'Old hippie' gets 2 years in jail for less than an ounce of pot

April 29, 1993|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

Marijuana-rights activist Pamela Snowhite Davis was sentenced yesterday to two years in state prison with three more years suspended on a felony drug conviction involving less than an ounce of pot.

"You rationalize your criminal conduct. You blame an overzealous police force and prosecution, you blame the court system, you even blame your children," Carroll Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. told Davis as he sentenced her for possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a common nuisance.

"You fight for your causes, but your march here is under false colors."

Davis also was fined $2,500, and ordered to serve five years on supervised probation, undergo drug treatment and take random urinalysis.

Even as the judge suspended part of her sentence, Davis could barely remain standing. She turned pale and grabbed her attorney's arm to keep from falling.

Assistant State's Attorney Barton F. Walker III smiled.

"I think this is an appropriate sentence," the prosecutor said later. "I don't think the exercise of her free speech on the legalization of marijuana played any role here. We live in a world where, if we make enough excuses, we absolve ourselves of all responsibility. I think the judge was holding her accountable for her actions."

The sentence obviously shocked the 48-year-old defendant, a self-professed "old hippie" who has vowed to fight against a system she says is against her because of her big mouth. The conviction is Davis' first of any kind.

The sentence angered Davis' supporters, who were scattered throughout the courtroom. One of her friends, Jerry Smith of Reisterstown, jumped to his feet and yelled, "The solution is the resolution."

After that outburst, Judge Beck rescinded an offer to allow Davis' family to visit with her in the courtroom before she was taken to jail.

Deputies threw the defendant's son, David Kif Davis, out of the courtroom after he made disparaging remarks to several Carroll County Narcotics Task Force officers seated behind him.

In the hallway outside the courtroom, Mr. Davis shouted, "All you cops out here are fascists!"

As he shouted, he was pointing his finger at a sheriff's deputy. As his finger touched Deputy Jay Price, he was arrested and handcuffed. He was later charged with assault and battery, and was taken to the Carroll County Detention Center.

Stephen P. Bourexis, Davis' attorney, said he intends to appeal the sentence and ask the court to set an appeal bond.

"This is surprising," Mr. Bourexis said.

Court records said sentencing guidelines called for probation to a year in jail, since the offense was Davis' first.

The sentence is the latest episode in the nearly year-long UPS Case.

Acting on tip from a sheriff's deputy in Orange County, Calif., the Narcotics Task Force intercepted a United Parcel Service package addressed to Terrapin Station, Davis' 80-acre farm near the Pennsylvania line. The package contained 1.5 ounces of marijuana.

A Carroll sheriff's deputy, dressed as a UPS employee, delivered the package May 7. After a woman signed for the delivery, the task force raided the 21-room farmhouse.

Officers never recovered more than a leaf or two from the package; Davis' son had run to the roof and eaten most of its contents. He pleaded guilty to a marijuana possession count earlier this year.

But the officers seized less than an ounce of marijuana from Davis' bedroom night stand; a water pipe; an indoor plant grow-light; and pro-marijuana magazines, pamphlets and posters.

After the raid, Davis became an outspoken advocate for marijuana legalization.

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