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

Another Shameful Win For The Drug Warriors

I gave a client a ride to court yesterday morning. He’d flown into the Phoenix airport from the other side of the country and didn’t have transportation. It would’ve been a record-breaking cab fare for him, so I offered and he accepted. We probably don’t have an awful lot in common, and his English is about as good as my Spanish. He’s an incredibly nice guy, though. He fielded one teary phone call after another from one family member after another during the drive. I tried not to eavesdrop, but there was one thing I couldn’t help but catch: Daddy’s going to work. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone. It might be a long time. Be a good boy. Be good … Read entire article »

Filed under: Drugs

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

Some (Un)Sound Advice

I often hear some really dumb things from prosecutors, but yesterday, I might have heard one of the dumbest things to date. It was in a DUI drug case where the prosecutor made a plea offer with no benefit to my client. I filed a number of motions, and yesterday was the motion hearing. From the beginning, my client has wanted to plead. He just doesn’t want to lose his license for a year, which is the case with DUI drugs, so we asked for him to plead to DUI for being impaired to the slightest degree, a different subsection with a 90-day license suspension attached. It’s a case where the supposed marijuana use was a day before driving. My client is young and has no … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Prosecutors

Better Ban Spice

According to the Arizona Republic, the Drug Enforcement Administration is giving head shops until Christmas Eve to get rid of all their “Spice.” Spice is a synthetic drug intended to mimic the effects of marijuana. Because its effects are so unpredictable and it is so readily available, the DEA has decided to ban the drug for a year to conduct tests. I didn’t know much about spice before today, but I learned a lot reading the article. Spice is apparently produced by taking chemical compounds from overseas manufacturers and spraying those compounds onto dried herbs. The chemicals bind to the same receptor in a human brain as the active ingredient in marijuana, but it’s more powerful than marijuana. It’s made with a chemical compound more potent … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, Legislation, News

Democracy Doesn't Work

After a whirlwind past two weeks, I decided to only work a half-day today. I went to the gym in the afternoon and decided to mix things up and do some cardio in front of a few TVs. Bad idea. One TV was showing a news program about bullying. The news ticker said Obama was thinking about withholding federal education money from states that don’t enact tough anti-bullying laws. Bullying is apparently an “epidemic,” and we need new laws. The point and counter-point seemed to consist of whether we should pass really ridiculously tough laws or really, really ridiculously tough laws. Another TV was showing a program about people blinding aircraft pilots with lasers. Some federal legislator seems determined to make it a federal … 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

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

We're Already Ridiculous

For the second time in less than a week, I’ve been inspired to write by a post over at the DUI Blog. I guess that Kentucky, my home state, might pass a law allowing a driver who tests positive for traces of marijuana to be convicted of DUI even if he or she is unimpaired. The DUI Blog puts that in the this-is-getting-ridiculous department. Well, here in Arizona, we’ve been ridiculous for a while. Arizona’s DUI law says, “[i]t is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state . . . [w]hile there is any drug defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person’s body.” Impairment doesn’t matter, as it’s a strict liability crime. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Arizona Statutes, DUI, Government Rants, Legislation

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