By Edward Snook
Nevada City, CA – On May 19, 2011 Patricia Albright and her 26 year-old son Jordan Wirtz of Nevada City were indicted by the federal government for Manufacturing Marijuana and other related charges. Subsequent to the original indictment, Albright was offered a plea-bargain that would have required her to spend four years in prison and her son to spend one year of home detention.
Patricia and her son immediately rejected the offer because they were under the misguided belief that because they both had been prescribed California State Medical Marijuana Cards after being diagnosed with physical ailments, they were operating openly and legally under California law.
The Feds have since issued a Superseding Indictment that could land Albright in prison for 20 years and her son in prison for 15. Federal Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. recently denied Albright the ability to fire her attorney Matt Scoble for his lack of preparing any defense in her case – Burrell is forcing Albright and her son to go to a Jury trial on April 2, 2013, without the ability to even mention to the Jury that she was operating legally under state law.
The US~Observer asked Patricia to write up her history with marijuana and what we received is absolutely heartbreaking. Here is Patricia’s history - straight from the source:
When my first son Trevor was dying of bone cancer, his oncologist taught me the benefits of medicinal marijuana. Trevor was in tremendous pain and had 650 mg of morphine per-hour pumping into his little body through a catheter in his chest. It was the most morphine the pharmacist had ever dispensed. He was amazed little Trevor was still alive. The same month my son was diagnosed, at age eight, with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer), I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Laura.
Trevor was initially diagnosed at age 15 months with bi-lateral retinoblastoma (eye cancer). He had both eyes removed so he was totally blind and went through many years of chemotherapy and subsequent surgery. He hung in there against all odds as his doctor told us that he was terminal.
At age four, he went into remission for four years. We were so happy that he seemed fully recovered and was attending a regular elementary school, taking some classes for the visually impaired. He did so well in school; he surpassed his sighted classmates in reading and cognitive skills, even though he read Braille.
He was a happy, loving, fun, adventurous child. He was so fearless, it scared me. I knew I had to put aside my fears for him to develop to his full potential. He snow skied, swam and took part in downhill racing - a very brave and courageous child. He taught me, and everyone who knew him, about love, courage and acceptance. I am very grateful to have been his Mother.
At age eight, Trevor was prescribed marijuana by his doctor, which was dispensed at the pharmacy in pill form. After seeing firsthand the tremendously beneficial effects medicinal marijuana had on Trevor, I became a believer. That much morphine will kill pain for the most part, but has ravaging effect on the stomach, kidneys and digestive tract. He couldn’t eat and was hungry all the time. He could not move his bowels and he was very uncomfortable. Then, once his doctor convinced me to make marijuana butter and tinctures for him, all that changed. He was able to eat his favorite foods; he could sleep; he would laugh; he was relaxed. The difference was remarkable. I was so grateful to his doctor.
Trevor died in my arms seventeen days after his little sister was born. I know he hung in there for me so I would have my baby to love and care for. He broke every record that there had ever been for survival.
This brings me to the crux of this story. I had a medicinal marijuana collective with ten patients who had prescriptions for various medical reasons. My prescription was given to me because my then psychologist, Wendi De Pietro diagnosed me with anxiety, depression and hypervigilance. I developed the hypervigilance when my son was ill and dying, as I was constantly listening for every sound he made, especially when his breathing changed. Then it was exacerbated when I had my daughter Laura, and a few years later, my son Jordan. After losing a child, one becomes painfully aware of the fragility of life. Now it’s just a condition I live with.
Medical marijuana mitigated those symptoms for me and allowed me to sleep and relax. I also used it for cramps, stomach aches, headaches and muscle pain. My son Jordan has had twelve different broken bones. The most serious was a broken left humerus, which was a compound fracture. He had steel pins put in his humerus to hold his arm together. It is very painful and he has limited mobility. His doctor recommended medical marijuana for pain. He also uses it for headaches, anxiety, depression and appetite.
As true believers, we started this collective with eight other people. All ten of us had prescriptions from licensed physicians. We were completely legal in the state of California and our county. We also felt we were protected because California’s then Attorney General, Jerry Brown, stipulated that “No California law enforcement shall assist any federal officers in any drug bust.”
This nightmare all started on September 8, 2010, when a man by the name of Ben Davidson showed up at the property where the collective was growing. He demanded that my son Jordan and his friend, Jacob Donahue, give him and his cohort a percentage of the crop or “something bad will happen to you.” My son and Jacob asked Mr. Davidson if he was a cop, to which he replied, “No way.” My son told him to get the hell off our property. Mr. Davidson argued that he was not on private property, even though he passed a number of clearly marked “No Trespassing” and “Private Property” signs in order to get to the garden gate where the boys went out to see who he was.
While there, Mr. Davidson had the opportunity to see the garden and to see Jacob Donahue’s truck with Colorado plates. Jacob had lived in Colorado but was, at that time, a California resident. Mr. Davidson and his friend left in a huff. My son Jordan called me with the story and gave me Mr. Davidson’s number. I called Ben Davidson, asked if he was a cop, and when he said “No,” I told him that he needed to stay off of my property and not to threaten my son. I told him we would call the police if he showed up again.
I told Jordan and Jacob that if he and his thugs showed up to rob them, that they should take their car keys, their dogs and cell phones, and run into the woods and call 911 to get the Sheriff out there. There was nothing in that garden that was worth either of them losing their lives.
As it turned out, Ben Davidson was an El Dorado County Deputy Sheriff. The very “bad” thing he did was go to the federal government and make up a bunch of stories about his visit out to our property.
On September 28, 2010, Nevada County and El Dorado Sheriff’s Deputies, along with many DEA, Treasury and IRS agents, descended upon my home as well as the property where the collective was growing, in what felt like a massive raid. The lead investigator from the IRS was Lisa Ulrickson. While the dozen or so men and women searched my home and property, she sat me down outside and interrogated me, threatening to take me into custody if I didn’t talk. When she insisted that I incriminate others, I refused to speak anymore. She then said, “I will indict you for this.” Ben Davidson, who is about six foot-four inches tall and 300 pounds, handcuffed my 150 pound son Jordan and knocked him to the ground, grabbed him by his handcuffed wrists and drug him down a gravel hill, scraping his face and upper body. He also told Jordan that “if he would have cooperated with him a few weeks ago (9/8/10) when he first came out, that none of this would have happened.” Knocking Jordan down, face first, and dragging him down the hill, severely hurt his already fragile left humerus.
In December of 2010, the federal government filed forfeiture liens on my home and the property where the collective was grown. I have lived in this home for 22 years. I designed it and helped build it. I raised my two children here. The curious thing is, they filed the forfeiture before they ever indicted us. This is where the similarities come in with the Witch Hunts of old. Back in those days, all a person had to do was to name someone as a “witch” and she and/or her family immediately had to forfeit their land to the town. It didn’t take much to accuse someone of being a “witch,” healing with herbs; dancing in the woods; heck, talking to her animals could have done it. The point is, they took their property. I am convinced that is what is going on in this case. They want my land and home. I have worked long and hard to keep this land. A lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into it, as well as tremendous love and joy. People refer to it as “The Healing Place.”
The federal government indicted Jordan and me on May 19, 2011. They clearly chose Jordan out of the nine other fully-licensed members of the collective to control me. The “plea bargain” they offered us was four years in prison for me, giving up both of my properties, and Jordan would get a year’s home detention. As it turns out, they did not indict Jacob Donahue, Jordan’s friend of many years, and who I thought was a dear friend of our family. He is what they refer to as “cooperating” and has turned against us to save himself. The dirty cop that first came out to the collective made up a story that my son Jordan told him he was shipping marijuana to Colorado. When the truth is, as I found out later, it was Jacob Donahue who was shipping marijuana back to Colorado, without our knowledge.
I have learned since my indictment that a medical marijuana defense is not allowed in most federal courts. Neither is the fact that we were totally legal and compliant with state and county laws.
They are also charging us with committing a felony while armed with a gun. I had brought my 12 gauge shotgun up to the collective, as it was in the middle of the woods and there were mountain lions and bears. A bear even entered one of the trailers one day when everyone was gone. A Forest Ranger had told me to purchase the shotgun years ago, as my home is also in the woods and I have had a bear come into my home and viciously attack one of my dogs. I used to have a deprivation permit for many years. I don’t want to kill a mountain lion or bear, but I did use the gun to scare them away, as they hate the sound. I also had it in the event the noise factor didn’t work, a 12 gauge would take down a 500 pound black bear or a mountain lion, and I am a good shot. They also found my .357 magnum at my house. I was told by my friend and policeman Ron Smith to get that exact gun. He wanted me to get a revolver instead of a semi-automatic, as they are easier to use. I mainly wanted the gun to deter bears, mountain lions and bobcats, from not only harming me, but my darling dogs. Like my shotgun, I have used the pistol many times firing it into the ground to scare away bear, and on one occasion to save a bobcat when my dogs had him cornered under my house. The only animal I ever killed with my .357 was a rattlesnake just outside my door. I felt bad about that, but the poor guy was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Both of my guns were completely licensed and legal.
Federal Judge Burrell has informed me that state law is not allowed in federal court and he will instruct the Jury of this. If I am found guilty of growing even one marijuana plant, he will instruct the Jury to convict us.
Because we don’t have a lot of money we have been appointed public defenders and they have been completely ineffective. They have done no investigating and filed no motions on our behalf. Even though the Constitution states that we have a right to a fair trial and adequate council, there apparently is no such thing for a medical marijuana grower in federal court, unless you are a millionaire.
My public defender, Matt Scoble told me last Friday to go home, pack, and give away my dogs. We are already convicted as far as he’s concerned.
On April 2, 2013, Jurors Need to Stop this Charade of Justice
The US~Observer commends Patricia for her strength, while condemning Judge Burrell, Assistant US Attorney Mike Beckwith and all law enforcement involved for pursuing their “prohibition-like,” police-state tactics. We also condemn them for squandering our tax dollars and for abusing fellow human beings who haven’t hurt or even bothered anyone. Under the Constitution, the Jury has the right to challenge the law if they feel it is unjust. Only the Jurors in Patricia’s upcoming trial will be able to send the message to government to STOP this travesty of justice, STOP this ridiculous waste!
Patricia and Jordan’s state government in California have told them that it’s legal for them to grow medicinal marijuana and now their federal government wants to strip them of all their assets and place them in a prison cell for years for doing exactly what state government allows. This is not a political debate that should be had with the lives of good American citizens who work within the laws of their state!
If the Feds are successful of getting a guilty verdict during the April 2, 2013 trial, Patricia and Jordan will waste away in cells, while the cost of their incarceration is added to the cost of the federal prison system, which we as taxpayers fund. In 2010, the per capita cost of just the federal prisons was $5,941,814,640.00. Yes, you read that figure right, almost 6 BILLION, and that figure is rising every year and with each new inmate. With a federal debt of nearly 17 Trillion Dollars, the American people had damn-well better wake up and put an end to this maddness…
The US~Observer has received many letters from supporters of Patricia Albright – we have decided to take just a few of the statements from the letters and publish them here.
“She would never knowingly do anything illegal.”
“She freely gave of her time helping elderly people and anybody that needed help.”
“If my family was hungry she would open her refrigerator and pantry, grab some bags and start filling them with food, toilet paper, etc.”
“Throughout the time I’ve known her, she gives me clothes, blankets, tents and many other items to distribute anonymously to the homeless in Nevada County.”
“I can always rely on her to tell the truth. One of her most admirable qualities is her ability to quickly forgive another person.”
“Patricia is an extremely hard working person, physically, emotionally and spiritually.”
“I have NEVER known her to purposely do any wrong-doing or anything to ever hurt anyone.”
“During the course of my life, I have been fortunate to have met and come to know many extraordinary people, one of whom is Patricia Albright.”
Why in the world would our federal government attempt to spend tens of thousands to prosecute Patricia Albright? Why would Judge Burrell deny her the defense of having a legal California State Medical marijuana Card, especially in light of the fact that the state has told her she can grow and use marijuana for her ailments? Why would he deny this defense when other federal judges have allowed it? Everyone should realize that to deny her the state legality defense actually denies her any defense at all – the court might just as well sentence her, lock her away and continue crying about deficits and money shortages. This is not merely amazing – it is pure insanity!
Finally, whether or not you believe in the use of medical marijuana, back in 2009, the Obama administration stated, “we will not seek to arrest medical marijuana users and suppliers as long as they conform to state laws, under new policy guidelines to be sent to federal prosecutors…”
I sure hope that each and every one of our readership understand that state sovereignty/state’s rights no longer exist… I also strongly suggest that whenever any fact is kept from a jury, that jury should consider the defendant 100% innocent.
Just ask yourselves; why would a prosecutor or federal judge want to keep the truth and facts of a case from the very people deciding the innocence or guilt of a person facing years in prison?