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« Mid-Morning Open Thread | Main | Tax Bill Passes House »
December 20, 2017

The Morning Rant: J.V. Edition


I think you people should just throw poo at your entire drug policy and start over. This is just nuts. As usual, the jack-booted thugs in police departments who need notches on their belts, DA's desperate for advancement, and legislators in need of overwrought rhetoric to use to get reelected have chipped away at our civil rights.

The Myth of the Playground Pusher: In Tennessee and around the country, "drug-free school zones" are little more than excuses for harsher drug sentencing.

This is from "Reason;" they are reflexively pro-drug, and their pretense that this guy is an angel (no felony convictions) rings false. But it is an obscene use of a feel-good law, and I see nothing good about it.

On July 9, 2008, officers of the Columbia, Tennessee, police department arrested Michael Goodrum and charged him with possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute in a drug-free school zone.

Sounds bad, right? Surely the kind of monster who sells crack in a school yard should be put away for a long time. Lawmakers certainly think so: All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books that provide for harsh sentences for people who buy or sell drugs near schools. In Tennessee, it's considered such a serious crime under the state's Drug-Free School Zone Act of 1995 that Goodrum's charge was automatically upgraded to a Class A felony—the same category as murder.

But Michael Goodrum was not peddling dope to kids on a playground. He wasn't on school property, and school wasn't in session. In fact, he wasn't within sight of a school.

According to court testimony by the police who arrested him, the 40-year-old was sitting in a private residence at 10:30 p.m. when officers swept into the living room with a narcotics search warrant. Goodrum was ordered to the floor, and when an officer picked him up, the cop found a small bag of crack cocaine underneath him.

Goodrum says he was only visiting the house. He had never been convicted of a felony before.

Normally, he would have been facing a stiff eight years in prison for possession with intent to sell of 1.7 grams of crack cocaine. (That's about the same weight as two blueberries.) But the room he was in happened to fall within 572 feet of a park and 872 feet of a school—roughly two blocks away from either, but still well within the 1,000-foot drug-free radius created under Tennessee law.

After a four-year odyssey involving a hung jury and a retrial, Goodrum was convicted and sentenced to 15 years without the possibility of an early release. Had he been convicted of second-degree murder, he might have ended up serving less time in prison. That crime carries a minimum 15-year sentence but includes a possibility for release within 13.

Read the whole thing, because the data are telling. According to this article, the idea of a "school pusher" is simply a myth. And, as usual, the law of unintended consequences is biting us in the ass.


Well looky here!
Women are partly to blame for showbiz sex scandal, says Sir Ian McKellen: Star claims some actresses tell directors they will sleep with them to win roles
I hope we're going through a period that will help to eradicate it altogether. But from my own experience, when I was starting acting in the early Sixties, the director of the theatre I was working at showed me some photographs he got from women who were wanting jobs. . . some of them had at the bottom of their photograph 'DRR' — directors' rights respected. In other words, if you give me a job, you can have sex with me.

Are there real victims? Of course there are. But the casting couch has been around for a very long time, and not everyone lying on it is pure as the driven snow.

&topic=world_news">digg this
posted by CBD at 11:30 AM

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