that Molly.

JUSTIN FARMER: But it’s now crossing over into hip hop.

MUSIC VIDEO: Pop the Molly I’m sweat…

JUSTIN FARMER: Molly, code for the drug MDMA – the main ingredient in ecstasy. The difference is ecstasy typically comes in pill form and is commonly mixed with other drugs. Molly is designed to be pure MDMA and usually comes in powder or capsule.

HARRY SOMMERS: Because it’s pure and there’s more of it it’s clearly more dangerous.

JUSTIN FARMER: I talked to DEA Special Agent in Charge Harry Sommers of the Atlanta field office. He says Molly causes your body to overheat potentially causing hyperthermia. If untreated that could lead to seizures, kidney or heart failure and, in rare cases, death.

Sommers says the name Molly is just a marketing tool by the drug dealers.

HARRY SOMMERS: Just think of the marketing behind the word Molly. It sounds like the girl next door. It sounds pure. It sounds OK.

COLIN: I think pretty much every teenager knows what it means.

JUSTIN FARMER: Colin is a high school senior and a local electronic DJ.

COLIN: You can’t go to a show or like a club or anything without people walking up to you and asking you, “Have you seen Molly? Do you have Molly?”

JUSTIN FARMER: Dr. Bob Margolis is executive director of Solutions, an outpatient drug rehab facility for adolescents and young adults.

BOB MARGOLIS: There is not a lot of research on this drug, so to say, ‘What are the long-term effects of the drug?' -- that we don't know about."

JUSTIN FARMER: What we do know is that MDMA releases a surge of serotonin depleting your own brain of this important chemical. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the side effects include confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving and anxiety which can last days and weeks.

COLIN: I have noticed extreme dehydration and people collapsing and things like that.

BOB MARGOLIS: It’s a crap shoot so you’re taking a drug that you don’t know what it’s doing to your brain. It’s causing your brain to work overtime. It’s causing your brain to release chemicals in a way that it was never intended to release.

JUSTIN FARMER: MDMA is a synthetic. It’s a Schedule I substance meaning that it has high abuse potential and has no recognized medicinal use. The DEA said the purity of Molly is almost a myth because it comes in powder form and can easily be mixed with other drugs, which makes it even more dangerous. A lot of times the dealers will do that to increase their profit margin.

FEMALE ANCHOR: Do we have any idea where it’s coming from? Why so much?

JUSTIN FARMER: Typically it’s being manufactured outside the United States. A lot of it’s coming from Canada or Asia. It’s a lot more difficult because it’s kind of a lab synthetic thing. It’s a lot more difficult to make than say someone cooking meth in their house.

The DEA says they have found that it can be done in this country but it’s fairly rare so, again, another component – where’s it been, where’s it’s coming from, what is really in there.

-----------------------

JOVITA MOORE: New at 5 is the surprising arrest of a 79-year-old woman. Police say they found 9 pounds of marijuana plus 130,000 dollars in cash inside the woman’s home. Channel 2 Ryan Young is live in Buckhead with what led to this arrest.

RYAN YOUNG: The details to this story are quite amazing - 9 pounds of marijuana that they apparently found inside this home. If you take a look in this direction this is what the detectives put on the address. They said they observed this woman trying to sell at 3024 Peach Street.

You almost can’t take your eyes off the screen. 79-year-old Norma Cheren looks like someone’s grandmother with her glasses and silver hair but she’s wearing a Fulton County jail jumpsuit facing drug charges.

JUDGE: Miss Cheren you’re charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

RYAN YOUNG: And the 79-year-old seemed to feel just as out of place as she looked. APD’s narcotics team raided her house on Vickers Street in Southeast Atlanta February 7th after detectives say they caught her trying to sell marijuana in Buckhead.

ANONYMOUS NEIGHBOR: I’m shocked. I’m totally shocked because I wasn’t never expecting that.

RYAN YOUNG: …obtained these photos of what they say they found on the inside. You can see the cash lining the inside of these old style lunch boxes. That’s some of the 130,000 dollars they found. You can see some of the marijuana – 9 pounds in all.

ANONYMOUS NEIGHBOR: Little old lady – she lived by herself. I always see her come in and out but I would think she’s going to work.

RYAN YOUNG: Her neighbors like this woman…

ANONYMOUS NEIGHBOR: I watch everything. They call me the nosy neighbor.

RYAN YOUNG: …tell me thought the visitors to the home were just taking care of the 79-year-old.

ANONYMOUS NEIGHBOR: For the past 6 or 7 months I’ve been seeing like SUVs, all the different cars…they’ll come over there. They’ll get out the truck. They’ll go up the hill. They’ll be in there for about 10 or 15 minutes and come back and leave.

I didn’t think anything. I thought maybe they were giving her dialysis or something because she’s a sweet old lady.

RYAN YOUNG: She does have a prior criminal history. In fact we were able to find that in 1991 she was arrested for drug possession and received 7 years probation for that. Right now a lot of detectives say they were surprised by what they found.

-----------------------

DEAN BECKER: 79-years-old. She probably only had Social Security for an income and thought she’d take advantage of the world’s largest multi-level marketing organization.

Here to close us out is this report from Fox.

-----------------------

FEMALE ANCHOR: 10 Metro Atlanta law enforcement officers were arrested today on federal charges.

MALE ANCHOR: Authorities call it an unprecedented level of corruption that spanned 7 precincts Fox Atlanta Portia Bruner joins us live downtown with more on the charges.

PORTIA BRUNER: According to this criminal complaint out of the 15 people arrested today about a dozen were either current police officers or former police officers who had been fired in recent years. Some accused of taking 7,000, 14,000 even in one case 23,000 dollars to protect drug dealers.

FEMALE ANCHOR: U.S. Attorney Sally Yates says that 10 law enforcement officers arrested Tuesday for corruption and drug trafficking did much more than violate public trust.

SALLY YATES: When they sold their badges they betrayed not only the citizens they were sworn to protect, but also their fellow law enforcement officers who literally put their lives on the line every day to protect all of us.

PORTIA BRUNER: Federal agents arrested the officers and 5 other people who they say helped cocaine dealers and gang members secure protection from people Yates described as “dirty cops.”

SALLY YATES: Drug dealers will occasionally try to enlist dirty cops to assist them in protecting their transactions, to protect them from legitimate law enforcement from intervening in the drug transactions and sometime to protect them from rival drug dealers from ripping them off.

Each of the officers charged today engaged in multiple drug transactions and took thousands of dollars in payoffs.

PORTIA BRUNER: This criminal complaint alleges the suspects even used their police vehicles and weapons to help dealers make numerous drug transactions. The officers arrested work for several police departments including Atlanta, Dekalb, Stone Mountain, Forest Park and Marta.

One officer was a contractor for the Federal Protective Services. Two were former deputies of the Dekalb County Jail who had been fired years ago.

MALE: My understanding is that they were, in fact, wearing those uniforms in assisting in these illegal activities.

PORTIA BRUNER: Of course all of the suspects are facing some very serious federal prison time.

MALE ANCHOR: Federal authorities also accused an Atlanta police officer of accepting cash payments to provide protection for suspected drug transactions.

REPORTER: Chief George Turner tells me that dirty cops will not be tolerated on his department and tonight the chief tells me that 2 of his officers stand accused. Now the U.S. Attorney’s office says Allen was allegedly involved in providing protection for 3 different cocaine transactions in the parking lot plus Chief Turner revealed APD has a second officer arrested by the feds today as part of a separate indictment.

-----------------------

DEAN BECKER: So there you have it – a microcosm in Atlanta. You have adulterated drugs, grandma selling weed and corrupt cops abounding. Such is the nature, the everlasting nature of drug war.

Please check out our 1 hour television show, Unvarnished Truth, http://unvarnishedtruth.org.

This Dean Becker reminding you there is no legitimacy to this drug war. Your silence is far from golden. Please do something. Please visit our website, http://endprohibition.org. Prohibido istac evilesco!

-----------------------

For the Drug Truth Network, this is Dean Becker asking you to examine our policy of Drug Prohibition.

The Century of Lies.

This show produced at Pacifica Studios at KPFT, Houston.

Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org