Drug Policy

Jonathan Magbie

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Good for Colbert King.  The Washington Post columnist won't let the 2004 case of Jonathan Magbie go away.  Magbie was a 27-year-old quadriplegic sentenced by Washington, D.C. Superior Court Jduge Juditch E. Retchin to 10 days in jail for marijuana possession.  It was Magbie's first offense.  Retchin was well aware of Magbie's condition, that he needed a ventilator to breathe, and that D.C.'s jails weren't equipped to handle him.  Even prosecutors in the case asked her not to send him to jail.  She did anyway.  Once he was admitted, the jail's assistant medical director called Retchin, and begged her to allow Magbie to be sent to a hospital instead.  She refused.  Magbie soon fell into respiratory distress, and was sent to an emergency room.  An incompetent doctor then sent him right back to the jail, where he died hours later.

King describes Magbie's last moments:

Magbie's last night at the D.C. jail could be likened to a night in Guantanamo: He was confined in a room with no means to communicate. Conditions worsened when he was returned [from] the hospital. Carbon dioxide was building up in his bloodstream because, without a ventilator, he wasn't breathing deeply enough.

Magbie, fatigued from fighting to stay alive, drew smaller and smaller breaths and his heart finally gave out.

Judge Retchin is still serving on the D.C. Superior Court.  This case should be her legacy.

MORE:  Last week, Magbie's mother settled her lawsuit with the city for a "substantial" amount of money.

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  1. Retchin. What a perfect name.

  2. But thank God she got another user off the street.

  3. Another excellent candidate for capital punishment. The SWAT team is en route to her courtroom, to throw her on the floor and sit on her head as she screams for mercy, right?

  4. Thank God that got that man off the sidewalks. He could of ran over a kid while under the influence.

  5. DARE was right – marijuana can get you killed.

  6. Judges should face the prospect of ruinous damages for violating one’s rights. Reasonoids, however, are preoccupied with not wanting to be associated with “truthers” and those that have the stones to demand that Obama produce his birht certificate. Oh, my gosh-that attitude will inspire the masses to join the cause of liberty and really carry the day!

  7. Not a clever or outraged post.
    Fuck me. I hope she never sleeps well at night again. But she will probably sleep the deep contented slumber of the righteous.

  8. Reasonoids, however, are preoccupied with not wanting to be associated with “truthers” and those that have the stones to demand that Obama produce his birht certificate.

    That would include me.

    Bailesque full disclosure – I’m in the pay of the Freemason branch of the Illuminati.

  9. It should be noted that in addition to the pot, Magbie also had possession of a gun (in his pocket). Perhaps that was the mitigating factor in the jail time? Now having a gun on your person, and having the ability to actually point and fire it should be taken into consideration, which makes this judge an asshat of the first order. Was there some sort of mandatory jail time rule in DC for gun possession back when he was arrested?

  10. Oh, my gosh-that attitude will inspire the masses to join the cause of liberty and really carry the day!

    The masses aren’t interested in joining cults and waving signs on street corners.

  11. Interestingly, he once met with Ronald Reagan

    Reagan’s crapitude on the drug war is what irks me the most of his lionization by the self-described ‘leave us alone coalition’.

  12. to clarify, that should be read more at a dig at the coalition (e.g. Norquist) than Reagan.

  13. sixstring-A mandatory sentence of 10 days?

  14. If we lived in a just world, the judge would have been lynched by now. Fuck her. Fucking scum.

  15. This is the first time I have heard of this case. (sadly, After reading it I am not only very sad, but angry. How in the hell could this judge still be serving in D.C.?

  16. The appropriate thing would be for somebody to set a hungry 20-ft python loose in her chambers. Then she can know what it’s like to die of suffocation.

  17. Is this kind of assholery common?

    PEKIN – Tazewell County Sheriff Bob Huston is being sued for the second time in about a week, this time because a 72-year-old woman with cancer died in jail after not being allowed to see her doctor, despite pleading with a judge and jailers, her lawyer said.

    Huston and Jail Superintendent Earl Helm said Friday Wood did receive medical attention and the suit is frivolous.

    “I’m really getting tired of all these baseless lawsuits being filed,” Huston said. “I guess once Tazewell County pays, we have a target on our back.”

    http://www.pjstar.com/news/x1450709047/Lawsuit-filed-in-Tazewell-jail-death

  18. Woohoo, the taxpayers suck up another “substantial” pay-out and the folks who caused it keep their raises, benefits, retirement, etc.
    Nothing’s too good for our public “servants”.

  19. “Tazewell”. I like that, I like that a lot. They could shorten the police handbook to, like, “Arrest, Tazewell, Incarcerate”.

  20. Judge Retchin–May you die an painful and ironic death.

  21. In my final weeks in the Navy, I was running shore detail for my ship, which was sailing out to the Arabian gulf.

    I was ordered to put a guy on a plane and send him to the ship. The problem was that this mechanic’s wife had abandoned him and their children, and the only relatives he had were involved in criminal activity and he didn’t want to entrust his kids to them. I told the officer on the ship (who outranked me but was not in my chain of command) that I wasn’t going to obey that order but that we was welcome to give it to me in writing.

    In the end, I suffered no repercussions; yes, it helped that I was getting out, but there was no way he could force the issue without looking like a dork.

    Had the jailers refused to accept custody of the prisoner, had they contacted the media, had they mutinied publicly – challenging her to try to jail them for contempt of court, I am pretty confident she would have backed down (or opened herself to impeachment proceedings).

    It’s a shame they chose to obey orders that amounted to murder.

  22. I hate corrupt Jduges. Thanks Reason!

  23. libertymike – was does Trutherism and outrage at this moron on the bench have to do with each other?

    That is the most non-sequitur thing I have read in a while.

  24. Jesus fucking Christ! Radley, you really know how to ruin somebody’s day. Keep fighting the good fight.

  25. Why is everyone getting upset? It’s not like the guy was useful to society.

  26. “Magbie, fatigued from fighting to stay alive, drew smaller and smaller breaths and his heart finally gave out.”

    He was effectively tortured to death. Why doesn’t the FBI step in and arrest this woman? I’m sure sentencing someone to die in such a horrible manner constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment”.

  27. Even prosecutors in the case asked her not to send him to jail.

    Cop out. What the fuck were they doing prosecuting him then? What’s the probability of a first-time MJ offender getting off with no jail time?

    I agree that this judge is a fucktard of the highest order. But she’s not the only one to blame (prosecutors, the doctor who sent him back to jail).

  28. Some might look to Jury Nullification and/or vigilante justice by the relatives of this poor guy! We need our version of the ACLU to sue the shit out of these assholes.

  29. It’s not like the guy was useful to society.

    He provided business to the motorized wheelchair industry for 2 decades.

  30. Brandybuck-

    Do you think the masses will be moved by a timid approach to liberty that is more concerned about not wanting to be associated with 9/11 sceptics and litigants challenging the legitimacy of Obama’s birth status?

    TAO-

    No, my post is not a non-sequitur. J sub D, in his post demostrates just that-unless he was joshing. My point is and has been that the cause of liberty will neccessarily not be advanced if those who claim to be furthering the same are more concerned about “how will we look if we are associated with 9/11 sceptics and litigants challenging Obama’s citizenship,” than they are about judicial immunity.

    We should not spend a second worried about “how it will look”. No time should be wasted on criticizing those who do not buy government conspiracy theories or those who want Obama to prove his presidential qualifications. Focus upon matters that count-like eliminating judicial immunity. Have you requested that your state rep or state senator, as I have, file and support a bill abrogating judicial immunity?

  31. No, my post is not a non-sequitur. J sub D, in his post demostrates just that-unless he was joshing.

    I wasn’t joshing. I’ve no wish to be lumped in with truthers, Obama birth certificate kooks, Illuminati experts and the like.

    We should not spend a second worried about “how it will look”.

    I’m serious. Covincing others and changing the debate are in large part dependent on how you appear. Hell, even the creationist fools have figgered that out.

  32. J sub D-

    You brought up the Illuminatti. I would not want to mess with them. I read that they don’t like to be mocked.

  33. Best line from the Colbert King article:

    “The doctor who treated Magbie disclosed in a deposition that he attended Howard University’s medical school for five years instead of the usual three because he had ‘had some problems with a few courses.’ “

  34. You brought up the Illuminatti. I would not want to mess with them. I read that they don’t like to be mocked.

    Members can get away with it. Except for the Jooooos, who are irrationally hated even by their fellow Illuminati.

  35. Did anyone check Jonathan Magbie’s birth certificate? Magbie sounds pretty foreign, I’m not sure if he should have deserved constitutional rights at all. Maybe instead of his “Guantanamo” death he really should have been sent to Guantanamo! Damned foreign terrorists moms don’t deserve a bailout for their suicide bomber’s deaths.

  36. Either this guy would have gotten better medical care at Guantanamo, or Michael Moore has been lying to me.

  37. this is state murder, plain and simple, an unusually horrifying state murder due to the vulnerability of the victim. the victim’s mother deserves applause for her admirable restraint in pursuing her recourse in a state forum. some people i know might have resorted to private means.

  38. Wow. Never heard this one. Probably the most disgusting thing I’ve read all year. How the fuck can the judge be so stubborn as to ignore the several concerned parties telling her that this guy’s life will be at risk because the jail can’t handle his condition?

    Right. My bad. All-knowing judge whose will be done.

  39. Magbie’s last night at the D.C. jail could be likened to a night in Guantanamo

    What, they gave him a Koran and served him rice pilaf? Otherwise a good article, but this allusion to Guantanamo as though it’s some sort of hellish Soviet gulag (which Magbie’s treatment much more closely resembles) is pretty lame.

  40. Also, this is a classic case where jury nullification could have saved this guy from a savage judge.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification

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