Ernesto_Cullari_GDA1By Ernesto Cullari


What are the odds that after spending 15 years in prison for robbing a shoe store in Toms River, parolee Christopher Miller, by coincidence, would end up back in that same store hours after being released -attempting to rob it again?

The answer is 43%. Except for the fact that he walked into the same place looking to rob it all over again, it should be no surprise at all that Mr. Miller was sent back to prison just hours after being released. Writer Gary Buiso details in the New York Post, Christopher Miller’s journey from juvenile delinquent to serial criminal, an interview that Buiso describes as ranging “from humorous to hopeless.”

Ever since I read about Miller’s pathetic trip from a troubled childhood to jail, from jail to freedom and from freedom back to jail again -I can’t stop thinking about it. Christopher Miller and I are the same age. He and I went to the same high school at nearly the same time. Miller graduated two years after I would have if I didn’t drop out. He didn’t meet his father until he was an adult. I didn’t meet mine until I was 16.

While Christopher Miller was breaking into lockers at our high school, I was working part time as a janitor in the school cafeteria. It’s likely that our paths have crossed many times. Growing up our lives had been headed in the same direction, as well. By the time he was shoplifting and breaking into neighbor’s homes, I too was making my way into bigger crimes. But suddenly and abruptly this is where our paths diverge.

When I was arrested as a teenager by the same police department that just rearrested Miller, the detectives were very kind to me, despite my brazenness. They were kind to me and didn’t press the prosecution as hard as they might have, because unlike Miller, I had a big family at home that passionately advocated for me.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: May 19th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Crime, Crime and Punishment, Ernesto Cullari | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Yo Christie! Don’t be like Corzine!

By Jay Lassiter, on January 26, 2012, cross posted on Blue Jersey

In August of 2008, Multiple Sclerosis patient John Ray Wilson of Franklin Township, NJ, was arrested for growing medical cannabis in his backyard. According to news reports, Mr. Wilson was:

“charged with ‘manufacturing’ 17 marijuana plants that he used to treat his Multiple Sclerosis. Wilson faced 20 years in state prison for this crime. At trial, Superior Court Judge Robert Reed would not let the jury hear the reason that Wilson grew the marijuana plants, essentially removing Wilson’s only defense.


Four years after his arrest (and two years after NJ’s medical marijuana law was signed) John Ray Wilson — currently out on appeal — was ordered to return to prison TOMORROW to serve out his 5 year term.

Senator Raymond Lesniak, who was a chief proponent of New Jersey’s medical marijuana law, had this appeal to Gov. Chris Christie:

“I am disappointed by the recent decision of the Supreme Court to deny the appeal of John Ray Wilson. He was merely trying to alleviate the symptoms of a dreadfully painful and regressive disease. It is unconscionable that this Friday he will be behind bars. Three years ago, I called on Gov. Corzine to commute the sentence of Mr. Wilson. After inaction with the last governor, I was hopeful Gov. Christie would better understand the unfair reality of this situation. Unfortunately, Gov. Christie has been just like Corzine, refusing to use his and only his power to make things right when the true intentions of the law were misapplied. (Ironically) before John Ray Wilson completes his prison sentence, the State of NJ will have its medical marijuana program up and running, and Mr. Wilson may likely be using medical marijuana behind bars or the prescription pain killers he couldn’t afford, paid for by the state’s taxpayers. Governor Christie should commute his sentence immediately.”


Chris Goldstein from the Coalition for Medical Marijuana in NJ wonders,”how many more seriously ill residents are we going to send to prison? We call on Governor Chris Christie to demonstrate his compassion for qualifying medical marijuana patients and his commitment to a new stance on non-violent drug offenders by issuing a pardon for John Ray Wilson.”


Posted: January 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Medical Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Yo Christie! Don’t be like Corzine!