Two Years in the Joint for a Joint


Over at AlterNet, Anthony Papa notes that 18-year-old Mitchell Lawrence received a two-year prison sentence last month for selling an undercover cop in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, $20 worth of pot. The parking lot where the cop approached Lawrence was within 1,000 feet of a preschool located in a church basement, which triggered a mandatory minimum sentence. District Attorney David F. Capeless' use of the state's drug-free zones law to prosecute Lawrence and other local teenagers has provoked popular outrage and inspired a primary challenge by defense attorney (and former prosecutor) Judith Knight.

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  1. Drug War, Popular, Outrage. Why are these concepts within 1000 feet of each other?

  2. There’s a few things I wonder about drug-free school zones. If they’re going to apply to every place where children gather, are they at least clearly marked? Are they secret? Wouldn’t we be better off with the reverse instead? Some sort of a drug-sales zone where penalties are lesser than the rest of town would be more effective at containing drug use.

  3. Dude, anyone know where a 4 year old can score now that the Man busted my source?

  4. Got to keep the drug war welfare queens living in style.

  5. David,

    The War on Drugs is no longer about containing drug use, if it ever was. It is a full employment program for law enforcement.

  6. I know, but they keep selling it as “keeping the public safe”.

  7. Well, if we don’t keep the thugs with guns, oh excuse me, I mean our gallent boys in blue, mired in middleclass heaven by sending them out busting potheads, what else are they going to do?

    Wasn’t that a concern with the Weimar republic, a lot of men trained to fight with no hope for a good job?

  8. The sad thing is that there are so many other things law enforcement could be doing that would actually be productive. Insurance fraud is incredibly expensive to our economy, and yet most of the detective work done around it involves provate investigators. The huge growth in indentity theft has been all but unchecked. If we had some sane priorities in this country, we might realize that these things are a tad more important than going after some kid selling an 1/8 of pot.

  9. In most urban areas, much of the city is going to be within 1,000 feet of a school. In some cases, almost every bit of the city. This was a back-door way to increase drug penalties on people who are doing nothing wrong in the first place.

  10. There’s a few things I wonder about drug-free school zones. If they’re going to apply to every place where children gather, are they at least clearly marked?

    I think that all streets, buildings and cars within the drug-free zone should be painted in Candyland colors.

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