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Friday, April 18, 2008

Guilty Before Proven Innocent

I started this post just over a month ago and this give me the excuse to post this article from Reason. A family was charged with a drug crime they didn't commit. What makes this story much worse is that there is an industry where convicts are willing to do anything to get out. Somehow, they're able to engage in finding some intelligence that allows them to become informants against witnesses who have nothing to do with any drug deals.

I may agree that drugs are a problem. At the same time I have a problem with overzealous prosecution. In this case a willingness to use shady testimony from those witnesses who aren't credible. Prosecutors really want that drug conviction. It almost makes me ask if this drug war is wrong.

It's almost unfortunate that the prosecutors in this case failed to realize their errors since they still believed that the family in question were drugs dealers. What I thought was odd, that their future son-in-law attempted to take responsibility for the drugs and they somehow determined that they weren't his. So they really wanted this family to go down in flames for whatever reason.

This story is intriguing only because there are several components. Ruthless convicts who want out of prison so they resort to having to lie about what they know. The general racism of this small Louisiana town. Finally the prosecutors who were willing to do whatever it takes to get a conviction.

I wanted to mention that over a month ago I saw a documentary that aired on Showtime and I didn't get to see it because I don't get Showtime. Instead I saw it on Google Video, however, it's no longer online and when I resurrected this post after I started this a month ago I would have featured front and center this vid. Visit the official website here. The doc title is American Drug War.

Tangent
: The film mentions how common household substances. They showed examples of over the counter medication such as Sudafed were used to create crystal meth. Reminds me of what happened when I was home.

I went to my neighborhood Walgreen's to buy some cold medicine and I ran into some legal thing. As I was about to make my purchase all the sudden the cashier asked for ID. I had the misfortune of bringing only cash with me. She realized that the register didn't ask for my birthday and I was all set. Thank goodness because I really didn't want to take a long walk back to my home to procure my ID.

She told me that there was a law that was designed to prevent the use of cold medicine to discourage their usage in the manufacture of crystal meth. I've heard about the law and I didn't think about it until I inquired about why she needed an ID and she told me the reasoning. Hmm, I didn't want to get high, I just wanted some cold medicine.

Anyway, there is some unfairness in the system. One could wonder if the idea of prohibition of illegal substances is a policy that should be continued. Many years ago it was tried with alcohol and that didn't solve the problem, people still wanted to drink. So they found a way to get drunk even if they had to go thru criminals.

Looking at this story from Reason, I would wonder if there needs to be reform in the prosecution of drug crimes. If not absolute abolition of these laws or decriminalization of drug use in this country. In fact the aforementioned doc wonders if America has been better off not making more natural drugs such as marijuana illegal and it would cause drug addicts to turn to making crystal meth or heroine that certainly prove to be more harmful.

Agree or disagree there are some important issues to discuss here.

Semi-related go back to my post about overzealous prosecution of DUIs.

1 comment:

PositivelyJim said...

Good luck. The "war on drugs" is big business, and that's what you're fighting. Even though it has not produced one positive result in 35 years and after tens of billions spent, there are many forces that wish to keep it exactly the way it is. It's all about money - like most things.

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