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Pot Grower - Government Has Gone Too Far

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Pot grower - Government has gone too far







JRC News Service




JeffreySzewczyk of Clinton Township talks about his marijuana-manufacturing andgun-possession case in a hallway of the Macomb County Court Building on Friday.Szewczyk claims the government doesn’t have the right to restrict marijuanaactivities. MacMT. CLEMENS - A Clinton Township manfacing charges of growing marijuana and illegal firearms possession contendsthe state does not have the authority to infringe on his right to thoseactivities.


Jeffrey Szewczyk, 38, is representing himself against charges of manufacturingmarijuana, maintaining a drug house and felony firearm in his trial in MacombCounty Circuit Court in Mount Clemens. The trial started Wednesday followingjury selection in front of Judge Edward Servitto and is scheduled to concludeTuesday.


Szewczyk contends that God, not man, is his authority. He supports the 10Commandments over thousands of government laws and regulations.


“I live by the Golden Rule; I treat my neighbor how I like to be treated,” hesaid. “In the Bible, it says I can serve only one master; the creator is mymaster.


“I’m just a peaceful inhabitant.”


Szewczyk’s case created a buzz in the courthouse this week, with talk that heis associated with the Sovereign Citizen movement, a radical anti-governmentorganization. Szewczyk, however, says he has no association with theorganization and doesn’t oppose government.


“How can I be against the government when the government is the people?” hesaid. “I appreciate the government. It is there to protect us. Without it, youwould have mass chaos and anarchy. But I believe they have overstepped theirauthority.”


A few supporters have attended the trial, including a medical marijuanaadvocate, and an anti-government woman who was removed from the courtroom bysheriff’s deputies for being disruptive.


Macomb sheriff’s deputies have been keeping a close eye on the courtroom andthe case participants and onlookers.


Szewczyk hasn’t been able to make his anti-government arguments becauseServitto has rejected virtually all of his attempts to introduce evidence thatsupports his contention the courts operate without authority. He submitted aproposed order that “fired” Servitto and his advisory attorney, BeverlySafford. He proposed as an exhibit his birth certificate from “One Heaven GreatRegister,” under the guise of the “First Apostolic Prothonotary.”


“The judge won’t let me introduce the state and federal constitutions, but heswore to them when he took office,” he said. “The judge won’t let me defendmyself.”


He pointed to multiple state laws and Bible passages that support his right togrow marijuana, a natural product, but can’t show them to the jury.


Szewczyk showed high ambition for the trial, asking the judge to subpoena awide range of witnesses, such as Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, FederalReserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, top officials in Macomb, such as ExecutiveMark Hackel, Prosecutor Eric Smith and Chief Judge Mark Switalski.


He is charged with possession of between five and 45 kilograms of marijuana orbetween 20 and 200 plants, punishable by up to seven years in prison. As analternative to that charge, the jury could convict him of delivery ormanufacture of less than 20 marijuana plants, punishable by up to four years inprison. He also is charged with maintaining a drug house, a two-year high-courtmisdemeanor, and felony firearm for possession of three shotguns and onehandgun in his home on Winterset Street, near Metropolitan Parkway andGroesbeck Highway.


Police raided his modest one-story, red brick house last October following ananonymous tip that Szewczyk says came after a dispute with his neighbor’slandscaping workers who mowed immediately after the lawn was heavilyfertilized. Szewczyk admitted he was angry and yelled at the workers becausethe fertilizer traveled to and damaged his vegetable garden.


A drug dog determined drugs were in the home, and officers seized about 63plants, 50 of them Szewczyk says are under 6 inches and 13 of which are 1 to 2feet high.


Szewczyk contended the pot in his basement “grow room” was for personal use forpain behind his eyes, although he has not been diagnosed with a disease.


He refuses to seek a patient or caregiver license under the Michigan MedicalMarihuana Act passed in 2008 that has resulted in many legal battles across thestate. “I don’t believe I should have to get one,” he said.


A caregiver license would allow him to possess up to 72 plants, more than apound of the drug for himself and distribution to five patients, under the law.


Szewczyk says his regular pot smoking was confined to his basement bedroom,isolated from his wife and four children ages 9, 12, 16 and 20.


His advisory lawyer said Szewczyk won’t ask her questions, but she is trying tohelp him the best she can.


“He learns fast; he’s a bright guy,” Safford said.


Criminal defense attorney Michael L. Steinberg, who is not associated with thecase, said judges typically prevent defendants from using religious belief as adefense. Szewczyk will be limited to arguing the facts of the case, andSteinberg said he may have a chance.


“Having a (medical marijuana) card is an affirmative defense, but it doesn’tmean you can’t use medical marijuana as a defense,” he said. “The fact that hedoesn’t have a diagnosis makes it a little more tenuous.”


The guns were accompanied by 200 shotgun shells and 60 rounds for the.44-caliber magnum. Szewczyk contends the guns were for personal protectionbecause he believes the nation’s economic system could collapse at any time,and anarchy would ensue.


“As a father and a husband, I would be shirking my duty if I wasn’t prepared,”he said. “Why would I buy $3,000 worth of guns to protect $2,000 in marijuana?”


The unloaded guns were found in his bedroom area next to the grow room. Theshotguns were purchased at a Gibraltar Trade Center gun show three years agoand have never been fired, he said. The handgun was purchased about 12 yearsago, stolen about eight years ago, and returned to him about four years ago byRoseville police, he said.


In closing arguments he plans to tell jurors that the case against him is“fabricated.”


“They’re trying to put me in a false light,” he said.


The case has greatly affected his life.


“The government has destroyed the sanctity of my home,” he said.


The three minors were removed from his home soon after the arrest of he and hiswife, Wonetta, 40, whose trial on the same charges is scheduled for Sept. 7.The three children are in foster care, and the Szewczyks visit three days perweek.


Szewczyk believes the state Department of Human Services illegally removed hischildren because of the supposed “danger,” drugs and guns, which were removedfrom the home.


Wonetta Szewczyk works as a clerk at a company and Jeffrey Szewczyk works as aday trader.


Their adult daughter, Jessica, supports her father and has helped his defensepreparation. She said her dad kept the marijuana away from his children.


“I don’t think he has done anything wrong,” she said outside the courtroom.“We’re just a normal family.”


Assistant Macomb prosecutor Steve Steinhardt, who is trying the case, said heis “confident in the strength of the case” and respects Szewczyk’s right torepresent himself.


“The judge will instruct the jury on what the proper law is,” he said.


Posted by


Michael Komorn




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Pitiful. It is very apparent that the first place that government needs to cut expenses is in the totally bogus "War on Drugs". We could do without a cadre of civil servants mercilessly persecuting a person who chooses to use a harmless plant in the sanctity of his own home. I hope that the jury can see through all the mumbo jumbo that will be tossed their way by the persecutors.

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