Brown & Little, P.L.C. » Entries tagged with "drug war"

Victimless Non-Violent Federal Drug Crimes

I enjoy reading Richard Kopf‘s blog, Hercules and the Umpire. He’s a federal trial judge in Nebraska who mixes self-effacing honesty with humor and the sort of intellect and consistency that tend to be present in the best judges I’ve encountered. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a man with a lot of power, but it’s also at times a disturbing glimpse into the world of someone who can make the things he believes have real impacts on the real people who appear in front of him no matter how wrong he might be. A post of his from last month asked, “Are drug crimes ‘victimless’?” He previously wrote more about his views in another post entitled “No more bullshit: In the federal courts, there is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Drugs, Judges

In Other News, the Sky Is Blue and Marijuana Prohibition Is Bullshit

FourthAmendment.com put up a link yesterday to this New York Times story. Its title, “Blacks Are Singled Out for Marijuana Arrests, Data Suggests,” is news to exactly no one. Any perceptive human being who has set foot inside a criminal courthouse could also tell you the racial bias doesn’t end with the arrest. There are some other awful trends that quickly became apparent to me practicing criminal law in Arizona. I saw white defendants caught with marijuana for the first time get misdemeanor citations to appear in city or justice courts. Black defendants in the same position got felony charges in superior court. After charges, white defendants went through diversion, avoiding a conviction. Black defendants ended up pleading to misdemeanors. The second time around, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

Homebrew and Hypocrites

Obama is supposedly a big fan of beer. A while back, I read about how he apparently started brewing beer at the White House. Of course, it turned out his staff actually brewed the beer, not him, but it seemed the endeavor was at least partially his doing. I had to give him some credit for that. Today, I saw a link to this page on the White House’s website, so I clicked through. It’s a pun-ridden little blurb from Sam Kass, an assistant chef at the White House, followed by recipes for the White House beers. I’m neither an extract brewer nor a fan of honey beers, so the recipes weren’t all that interesting to me, but the blurb itself caught my attention. Specifically, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

More Victims of the Drug War

Local news was filled with stories about Chandler Police officer Carlos Ledesma after he was killed in the line of duty on July 28, 2010. The stories describe a former Marine and Persian Gulf War veteran, a proud father and husband with two young boys. He was shot while conducting an undercover “reversal operation” in Phoenix. From what I’ve read about the case, the facts sound all too familiar. An informant tells the police he has buyers who want to buy a large quantity of marijuana. Police set up a meeting where the informant meets with the buyers and establishes the terms of the deal. The buyers check out a sample of weed provided by officers and prove they have the money. Later, at the … Read entire article »

Filed under: News, Police

A Victim of the Drug War

I recently had a settlement conference for a client I really like. He’s a nice guy who never ceases to make my days a little brighter each time I see him. When I first met him and asked if he had any criminal history, he told me, “I have a terrible criminal history…terrible!” He said it like he was Richard Pryor in the middle of a stand-up routine, but it turned out he was right. Indeed, he was no stranger to the system. Based on his honesty, however, I knew was going to like him. He had a lot of prior felony convictions. Looking through his past, though, I could see that he never really hurt anyone except himself. He was an addict, and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Government Rants

Wasting Tax Dollars

I currently represent a client charged with possession of marijuana. By itself, that’s not unusual. What is unusual, however, is that the state claims he had weed in prison. He just finished serving his 18th year, and he’s got a little over 56 years left to go. He’s middle-aged. Why would the state choose to prosecute such a case? What else can they do to him? He’s going to enjoy his field trips to court. If he goes to trial, it’s going to feel good to wear street clothes and take the restraints off, even if it’s just for a little while. What kind of plea is a “lifer” going to want to take? The prosecutor knows all of this because I told him. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Prosecutors

End Drug Prohibition

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of one stupid prohibition, I’d like to suggest we end another stupid prohibition. This one won’t even take a constitutional amendment, as the US Constitution miraculously evolved over the 20th century to allow it to happen with a mere act of Congress. Another act should do the trick. Rather than make my own case against the war on drugs, I’ll defer to someone else’s. There are plenty of smart people who have persuasively argued for legalizing all drugs, but this is definitely one of my favorite articles. Our failed war on drugs is one area where I have very little to add to what’s already been written. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, US Constitution

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