Phelps Farce Finale

Today Richland County, South Carolina, Sheriff Leon Lott announced that he does not plan to charge Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps for smoking pot at a November party in Columbia. After a photo of the gold medalist with a bong appeared in the British tabloid News of the World on February 1, Lott said he felt compelled to investigate whether Phelps had broken state law. The investigation led to the arrests of eight people connected to the party or the house where it was held, seven of whom were charged with simple possession based on small amounts of the drug found during raids on their homes. One was charged with distribution. But Lott said there was not enough evidence to charge Phelps or anyone else with marijuana possession at the party: He never explicitly confessed to smoking pot (instead apologizing for "regrettable behavior"), the photo does not conclusively prove that he did, and there are no credible eyewitnesses who saw him take a hit.

"Michael Phelps is truly an American hero," Lott said in a statement, "but even with his star status, he is still obligated to obey the laws of our state. By ignoring the November incident, I would have been sending a message of tolerance and condoning the use of illegal drugs. I could not do that, nor have I ever done that." In the end, though, this case worked out the way marijuana possession cases usually do: The big shot got off, and the little guys got screwed—precisely because Lott tried to make the point that everyone is obligated to obey the drug laws.

Previous Reason coverage of the Phelps case here, here, here, hereherehere, and here.

[via The Palmetto Scoop]

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  • ||

    Tolerance has no business in a Christian nation.

  • ||

    Finally. Now can this wanna be spec op, media-whoring dumb fuck just go way?

  • ||

    Uhhh, I mean, Leon Lett. Not Michael Phelps. Although, he can go away too, if he wants.

  • tarran||

    Tony,

    Sheriff Lot is a blasphemer and a heretic. He ain't no Christian.

  • ||

    I for one, welcome Sheriff Lott's new professionalism.

  • ||

    Professionalism?? You don't think that if he squeezed enough to get someone to narc on Phelps that he wouldn't keep this crusade rolling? Hardly. He's saving face because he's getting laughed at.

  • ||

    I hope everyone saw the Kathleen Parker column about this situation.
    Parker's column is the best news since William F. Buckley, Jr. came out against the drug war.

  • ||

    In the end, though, this case worked out the way marijuana possession cases usually do: The big shot got off, and the little guys got screwed-precisely because Lott tried to make the point that everyone is obligated to obey the drug laws.

    That is an excellent point, one that needs to be made again and again in the next few days before everyone forgets all about the whole mess.

  • ||

    Stupid fucking asshole. You're the sheriff of one of the more violent crime ridden counties in the country. You don't the guts to say to the press, "we don't have time to waste on this stuff. To be honest, our officers let pot possessers off all the time".

    Lott is either a dissembling or deluded douchebag.

  • dfd||

    Professionalism?? You don't think that if he squeezed enough to get someone to narc on Phelps that he wouldn't keep this crusade rolling? Hardly. He's saving face because he's getting laughed at.

    Silentz, j.i. was making a joking reference to Scalia's misguided belief in law enforcement's increasing "professionalism."

  • Xmas||

    I think everyone can learn a valuable lesson from this: Never, EVER sell pictures of famous people doing drugs at YOUR or YOUR FRIEND'S party to British tabloids.

    That'll teach those fucktards not to narc on Michael Phelps.

  • robc||

    Xmas,

    I learned a different lessson. Always sell pictures of famous people doing drugs at your enemies' parties to British tabloids.

    Make money AND send your enemies to the slammer.

  • ||

    dfd,
    "Silentz, j.i. was making a joking reference to Scalia's misguided belief in law enforcement's increasing "professionalism."

    My bad. I renew my call for a 'sarcasm' font.

  • You rang?||

    I renew my call for a 'sarcasm' font.

    Every poster here is a veritable font of sarcasm.

  • befuddled||

    WOD bad, swimming good, athlete's release good, but why "hero"?

  • Hugh Akston||

    fudd,

    Same reason anyone gets to be a hero: he did something newsworthy and he's super-duper popular.

  • Godwin||

    So Hitler was a hero too.

  • ||

    Jacob,

    You missed milking every bit of the joke. The headline, for 100% comic goodness, should read "Phelps Pharce Phinale"

    You're welcome ;)

  • ||

    In the end, though, this case worked out the way marijuana possession cases usually do: The big shot got off, and the little guys got screwed-precisely because Lott tried to make the point that everyone is obligated to obey the drug laws.

    And, you know, he wasn't found in possession. Even if he admitted that there was grass in the bong, could they really have charged him? I think they actually need the pot to charge someone. For christ' sake, the last three presidents, including the sitting one, have admitted to smoking pot. Could they be charged? Ignoring limitations and such.

  • Stoner||

    Yeah, it's, like...

  • ||

    "but even with his star status, he is still obligated to obey the laws of our state."

    Any update on the San Fran. Transit cop that shot a restrained man in the back? Are police obligate to obey the laws, or did the guy get off easy?

  • ||

    Can anyone say "Asset Forfeiture" ?

  • Craig||

    I would have been sending a message of tolerance.... I could not do that, nor have I ever done that.

    Not surprisingly.

  • ||

    Such is the power of my personal email. After getting appropriately stoned, I emailed everyone connected with this legal abomination (sponsors, newspapers, bloggers, literate South Carolinians) and gave them specific instructions on what needed to happen. Overall, I'm rather pleased with the results, considering the finer points of my email may have been a bit unclear...

  • jk||

    By ignoring the November incident, I would have been sending a message of tolerance and condoning the use of illegal drugs.

    By this logic an open Narcotics Anonymous meeting in Lott's jurisdiction would require investigations and possible arrests.

  • !||

    I'm for it.

    Fuck those quitters.

  • jk||

    I'm for it.

    How about just minding your own business?

  • zoltan||

    Any update on the San Fran. Transit cop that shot a restrained man in the back? Are police obligate to obey the laws, or did the guy get off easy?


    There's a gag order with this case, but this is an interesting article about how cops who are charged with murder (like Mehserle, the murderer of Oscar Grant) usually are acquitted or face ridiculously short sentences.

  • Stoner\'s Tolerant Mentor||

    After getting appropriately stoned, I emailed everyone connected with this legal abomination (sponsors, newspapers, bloggers, literate South Carolinians) and gave them specific instructions on what needed to happen. Overall, I'm rather pleased with the results, considering the finer points of my email may have been a bit unclear...

    Like forgetting to hit Send?

    No, no, only kidding. We love you and it must have been very effective no matter what it said.

  • ||

    Lott: "I would have been sending a message of tolerance and condoning the use of illegal drugs."

    The only 'reason' Lott is not charging Phelps is because of the outcry from the legalization of drugs movement against Phelps' sponsors dropping him and against Lott's intolerable eight arrests in this incident. Ha! At least this will make Phelps' contract-breaking sponsors look even worse.

  • ||

    I didn't expect anything else from this. There was no way in hell they were getting any charges on Phelps behind this shit.

    Like Jacob says in the article though, I feel bad for the guys who were busted. The real villain here is the picture-taker, probably some collar-popping douchebag who had no business being at the party in the first place. You know the guy -- he always watches people smoke and makes pot jokes, and somehow never seems to take a hit himself. Loser.

  • ||

    No, the real villain is Leon Lott.

  • Collar-Popping Douchebag||

    Rhayader,

    Well the jerk store called, and they're all outta YOU!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!1!

    [dusts shoulders, sprays self with Axe, heads off to buy more Jager]

  • ||

    The only 'reason' Lott is not charging Phelps is because of the outcry from the legalization of drugs movement against Phelps' sponsors...

    The reason there were no charges was that the prosecutor wont prosecute possession without possession. If the cops don't have your pot in hand there is no crime.

    Unless I'm missing something. Help me out people.

  • ||

    @pigwiggle

    Yeah, legally there needs to be a "measurable amount" of pot in order to charge someone with possession. It's hard to measure the amount of weed in a picture of a bong.

    Also though, legally sound instances of pot possession are almost never prosecuted. Often a simple ticket is issued and no arrests are made. I have even had several friend who were stopped by a cop, and when he found the weed and bowl, he simply confiscated it and sent them on their way.

    In short, cops and DA's don't give two shits about pot, unless they want to use it to leverage something else.

  • ||

    @Collar-Popping Douchebag: Hah, don't forget to brag about how many Jager shots you took tomorrow.

  • ||

    [dusts shoulders, sprays self with Axe, heads off to buy more Jager]

    MA!!! I'm outta protein!!!

  • ||

    I have even had several friend who were stopped by a cop, and when he found the weed and bowl, he simply confiscated it and sent them on their way.
    The cops smoked it. you know this...

  • Eva Braun||

    "So Hitler was a hero too."

    He was to me. A very BIG hero.

  • What Faggots Say||

    "Yeah, it's, like..."

  • Harvey Milk||

    "Any update on the San Fran. Transit cop that shot a restrained man in the back? Are police obligate to obey the laws, or did the guy get off easy"

    Charged with murder:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/02/07/BA9N15P8ET.DTL&hw=BART+charged&sn=017&sc=250

  • ||

    IT would appear that Phelps was able to "lube" all the right pockets to make this thing "go away". Well done!

    RT
    www.anon-tools.us.tc

  • Xeones||

    Anonymity guy, your use of quotes is creepy.

  • Dave Krueger||

    Merely being a 14-time Olympic gold medal champion does not entitle one to break the law. No. To be permitted to ignore the law one must aspire to a much loftier calling. You have to be a cop.

  • Inspired Stoner||

    Hey, and it's like - wow, we're all kinda fags, in a way! I mean cause we're all like saying stuff, right?

    Wow!

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