Monday, April 28, 2014
HONOLULU – Defendants Roger Cusick Christie, 64, and Sherryanne L. Christie, 62, husband and wife, were sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi. Roger Christie was sentenced to 60 months imprisonment, to be followed by a term of supervised release of four years. Sherryanne Christie was sentenced to a 27 month imprisonment term, to be followed by a term of supervised release of three years.
Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that Roger Christie had also asked the Court to permit him to possess and use marijuana for religious purposes during his term of supervised release, but the Court refused to do so, imposing the standard conditions of release on him, which prohibited the use or possession of controlled substances. In addition, while Roger Christie may participate in Ministry functions that do not involve the use or possession of controlled substances, the court also ordered that he was prohibited from associating with other persons who were using or possessing such drugs. A similar condition was imposed for Sherryanne Christie’s term of supervised release.
Last September, Roger Christie had pled guilty to conspiring to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, involving 100 or more marijuana plants and two separate tax counts for failure to file federal income tax returns for calendar years 2008 and 2009. Sherryanne Christie had pled guilty to conspiring to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, involving 50 or more marijuana plants. Under the terms of their plea agreements, both Christies reserved their right to seek appellate review of the District Court’s denial of four pretrial motions, including the Court’s finding that enforcement of marijuana trafficking laws against them did not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
The prosecution resulted from the combined efforts from 2008-2010 of the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations; Homeland Security Investigations; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the U.S. Marshals Service; the National Park Service; the Sheriff’s Office, Department of Public Safety; the Hawaii Police Department; and the Honolulu Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael K. Kawahara.