Drug Policy

I’ve Got Nothing Here

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This story is so bizarre and outrageous, I can hardly believe it's true.

Tampa's Mark O'Hara was released from prison this week. He was serving a 25-year sentence for possession of 58 Vicodin tablets. Prosecutors acknowledge he wasn't selling the drug. They acknowledge that he had a prescription for it. At his trial, two doctors testified they'd been treating O'Hara since the early 1990s for pain related to gout and an automobile accident.

But prosecutors inexplicably brought drug trafficking charges anyway, because as the article explains, "Under the law, simply possessing the quantity of pills he had constitutes trafficking."

This is simply stunning. The man was sentenced to 25 years for possessing 58 pills for which he had a legal prescription.

Prosecutors then argued—and the trial court agreed—that the jury was not allowed to consider the fact that O'Hara had a prescription because Florida statutes governing painkillers don't allow for a "prescription defense," as if that rather crucial fact were some mere technicality those ACLU-types are always using to get criminals off the hook.

I suppose we should expect little from the state that put Richard Paey away for 25 years. But this is insanity. My guess is that O'Hara's prior drug conviction (in the 1980s) and the small amount of pot also found in his truck blinded the prosecutors' and judge's discretion. Gotta' get this guy for something, right?

O'Hara is free after an appellate court rightly deemed the trial "absurd" and tossed out the verdict. Prosecutors are apparently still considering what to do next.

Given the way they've wasted taxpayer money and court time and needlessly harassed Mr. O'Hara, in a just world their "next step" would be submitting their own letters of resignation.

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235 responses to “I’ve Got Nothing Here

  1. BITE IT, PROGLIB and JimmyDAGEEK!

    SEE – TAMPA TAMPA TAMPA!!! NOT JUST CHICAGO!!!

    humperdink.

    pttttttfffffffff…..

  2. ARRGGHHH!

  3. Those prosecutors should be charged with misconduct, and sent to fucking jail.

  4. You nailed it Radley:

    1. Unjust prosecution.
    2. Unjust sentence.
    3. Waste of court time.
    4. Waste of taxpayer money.

  5. Why send this guy to jail? All he did was pay for the baggie handed him by the pharmacist. The pharmacist is the real evil-doer here. Somebody send the SWAT team to Walgreens, quick!

    I’m just glad the apellate court did the right thing.

  6. I’m pretty cynical about the government as a rule anyway, but this is just absolutely unbelieveable. Where’s the state bar in all of this?

  7. “Under the law, simply possessing the quantity of pills he had constitutes trafficking.”

    If that is waht the law says it has to be enforced.

    Prosecutors then argued-and the trial court agreed-that the jury was not allowed to consider the fact that O’Hara had a prescription because Florida statutes governing painkillers don’t allow for a “prescription defense,” as if that rather crucial fact were some mere technicality those ACLU-types are always using to get criminals off the hook.

    Agreed, it is a mere tecnicality, nobody needs that much drugs.

    They need to also file charges cause they found him with the weeds. Drug addicts are not allowed painkiller prescriptions by law. I think the purpose of this is to trump up the weed charges. Because of the pot and the past conviction, he needs some good ‘ole fashioned SEVERE PUNISHMENT, including prison and rape in prison, perhaps death for his crimes against society.

    1. Response To Billy Bob Smith: First of all if thats your real name Your parents have a sense of humor. 2nd I know Mark and he is a good person who had sever pain from GOUT which is very painful. He was prescribed this medicine his Doctors Prescribed it and who r u to say how much medication a person should get. He was unjustly sentenced to prison for (25) Yrs, and the jurors who found out later that he possesed them legally were in shock. The prosecuter led them to beleive that he had them off the street. You are so Ignorent its not even funny & on Your remark “Drug addicts are not allowed painkiller prescriptions by law” well pal we dont live in woods over here and that is not a law and 2nd Mark took the Vicoden so he could deliver fresh baked bread every morning to more than 3 dozen business every morning with gout in his leg/foot.Not because he was addict it was for pain. Because of his arrest he lost his business, 3 delivery vans, and 4 people lost jobs. So get it straight Billy and if you ever get in a bad accident or You develope cancer of some kind tell me do you think it would be fair for to pick up your pain med. from a pharmacy and be pulled over then arrested for trafficking drugs because it only takes 4 vicodin to get three years min/man in Florida. & doesnt matter if its in a PRESCRIBED BOTTLE because Florida doesnt have a prescription defense. After re-reading your response I just cant beleive their are people ignorant as you.

  8. While I agree that the whole thing is pretty absurd, can somebody explain why the prosecutors are guilty of misconduct and should resign?

    Prosecutors don’t write the laws, and their job is to represent the wishes of the people in a criminal case against an individual. Well, it seems that the people generally want really harsh drug laws, and unless some ethics rules were broken or what not it’s hard to see what the prosecutors did wrong here.

  9. This is the sort of situation where I would, Honest-to-You-Know-Who, like to see the prosecutor seized in his office on live television and dragged in handcuffs to the state penitentiary, and made to serve the balance of O’Hara’s sentence

  10. Of course the jury would come back with a guilty verdict because they were told, almost flat out, that they could not consider all the things that a reasonable person would have to consider.

    Hi, are you an obedient sheep?
    Yes
    Welcome to the jury!

  11. Radley,

    I think the ‘just world’ scenario would either involve tarring & feathering, pistols at dawn with Mr. O’Hara, or (my favorite,) firing squad.

  12. So long as prosecutors have prosecutorial discretion “I was just enforcing the law.” is even less an excuse than “I was just obeying orders.”

  13. Neidermann,

    The prosecutors are guilty of misconduct because they charged a man with committing a crime (possessing 58 Vicodin) when they knew that no crime had been committed (he had a prescription). The fact that the judge was incompentent enough to exclude that fact from the jury is beside the point, they knowingly prosecuted a man for a non-criminal act. Actually, the judge’s decision probably isn’t beside the point. Whoever presided over that trial certainly deserves to have his job performance closely reviewed as well.

  14. The prosecutors are guilty of misconduct because they charged a man with committing a crime (possessing 58 Vicodin) when they knew that no crime had been committed (he had a prescription).

    It is a crime because Florida law does not allow a ‘Prescription Defense’. It may seem unfair but the fact is he had pot and this was probably a way to increse the charges.

    Regardless if he was innocent, he seems like a low life dirtbag and there needs to be some way to get these types into prison.

  15. Regardless if he was innocent, he seems like a low life dirtbag and there needs to be some way to get these types into prison.

    LOLOLOlOLOLOL. That had me actually laughing out loud.

  16. Regardless if he was innocent, he seems like a low life dirtbag and there needs to be some way to get these types into prison.

    DRINK!
    (is this an appropriate time? I never knew how this game worked…)

  17. So, will Mr. O’Hara be reimbursed by the state for the possessions he had to liquidate? What’s the typical procedure/outcome for something like that?

    While the prosecutors for this case are clearly asshats, so are the jurors.

  18. UCrawford: thanks.

    What I’m still unclear about is this – when it’s said that Florida does not have a “prescription defense” I took it to mean that if you have an excessive amount of the drug in question, the fact that you had a prescription does not get you off the hook. Am I wrong about that?

    Also it’s worth noting that O’Hara is a convicted coke dealer and frankly carrying around 58 vicodins on your person does raise the possibility that he was selling them.

  19. AP: Mayors from Chicago and Tampa met this week to discuss their options for dealing with the onerous “Civil Rights” defence.

  20. VM | July 27, 2007, 10:15am | #

    BITE IT, PROGLIB and JimmyDAGEEK!

    SEE – TAMPA TAMPA TAMPA!!! NOT JUST CHICAGO!!!

    humperdink.

    pttttttfffffffff…..

    That’s just childish and petty, VM. You better send a case of fried haggis to The Urkobold&trade immediately, lest your taint be withered by a pack of rabid squirrel minions.

  21. Prosecutors then argued-and the trial court agreed-that the jury was not allowed to consider the fact that O’Hara had a prescription because Florida statutes governing painkillers don’t allow for a “prescription defense,” as if that rather crucial fact were some mere technicality those ACLU-types are always using to get criminals off the hook.

    Perhaps it is in the article I’m too lazy to read but was the jury unaware he had a prescription or were they aware and told to disreard it as part of their instructions?

  22. “Agreed, it is a mere tecnicality, nobody needs that much drugs.”

    You can get a better deal on prescriptions through your insurance company if you do mail order. Many times, you will get a 90-day supply for the same co-pay one would pay at a regular pharmacy. So, your “nobody needs that much drugs” is somewhat incorrect.

  23. Neidermann,

    Apparently the appeals court said that this wasn’t the case, since they called the prosecution’s reasoning “absurd”. So I take that and the overturned sentence to mean that their tactic was not in compliance with Florida drug law.

    As for his past conviction, it’s irrelevant. He had a prescription for the Vicodin and the prosecution had no proof that he was dealing drugs. The law is designed to prosecute people for crimes we have reasonable proof they committed, not for unsubstantiated suspicions of crimes that it’s possible they committed. Hell, if the cops followed that approach they’d never have cold cases. They could just prosecute whoever they didn’t like in any given week, regardless of whether they had any evidence or not or whether the person was actually guilty or not.

  24. “””Regardless if he was innocent, he seems like a low life dirtbag and there needs to be some way to get these types into prison.”””

    So you want to send people to prison because they seem like a dirt bag? innocent or not?

  25. You know those machines that take old cars and crush them into amusing cubes? We need one of those, but for bad judges/prosecutors/cops. We can call it “The Balkonator.”

  26. DRINK!
    (is this an appropriate time? I never knew how this game worked…)

    Sarcasm and/or parody doesn’t count.

  27. If that’s the case…shouldn’t that big hypocritical idiot blow-hard Rush Limbaugh be doing life in FL as we speak?

  28. Agreed, it is a mere technicality, nobody needs that much drugs.

    How helpful of the good prosecutor to tell Mr. O’Hara how much of his prescription he actually “needs,” seeing as the prosecutor is apparently a qualified pharmacist.

    Oh, wait a sec…

  29. DRINK!
    (is this an appropriate time? I never knew how this game worked…)

    Sarcasm and/or parody doesn’t count.

    Awwwwww 🙁

  30. Neidermann,

    Apparently the appeals court said that this wasn’t the case, since they called the prosecution’s reasoning “absurd”. So I take that and the overturned sentence to mean that their tactic was not in compliance with Florida drug law.

    Sounds like that’s the case, I agree.

    Although I still can’t help but think that I could not legally walk around with 10,000 Vicodin pills in a suitcase just because I found a doctor who would prescribe me that many.

  31. Jurors weren’t told that it is legal to possess the drug with a prescription, which he had.

    Sounds like they weren’t told he had a prescription. Bizarre.The State can prevent a defendant from defending himself.
    That is far worse than instructing the jury to disregard facts not relevant under the law.

  32. VM,

    At least we can eat foie gras here. By the ocean. Mmmm, suffering goose with a side of fresh grouper. I understand that Chicago is banning sausage next.

    If he’s a criminal, then what about the doctor and the pharmacy? This goes all the way to the top of CVS!

  33. “O’Hara is free after an appellate court rightly deemed the trial “absurd” and tossed out the verdict.”

  34. Who is it that gets to determine what sort of defense that you have?
    Is there any limitation to this?
    If there are no limits, why can’t they take away the “I’m not guilty” defense?

    Oh, and as far as how much drugs I need, I think that is between me and my doctor and the Pigs shouldn’t have anything to say about it.

  35. Theresa, some people just don’t do the math. If the guy got a thirty day supply of something he has to take 2x a day, that 60 tablets. Getting a 30 day supply is not uncommon.

    The problem with this situation is the law. They are barred from using the truth (that it’s a prescription) by law. That is unreasonable, but on the books none the less. In reality, if he was trafficking, the doctor should be arrested too. The whole thing is BS. Just another reason not to move to Florida.

  36. Neidermann,

    And if the prosecution had evidence that you were selling those pills illegally, or that the prescription was bogus, or that the doctor was somehow involved in trafficking with you, you’d probably be right. But in this case, the prosecution didn’t have that kind of proof, they frivolously prosecuted this guy for legally having 58 Vicodin because they couldn’t nail him for anything else. And that is abhorrent.

  37. I still can’t help but think that I could not legally walk around with 10,000 Vicodin pills in a suitcase just because I found a doctor who would prescribe me that many.

    The legality of this would be something the jury should decide.

    The problem arose when the prosecutor decided it was his job to decided whether or not the case was legal, then withholding evidence to support his decision.

  38. “…their job is to represent the wishes of the people in a criminal case against an individual.”

    Which people?

    Yeah, that trick always works.

  39. At least we can eat foie gras here. By the ocean. Mmmm, suffering goose with a side of fresh grouper. I understand that Chicago is banning sausage next.

    And, we can also do REAL deep sea fishing, not the lake type!!

  40. joe, was somebody spoofing you in the 10:33 post?

  41. Would they have been allowed to call the prescribing doctor in as a witness and let the jury use their powers of deduction to figure it out?

    This was a prosecutorial hit job because he refused their generous plea bargain.

  42. lunchstealer | July 27, 2007, 11:03am | #

    joe, was somebody spoofing you in the 10:33 post?

    The email used above was joelboyle as opposed to joepboyle…could be a typo, but i assume it was a spoof.

  43. Tampa was also the place where the local DA put up the names of men caught soliciting hookers on billboards. I don’t remember if I saw Dondero up there or not.

  44. I also think it was a spoof, or at the very least just teasing

  45. And, we can also do REAL deep sea fishing, not the lake type!!

    In addition, in South Florida, you can pretty much get away with whatever if you’re not a complete idiot.

    The cops here are probably on twice the drugs you are…

  46. “…their job is to represent the wishes of the people STATE in a criminal case against an individual.”

    fixed

  47. Tampa airport police arrested O’Hara in August 2004 after they found the hydrocodone and a small amount of marijuana in his illegally parked and unattended bread truck.

    Why not use the mj offense as the basis of prosecution?

    Odd.

  48. SIV,

    We the people….

  49. Tampa was also the place where the local DA put up the names of men caught soliciting hookers on billboards.

    Mississippi has mugshot billboards for statutory
    rape offenders. The catchphrase is “15 will get you 20”

  50. Why not use the mj offense as the basis of prosecution?

    Because he didn’t possess enough MJ to be convicted under the distribution statute.

  51. Tampa was also the place where the local DA put up the names of men caught soliciting hookers on billboards.

    This sounds like a very libertarian thing to do.
    Public shame/shunning is supposed to be the preferred tool for behavior the community doesn’t sanction. If you aren’t embarrassed about you solicitation, you won’t care. If you are, then you shouldn’t have been soliciting.

  52. I sorry Mr. DaGeek.

    Have sent canned haggis fritters straight away!

    SIV – so they’re advocating gambling?

    [ducks]

  53. Well, at least the prison administrator behaves like an actual human.

  54. man, it’s like florida’s prosecution system was reading all the wacky totalitarian routines about freeland and interzone in naked lunch and said “hey, this is an awesome idea!”

    the patriot act has that whiff too, not just because of the stupid name.

  55. Why not use the mj offense as the basis of prosecution?

    Because he didn’t possess enough MJ to be convicted under the distribution statute.

    Last I checked, Florida has a mandatory 1 year/$1000 fine for the 1st-Time possession. You’d think these fascists would be happy to settle for that…

  56. At least he was more than six feet away from any nude dancers.

  57. This sounds like a very libertarian thing to do.

    Because clearly libertarians have a complete disregard for privacy rights.

  58. That “prescription defense” concept is strange. I doubt Florida’s murder statute expressly permits an “I wasn’t there” defense to a murder charge, yet defendants are still allowed to use that defense in a murder trial. Unless Florida’s drug statutes expressly *prohibit* “I have a prescription” as a defense the prosecutor’s reasoning, as the appellate court thankfully found, is absurd. Any defense should be permitted unless expressly prohibited by statute.

  59. Actually NM, the “libertarian” thing to do would be to say “who gives a s*** that he solicited a hooker” and move on with your lives.

  60. “Prosecutor Darrell Dirks acknowledged that the state erred in leaving out a jury instruction regarding prescriptions.”

    No, Darrell, “erring” is when you do it unintentionally.

  61. “This sounds like a very libertarian thing to do. ”

    You keep saying that word. It does not mean what you think it means.

  62. Prosecutor Darrell Dirks? Wasn’t he an extra in Boogie Nights?

  63. Inigo Montoya wins the thread!

  64. (except he misquoted it, but meh.. the spirit was there)

  65. 58 Vicodin is NOT a lot. Would be less than 30 supply at 2 a day which is not at all uncommon, in fact below the norm.

  66. Prosecutor Darrell Dirks? Wasn’t he an extra in Boogie Nights?

    No, you’re thinking of Logjammin’

  67. Why not use the mj offense as the basis of prosecution?

    It is a lesser charge, because of his past they want to get him away for good.

    This was a prosecutorial hit job because he refused their generous plea bargain.

    That is the way it is designed to work, a prosecuters job is NOT to get justice, it is to get convictions. You have the right to defend yourself, but the odds are you’ll lose and you best take the plea and give the prosecutor his conviction.

    Who is it that gets to determine what sort of defense that you have?

    The prosecuter instructs the judge.

    Is there any limitation to this?

    No, if a defense is likely to get the defendant off, it can be excluded to assure a conviction. Again, yo should take the pleaa if you are innocent.

    It is not about justice or fairness, it is about a game the lawyrers play to get the most convictions, your defense is to take the plea.

  68. Any defense should be permitted unless expressly prohibited by statute.

    What if the defense will prevent the prosecuter from getting a conviction in a case where the defendant is likely guilty?

  69. 58 Vicodin is NOT a lot.

    I’ll say. Friggin’ cops.

  70. “Last I checked, Florida has a mandatory 1 year/$1000 fine for the 1st-Time possession. You’d think these fascists would be happy to settle for that…”

    Clearly you have not been to prosecutor school. I learned from the best. To get leverage, find ways to increase the sentence range. If they call your bluff, throw the book at ’em. My instructor’s motto: “probation is for the innocent.”

    immoral IMO

  71. Unless your name is Mike Nifong, prosecutors are never held responsible for anything they do. Gee we are really sorry we ruined your life.

  72. Tommy_Grand,

    Are you being snide or is your story true? If true, that’s frickin’ chilling. Authoritarians will be the death of this country.

  73. Really, when you get down to it this case is the fault of the original trial judge for disallowing the prescription defense.

    Which is why we have appeals.

  74. nobody needs that much drugs.

    Try breaking your leg and then tell me you don’t need that many pills.

  75. “probation is for the innocent”

    About sums up every prosecutor I’ve met. I put them next to John Edwards-style ambulance chasers on the list of really shitty things to do with your life.

  76. Regardless if he was innocent, he seems like a low life dirtbag and there needs to be some way to get these types into prison.

    This kind of statement seems a little too extreme, even for joe. Is this someone imitating joe? Or is this satire that went over my head?

  77. I have migraines and carry pain meds for emergencies. My mother is from that state but doubt I will ever vacation there again.

  78. NEVER, ever, consent to a search of your person, vehicle or property. Never. Not even if you “know” you’ve done nothing wrong.

    Make the police work for every injustice they try. Remember Officer Friendly, isn’t.

  79. “probation is for the innocent”

    Chilling indeed. Every prosecutor I’ve ever dealt with (and it’s been a few >:-0 ) has been a fucking asshole without a shred of decency or pity. I even had one bring up an erased conviction even though it was supposed to be, well, erased.

    I have also noticed frequent Napolean complexes in prosecutors (male ones, anyway).

  80. What if the defense will prevent the prosecuter from getting a conviction in a case where the defendant is likely guilty?

    Who the fuck cares?

  81. You can tell that the folks who wrote the law know how awesome a Vicodin buzz can be.

  82. I’m pretty sure that was a Joe imposter, but he has yet to respond. Joe?

  83. MP, Reinmoose, Inigo,

    I am not talking about whether or not soliciting a hooker should be sanctioned by the community or not, just what kinds of sanctions the community should use.

    Compare and contrast publicizing those who break community taboo, to locking them up.

    Which is the more libertarian choice?

  84. Prosecutors then argued-and the trial court agreed-that the jury was not allowed to consider the fact that O’Hara had a prescription because Florida statutes governing painkillers don’t allow for a “prescription defense,”

    HOW is that even LEGAL? Seriously: that’s like saying if I’m on trial for murder because I shot a would-be rapist who broke into my home at three a.m., state statutes don’t allow for a “self-defense defense.”

    How is it legal to make a law stating “you can’t mention TRUE FACTS in a criminal trial?” What. The. Fuck?!

  85. Jennifer,

    I assume it’s because they want to be able to prosecute someone with an out-of-state presciption for medical MJ.

  86. A CATO discussion on the utility of shaming.

    http://www.cato.org/dailys/02-16-00.html

  87. That’s just weird.

    Is it possible, Mr. Balko, that you’re leaving out part of the story?

  88. Yes, that was a spoof joe at 10:33. It sounded like Juanita.

  89. Well, if O’Hara is freed that could affect the price of Vicodin in neighboring Georgia because O’Hara is likely to travel to Georgia and while he is there he won’t buy any Vicodin because he already has a substantial stash. The commerce clause clearly allows the government to intervene here.

    I have no idea what I just said, but the conclusion is valid; the commerce clause clearly allows the government to rule here.

  90. MP, Reinmoose, Inigo,

    Please couch your response in terms of the non-aggression principles central to libertarian thought on justice.

  91. Really, when you get down to it this case is the fault of the original trial judge for disallowing the prescription defense.

    Which is why we have appeals.

    All well and good, except for a mostly innocent person sitting in the clink while the slow-ass appeals process grinds.

    Maybe the judges and prosecutors need some skin in the game. Judicial and Prosecutorial malfeasance that results in deprivation of liberty should be a criminal offense.

  92. Neu Mejican, there is a huge difference between individuals in a community deciding that certain behaviors are shameful, versus the government making that decision.

    Embrace this difference. Learn to recognize it.

  93. Community law X is broken.

    Choice. a) Put law breaker in prison or b) publicize that they broke the law.

    Which is a greater threat to liberty? a or b?

    Choice c, of course, is to repeal law X…but that just avoids the question.

  94. Which is a greater threat to liberty? a or b?

    That would be “D,” the Dolt who thinks that since choice B is less odious than choice A, that means choice B exemplifies the Libertarian Way.

  95. Jennifer,

    Learn to recognize when your points are vacuous.

    “…government of the people, by the people, for the people…”

  96. >

    I know. For me thats just Saturday Night.

  97. What about the “that wasn’t me” defense? Or the “those aren’t Vicodin” defense?

  98. Learn to recognize when your points are vacuous. “…government of the people, by the people, for the people…”

    Learn to recognize when pretty phrases don’t accurately reflect reality.

  99. The State, that is the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly, also, it lies, and the lie that creeps from its mouth is this: “I, the State, am the People.”

    — Friedrich Nietzsche

  100. Jennifer,

    Ha.

    Did you just claim access to an accurate view of reality?

  101. Nietzche’s very eloquent.

    The state, however, is a process of human interaction, not an anthropomorphic entity.

  102. By the way Jennifer,

    Choices d-n are also avoiding the question.

  103. Actually, a prosecutor’s job IS to get justice, not simply get convictions by any means. It is one of the few jobs a lawyer can do where they have to consider more than winning for their client and the basic rules of ethics.

    Furthermore, all lawyers have an ethical duty to not make a claim when they know it has no basis in fact. (you can stop laughing now, I’m actually being serious) In addition matters of professional ethics and integrity, simple human decency requires that a prosecutor forgo a charge of intent to distribute when they know damn well that there was no intent to distribute.

  104. The state, however, is a process of human interaction, not an anthropomorphic entity.

    Then you of course realize that the word people in “…government of the people, by the people, for the people…” refers to three different and only mildly intersecting sets of people.

  105. I hope someone kills the prosecutor. Is it ok to say that?

  106. Neu Mejican, I am pointing out that your false dichotomy is, in fact, false. First you’re saying that the government shaming people out of behaviors it doesn’t like is no different from the ideal libertarian solution of the community spontaneously using shame to convince people to avoid certain behaviors; then you pretended that the lesser of two government evils must be synonymous with the libertarian ideal. No: the lesser of two evils is still evil.

  107. This case is so bogus on its face, I can’t believe it could have been honestly brought. Both the DA and judge must have criminal motives that haven’t come to light yet.

    This illustrates why victims desperately need the power to prosecute crimes themselves. Those two scum-with-badges, and plenty more like them, will continue persecuting innocent people until somebody is allowed to prosecute them.

  108. The state, however, is a process of human interaction, not an anthropomorphic entity.

    Actually, I’d call it an “anthropophagic entity”.

  109. This sounds like a very libertarian thing to do.

    Not if it’s done by government officials.

  110. bigbigslacker | July 27, 2007, 1:06pm | #

    I hope someone kills the prosecutor. Is it ok to say that?

    I think it is. Either way, I’ll be joining a group of cyclists in Tampa tonight. Maybe if we spot him we can all shove our d?railleurs up his ass…

  111. 58 Vicodin is NOT a lot. Would be less than 30 supply at 2 a day which is not at all uncommon, in fact below the norm.

    I’ll second this.

    Post knee surgery, I had my Hyrdocodone (which pills with me. I was taking 1-2 pills every 4-6 hours and I was explicitly instructed not to tough it out, because if the pain gets out of control it will be that much harder to get it back under control.

    2 pills every 6 hours (lets assume the max) would be 8 pills a day. One week alone would be 56 pills. Even in smaller doses, 1 pill a day every 6 hours — 58 pills would would be 15 days worth of dosage.

    Granted the dosages could be different, but either way, that is still not excessive.

  112. I seem to remember something about …
    our system of law not utilizing cruel or
    unusual punishment.. How can our famous actors, actresses, and politicians sons go free, or hit rehab, yet this man has 25 years of jail.. What about Rush Limbaugh?

  113. Good thing Mr O’hara wasn’t caught cuffin’ his carrot, as well. Good bye, daylight.

  114. ITT

    I agree with MikeP!

  115. Mark A. Ober is the State Attorney for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida. He was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Florida in 1973. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from the South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1977, when he began a career as an assistant state attorney. In that capacity, he worked his way through the ranks to become Felony Bureau Chief, Chief of the Major Crimes Division, Chief of the Career Criminal Division and Chief of the Homicide Division.

    Mr. Ober entered private practice in 1987 and specialized in criminal defense law until his election to the office of State Attorney in November 2000, by the largest margin seen in over a decade for that office. He is recognized in the legal community as a top criminal attorney, having personally chaired over 250 criminal jury trials, including over 40 first degree murder convictions.

  116. The prosecution should be allowed to spend no more on a case than the defendant spends on defense. The prosecutor should be allowed to put no more atty-hours in on a case than the defendant puts in on defense.

    That would not solve just this case. Rather, this proposal would solve the rampant, systemic injustice that will just pop up in another part of the system even if they did fix the pill law.

    Prosecutors will start having discretion when we incentivize them in that matter. By giving defendant’s better lawyers we incentivize prosecutors to drop the stoopid cases (like this one), and to focus more on the one where defense lawyers will not help.

    The problem isn’t prosecutorial discretion. Rather it is imbalance in the socialized funding of legal services. Prosecutors get my tax money. Defense lawyers much less so.

  117. OBER. OBER. ISN’T THAT WHAT THE URKOBOLD’S GOOD FRIEND DARTH VADER IS ALWAYS SAYING?

    OBER. OBER.

  118. The fact that the light was green is no “defense” against your ticket for not having stopped at the intersection, I guess. The fact of your having a license is no defense against the charge of your having practiced medicine. The fact that you live there is no defense against a trespassing charge.

    It’s easy when you have to prove only one fact. They went thru the intersection without stopping, practiced medicine, and were on the premises.

  119. MikeP,

    Yes. Although I would disagree with the characterization of the intersection as “only mildly.”

    Jennifer.
    The false dichotomy you are pointing out exists only in your interpretation of what I wrote.

    I never suggested the black and white reading you seem to have made of my comment.

    I am not pretending anything about “ideal” or “synonymous” in my comment. Simply that publicizing rather than prison is the more libertarian choice. A libertarian minded government that chose a over b would be acting in a way closer to the libertarian ideal…not, as in all things in the world, perfectly in line with that ideal.

  120. Jennifer,

    Here is where the conflict between what I said and what you read occurs…

    First you’re saying that the government shaming people out of behaviors it doesn’t like is no different from the ideal libertarian solution of the community spontaneously using shame

    I never said there was no difference between the two situations. My comments were restricted to characterizing the governments actions in contrast to other actions by the government.

  121. Prosecutors in this country are in need of a serious legal smack down. It needs to be made clear their job is to see that the truth comes out so that justice can be done, not to get convictions.

  122. Perhaps if a prosecutors “success”, reputation and advancement were calculated by how FEW innocents they’ve sent to jail.

  123. And Jennifer,

    I would like to point out the community spontaneously using shame might involve banding together to buy a billboard. One possible mechanism for this community action might be referred to as…the government.

    Others exist, of course.
    Government is in a very real sense just a formalized incidence of spontaneous community actions.

  124. Jennifer,

    What does this mean?

    the government shaming people out of behaviors it doesn’t like

    When you use the term government here, how is it distinct from “community” used later in your statement?

    Governments don’t “like” or “dislike” things.

    The need for an anthropomorphic characterization of government seriously confuses discussions of policy.

  125. When you use the term government here, how is it distinct from “community” used later in your statement?

    The government has the power to confiscate your property, put you in jail or even kill you, if it wants. The community does not.

  126. On to an even more obtuse tangent of the “community/government” dichotomy…

    Compare and contrast–

    Individuals have the right to assemble.
    Members of a community have the right to assemble.
    Communities have the right to assemble.
    Government cannot restrict the right of assembly.

    What relationship to the community does this imply for government?

    At this point I am just avoiding work, of course.

  127. The need for an anthropomorphic characterization of government seriously confuses discussions of policy.

    Only if you focus on semantics rather than reality. If I say “The government dislikes cocaine users so much it imprisons them,” nothing is clarified or accomplished by you saying “The government doesn’t ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ things.” Unless you think changing the subject is an accomplishment.

  128. Jennifer,

    The government has the power to confiscate your property, put you in jail or even kill you, if it wants. The community does not.

    A long history of lynchings in the US would say that you are wrong on this point.

  129. semantics rather than reality

    Semantics = meaning

    Focusing on the meaning of propositions is essential for clear discussion of policy issues.

  130. I believe, Jennifer, that our main disagreement is about where the source of government power lies/ flows from.

  131. I was on Vicodon when I got out of the hospital. 58 tablets is a couple of weeks’ supply for a chronic pain patient on only a moderate amount, which is hardly that unreasonable of an amount to have. Hell, I had almost that many on me at one point when I left my pills at my dad’s so I had to get my refill early. I guess I’m a drug dealer!

  132. Jennifer,

    To wit:

    If I say “The government dislikes cocaine users so much it imprisons them,” nothing is clarified

    Let me clarify… The government does not like or dislike things. Rather, the community develops a process by which members who use cocaine can be imprisoned. The community designates certain individuals to carry out that process, and others to oversee that process to assure that it is in line with the wishes of the community members. When these agents of the community (aka government officials) act in opposition to the wishes of the community, it can withdraw that agent from service and replace with another with a better understanding of the process the community has developed.

    Semantics.

  133. It is because this process of designating agents to carry out the wishes of the community members in reality gives those agents power over other members of the community, that the government agents role needs to be specified and limited, with clear procedures for taking away that power when it is abused.


  134. What if the defense will prevent the prosecutor from getting a conviction in a case where the defendant is likely guilty?

    Why is the prosecutor bringing a case that’s so weak they can’t break the defense? “Likely” isn’t good enough. If, for example, the defendant claims “I wasn’t there and have witnesses to prove it”, prove the witnesses are lying or set the defendant free. The prosecutor’s “gut instincts” about the issue are irrelevant and prejudicial.

    By the way, no criminal statute permits an “I wasn’t there” defense. That’s because it’s assumed that a defendant may present any material fact in defense of the charges. Since the law can’t know in advance what facts may be material, it doesn’t say what facts may be presented in defense. If mere possession of a substance is a crime, a license to possess it e.g. a prescription would seem to be a material fact, would it not? That’s why this prosecutor’s conduct is so reprehensible; he tried to keep material facts from the jury.

  135. One option that a community might use to limit the power than government agents have over community members is to develop a process whereby crimes are punished not with prison, but with a public shaming… using, let’s say, a billboard that simply identifies members acting in a way that goes against standards the community has agreed upon and formalized at some previous point in its history.

    This mechanism will automatically adjust to community standards as behaviors that are codified, but no longer important to the community will not result in negative consequences for the individual.

    I am, of course, speaking very schematically here.

  136. “The state, however, is a process of human interaction, not an anthropomorphic entity.”

    Can you prove that?

    Seriously though, in criminal law there are Statutory Defenses to many crimes (such as self-defense). Statutory Defenses have specific requirements for exculpation. I realize this is semantic, but it is not considered a Defense (big D) to say “It wasn’t me.” The state has the burden to prove it was you; that fact is an element of the offense. If they fail to prove it, you walk. You are not required to disprove it (often a logical impossibility). An ‘Affirmative Defense’ is something which (if you can prove it) exculpates you even though the state successfully proved each element of the offense as defined under the relevant penal code.

    So, anyway, there is a difference in this context between what people usually mean by “defense” and statutory Defense.

  137. Except for a few comments, it doesn’t seem to be recognized that it’s also (1) the voting public who select legislators who (2) enact laws like this who have a significant share in the blame also. Everyone in Florida who wanted “tough on crime” legislators/governors, judges and prosecutors who won’t let criminals “get off on technicalities” and voted accordingly has a share of responsibility.

  138. If mere possession of a substance is a crime, a license to possess it e.g. a prescription would seem to be a material fact, would it not? That’s why this prosecutor’s conduct is so reprehensible; he tried to keep material facts from the jury.

    What do we do in cases where the material fact will prevent the government from getting the conviction. Sometimes the prosecuter may not be able to prove guilt but the ‘feel’ that the defendant is guilty so they need to be able to exclude facts to get the case.

  139. Also, what do we do in the cas of someone who isn’t guilty of anything, but they are just a dirtbag who belongs in prison? The prosecutor needs some way of getting these convictions. If you are innocent, take the plea.

  140. The community designates certain individuals to carry out that process, and others to oversee that process to assure that it is in line with the wishes of the community members.

    All you are doing is defining “community” as “those members of the community who direct and/or support the government”.

    In effect, you are defining away the elements of “community” that distinguish it from “government” in the eyes of libertarians.

    Semantics.

  141. It’s a shame that ALL lawyers (prosecuting or defense) and judges can’t be held to the same accountability that we hold Doctors to. But it’s not surprising since the lawyers are usually the ones who end up being elected to public office and making the laws regarding the conduct of their own profession. Maybe we should just have a “lawyer season” for 1 or 2 weeks every year to thin the herd. I’d vote for it.

  142. What do you expect for a state that decided Bush was our president??????

  143. Mother Farker,

    Hey, now. There were other states that voted Bush. Just ’cause it was close here doesn’t make Florida responsible.

  144. 58 pills? Hell, I was prescribed 24 of vicodin then told to follow up in two days for a minor back injury, much less long term treatment.

  145. I like how all the ACLU types (read communists) think laws like this are just fine and acceptable when people like Rush Limbaugh are having legal issues..

    But the moment it might hurt somebody who shares their world view, it becomes “bad” and “wrong”.

  146. Ted R-The ACLU filed a “friend-of-court” motion on Rush Limbaugh’s behalf. You moron.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,108140,00.html

  147. “I like how all the ACLU types (read communists) think laws like this are just fine and acceptable when people like Rush Limbaugh are having legal issues..”

    Not being an ACLU type (read communist) myself…I think it’s ALL ridiculous. But Rush’s problem is hypocrisy which I’m sure is why people (including myself) gloated over his being publicly revealed for the hypocrite he is. If he were NOT a hypocrite…he should have held up his hand with it’s formerly nicotine stained fingers and demanded to be locked away for life or executed as he has publicly said on his radio show should happen to drug users and addicts. ; )

  148. The court’s opinion is online. The real facts are even more bizarre than they first appear. Florida explicitly has a prescription defense, set forth in the possession section. The State argued that while this applied to those charged with possession, it didn’t apply to possessing trafficable quantities. That is what the Court says was absurd. Because it is.

    What’s even worse is the way Florida defines trafficable quantities. The quantity of the controlled substance is deemed to be the total weight of the pill, so you combine the 5 mg of hydrocodone with the 500 mg of acetaminophen in the Vicodin for a total of 505 mg per pill. So O’Hara didn’t need to have 58 pills to face 25 years. He only needed 8.

  149. I see. I typically get a 2 month prescription for amphetamine (aka Adderall) for ADD.

    Does this mean I can be arrested and convicted on drug charges in Florida for my perfectly legitimate medical prescription too.

    To the morons who think the DA did an OK thing, just wait until it’s *your meds*.

    Further the DA has plenty of discretion on who they prosecute and what charges they file. They ARE NOT EXCUSED from responsibility simply “because the law says so”. There are plenty of laws on the books that aren’t routinely enforced simply because the prosecutor decides not to.

  150. MikeP,

    All you are doing is defining “community” as “those members of the community who direct and/or support the government”.

    I don’t think a was careful enough in my definition of community to have done this, but I believe it would be more accurate to say “those members of the community with the right to direct and/or support the government.” Disengagement is always an option, of course, but disengagement does not negate your right to participate in the process when it impacts your life.

    In effect, you are defining away the elements of “community” that distinguish it from “government” in the eyes of libertarians.

    Could you be more specific?

    I am saying that government and community are entities of a different order… communities are groups of people (defining membership is, of course the tricky part), governments are (something like) formalized interactions of community members within their realm of influence.

  151. A sloppy analogy:

    Community = people who speak English.

    Government = grammar of English.

    Maybe not so sloppy, actually.

  152. Charge him for the pot. The rest is just bullsh-t. Florida can’t get wiped out by a tsunami fast enough.

  153. “Again, yo should take the pleaa if you are innocent.”

    Now that is downright scary. Let’s say, for example, someone who I happen to hate does something stupid like sticks a fork in an electric socket and dies. I am at the time at a dinner party. My GF, several friends, the waiter, and since I happen to have paid my signature and the date and time on the bill (I paid by credit card) all prove that I was there. In fact, I am even visible on the restaurant’s security video. But for some reason I end up charged with the crime. It’s a murder, so the plea bargain deal is 25 years instead of life. I should spend 25 years in prison for a crime of which I am absolutely innocent? What kind of thinking is that?

  154. if the guy did not carry all of the pills in the pill bottle but rather in a baggy they would have said that he was selling pills. If they would have taken the bottle and there were only two and the rest were at his house, they would have claimed he sold them. the fact is these prosecuters jump at any chance to flex their little muscles and are corrupt. if this guy was a wealthy person he would not have faced this rap. Our legal system is corrupt and its based on money. Two guys get a DUI. One cannot afford an attorney and he gets pegged. The other can afford the best attorney and gets wreckless driving. One is just as guilty as the other however money gets the affluent guy off. This is corruption in my opinion

  155. Disengagement is always an option, of course, but disengagement does not negate your right to participate in the process when it impacts your life.

    I vote in every election I can. No candidate I have ever voted for has ever won office. In what sense can you say I am part of the community that, in your words, “designates certain individuals to carry out that process, and others to oversee that process to assure that it is in line with the wishes of the community members”?

  156. So, possession of 58 Vicodin is illegal?

    Why haven’t the police arrested every pharmacist and drug supplier in the state? On top of that, they can then get the prescription records, and arrest every citizen in the state who has a current prescription.

  157. MikeP,

    You participated in the process that the community designed to make that decision, so you are part of the community. Or do you somehow think that the factions within a community that disagree cease to be members of that community?

    That wouldn’t make sense to me.

  158. That’s why this prosecutor’s conduct is so reprehensible; he tried to keep material facts from the jury.

    I understand the prosecutors motivation, but why did a judge allow this? Prosecutors don’t get to hide facts, they need the judge to agree to hide them.

    What do we do in cases where the material fact will prevent the government from getting the conviction. Sometimes the prosecuter may not be able to prove guilt but the ‘feel’ that the defendant is guilty so they need to be able to exclude facts to get the case.

    So you want a system where guilt doesn’t have to be proven and people are convicted not based on facts and data but rather on the feelings of politically motivated prosecutors (like NC’s Nifong)?

    I would rather live in a system where it’s more likely that the guilty go free rather than one where it’s more likely that innocents rot in jail

    Also, what do we do in the cas of someone who isn’t guilty of anything, but they are just a dirtbag who belongs in prison? The prosecutor needs some way of getting these convictions. If you are innocent, take the plea.

    Uhmm…we do nothing? If this “dirtbag” who “belongs in prison” did nothing, what makes him a dirt bag and why does he belong in prison?

    What kind of stupid fucking questions are these?

    Or is my sarcasm meter out of whack?

  159. MikeP,

    I hear that argument frequently on these boards.

    It is, in my view, an empty argument.

    The question of consent of the individual regarding community level actions is more complicated than the argument implies, it seems to me. Your individual rights help to define the allowable actions the community can take interactions with you. Your membership in the community gives you additional rights beyond those that are basic to all humans. It doesn’t however, give you veto rights over the results of the process that has been set up for decision making (beyond those veto rights that are basic to all humans).

  160. This is why I could never serve on a jury. I believe in jury nullification, and would literally never convict someone under conditions like this.

    If you think that I would be going beyond what a juror is supposed to do, I recommend reading up on your civic rights. The jury members who sent this man away, in my opinion, have a non-trivial share of the blame for this needless waste of my countries resources.

  161. Ray Nifong isn’t doing anything at the moment. Maybe he can get new charges brought against this guy.

  162. CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS?? MAN, I JUST CHECKED MY KIDS LITHIUM SCRIPT’ SAYS SHE GETS 120 TABS PER RE-FILL. I GUESS THAT BOTTLE SHOULD BE LOCKED AWAY FROM SITE, HUH?

  163. Neu Mejican,

    This all started because Jennifer — rightfully — distinguished the actions of individuals in a community from the actions of agents of a government. You went on to conflate community and government. You are still conflating them, citing the less interesting dichotomy of which are voters and which are agents.

    Let’s say that some members of the community buy a billboard and, every month, go down to the courthouse, run through the public record of convictions and find the ten they most dislike, and posts those people’s names and their crimes on the billboard.

    Now let’s say that the city government finds this a disgusting practice and makes it illegal.

    Who is community? Who is government? Why do you seem to be unable to view government and community as potentially at odds?

  164. nobody needs that much drugs.

    Try breaking your leg and then tell me you don’t need that many pills.

    I have experience in this area. I broke my ankle heroically [sarcasm/] pulling a child from my swimming pool in February.

    Got three prescriptions for hydrocodone, the same drug as Mr. O’Hara. That would be 90 of them. Took every one of ’em, too.

  165. you bunch of pussys , a convicted coke dealer from 20 plus years ago who has a script for vico’s , no matter how many , shouldnt be put in prison for this . they forgot to mention this guy is in a fuking wheel chair also …and 58 pills is intent to sell !?!?!? most docs give you a script for the month …i have friends with serious back injurys who get 120 pills a month . and vicoden is a weak ass drug to begin with …you fuking make me sick bjtches !!

  166. Oh, and I checked the Florida DOC website. O’Hara did 21 months for this before his appeal was successful.

  167. Why isn’t Florida raiding pharmacies all across the State?

    If mere possession is enough, and a prescription defence is not allowed… why aren’t Pharmacists looking at some convict-cuddling time in the pokey?

    Also, why not sent in drug-sniffing dogs into the area Hospitals? Taser a few of them surgeons who won’t drop the scalpel in time… best part is, cops won’t need to plant evidence if they shoot someone.

  168. Just more proof that Florida is a complete joke. The state is pathetic, the government there (from the troopers to the governor) are completely worthless.
    Too bad that 90% of the voters are over 65 and don’t care what happens as long as they get their Social Security check.

    Florida is a nursing home that has an infestation of citizens under 60.

  169. You guys wanna come on over to Texas? Our cops rip off the front license plate of cars to manufacture “probable cause” in order to stop someone. And DEFEND the practise as good police work.
    Some day, this country is going to wake up from it’s stuper, and demand accountability in its leaders. And its laws. If it isn’t some assinine arrest like this (and how does this guy get his life back after all this?), its emminent domain stealing our property so it can be handed over to Wal Mart.
    What will it take for people to understand that the “system is broken”. The question is what does it take to fix it?

  170. Doctors could make some easy money from the Crimestoppers program, where they pay people for tips that lead to convictions.

    Step 1: Doctor prescribes medication.

    Step 2: Doctor phones in a tip to Crimestoppers that addict is going to for a buy.

    Step 3: Doctor gets free money for successful conviction of drug dealer

    Step 4: Youtube videos of wheelchair bound patient in pain being tasered and pepper-sprayed by police during prescription raid are posted.

  171. MikeP,

    You went on to conflate community and government. You are still conflating them, citing the less interesting dichotomy of which are voters and which are agents.

    Actually I specifically de-conflated government and community by specifying that they are of different types. Of course the process that a community sets up can be at odds with its wishes. Most processes are imperfect. The problem in thinking is one in which you treat the government as if it were a community at odds with the larger community, rather than a process undertaken by the larger community, implemented by a subset of its members.

    The community of agents within the government may have interests at odds with the larger community, but the government itself, i.e., the formalized process, does not have interests, as such. The larger community which sets up that process and empowers the sub-community of government agents has an interest in setting boundaries for those agents…it does this be making changes to the process, and replacing agents that act in cross purpose to the goals of the community served by the process.

  172. MikeP,

    In other words, the dichotomy between government and the community is not well constructed. The relationship is more of a meronymy.

  173. MikeP,

    Or maybe, metonymy, maybe. But that doesn’t ring quite right.

  174. The appellate court does a nice job on the opinion. Thanks for posting the link. Sucks for that dude who did 21 months….and still faces retrial.

  175. May I ask a question? Were the vicodin in prescription bottle? If not, that is where the original charges stemmed from. I am not familiar with Florida law, but that could be either a misdemeanor (valid Rx) or a felony (no valid Rx) in Georgia. Sonce the pills fetch about $5.00 per on the street. The charges my be worth pursuing.

  176. Okay, Neu Mejican,

    How about using “individuals in a community” in place of “community”?

    Anything to avoid the monolithic nature you are according to community…

  177. Nietzche’s very eloquent.

    The state, however, is a process of human interaction, not an anthropomorphic entity.Neu Mejican

    Well said, to a point. We are not Marxists, saying that history is governed by unstoppable forces. History, at least at times, takes its cue from individuals.

    One man conceived and lobbied for the original drug war resulting in the Harrison Act.

    Woodrow Wilson was a egotistical, self righteous Anglophile A**hole who created the conditions for the 20 centuries bloodbaths.

    But the institution of the state, qua state, sets limits to its existence that in themselves validate Nietzsche.

    As a monopoly power over a given geographical area claiming the right to raise revenues for its monopoly on the justifiable use of force, it is bound by the rules of a public monopoly, and cannot escape being the coldest of cold entities, all the while claiming to be a benevolent member of the community.

  178. MikeP,

    How about using “individuals in a community” in place of “community”?

    That makes sense in some situations.

    If we go back to the comment which started all of this, however, that was not my point. I was referring to how a particular decision by a particular community to use a particular government response (publicizing) to a particular type of behavior was more libertarian than a different government response (e.g., prison). In this context, discussions about the actions of individual community members isn’t really cogent, imho.

    This doesn’t mean that there aren’t even better solutions along the continuum towards “True Liberty,” just that one type of government actions is better than another. The comment was about how a community had decided to structure their government as compared to another specified option.

    Somehow, this was taken to mean that I didn’t understand the distinctions that have been brought up. Instead, I reject them as ill formed propositions based on applying my comment to a context beyond that of which it was meant to apply.

    My fault of course, since I did not elaborate beyond two quick sentences.

    Jennifer’s response, however, remained vacuous nonetheless.

    The phrase, “…of the people, by the people, for the people…” does a better job of characterizing the meronymy involved, in my view. Setting up some anthropomorphic battle of wills between the community and the government doesn’t move the policy debate towards better solutions.

  179. Billy Bob Smith, only dumb rednecks think like you. Luckily you people have a low enough IQ that you’re not a true threat. Which is also the reason why you redneck simpletons are the only dipshits left who still support Bushco. Stick to what you morons are good at: watching Blue Collar comedy, talk NASCAR, and bang anyone in your bloodline. Leave the serious debates to those of us who actually use our brains.

  180. libertree,

    I don’t, I think, disagree with anything you say in your comments (even if they endorse, tacitly, the anthropomorphic view of government having a personality).

    Although, your examples would not have come about without the sanctioning, at some level, of the larger community (either through apathy or direct endorsement).

  181. I’m a criminal defense lawyer and I didn’t believe this story could possibly be accurate, it’s worse than Richard Paey, there’s just no way they would put someone KNOWN to have a legit prescription in prison for an hour. I checked out the appellate court decision on Westlaw and sure enough, this is really what happened. These prosecutors should all be disbarred IMMEDIATELY and thrown in prison for blatant criminal civil rights violations. Most disgusting thing I’ve ever read in my entire life. I’m literally sick. And I guarantee you ever one of these prosecutors has had a Rx for over 10 vicodin (enough to equal “trafficking” under FL law) in their miserable lives, so they should all be held in contempt for a 25 year mandatory minimum.

  182. Damn hippy druggie… Doesnt he know he should just suck up the pain? Don’t need no stickin hippy Vics. haha.
    What a waste of time and money, poor guy. At least they threw it out.

  183. MikeP,

    Anything to avoid the monolithic nature you are according to community…

    What about avoiding the monolithic nature you are according to government?

    The acts of these individual agents of the government do not, by your logic, represent the will of the government any more than they represent the will of the larger community.

    If you want to maintain your dichotomy between community and government, you can’t fractionalize one and not the other.

  184. NNNIIIIIIIIIIIIIII-FFFFFFFOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNG!!!

    (Sorry we are so late to this thread.)

    I hope someone kills the prosecutor. Is it ok to say that?

    No, no, no, no, no. That would be very naughty.

    And it would be a shame if the bottom of the prosecutor’s bathtub were to somehow become coated with a very slippery substance, like soap or shampoo or baby oil. Let’s all hope this doesn’t happen.

  185. What about avoiding the monolithic nature you are according to government?

    Fair enough. The government is a collection of individuals. Some agents of the government are good natured and act as well as they can in the public interest. Some are outright thugs who under color of authority take the power of the government to mandate, imprison, or kill in the name of the people to the worst possible ends.

    Yeah. That’s a workable definition of government.

  186. Another Government Employee-Why would it matter what container the pills were in? You mean having Vicodin in a prescription bottle is legal, but if you throw away the bottle and put them in a baggie, it becomes a crime? WTF?

  187. While I wouldn’t do anything to the prosecutor, I might hesitate a moment if I saw him about to step into the path of a speeding tractor-trailer.

    “Uh….er…”

    SPLAT! [Squishing sound as 18 wheels roll through the goo.]

    “..watch out, sir.”

    “Oops. Too late.”

  188. Geotpf,

    Don’t you know? You can buy those SMTWTFS boxes only in head shops now.

  189. MikeP,

    Now we are closer to agreement.

  190. He should have used the Rush Limbaugh defense.
    He has a boil on his a$$!

  191. And MikeP,

    That is why I was advocating that the government not be given the right to imprison someone for a non-violent act that the community (for some unknown reason) feels it would prefer its members not engage in.

    If the worst thing the government agents can do in that circumstance is put you on a billboard, then they have less ability to abuse their power. It also, as I said earlier, automatically adjusts the sanction to fit the priorities of the community. If the individual community members don’t care what you did, then the billboard won’t be much of a sanction. If you don’t care what the community members think, again, not much of a sanction.

  192. in the above comment, “government” is metonymy for “agents of the community empowered to carry out the processes of government…”

    ;^)

  193. Neu Mejican,

    While your proposal sounds at first like it may be workable, one should consider the second-order consequences. In particular, if it is perceived to be easier and less painful to punish those who deviate from the standards of the community, then more deviations from the standards of the community will be turned into crimes.

    Paging Hester Prynne… Hester Prynne… you have a call on the scarlet courtesy phone…

  194. MikeP,

    If taken to the extreme all proposals breakdown.

    The devil is always in the details.

  195. A portion of the continuum of justice from HS literature…

    Man in the Iron Mask
    Scarlett Letter

    If I had to choose, I would pick Hester’s punishment, and move to a new community.

  196. The son of a bitch who prosecuted this case should be disbarred.

  197. What is so amazing about this case is that they actually considered 58 Vicodin to be an excessive amount. Vicodin (and most drugs containing hydrocodone) are fairly weak painkillers, as far as narcotics go. That amount of pills would barely last the guy 2 weeks, assuming the prescription instructed him to take a pill every 6 hours, which is generally most common with Vicodin.

  198. Oh the land of the free.
    And the home of the brave…

    Yet another abuse of the system.

    Act now!
    Stop this blatant rape of our freedom!

  199. MikeP,

    In particular, if it is perceived to be easier and less painful to punish those who deviate from the standards of the community, then more deviations from the standards of the community will be turned into crimes.

    Of course, because these punishment are less onerous, it will matter less whether something is considered a crime of this type. Over use of these kinds of punishments will only diminish there impact.

  200. The only difference between this and an average case before the American miscarriage of justice system is that this miscarriage of justice was eventually SOMEWHAT rectified. Think about this judge’s and these prosecutors’ hundreds/thousands of other cases.

    But what do you expect from a society that has the highest total AND per capita prison population in the entire world? Freedom? Civil liberties? Hahaha.

  201. To Billy Bob. The law cannot rightfully define one as a drug addict. I went to rehab and was in N.A. as well as A.A. and was still prescribed vicodin after my cesarean. Be informed that my doctor was aware of my history with drugs. They need to figure out a way to work around that law because I take a medicine for A.D.D which is an amphetamine, my doctor writes the prescription for 30 pills for 30 days but I don’t take it everyday and I have to pick up my new prescription within 7 days or they have to by law get rid of it. So should I be locked away for having extra pills around?

  202. Drug dealers should be punished to fullest extent of the law. I addition, I support stronger measures, including mandatory life sentences for recidivism…
    That said, as citizens of a democratic, free thinking society, stories of officer and judicial abuse such as these should horrify us all. Legal technicalities used as weapons of retribution and revenge towards citizens are the tools of oligarchies and despots.
    The waste of taxpayer resources alone constitutes a maleficence that demands explanation…..

  203. damn happy I don’t live in Florida. I’ve been rx’d 180 vicodin xs at a time, and stronger. Ridiculous.

  204. Jury nullification should have been applied. Of course the judge and prosecutor are going to say they have no choice. When a jury has no choice, it is no longer a jury.

  205. He sold two condos, his car and his bread business to pay for the appeal. But the state took the proceeds, according to family friend Eric Mastro, to pay toward the $500,000 fine that came with his conviction.

  206. This drug dealing scum of a GUY O’hara is a convicted DRUG DEALER. And the doctor testified only that he at one time HAD a prescription for vicodin. in 1981 and 1982, he served eight months of a one-year prison sentence for possession of hallucinogenic drugs. In 1986 through 1988, he served two years of a five-year prison sentence for trafficking in cocaine and dissuading a witness.

    In August 2004, O’Hara was at Tampa International Airport driving a bakery delivery truck. His attorney, Tom Wadley, said O’Hara repeatedly drove through the arrival and departure areas, drawing the attention of Tampa Airport Police.

    After several trips through the areas, O’Hara stopped the truck, got out and left it along the curbside, Wadley said. Leaving unattended vehicles is not allowed at the airport, so police walked up to the truck to investigate.

    O’Hara, Wadley said, had left a lit marijuana cigarette in the cab of the truck.

    The marijuana allowed police to search O’Hara. They found a prescription bottle without a label filled with Vicodin.

    O’Hara told the officers that he had a prescription and gave them the phone number of his doctor. When the officers could not reach the doctor, they arrested him. Without a prescription, 58 tablets of Vicodin – which contains the powerful painkiller hydrocodone – is enough to warrant a trafficking charge.

  207. Absolutely fucking insane.

    When one sees more insanity every day what can
    one conclude?

  208. “which contains the powerful painkiller hydrocodone”

    LMAO…yep…it’s right up there. Having been prescribed hydrocodone before, I can tell you that it’s about 2 steps above an asprin. It’s too bad that some people speak so loudly and long on subjects they have NO clue about.

  209. The prosecutors should resign. That much is clear. I read a response from someone that asked why? Simple, even my three year old nephew has more sense than the prosecutors in this case. Instead of going after a real criminal, the prosecutors used a technicallity to argue for an unjust conviction. The appeals court, who seems to understand the intent of the law, correctly fixed this absurd conviction. Why not lock someone up for taking the tag off a mattress while they are at it?

    In other cases, I have witnessed prosecutors and investigators outright tamper and conceal exculpatory evidence that supports defendents because of similar misplaced intentions. These prosecutors wrongly believe and argue that anyone dispensing pain medications must be a drug dealer and anyone using them must be a drug addict. This type of belief must be stopped, and these illogical medical opinions by untrained lay prosecutors and investigators must stop.

    Just as the DOJ, DEA, and State’s argue that locking up individuals such as Richard Paey, Dr. William Hurwitz, Dr. Bernard Rottschaefer, Dr. McIver, etc. is necessary to send a message to others out there, these prosecutors in this case need to be fired, disbarred, and probably put in jail for a time to send a message that this type of abuse of the legal system is not to be tolerated to others.

  210. I continue to lower my standards and expectations not only of people in this country but the country itself, with special emphasis for florida. But they keep lowering the bar, what to do.

  211. This drug dealing scum of a GUY O’hara is a convicted DRUG DEALER. And the doctor testified only that he at one time HAD a prescription for vicodin. in 1981 and 1982, he served eight months of a one-year prison sentence for possession of hallucinogenic drugs. In 1986 through 1988, he served two years of a five-year prison sentence for trafficking in cocaine and dissuading a witness.

    So fucking what? You won’t get much any sympathy for the Drugs Are Bad Mmmkay viewpoint around here, Bigboy.

  212. jack (11:14pm) and bigboy (10:38am) have bumper stickers that say-

    “I’m a SELF-RIGHTEOUS BUSYBODY – and I vote”

    And thanks to them and the SELF-RIGHTEOUS BUSYBODY majority we now have for all practical purposes a police state.

    So, bigboy, the fact that Mark O’Hara was unjustly imprisoned twice before is proof that he needs to be unjustly imprisoned again, is it?

  213. OHMYGOD!! I’ve got two old bottles of blood-pressure pills somewhere! OH!!! I can hear the helicopters!

    Relax, my darlings, pretty soon we’ll all be gobbling THX-1138 happifiers and swooning over the Bush twins being sworn in as Co-Presidents.

  214. This is not unusual for Hillsborough County Prosecutors.
    They will attack and prosecute a man for a misdomeanor accusation but won’t prosecute the man’s ex-wife who was charged by deputies of aggravated stalking.

  215. While most comments here are correctly outraged, there seems to be a bunch of real wingnuts that see merit in the governments case. I shook my head at the first, and whackiest, but kept finding more and more. We should regress the laws till they were as they were up until the 1930s and foolish jerks like Henry Anslinger came onto the scene. The guy should be able to buy all the damn Vicoden he wants and shouldn’t need a doctors prescription or societys permission to medicate himself. “Pursuit of happiness” is good enough for me. Until the government got into the picture you could buy heroin, cocaine, morphine and any other drug over the counter and there was no “drug problem”. Like abortion, it’s nobodys damn business what drug someone chooses for themselves. For such a nation of pill poppers it not only reeks of hypocracy but social engineering by the people absolutely the least qualified to undertake such a foolish, undemocratic scheme. You want the government to wipe your ass for you too? Probably a lot of people would back laws governing that too. Pathetic.

  216. For those of you talking “jury nullification,” the jury did not know that he had a prescription. Remember, that was kept from them. When all mitigating circumstances are kept from the jury, it’s not hard to crush reasonable doubt. That’s why the judge in this case is an idiot.

    If the jury had known he had a perfectly legal prescription and all relevant information, I don’t see how they could have convicted him.

  217. The drug warriors have established that having a prescription or medical need is not a valid defense to drug possession. As in the case of Dr. Hurwitz and many others, the medical opinions of legislators, prosecutors, judges and DEA take precedence over the opinions of your doctor (backed by science) and the laws of your state (In medical marijuana states where the “community” has tried to assert some power over the gov’t that supposedly works FOR them, a doctor’s prescription for Cannabis is not allowed as a defense). While the medical marijuana community in CA has worked tirelessly for years against the Fascists just to get back their constitutional rights to medicate their own bodies, most of America has turned a blind, uninterested eye. Now anyone with a pain issue or even an addiction issue (you don’t need to be a “dirt-bag” to get addicted to prescription pain pills, you just have to take them, the addictive properties of the drug do the rest) is subject to being thrown in a cage and tortured. You can be addicted to and use the once-illegal dangerous drug alcohol and drink yourself to death legally. Most people I know who drink, drive impaired at least once in a while. We sanction public drug dens and drug use at public events like fairs and football games, so people have to get home after drinking. Yet, someone who takes a different drug (from marijuana which is pharmacologically much safer than alcohol to prescribed oxycontin to heroin) in private, harming nobody else, should be in prison for 25 years? At least there are plenty of thieves, rapists, child molesters, etc that can go free or stay free while our officials go after the weak, sick easy targets to make their conviction stats look good.

    Most in the gov’t work for their own interests, not the people’s. They constantly lie and put out propaganda (like the recycled BS trotted out the other day about how smoking pot causes psychosis) to keep the sheep following them. The MSM is the ONDCP’s mouthpiece, never questioning their warped “facts”, while ignoring stories like this. Most people will never see this story or Richard Paey’s story, etc. That’s how these people stay in power.

  218. Clearly you would not be amazed at the injustice this man experienced if only you have been through America’s Family Courts.

    H. Beatty Chadwick was arrested on April 5, 1995, and has remained in jail ever since. Chadwick has not been convicted of anything; in fact, he has not even been charged with a crime.

    http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/settlements/02572/chadwich.html

    Criminalized for marrying an American woman.

  219. did you use the word “harassed” for a man that was serving a sentence already? That’s not just an understatement, but an insult to an innocent man having to serve time in a prison system that rapes the soul, the mind, and oh… quite literally the body.

    I hope this man sues for millions and is awarded the absolute maximum.

    I hope all involved who did not use common sense, and just “followed the letter of the law” all develop the worst kind of ass cancer an angry god can create.

    I hope to god that someone can fix this horrible country.

  220. My favorite prosecutorial motto “It is easy to convict the guilty. When you convict the innocent you have really accomplished something…”

  221. When the lyrics stated “The lights are? going out” and everyone was clapping, my clapper in my room turned my lamp on 🙂 hahaha.where the hell is that song from?!?! finally i remember?
    http://www.mirei.com

  222. Organic farmers who rely on ‘naturally resistant’ plant varieties may also be producing plants with high levels of ‘natural’ toxins. And in this case, ‘natural’ is not likely to mean better. Think of Abraham Lincoln’s poor mother, who died after drinking the milk of a free-range cow that had grazed on a snakeroot plant.

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  225. You’ll need your tin foil to keep your prozac in

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