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A Sexual Assault and a Pot Club: Guess Which One Alaska Treated More Harshly?

Two high-profile crimes committed in Anchorage highlight a seemingly unequal criminal justice system.

|||Marcelusw/Dreamstime.comMarcelusw/Dreamstime.comCompare and contrast two court cases. Both took place in Alaska, and both were tried this year.

One involves Justin Schneider of Anchorage, who offered a ride to a woman he did not know in August 2017. Instead of taking her to the place she requested, he pulled over to the side of a road, tackled her, choked her, threatened to kill her, and masturbated on her. He was charged with four felonies related to kidnapping and assault, plus a misdemeanor count of offensive contact with fluids.

The other involves Charlo Greene, whose real name is Charlene Egbe. She went viral in 2014 when she quit her job as a TV reporter live on the air, announcing in the process that she was the owner of a marijuana club and was moving on to fight for legalization. Greene worked with other activists to help Alaska become the third state to legalize recreational cannabis in November 2015. But a few months before legalization passed, Anchorage police raided her club. She initially pleaded not guilty to 8 felony counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance, but she changed her plea after the charges were raised to 14 counts, meaning she faced up to 54 years in prison.

Both defendants took plea deals. Schneider agreed to plead to a single felony count of assault, Greene to a single felony count of misconduct involving a controlled substance.

After spending a year wearing an ankle monitor and living with his family, Schneider learned last week that he will spend no additional time in jail for his crime. Schneider had lost his federal government job, and Anchorage Assistant District Attorney Andrew Grannik decided that this was already a "life sentence." At one point, he slipped and referred to the sentence as a "pass."

Greene's fate is not yet determined. A judge will decide whether or not to accept her plea deal in November, well over three years after she was initially charged. But she will certainly pay $10,000 and forfeit all the items seized during the police investigation into her club. And because she pleaded guilty, she will no longer be able to work in the state's cannabis industry.

So a man who committed a violent assault deserves more mercy than a woman who committed a completely nonviolent offense involving a drug that the state doesn't even ban anymore? The message may be unintended, but it's still stark.

Photo Credit: Marcelusw/Dreamstime.com

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  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Well she did beard the lion and needed to be made an example of what happens when you do that to the government.

  • KevinP||

    Anchorage is the bluest part of Alaska, so it is not surprising that sexual assault received light treatment there ...

  • Conchfritters||

    I was always told that where the river is winding big nuggets they're finding - - and they arrested her?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The prohibition of one thing is more financially lucrative than the prohibition of the other thing.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Right, and the "other thing" only has actual victims, but who gives a shit about them?

    ^THIS IS WHAT LAW ENFORCERS ACTUALLY BELIEVE^

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    The State can only survive if (a) it makes money, and (b) it prevents insurrection. You got a problem with that?

  • perlchpr||

    The War on Drugs has definitely warped our cultural priorities.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    And curtailed freedom!

    They tried it again with the War on Terrorism, and now that it has died down to the point where people aren't as scared, they are ramping up the War on Sex Trafficking.

    It's sad that so few figure out it's all a con game to make people willingly give up on those pesky freedoms that can be so annoying to those in charge.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I am surprisingly optimistic that the excuses for violating the Constitution have degraded so much in such a short time. First, no terrorism showed up except a shoe bomber and an underwear bomber, so they switched to the old-fashioned and already-tottering War on (Some) Drugs™ but pot legalization scared them and they gussied up good old prostitution as Human Trafficking™ (which always makes me think of The Sofa King) and that's been even quicker to gather derision for its low haul of despicables. What next, cottage food violators?

  • sarcasmic||

    Schneider had lost his federal government job, and Anchorage Assistant District Attorney Andrew Grannik decided that this was already a "life sentence."

    So a man who committed a violent assault deserves more mercy than a woman who committed a completely nonviolent offense involving a drug that the state doesn't even ban anymore?

    The guy got mercy because he was a government employee, so this is a poor example.

  • Conchfritters||

    Is a good thing he didn't kill a moose out of season, or they would have really thrown the book at him.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    At first glance, I misread part of the headline as "a sexual and pot club." Now that would make Anchorage a worthwhile destination.

  • SQRLSY One||

    There are HUGE gaping voids in Reason's coverage here!!!

    Charlo Greene, AKA Charlene Egbe, has ALSO (unmentioned here) been busted for blowing on a cheap plastic flute w/o blessings (a prescription) from a Government-Almighty-vetted physician! THAT is a MAJOR reason that they plan to throw the book at her! She flagrantly disrespected the Flute Police!

    (To find precise details on what NOT to do, to avoid the flute police, please see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/DONT_DO_THIS/ ) … This has been a pubic service, courtesy of the Church of SQRLS!

  • Inigo Montoya||

    I must be getting old. I remember being in junior high music class and being required to practice playing those cheap plastic flutes! They called them recorders even though they didn't record anything. Everyone had to buy their own for hygienic reasons and it cost like $4 IIRC.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Yeah, I think everyone had to play those stupid things. Never did figure how to hit the brown noise on them.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    She went viral in 2014 when she quit her job as a TV reporter live on the air, announcing in the process that she was the owner of a marijuana club and was moving on to fight for legalization. ... a few months before legalization passed, Anchorage police raided her club.

    Sounds like they were probably trying to send a message to the voters and the other activists working towards legalization. She was a minor celebrity, so arresting her was way more visible than arresting some nobody that no one had even heard of. Plus the manner in which she quite publicly questioned and embarrassed the powers that be. They couldn't have that, and they couldn't have other people getting similar ideas. I'm just surprised that it took them so long to get around to raiding her club. I would have thought they would do that the day after she publicly quit her TV job. "Government efficiency," I guess.

    After spending a year wearing an ankle monitor and living with his family, Schneider learned last week that he will spend no additional time in jail for his crime. Schneider had lost his federal government job, and Anchorage Assistant District Attorney Andrew Grannik decided that this was already a "life sentence."

    He was a former King's Man. There's different rules for our "betters." Anyone who's ever been one of the King's Men can tell you that losing that privilege and authoritah is a fate worse than any prison.

  • StackOfCoins||

    The idea losing a cushy government job is a "life sentence" in the mind of a state toady really speaks to how convoluted the concept of public service has become.

  • dave b.||

    Wait, so a white person was treated better than a black person in court? If only we could have foreseen this based on the past 400 years

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