Help Keep Peter McWilliams Out Of Prison..And Alive!

Date: Thu, 03 Feb 2000
Subject: Help Keep Peter McWilliams Out Of Prison..And Alive!


DrugSense FOCUS Alert # 159 Feb. 2, 2000

Help Keep Peter McWilliams out of Prison…and Alive!


DrugSense FOCUS Alert # 159 Feb. 2, 2000

NOTE: This Focus Alert was written in large part by Peter McWilliams.
The sample letter below was written by Mark Greer. —

Please help keep me out of federal prison by writing a letter to the

My name is Peter McWilliams. I am a cancer survivor living with AIDS.
I was arrested in July 1998 on federal medical marijuana charges, even
though I live in California, a state that approved medical marijuana
use in 1996.

In November 1999, the federal prosecutors successfully obtained an
order prohibiting me from mentioning to the jury that I have AIDS,
that marijuana is medicine, that the federal government supplies eight
patients with medical marijuana each month, or that California has a
law permitting the very act that I was accused of violating.

As I never denied my medical marijuana cultivation, that left me with
no defense whatsoever. To avoid an almost certain guilty verdict and a
ten-year mandatory-minimum sentence, I pled guilty to a lesser charge.
(The whole story is at My sentencing for this
charge will be on March 27, 2000. The deadline for turning in letters
of support is February 20, 2000.

Would you please take the time to send a letter, or a fax, or even an
e-mail, to the judge on my behalf? It would make all the difference in
my world.

The letter need not be long or eloquent. One sentence is

The judge can sentence me to 0 to 5 years. The federal sentencing
guidelines place my recommended (but not mandatory) sentence in the
5-year range. It is probably unavoidable that I get a sentenced to
some time — perhaps the full five years.

What I am asking the judge — and what I am asking you to ask the
judge — is that I be able to serve my sentence under “home
detention,” also known as “electronic monitoring.” (An electronic
transmitter would be permanently fastened to my ankle and my
whereabouts would be monitored 24 hours a day. I would not be able to
leave my home except for medical or court appointments. As I live in
Los Angeles, this will allow me to write my books, including Galileo

In writing the Judge King, please observe these commonsense

1. Please be respectful. The judge owes me, or you, nothing. You are
asking for a favor. When Judge King was asked to allow me to use
medical marijuana while out on bail, he said to the attorneys on both
sides, in a voice trembling with compassion, “I am struggling mightily
with this. Please, struggle with me.” Alas, there was nothing in
federal law that permitted him to allow me to break federal law, even
to save my life, but I believed the sincerity of his struggle.
Personally, I don’t want judges rewriting law as they see fit. Judge
King is a good judge upholding a bad law. My sentence, however, is at
his discretion. I believe he will be fair, that he will read the
letter you send, and he will be moved by your heartfelt request. I
believe we owe courtesy to the King.

2. Please focus on my health ( and
my contributions to society (through my books
as reasons why I should receive home detention or electronic
monitoring (the term can be used interchangeably). The legal arguments
will be made by my attorney.

3. If you know me, please say so, and state any positive character
traits you may have noticed wafting by from time to time. (This letter
is not written under oath, so you will not be arrested for perjury.)

4. If you have read any of my books, please say so. If they helped you,
please say how. (Exception: Please do not mention “Ain’t Nobody’s Business
if You Do.” See 5.)

5. Please do not give your opinion of the War on Drugs (unless you’re
in favor of it), how the government treated me in this case (unless
you approve), your views on medical marijuana (unless you’re against
it), or anything else critical of the status quo. Save those remarks,
however well-reasoned and accurate, for letters-to-the-editor. Such
comments may be counterproductive in a letter to a federal judge.

6. If you can, please keep the letter to one page, and no longer than

Actual letters (those things made popular in the last millennium,
printed on paper, put into envelopes, and sent through the Post
Office) are best. Typed is better, but handwritten is fine. Please use
the most impressive letterhead to which you have legitimate access.
(Your business stationery is better than your personal stationery, for
example.) If you don’t have stationery, you can create a letterhead
on any word processor in about two minutes.

Finally, please circulate this request as widely as you can — post it
on bulletin boards, send it to receptive people on your e-mail list,
send it out in newsletters, put it on your web page. Kindly use your
creativity, but, please, no spamming.

If you cannot post the entire message of this missive, the online
address of this request is

Thank you from the bottom of my weary but very grateful


Peter McWilliams

Thanks for your effort and support.


It’s not what others do it’s what YOU do


Phone, fax etc.)

Please post a copy your letter or report your action to the sent
letter list ( if you are subscribed, or by
E-mailing a copy directly to Your letter will then
be forwarded to the list with so others can learn from your efforts
and be motivated to follow suit

This is VERY IMPORTANT as it is the only way we have of gauging our
impact and effectiveness.



Please address the letters to:

“The Honorable George H. King”

and begin the letter:

“Dear Judge King,”

Please mail the letters TO ME at:

Peter McWilliams
8165 Mannix Drive
Los Angeles, California 90046

If you know you’re probably not going to get around to writing a
letter (and I know just how you feel — I don’t know where to find an
envelope any more, much less a stamp — please send a fax (signed, on
letterhead, if possible, but if not, that’s fine) to:


If you think you might not get around to sending a fax, please send an
e-mail. Please write at the bottom of the e-mail “You have my
permission to reformat this letter, print it, and sign my name at the
bottom.” Your name will be signed for you, next to which will be the
initials of the person signing it. Please include your complete
mailing address.

The e-mail address is



PO Box 651 Porterville,
CA 93259
(800) 266-5759

February 2, 2000

Dear Judge King:

I have followed and admired Peter McWilliams for many years. His books
have informed and educated millions. If you would take the time to
read Peter’s book “Life 101” (available in print and on the Internet
at ) it would quickly
become immediately obvious that he is not only no threat to society
but a tremendous asset.

Sometime this month the Land of the Free will attain the dubious
distinction of incarcerating prisoner number 2 million. How did we
come to be the very best at putting our people behind bars and the
very worst at confusing who should be there and who should not?
Including Peter McWilliams in that group will accomplish nothing
positive and much that is negative for our country not the least of
which will be yet another $25,000 per year incarceration expense
levied on our citizens.

As you know Peter has serious health problems. Incarcerating him for
any period of time would be akin to a death sentence. It is hard to
believe that he deserves this regardless of the charges against him.
If he must serve time I believe that it is in Peter’s interest, the
best interest of our society, and in the interest of justice and
reasonable adjudication that he be allowed home monitoring as opposed
to incarceration.

As a tax payer and a lover of freedom and our Constitution I
respectfully request that you allow Peter his freedom for the time he
has left on this earth.


Mark Greer Executive Director http//




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Letter Writers Style Guide


Prepared by Peter McWilliams Focus Alert