She's Not the Only One Who's Retchin

This week the family of Jonathan Magbie, a 27-year-old quadriplegic who died of acute respiratory failure a year ago while serving time in the D.C. jail on a marijuana charge, sued the city and Greater Southeast Community Hospital for inadequately treating the breathing problems he experienced while in custody. Magbie, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a car accident at age 4, smoked marijuana to relieve the pain associated with his condition. Although he was convicted of possessing just one joint and was eligible for probation, D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith E. Retchin sentenced him to 10 days, partly because he said he planned to continue smoking marijuana. Retchin, who was not named in the suit, said she tried to ensure that the jail was equipped to care for Magbie, who used a ventilator, which the jail did not have, to assist his breathing at night. An official investigation found that, due to "failures of communication," the assurances Retchin received concerned the ability of a federal prison to care for a paraplegic, rather than the ability of the local jail to care for a quadriplegic. The Marijuana Policy Project says Congress shares the blame for Magbie's death, since it overrode a D.C. ballot initiative that would have protected patients like him from prosecution for marijuana possession.

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  • nancy||

    There is not enough shame to spread around on Retchin & co. What arrogance, what ignorance.

  • ||

    The sentence she essentially handed down was that of the "death penalty." Sounds about right for the anti-drug zealots.

  • Gene Berkman||

    I hope Bob Barr finds out about this case.

  • ||

    Medicinal pot users dieing in jail because of inadequate care.

    Loozianne Cops doing the looting.

    Feds throwing money at Nevadan Teen Suicides.

    I really need a Friday Fun Link before the Feds find it necessary to throw money at a Middle Aged Man attempting suicide.

  • Skip Oliva||

    Rick Santorum (and his god) must be proud. In today's Wall Street Journal, he praised the government's "zero tolerance" policy towards drug use.

  • ||

    In this one instance I hope his family takes the city of washington for a bazillion dollars and fifty cents.

  • ||

    Why all the fuss? He Broke the Rules, people, and so (by same logic that prescribes the penalty of gang rape for petty theft) Deserves Everything He Gets.

  • ||

    I wonder what mainstream opinion is on this.
    Probably that another junkie got what he deserved.

    /jaded

  • ||

    Now that I see the photo of the family, I can guess as to their chances of getting any media attention or sympathy from a jury.

    I suppose that's what they get for having a sick quadraplegic with no history of being a perky blonde white girl.

  • ||

    Why is it that we in the district are not allowed to govern ourselves? Because of this congressional arrogance DC residents have to suffer twice. 1st we suffer because we cannot pass our own laws. We suffer again because the family is going to sue the city, which means less money for our terrible roads, when really it's the congress that's at fault.

    I hope Santorium's happy. The guy was a quadraplegic, at the very least we should let him get high, or would that be considered morally irresponsible?

  • ||

    I wonder what the judge's decsion would've been if he had promised to switch to 190 proof Everclear to ease his pain?

  • ||

    Shades of Peter McWilliams all over again. Fucking pathetic!

  • Windypundit||

    What? Oh, I see. Jonathan Magbie is black. Yes, you're right. That won't get much attention.

    Now if Magbie had, say, been kicked off a whitehouse tour for possibly racial reasons, we'd be getting stories about it for months. But a quadriplegic who dies in jail on a 10-day potsmoking beef? No story there.

    Sigh.

    Maybe if his mother camped out in Crawford for a while...

  • ||

    I, for one, think it's a good thing he was put in jail. Otherwise, this quadrapalegic, law-breaking druggie would no doubt be resorting to liquor store robberies to finance his habit.

  • ||

    I'm guessing that Jonathan Magbie was wearing a "bulky jacket."

  • Dana||

    Yes he broke the rules, but deserved a slap on the hand and a fine at most. The judge had it in her power to say, "Go home and don't let anybody catch you doing this again", but she didn't. The judge (unless she is a complete moron - which given the state of the Republic is probable) knows what our prisons are like, but she put him into a jail where he not only could not defend himself but would be in the charge of some of the worst types of federal or state employees.

    Using pot, by the decree of the idiots we elect every few years, is illegal. By the rule of law, that means it is ILLEGAL until we the people get off our collective asses and throw out the idiots making the laws. So by the rule of law the gentleman had to be punished, but punished in a way that fits the crime. By putting him into jail, the judge risked killing him, and so it happened.

    However, you could say it wasn't the pot that got him the prison time, it was talking back to the judge and not showing remorse. He was stupid, didn't have any diplomatic skills, and pissed the judge off from what I see here. He didn't have the brains to say he'd be a good boy and would try not to sin again.

  • ||

    By the way, Taxed ..."I hope Santorium's happy. The guy was a quadraplegic, at the very least we should let him get high, or would that be considered morally irresponsible?

    Comment by: Taxed Resident w/o Representation at September 23, 2005 05:06 PM"

    If you don't like living in the District, MOVE OUT. It isn't a State, so it doesn't get treated like a State, and with good reason. Go to Maryland, go to Virginia, or Pennsylvania. Don't bitch about living in D.C. unless you can give us a good reason why a city (and not a State) should be treated in some special way.

  • ||

    Dear Dana,

    Go fuck yourself.

  • ||

    Shameful. The Washington Post quotes the mother saying that "My baby lost 40 pounds in four days...", that's crazy. The correctional officials and the hospital are denying that they did anything wrong. I really have no idea how the people at fault can even sleep at night. Ten days in jail for a first-time offender is too harsh.

  • ||

    I'm aghast. Literally. This is the most monstrous injustice I've heard lately - and believe me, the reading I do on a daily basis, injustice is ALL that I taken in. This is like getting kicks to your kidneys. This is the proverbial story that is too much to take.

    I merely ask this: a quadriplegic, for Chrissakes, smokes some pot to alleviate his pain. You know what stands out to me, oh, ever-so-slightly? HE WAS A QUADRIPLEGIC. That his life was disturbed in the least way for smoking the product of a naturally growing plant - let alone that he was fucking JAILED - is the very definition of tragedy, Les Miserables, etc. Just despicable.

    Every day, new shame for being an American. Every day, new proof that we haven't evolved or progressed one minute past 1830. Well, here it is again. Fucking sick. The family should be given the treasury itself, and ANYONE involved in punishing this poor man, this man whose life WAS punishment for 23 years, should be...God, help me think of their punishments...I cannot. I cannot think anymore. This is just so horrifying.

    Ultimate, lasting proof that this life is no more than unrelenting hell.

  • ||

    I'm trying to imagine governmental malice and incompetence taking place in DC -- oh, man, it's really hard to do. I'll have to get back to you on this one.

  • ||

    The Lad needs a tad
    of what Magbie had
    in his misdemeanor bag
    before Retchin sentenced him
    to death
    for a first offense
    of smoking cannibis

  • ||

    This really does take the cake. It's almost unbelievable. The guy lives 24 years without the use of his limbs, spends a few hours in jail, and dies the next day. It is so heinous it...I just can't think of any useful comment.

  • ||

    Dana, the fact that pot is illegal does not mean the quadrapalegic man had to be punished. Being a Jew in Nazi Germany was "illegal," but at Nuremberg we hanged those who followed the law and "punished" the Jews. Judge Retchin and Congress were the criminals here, not the man they murdered.

  • ||

    Skip, do not be so hard on Santorum -- I'm reasonably sure he not read, much less write -- that op-ed with his name on it.

  • Warren||

    The most maddening part of this is that, aside from the fact that almost no one cares and the whole thing will be forgotten this time next year, his murders will not simply go unpunished but continue to enjoy positions of power.

  • Warren||

    [soapbox]
    Henry,
    Counter to popular belief, the Nuremberg tribunals did not repudiate the "I was following orders" defense. Indeed, they affirmed it and aquatinted several of the defendants. Those that were sentenced, were not found guilty because 'following orders' was an inadequate defense, but because it was determined that they had issued or exceeded orders.
    [/soapbox]

    Would that the precedent were applied in this case and the prosecutor, judge, and warden were all held accountable for their excess and neglect.

  • ||

    The most maddening part of this is that, aside from the fact that almost no one cares and the whole thing will be forgotten this time next year, his murders will not simply go unpunished but continue to enjoy positions of power.

    Warren,

    There are a lot of us who don't and won't forget the Magbies, the McWilliams, or the Seelys of the world. We continue the fight for them, albeit, we seem insignificant at times. But, we are here, we are proud, and we will fight till the last breath. Magbie adds more strength to our cause.

    RIP Jonathan Magbie, you won't be forgotten and one day, justice will be served.

  • ||

    when will those stubby, i mean stubborn quadrapalegics ever learn?

  • ||

    "D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith E. Retchin sentenced him to 10 days, partly because he said he planned to continue smoking marijuana."

    God forbid he tell the truth. It's not like the judge would have been able to know otherwise.

    What a fucking cunt.

  • john_rice||

    We must transcend politics to rid ourselves of this tyranny. Though neither the Dems nor the Reps will do it voluntarily, we can impose the solutions upon them. If you want to impact how we are governed, a different paradigm is needed--go to www.neitherparty.org and get involved.
    Or, continue the lunacy of trying the same things over and over hoping for different results-- the functional definition of insanity.
    Your choice.

  • ||

    We must transcend politics to rid ourselves of this tyranny. Though neither the Dems nor the Reps will do it voluntarily, we can impose the solutions upon them. If you want to impact how we are governed, a different paradigm is needed--go to www.neitherparty.org and get involved.
    Or, continue the lunacy of trying the same things over and over hoping for different results-- the functional definition of insanity.



    Another website isn't really going to accomplish anything. I hate to say it, but I personally think that we're at the point of " When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another...". I think that if a leader ever emerges from the side of the thinking people AND people move their fat asses from the computer, it might very well happen.

  • ||

    I don't even know why someone at reason would bother posting this. As far as I can tell, when push comes to shove, Reason completely supports the law and order factions of our government. For those of us who have studied the political paradigms over the past 2000 years, it's clear that in the big picture, Reason will always support the Judges that make this possible, like John Roberts and Clarence Thomas. After all, there is a one in a million chance that both judges will side with the libertarians. Of course there is a 100% probablility that they will oppose the libertarian cause in 99% of all cases.

  • ||

    Although many people will say that marijuana does have medicinal benefits, it still is illegal. And though i personally enjoy perfect health and don't require any of those alleged benefits, i also chose not to smoke anything to get high either. Just the same, i am glad that the laws prohibitting marijuana exist to protect me from ......er....um.....

  • ||

    1. having to make the choice
    2. drug crazed pot heads (extemely dangerous)
    3. atificially induced mellowness

  • ||

    4. the dreaded munchies

  • ||

    My god! That is absolutely terrible.

    Democrats, Republicans. Members of congress. Mr. President. The Supreme Court. You are tools of the devil.

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