A group of Hawaii State Senators introduced a resolution Monday asking President Obama to investigate the conduct of federal law enforcement authorities prosecuting Hilo Minister, Rev. Roger Christie.
Christie has been held at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center on marijuana charges for nearly 3 years without trial. Federal authorities maintain Christie — an avowed pacifist — represents a “danger to the community.”
Hawaii Senate Resolution No. 12 says that, “we believe the treatment of Reverend Roger Christie by the Federal authorities to be illegal and unconstitutional;”
S.R. No. 12 also comes close to accusing federal authorities of retaliation for Christie’s role in ending “Operation Green Harvest“, a federal marijuana eradication program, and for his efforts to pass the Lowest Law Enforcement Priority Ordinance on the Big Island in 2008.
“Reverend Christie’s political activities have caused annoyance and embarrassment to the Federal Government leading some Hawaii residents to suggest that his denial of bail is based on his prior political acts rather than any ‘danger” he poses;”
The measure was sponsored by Sam Slom (R., Dist. 9), Russel Ruderman (D., Dist. 2), Rosalyn Baker (D., Dist. 6), Ronald Kouchi (D., Dist. 8), Laura Thielen, (D., Dist. 25), and Glenn Wakai, (D., Dist. 15).
Christie, leader of The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry, was arrested on 8 July 2010, along with 13 members of his church, charged with conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess marijuana.
While the other 13 defendants were promptly released on bail pending trial, Christie himself has been denied bail 7 times, and remains incarcerated at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu.
Christie’s latest trial date has been scheduled for 23 July 2013.
S.R. NO. 12
TWENTY-SEVENTH LEGISLATURE, 2013
STATE OF HAWAII
REQUESTING PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, TO INITIATE A FORMAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE CONDUCT OF FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL IN REGARD TO THE VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF, HAWAII COUNTY RESIDENT, THE REVEREND ROGER CHRISTIE.
WHEREAS, Roger Christie is a longtime resident of the State of Hawaii and County of Hawaii; and
WHEREAS, Roger Christie is the Reverend Minister of a church in that county that claims the right to use marijuana as a sacrament; and
WHEREAS, Reverend Christie, along with several members of his church, were arrested in July of 2010 on charges relating to the growing and distribution of marijuana; and
WHEREAS, Reverend Christie has no prior criminal record and has not been accused of any acts of violence; and
WHEREAS, Reverend Christie has been denied bail on the grounds that he is a “danger to the community”; and
WHEREAS, Reverend Christie has been held in Federal detention since July of 2010 without the benefit of trial; and
WHEREAS, Reverend Christie has actively taken the leadership role concerning the efforts to stop Hawaii County from participating in the Federal marijuana eradication effort known as “Operation Green Harvest”; and
WHEREAS, Reverend Christie has also actively taken the lead role in convincing Hawaii County voters to pass a 2008 resolution directing their county police to give marijuana law enforcement the lowest possible priority; and
WHEREAS, Reverend Christie’s political activities have caused annoyance and embarrassment to the Federal Government leading some Hawaii residents to suggest that his denial of bail is based on his prior political acts rather than any “danger” he poses; and
WHEREAS, the sixth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, says that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial”; and
WHEREAS, the eighth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, says that “excessive bail shall not be required”; and
WHEREAS, all Federal Government employees, specifically those who have acted to imprison Reverend Christie, to deny him bail, and to deny him a speedy and public trial, have taken an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution of the United States; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-seventh Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2013, we believe the treatment of Reverend Roger Christie by the Federal authorities to be illegal and unconstitutional; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon the President of the United States to uphold the law of the land, in accordance with his oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, by instructing the US Bureau of prisons, and any other Federal entity charged with the incarceration of the Reverend Roger Christie, that Mr. Christie is to be immediately released; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon the President of the United States to initiate a formal investigation into the conduct of Federal law enforcement personnel in regard to the violation of the Reverend Christie’s constitutional rights, with a goal to determine if any individuals may be held civilly and/or criminally liable for his illegal detention; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Hawaii County Mayor, all Hawaii County Council members, Hawaii’s Congressional delegation, and the President of the United States.