Drug War

Brickbat: Fake Justice

|

Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, deputies pulled over Delbert Dewayne Galbreath for a broken brake light. After Galbreath admitted he also did not have a driver's license, they asked if they could search his car. They found a bag containing 16 pieces of a rock-like substance and a digital scale. They thought the rocks were cocaine. Galbreath insisted they were Scentsy, presumably the washer whiffs made by that company. Sure enough, a test revealed they were not cocaine. But that didn't help Galbreath. Deputies charged him with suspicion of possession with intent to distribute an imitation controlled dangerous substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under a revoked license and defective equipment.

NEXT: Confessions Of A Pot-Smoking Police Officer, Firefighter And Youth Pastor

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I can’t believe the cops didn’t take the word of someone driving with a revoked licence that they merely had a baggy of something that just looked like crack along with a scale. These Nazi cops ought to be drawn and quartered.

    1. The legitimacy of the stop depends upon accepting the premise that driving on public roads is a privilege granted by the state;

      The legitimacy of the search depends upon accepting the premise that traffic cops are responsible for things other than traffic laws;

      The legitimacy of confiscating and violating property depends upon accepting the premise that prohibiting substances is a valid function of government;

      But the charge of “suspicion of possession with intent to distribute an imitation controlled dangerous substance” has no legitimacy under any system except FYTW.

      1. I think the stop, in of itself, was justified. Though I think one should only get a warning about a light being out.

        The search was unjustified and should not have happened over a traffic violation (light out and lack of license).

        Once it was determined that the substance was not cocaine, there should have been no drug related charge. The charge of “suspicion of possession w/ intent to distribute”, in general, leaves way too much to assumption.

      2. Meanwhile, back in the real world, if you are going to drive with a revoked license, fix your tail light dumbass. And if the cops ask to search your car say, “No”.

        1. The search was unjustified and should not have happened over a traffic violation (light out and lack of license).

          For some, well, reason, the Reason summation leaves out that the man consented to the search.

          1. I have no idea how that ended up as a response to Snark rather than Byte Me.

          2. What difference does it make? He consented to a search that didn’t turn up anything illegal, except that it must have been illegal, because it turned up in a search.

            1. What difference does consent make on whether a search is justified? That’s seems pretty straightforward to me.

              SLD on drug legalization, but if a guy is carrying around something that a reasonable person could view as drugs, and a digital scale, it’s not exactly a example of the Total State to take the steps to find out if the substance is actually a drug of some kind.

              1. What difference does consent make on whether a search is justified?

                No, what difference does it make to the outcome of the case? He consented to a search that didn’t turn up anything actually illegal.

                SLD on drug legalization, but if a guy is carrying around something that a reasonable person could view as drugs, and a digital scale, it’s not exactly a example of the Total State to take the steps to find out if the substance is actually a drug of some kind.

                Which they did, found out the substance wasn’t drugs, and charged him for trying to distribute fake drugs, because he must have been doing something with those non-drugs if he also had a digital scale in the vicinity. It’s bullshit.

                1. He consented to a search that didn’t turn up anything actually illegal.

                  Your statement appears to be factually incorrect.

                  As I said below, the “fake drug” laws are stupid. Financial structuring laws are stupid. The list of stupid laws is virtually endless.

                  You’ll notice from what I quoted, however, that I was responding only to the “search was unjustified” statement. If the guy consented to a search, the search wasn’t the problematic part of this episode.

                  1. Your statement appears to be factually incorrect.

                    No, the charge is factually incorrect. Or rather, it’s made up from whole cloth. Scentsy isn’t an illegal drug. It isn’t an imitation of an illegal drug. Based on those facts, what is there to support the charge? The cops concocted an imaginative scenario in which it was an imitation illegal drug based on the presence of a scale. This isn’t a shitty law being applied by virtuous but misguided by-the-book cops, it’s police desperately groping for a sliver of the law on which to base a charge without any regard to the actual facts.

                2. There are lots of reasons to have a digital scale. I own one because I used to have a business in which I sold jewelry, and I priced all of my silver and gold by the gram. So I would have to weigh a piece and then depending on the complexity of the style and the gram weight, it would get priced that way. I don’t even know where it is now, packed away somewhere.

                  I know people who weigh their food also and have digital scales for that.

                  1. I have a digital scale for homebrewing and cooking.

        2. And if the cops ask to search your car say, “No”.

          If you don’t have anything illegal you’ve got nothing to hide, right? Oh, you don’t want to consent to a search? What don’t you want us to find, sir? Should we get a K9 unit out here and whip us up some probable cause?

        3. One can find both the police and the offender unsympathetic.

          The real point of my post was the fourth sentence, which I guess means that I should have omitted the other three.

          1. I admit I didn’t notice the part about “intent to distribute an imitation controlled dangerous substance”, just thought it was a lazy Brickbat, so my bad.

    2. So these cops will arrest someone on a major felony without even opening the baggie? Because if you open a baggie of scent crystals, you will confirm in very short order that they are, in fact, scent crystals.

  2. Sounds like a very cool plan to me dude.

    http://www.EliteVPN.tk

  3. Suspicion of possession? What kind of charge is that? How would one defend themselves against a charge of creating a certain state of mind in someone else?

    If I merely make a person suspicious that I am doing something, then I am guilty by default, by that person merely saying they are suspicious. Even if I present compelling evidence that I did not do what they are suspicious of, I can never prove it because you can’t prove a negative. Even if I convince the judge or jury that I did not do that thing, I am still guilty of creating suspicion on the word of the cop.

    Thus, having a cop merely say they are suspicious is an automatic jail sentence.

    If this is the case we have become a police state beyond any parody that Hollywood ever invented.

    1. I assume it was suspicion of possession because they didn’t have the facilities to test for crack cocaine at the actual stop.

      1. The rookie couldn’t have fired up a pipe for a field test?

        1. Cops snort the pure stuff. Crack is for prole “civilians”.

          1. I thought cops did whatever they could get from the evidence locker.

      2. How can that be a chargeable offense? There is no way to show that another person’s state of mind is not what they say it is.

        All a cop has to do is point his finger at you and say he is suspicious and bam!, you are guilty.

        What do we need the courts for?

        1. It is too early, not enough coffee.

          I am not reading that right. Never mind.

          1. I am still very troubled by this. What is the criteria for deciding what is or isn’t a fake controlled substance? Is it subjective, the subject being the cop?

            We are back to putting people in jail merely by having a cop point his finger at you.

            1. If they are charging him with attempting to sell bath salts or whatever as crack merely because he had them and a scale that is disturbing, I agree.

            2. I’m troubled as well by the “possession of drug paraphernalia” charge.

              “Digital scale Cigarettes that could be emptied of tobacco and filled with fake cocaine? Assume the position, mofo!”

    2. I’m not hung up on the suspicion of possession so much as the ‘imitation controlled substance’. Talk about a BS judgement call. So, if I have confectioners sugar in baggies in my truck, I’ll be charged with the same??? If I have a fake skeleton hanging in my garage for halloween will I be charged with suspicion of imitation murder??

      1. Yeah, “intent to distribute an imitation controlled dangerous substance” I didn’t notice that at first, that’s some precog charge there.

        How about: attempting to defraud people out of buying what we spend billions trying to prevent them buying in the first place.

        1. “intent to distribute an imitation controlled dangerous substance”

          With all due respect, half the candy industry could be busted for this.

      2. So, if I have confectioners sugar in baggies in my truck, I’ll be charged with the same???

        Yes. And the burden of proof is on you to prove your innocence.

        1. But you can’t. Its an “imitation” controlled substance. It can be anything, and you are guilty.

          Well, anything but the real deal, I suppose. But if your defense is “That not fake cocaine, that’s real cocaine”, you’re still going to jail.

  4. Is Scentsy the next generation of bath salts?

    1. At least one cop thinks so.

  5. He’s got something that looks like crack cocaine, and a scale.

    Now he must prove that he did not intend to fraudulently sell the stuff to crackheads.

    Guilty until proven innocent.

    1. It’s not guilty until proven innocent any more than having to prove self-defense is guilty until proven innocent. The prosecution would still have to prove the facts and the elements of the offense and the guy would have a chance to prove a defense.

      It’s a stupid law, in the tradition of tens of thousands of stupid laws, but it isn’t guilty until proven innocent.

      1. It’s not guilty until proven innocent any more than having to prove self-defense is guilty until proven innocent.

        Except that self defense isn’t invoked in “suspicion of conspiring to commit manslaughter” cases or some equally vague, bullshit charge, because such a charge doesn’t exist in the context in which self defense would be used as a defense.

      2. The prosecution would still have to prove the facts and the elements of the offense and the guy would have a chance to prove a defense.

        You are deprived of your freedom before and during the trial.

        The burden the state has to meet in order to exercise such force against you should rise above the level of “suspicion of intent to commit a non-crime with a non-controlled substance”.

        1. I’m not defending the law. This is like the third time I’ve said it was a stupid law. That doesn’t make the characterization as “guilty until proven innocent” any more accurate.

          1. This isn’t even a good application of the shitty law though. You’re just being a contrarian dick.

            1. Just because I don’t agree with you? Fuck off.

              The law allows you to prove a defense just like scores of others. It’s very common for the defendant to have to prove a defense after a prima facie case is made against him. That’s not “guilty until proven innocent.”

              1. How does “prove a defense” differ from “guilty until proven innocent”?

              2. Which begs the question of whether having fragrance wax in the same vehicle as a scale constitutes a prima facie case for any fucking thing. That’s been your problem from the get go.

                1. IOW, there’s a difference between an affirmative defense in a case with an established victim and having to prove the opposite of a cop’s opinion of a given set of circumstances.

                  1. PM, I’m pretty sure that the cop’s opinion has nothing to do with it. I believe it is actually spelled out in legislation that if you’ve got something that appears to be drugs, along with a scale, that the only possible reason for the scale is to weigh drugs for sale. It is now up to a defense attorney to prove otherwise.

          2. You are arrested, detained, and deprived of many of your rights before a jury determines your guilt.

            That is the presumption of guilt. I agree with sarcasmic, but I think his point is too narrowly applied. Most crimes are prosecuted in a “guilty until proven innocent” way, including this one.

            Assuming you accept that such measures are needed in some cases, then the really important question is: what cases? I don’t know where to draw the line, but I know that this case should be well below it.

            That point is tangential to the question of whether the law is just in the first place.

      3. Being in possession of something that looks like drugs in combination with a scale is all that is required by law to prove guilt.

        Now it is up to the defense to prove otherwise.

        1. “Ha! It’s a *fake scale*!”

      4. The prosecution would still have to prove the facts and the elements of the offense and the guy would have a chance to prove a defense.

        Since the charged offense is, effectively, you have something totally legal that you could sell as fake drugs, exactly what defense is there?

  6. I’ll bet he’s heaving a sigh of relief after deciding to leave his water pistol at home. Nothing will ruin your day quicker than being shot to imitation death.

  7. Wonder who distributes all that fake cocaine onto Hollywood movie sets and why aren’t drug warriors busting their asses for distributing imitation drugs?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.