Fw: [drugwar] Church may be facing federal prosecution

Preston Peet ptpeet at nyc.rr.com
Fri Aug 27 10:49:14 EDT 2004


It's really hard not to give in to the hate that wells when I read shit like the following.
    To think that these manical prosecutors can be so sure of themselves that they can tell these people they are not going to allow them to practice their religion even after the STATE Supreme Court ruled it legal is beyond disgusting and sick.
    Thanks for posting this one Vig.
Peace and love to all, although I resist offering it to the prohibitionistic mind and body fuckers for at least this morning,
Preston


----- Original Message ----- 
From: Vigilius Haufniensis 
To: drugwar at mindvox.com 
Cc: the_Lawyerdude at yahoogroups.com ; chaconstitutionalist ; a political debate ; global humanity ; RM-COUNSEL at yahoogroups.com ; Evolving_Thought at yahoogroups.com 
Sent: Friday, August 27, 2004 12:36 PM
Subject: [drugwar] Church may be facing federal prosecution


Deputies seized nearly 17,500 peyote buttons in addition to the church's
computers and records. Mooney and his wife were arrested the next month and
posted bond; the Utah chapter of the church has since declared bankruptcy.

http://www.heraldextra.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid
=32887&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

Church may be facing federal prosecution

DAILY HERALD
Caleb Warnock

A celebration of minority religious rights in Utah among members of the
Oklevueha EarthWalks Native American Church came to an abrupt end Thursday
when church leaders were told they may be facing federal prosecution.

Oklevueha founder James Warren "Flaming Eagle" Mooney received a letter on
Thursday from the U. S. Department of Justice informing him that the federal
government will not recognize a June ruling of the Utah Supreme Court that
the church can distribute peyote to non-American Indians.

"Although the Utah Supreme Court has recently ruled that you may sell or
otherwise distribute peyote under state law, that ruling does not control or
bind the federal government," wrote U.S. Attorney Paul Warner and U.S.
Department of Justice Criminal Division Chief Richard N.W. Lambert in the
letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Daily Herald. "Please be advised
that this office is reviewing your conduct for consideration of seeking
federal charges."

If federal charges are filed, Mooney said he would defend his case all the
way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

Mooney and his wife, Linda, founded the Utah chapter of the Oklevueha
EarthWalks Native American Church in 1997 in Benjamin, near Spanish Fork. In
October 2000, Utah County Sheriff's deputies raided the church, saying
Mooney was illegally distributing peyote to non-American Indians.

Deputies seized nearly 17,500 peyote buttons in addition to the church's
computers and records. Mooney and his wife were arrested the next month and
posted bond; the Utah chapter of the church has since declared bankruptcy.

In 2001, the Mooneys were charged with 10 first-degree felony counts of
operating a controlled substance criminal enterprise, and one count of
racketeering, a second-degree felony. The couple faced life in prison for
the charges. In June, the Utah Supreme Court ordered those charges
dismissed.

In an interview with the Daily Herald, Mooney said he believes Utah County
attorney Kay Bryson is encouraging the federal charges because his office
lost the Supreme Court case. Mooney has written a letter to U.S. Sen. Orrin
Hatch, R-Utah, asking for intervention.

"I feel and think this is Mr. Bryson's last ditch effort to cover up his
inappropriate behaviors, raiding a legally, lawfully established church, and
for arresting three of its spiritual leaders," said Mooney.

Speaking to the Daily Herald late Thursday, Bryson said he had "no response"
to Mooney's comments about him.

"I can tell you that the Justice Department was unhappy with the decision
that came from our state Supreme Court, and that the contact between my
office and federal authorities was initiated by federal authorities," he
said.

Mooney said if ward leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints were prosecuted in the same way for distributing the sacrament to
church members, there would be an outcry of religious persecution. Any
erosion of religious freedom threatens other churches, he said.

"I would like people to really understand what is at stake here," he said.
"This puts all religions at risk."

Mooney said he is confident that when the Justice Department reviews all the
facts of the case, no charges will be brought against him.

Melodie Rydalch, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, declined to
comment.
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