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Keith David Whittaker

Keith David Whittaker was considered a “thorn in the District Attorneys side”. Why? Because he was charged with possession of marijuana for sale, but was acquitted of the charges because the marijuana found at his home was for his medical use. He was a legitimate Medical Cannabis patient. He had many reasons for using cannabis, all approved by his doctor, and the judge told he District Attorney to give back their medicine. Deputy District Attorney, Dick Jones, was personally insulted by this and told the judge as much, “that it would be a slap in my face” but the judge made him give it all back anyhow.. 4.25 pounds.

The very next year, the day after the attack of the World Trade Center, the sheriff came to David’s home and arrested the same medical cannabis patients (David and his wife Lisa ) for the same offense, (knowing full well that they are not criminals) at the direction of the same Deputy D.A. Dick Jones. After two hung juries and a lot of taunting by the prosecutorial team David snapped. A genetic trait that was lying in wait for just such an incident to take place in his life to trigger what is known as Bi-Polar syndrome suddenly took control of David’s life. After much confusion in his life he was arrested. It was thought that he may have been on drugs but subsequent drug tests turned up a clean system. That is when his family history of Bi-Polar syndrome came to surface. After many months in the hospital ward of jail, under heavy medication, David was released on bail so he could get into a residential treatment program.

Gary Lacy was asked to allow him to seek this type of help months earlier. His retort was, “Oh, we’ll get him help alright, but it won’t be the kind of help he wants, it will be from prison”.

Pretty compassionate eh? And how about all the tax payers dollars wasted to frivolously prosecute a known medical cannabis patient.

David was sick and needed help. He asked for help, his friends and wife asked on his behalf, and all anyone got for their efforts was something rude about his fate. He was facing prosecutors with personal vendettas to fulfill. Not one, but three. Gary Lacy, Dick Jones and Eric Schleuter! They all knew full well that Keith David Whittaker was not only a legitimate Medical Cannabis Patient, but after their harassment and persecution he was mentally ill. It was obvious in court, in the hospital, and in jail where he tried to kill himself.

Keith David Whittaker hanged himself Friday morning. He couldn’t face the prospect of being sent to prison for being ill. He knew that would also be the death of him. He chose instead a tree in the forest that he called home. He denied the El Dorado County D.A.s office the pleasure of killing him. This reminds us all of the Stamate case from the early nineties.

If this was your family member or friend what would be your recourse? Whom would you call and complain to? Whom would you hold responsible? The three afore-mentioned prosecutors come to my mind. All conspiring to `get’ a sick person. Picking on a sick and disabled near destitute citizen, for personal gain, fame, or to try to put the fear of GOD into an already fearful Medical Cannabis Community. Well it worked! They have scared most, and as I am writing this, I too am scared. Why? For all the above mentioned reasons. I believe that the El Dorado County District Attorneys office has some rotten eggs in it and I am looking forward to a less rotten environment after the election. It will at least help to know that then we are able to vote out the rotten eggs.

Oh yeah! I also sincerely hope that Keith David Whittaker continues to be a thorn in the side of those un-just, dishonest and vindictive District Attorneys. I hope his memory haunts them.


Dave Bishop, Director
El Dorado County
American Alliance for Medical Cannabis
P.O Box 834
Garden Valley, Calif. 95633

September 10, 2002

From Jay Cavanaugh, Ph.D. JCavana857@aol.com

All Concerned Citizens,

I am moved beyond words about the dreadful and avoidable tragedy of Dave Whittaker. As you may remember my wife Nancy and I were able to meet Dave and his wife Lisa earlier this year at an AAMC meeting in Garden Valley.

The suicide (can we call it murder?) of Dave Whittaker shows so clearly what happens when communities give in to institutionalized indifference and petty retribution. Dave Whittaker was hounded into suicide by individuals in authority who disagreed with the Compassionate Use Act and took out their disapproval on legitimate patients. Imagine this poor man prosecuted for exercising his legitimate rights, exonerated by the Court, then targeted for further prosecution for the exact same offense!

So what now for Dave's widow Lisa? What now for Dave's 13 year old son who had his father suicide on the boy's birthday? More than one life was destroyed by this pogrom against Dave.

We need not, indeed cannot, live in fear of our own representatives sworn to uphold our laws and protect our communities. While nothing can bring Dave back nor comfort his grieving family, at least the community can rally to prevent such horrors in the future. A civil suit should be filed for wrongful death. In addition, I recommend that the State Attorney General be contacted to initiate an investigation of this sordid affair. Finally, I recommend that an El Dorado Grand Jury be convened to address this important matter.

Life has its illness and loss. As people of faith we deal with that. What we can't deal with is the deliberate destruction of innocent life by the very people entrusted to protect us.


Jay R. Cavanaugh, Ph.D.
National Director
American Alliance for Medical Cannabis
22860 Lanark Street
West Hills, CA 91304
(818) 346-4493


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