Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » The case of Thomas J. Franzen
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
The case of Thomas J. Franzen

Friday, Jul 26, 2019

* June 6

A suburban man who, according to his defense attorney, bought over 40 pounds of drug-infused candy to self-medicate as he battled cancer, was sentenced to four years in prison.

Thomas J. Franzen, 37, pleaded guilty to marijuana possession in exchange for the sentence, the Kane County state’s attorney’s office said.

In a statement, prosecutors said they dropped the more serious charge of drug trafficking that carries a minimum sentence of 12 years in “recognition of the seriousness of Mr. Franzen’s medical condition.” […]

In 2014, authorities found a 42 pounds of THC-infused chocolate in a package shipped from California to Franzen’s home in west suburban Montgomery, prosecutors said.

Officers later searched Franzen’s home and found cocaine, over 100 additional grams of marijuana and other items used for drug dealing, prosecutors said. They allegedly found a digital scale, $2,000 in cash, ledgers used to track drug sales and packaging materials.

* Same date

Franzen has stage four cancer and was using the chocolates to “self-medicate” and relieve himself from symptoms, such as nausea, [defense attorney David Camic] said.

According to an August 2018 court petition for an expert to evaluate whether Franzen was fit to stand trial, Franzen was suffering from testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and abdominal cavity.

According to the motion, Franzen also had a reoccurrence of renal cell cancer in one of his kidneys, and Camic was concerned Franzen could not assist in his defense by providing an “accurate recitation of the facts” of the case. It was unclear whether a judge heard from an expert before Franzen’s guilty plea late last week.

Franzen gets credit for seven days served at the Kane County jail before he could post bond. He also can have his prison term cut in half for good behavior.

* June 14

After Franzen’s guilty plea, Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said members of the North Central Narcotics Task Force, a unit of the state police, searched Franzen’s home after his arrest and found “evidence of drug dealing,” such as ledgers, more than $2,000, a digital scale, hashish oil, paraphernalia, and receipts for packages he mailed across the country and Canada. […]

Camic disagreed with McMahon’s assessment, arguing Franzen was reselling items on eBay and other online sites.

“My client was not selling drugs,” Camic said. “What he was selling was sneakers, vintage clothing, vintage toys and sporting goods.”

* Yesterday

A Montgomery cancer patient sentenced to four years in prison for having 42 pounds of THC-infused chocolates mailed to his home in 2014 has petitioned Gov. Pritzker for a pardon or to have the sentence commuted so he can receive treatment at home.

Since he was sent to prison last month, Thomas J. Franzen, 37, has lost 20 pounds and is not getting the medical care he was promised, according to his petition filed by attorney David Camic. […]

In the petition, Camic details his client’s turbulent childhood and history of fighting various forms of cancer, which began with testicular cancer that now has spread to his lungs and other organs. The petition also notes Franzen was one of the first Illinois residents to receive a medical marijuana card in 2016 and this was his first conviction of any kind. […]

“His crime was motivated by an attempt to mitigate his pain and symptoms through the use of cannabis. His medical need to use cannabis is verified and supported by the fact he was granted a medical use card,” read part of the petition.

The petition also included letters and other documentation from his doctor, along with 19 letters of support from friends, his employer and relatives, including his uncle Chuck Nelson, who also serves as Aurora deputy mayor.

* Sun-Times

On Thursday, Pritzker’s press secretary Jordan Abudayyeh confirmed that the governor will “review the request.” David Camic, Franzen’s attorney, said he and his client are “gratified that the governor is reviewing our petition.”

“If he gives it the careful consideration we know he will that he will at minimum commute Mr. Franzen’s sentence,” said Camic, who submitted the petition on behalf of Franzen.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

41 Comments
  1. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 9:36 am:

    He pled in exchange for the sentence. If this was just about self-medicating he might have been better off going to trial. However, the evidence appears to suggest he was dealing to support himself. If he had an eBay defense he should have rolled the dice and made it. I wouldn’t oppose a commutation, however, under the circumstances.


  2. - So_Ill - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 9:36 am:

    I hope he gets pardoned, but he was pretty dumb to commit multiple felonies considering his condition.


  3. - CubsFan16 - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 9:36 am:

    This is terrible. Truly compassionless. I hope the Governor commutes.


  4. - OutOfState - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 9:45 am:

    I believe Franzen was dealing, probably to support himself through cancer treatments. Cancer is painful enough without having to deal with medical treatment behind bars. A commutation would be merciful, but I don’t think the governor is unjust if he decides to decline the application.


  5. - Roger Abbott - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 9:45 am:

    Even if he was dealing the gummies, the right thing and the humane thing to do is commute his sentence.


  6. - H. Thomas - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 9:46 am:

    Social equity requires a pardon.


  7. - Techie - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 9:47 am:

    It’s just weed, and he was using it as medicine. Pardon the man, who’s fighting for his life.


  8. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 9:50 am:

    “I hope the Governor commutes.”

    Me too. Reefer Madness caused criminalization. Of course there’s going to be such a big black market when something consumed as much as marijuana gets criminalized.

    The black market problem should be dealt with nationally, and there are bills out now that although may not pass because of #MoscowMitch, they should hopefully help get the debate started for the 2020 elections. When we legalize piecemeal, state by state, that’s still a lot of black market out there.


  9. - Wensicia - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 9:50 am:

    Commute his sentence to time served.


  10. - Just Me - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 9:57 am:

    It does look like he may have been dealing on the side to generate some much-needed income. Desperate people do desperate things. This should have been a case of prosecutorial discretion but I can easily imagine a lack of compassion in Kane County. They probably think the plea deal is already generous.

    To me the largest argument here is that Corrections can’t provide the medical service he apparently needs. Commuting his sentence seems appropriate.


  11. - A guy - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 9:58 am:

    He’s not “fighting for his life”. He’s dying. He’s providing himself palliative care. Take away his WiFi and send him home. The system isn’t set up to treat him for this and it’s likely costing a fortune to mistreat him medically.
    He’s got nothing to lose and a timeline with his health. The only true thing he has to lose is very limited time with loved ones. Commute the sentence to time served or sentence him to home confinement, whatever. Send him home.


  12. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 10:00 am:

    All I can say is that if he was really dealing, there would’ve been a lot more than $2k lying around. Commute.


  13. - Glum - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 10:02 am:

    If he was dealing across state lines or to another country I think the feds would have been involved, not a local state’s Attorney. Then again Joe McMahon is one of the better states attorneys and doesn’t exactly need to make a name for himself as a tough on crime guy. He’s pretty practical. Something just doesn’t add up here.


  14. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 10:04 am:

    What A guy said. Send him home, governor.


  15. - 62401 - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 10:10 am:

    The coke, cash and ledgers seem to go against defense narrative. However, why did SAO not consider probation based sentence with home confinement and/or electronic monitoring? What will be the cost for IDOC to house and treat this offender/inmate per year? How many other elderly or terminal inmates deserve the governor’s consideration regarding commutation?


  16. - New Slang - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 10:17 am:

    He won’t get the care he needs in DOC. Let’s get that straight right now.


  17. - Jocko - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 10:20 am:

    The only thing that bothers me is the cocaine…which (I suspect) has a better markup than cannabis.

    So long as he named ‘bigger fish’ (prior to the plea), he should be sent home.


  18. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 10:31 am:

    Desperate people do desperate things. - Just Me

    Truer words were never written…Does this man truly deserve to die a painful death…in prison?

    Addiction is a disease…not a crime.

    Does incarcerating this man unto death serve justice?

    I wonder who can imagine suffering from terminal illness while locked in a cold steel cage.

    Governor Pritzker…what say you,Sir?


  19. - Gummo - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 10:35 am:

    Ledgers, scales, transaction histories, multiple drugs, he was a dealer.

    Accept that. Commutation is fine for the ill and dying. but don’t say it was an offense committed for “treatment.”


  20. - SSL - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 10:37 am:

    If he has stage 4 send him home.


  21. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 10:41 am:

    Yeah he was dealing, but that’s a federal matter. Commute the sentence, JB. No need to spend Illinois taxpayers money on his incarceration and the ridiculously expensive treatment he will need.


  22. - Froganon - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 10:50 am:

    Commute the sentence. The man is dying. Let him go home and monitor for dealing.


  23. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 10:50 am:

    I don’t trust the facts as presented by the defense attorney. Get a second medical opinion. If he is dying, send him home.


  24. - {Sigh} - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 10:51 am:

    =The petition also notes Franzen was one of the first Illinois residents to receive a medical marijuana card in 2016 and this was his first conviction of any kind=

    The licensed medical cannabis dispensaries opened in November 2015. Not sure I would agree with the statement that he was one of the first to get his card in 2016, since the first people got cards in 2015.


  25. - R A T - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 10:53 am:

    This is problematic…

    “and found cocaine”


  26. - Nick Name - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 10:55 am:

    Why we need national health care. Cancer patients should not have to resort to dealing drugs just to manage their pain. Every other developed country in the world understands this.


  27. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 10:57 am:

    Human judges can show mercy. But against the laws of nature, there is no appeal. - Arthur C,.Clarke

    Time does not wait…for disease…for suffering…for death.


  28. - Honeybear - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 11:00 am:

    I second A Guy

    Why do we need to be like this?


  29. - West Side the Best Side - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 11:20 am:

    Agree with Last Bull Moose, you don’t need a digital scale of you’re selling sneakers. If the defense is fudging things there needs to be a second opinion. If that is in fact Mr. Frazen’s condition then a commutation is appropriate.


  30. - DougChicago - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 11:26 am:

    Let the man go home.


  31. - Amalia - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 11:34 am:

    If he had committed a murder, would we let him go home and die? not seeing all the evidence, but viewing the story, he was probably dealing. that affects other people. what would prison care be like vs. home care? certainly not as comfortable, but perhaps better medically?


  32. - Demoralized - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 11:41 am:

    Send him home. If you want to maintain some sort of “punishment” confine him to his house.


  33. - DougChicago - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 11:59 am:

    Blessed are the merciful.


  34. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 12:08 pm:

    == you don’t need a digital scale of you’re selling sneakers.==
    I have a digital scale. I’m not a drug dealer. What of it?


  35. - Thomas Paine - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 12:14 pm:

    Put in the best possible light for the state, we spent four years prosecuting and are prepared to spend two years incarcerating (not to mention health treatment) for a low level drug dealer, on his first conviction.

    If he did not have cancer, and his name was Dante Smith from Englewood, we would not even be hearing about it, but it would still be loony public policy.

    Can I get a witness, Christian Mitchell?

    FWIW, McMahon is the guy who prosecuted Van Dyke, let’s not demonize a good public servant.


  36. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 12:23 pm:

    ==what would prison care be like vs. home care? certainly not as comfortable, but perhaps better medically?==

    Prison care might be better medically (emphasis on might), but then taxpayers would be on the hook for the tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars that treatment for Stage 4 cancer would cost. Prosecutors were the ones who decided to drop the trafficking charges, they should have to explain to JB why we should not only pay to incarcerate the guy for marijuana possession but also pay for his very expensive medical care.


  37. - LTSW - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 12:52 pm:

    Commute his sentence and send him home. Then at least the state can get federal match on the Medicaid payments for his cancer treatments.


  38. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 1:20 pm:

    Who has been the recipient of prison care?…I wonder.

    I believe it’s difficult to imagine.

    I’m no oncologist…by any means…but I’m fairly certain invasive and metastasizing lung cancers can be quickly fatal…and I’m positive prison is no good place to die.

    I also agree many other prisoners find themselves in this catastrophic position…except that they were caught wearing darker skin … and no deserved breaks (at all) comin’ for them.


  39. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 2:10 pm:

    I wonder who can imagine suffering from terminal illness while locked in a cold steel cage.

    Would we even do that to the dog who bit the mailman?

    I think not.


  40. - State of DenIL - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 2:16 pm:

    It sounds like house arrest should be an option.


  41. - West Side the Best Side - Friday, Jul 26, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    Da Big Bad Wolf - Do you also have cocaine along with your digital scale like Mr. Franzen did? Before you reply, “You have a right to remain silent, etc.” Just suggesting that the version the defense is offering should be viewed with a critical eye.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* More evidence that Tribune editorial board members don't read their own newspaper
* *** UPDATED x2 *** IHSA defies governor
* Sun-Times Editorial Board: Save The Solar Industry In Veto Session
* Context is key
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Lightfoot and city's top public health doc clearly not on the same page as mayor responded to mitigation order
* 6,110 new cases, 51 additional deaths, 2,861 hospitalized, 6.7 percent positivity rate - Springfield region one day away from mitigation mark
* Lake and McHenry counties' turn in mitigation
* Question of the day
* *** UPDATED x2 *** After weeks of enduring attacks, Londrigan puts up new explainer ad
* Rate Ives' closing cable ad
* COVID-19 roundup
* Today's number: 124,000 hours of IDES overtime
* Downstate manufacturing training academies to be created by state
* Urbana city council calls on Pritzker to enact utility disconnection moratorium
* React rolls in to winter prep sports changes
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition and some campaign news
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............


Loading


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller