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Righting Great Wrongs

It’s important in a country like ours to have a mechanism to counter a grave injustice should one occur. In that light, the founders properly saw fit to vest the President of the United States with the power of the pardon.

Of course, we all know about the injustice that can occur in the drug war, with up to life sentences given to many low-level drug offenders.

President Obama has deliberated for two years, reviewing the requests for pardons and has finally identified the worst injustices and is ready to wield his pardon power (Via TalkLeft), including a whopping four drug cases “who were given sentences that the president deemed excessive.” Such as the heartrending case of Roxane Kay Hettinger.

Roxane Kay Hettinger, Powder Springs, Ga., sentenced in 1986 to 30 days in jail and three years of probation for conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

Thank goodness the President was there to rescue this poor woman who spent 30 days in jail 24 years ago.

Or how about this tragedy?

Timothy James Gallagher of Navasota, Texas, sentenced in 1982 to three years of probation for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

I doubt that even a pardon can erase the horrible memories of three years not spent in prison 28 years ago.

Thank goodness that those are the worst of the injustices that have occurred in the drug war. I don’t know if I could take it otherwise.

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27 comments to Righting Great Wrongs

  • Matthew Meyer

    Pete, sounds like Reason snark creeping into your prose…takes a lot of energy to be sincere about crap like these bogus pardons, don’t blame ya.

  • DdC

    Lets see the Obombo schmuck pardon Rachel Hoffman, Kathryn Johnston, Timothy Garon, Irma Perez, Gary Webb, Jonathan Magbie, Tom & Rollie, Tarika Wilson, Veronica and Charity Bowers or Steve and Peter McWilliams. Instead he continues terrorizing American sick people or is intimidating Canadian political parties by persecuting their advocates. Siding with the Chinese, Thai and Malasian DEAth Squads. Spraying poison onto Colombian kids or maintaining the dysfunctional C.S.A. Free all of the Political prisoners of the Ganjawar as a Constitutional act, then pardon another turkey for Xmas or better yet, change the custom and eat Hemp.

    Signs of Sickness and D.E.A.th

  • If I were Obama and had advisors that made me pardon those people over the real injustices, and if I found out later how bad their advice was, and I was still in power … woe onto them! Then I would smoke a spliff and contemplate my shameful lack of critical thinking that made me go along with said advice …

  • kaptinemo

    Timidity. The hallmark of a caretaker Presidency. Obama is a Democratic version of Gerald Ford. Make a cardboard backing for a life-sized picture of him and stick it in the Oval Office. It would be as useful…

  • Ya, the cardboard cut out....

    …gee, I hope BO feels better . I sure these who were pardoned could give a rats ass now. Sleep well BO.

  • Maria

    Careful with that dripping snark, you just might flood the internet. (It’s also the best reaction yet to our Brave Presidents Glorious Pardons.)

    Well, there was one real score for drug war victims. The White House turkey got off death row! It was unjustly incarcerated for possession of tryptophan with intent to distribute, biological weapons stockpiling, and child endangerment. Thank goodness for small blessings eh?

  • Ed Dunkle

    President Milquetoast to the rescue!

    At least we can now be assured that our feckless leader will do absolutely nothing progressive regarding prohibition.

  • darkcycle

    This is a deliberate insult to justice.

  • Jon Doe

    I can just imagine the reaction of these pardoned individuals: “Uh, thank you?”

  • Duncan20903

    More DUI-m news:

    “Colorado may set limits for driving after marijuana use”

    http://www.denverpost.com/news/marijuana/ci_16780152

    http://tinyurl.com/a-prius-did-that-omg <—from Michigan

    5ng/ml proposed in Colorado.

    The Denver Post likes to update their stories and frequently and change their URLs. I did click through on the link and it’s working as of now.

    Well it certainly feels like there’s an organized push on this subject.

    Everybody here better make sure to drive as safely as possible.

  • Ed Dunkle

    From Duncan’s link:

    “The proposal, which the full commission endorsed last month, sets the THC threshold at 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood.”

    Is that a low amount? The former Public Defender of Colorado seems to think so. (I tend to trust Public Defenders much more than District Attorneys.)

  • denmark

    A ‘dry’ sense of humor prevents me from falling on the floor and laughing until the body hurts and the lungs can’t take it anymore with the streams of tears rolling out of my eyes.
    Sigh, at least I can imagine myself doing this.

    Then again, in this gigantic arena of sorrow that the drug war has caused for so many this truly is an outrage. Do you think they’re laughing at us and this was intentional? Or does intentional give them too much credit for being able to think properly and act accordingly?

  • Cliff

    “Is that a low amount? The former Public Defender of Colorado seems to think so.”

    If the level of concentration is set by the prohibitionists, then you can bet that it is set so very low that most anyone who has consumed cannabis that day will be considered “impaired”. Furthermore, I’d reckon that experienced users will be “impaired” at any time a jack / jill boot decides to take a blood sample for whatever reason.

  • JRH

    The 5 nanogram is the preset limit for a positive on a piss test 500 nan0grams for opiates and 250 nanograms for coaine and amphetimines

  • Sukoi

    Please take a look at this for a bit of cannabis related levity:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AT0tEgIpehk

    I’m sure that with more consumption, there would be a similar result with alcohol.

  • strayan

    Is that a low amount?

    “A comparison of meta-analyses of experimental studies on the impairment of driving-relevant skills by alcohol or cannabis suggests that a THC concentration in the serum of 7–10 ng/ml is correlated with an impairment comparable to that caused by a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05%.”

    http://www.bobkeeferlaw.com/library/Developing_limits___Marijuana___2007.pdf

    It takes approximately 2-3 hours for your serum THC concentration to fall below 10ng/ml after smoking cannabis (of different strengths). In other words you’re okay to drive after 2-3 hours of using:

    http://img825.imageshack.us/img825/3403/picture3u.png

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/um4q1mq4820h7264/

    Bear in mind that THC-COOH is the inactive metabolite.

    Hall & Hommel (2007) consider whether there is “sufficient evidence to discourage cannabis users from driving by conducting roadside drug testing” considering the low prevalence of cannabis use. They conclude that there is “no scientifically persuasive evidence that” random drug testing has saved lives. Similarly, Weatherburn et al. (2003) argue “there are no solid grounds for asserting that cannabis intoxication is a major cause of road trauma”. Consideration needs to be given to evidence that THC serum concentration does no always denote impairment (Bedard et al. 2007). Laumon et al.’s (2005) conclusion corroborates these findings and reports that the role of cannabis in “fatal crashes is significantly lower than that associated with [any] positive blood alcohol concentration.” Whilst Grotenhermen et al. (2007) do suggest that a concentration of 7-10 ng/ml is comparable to a blood alcohol content of 0.05%, Bedard et al. report that the “frequency of drinking and driving and the severe impact of alcohol on driving abilities are well beyond what has been shown with cannabis”. Anderson et al. (2010) found that being under influence of active cannabis, “did not appear to affect their [participants’] driving” and observed “many teenagers and young adults driving under the influence of marijuana are doing so while… talking on the cell phone and/or text messaging others”. This is noteworthy in light of evidence that the reaction time of drivers sending text messages is worse than that of driving under the influence of cannabis (Parsons, 2008).

    References:

    Hall, W. & Hommel, R. (2007). Reducing cannabis-impaired driving: is there sufficient evidence for drug testing of drivers? Addiction, 102(12), 1918-9.

    Weatherburn, D., Jones, C. & Donelly, N. (2003). Prohibition and Cannabis Use in Australia: A Survey of 18- to 29-year-olds. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 36(1), 77-93.

    Bedard et al. 2007. The impact of cannabis on driving. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 98: 6-11.

    Laumon, B., Gadegbeku, B., Martin, J.L. & Biecheler, M.B. (2005). Cannabis intoxication and fatal road crashes in France: population based case-control study, British Medical Journal, 331, 1371-1374.

    Grotenhermen, F., Leson, G., Berghaus, G., Drummer, O.H., Krüger, H.-P., Longo, M., Moskowitz, H., Perrine, B., Ramaekers, J. G., Smiley, A. & Tunbridge, R. (2007). Developing limits for driving under cannabis. Addiction, 102, 1910–1917.

    Anderson, B.M., Rizzo, M., Block, R.I., Pearlson G.D. & O’Leary D.S. (2010). Sex Differences in the Effects of Marijuana on Simulated Driving Performance. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 42(1),19-30.

    Parsons, P. (2008). Texting drivers more dangerous than drunks: study. Reuters (London) 18 September: Available from: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLI65189720080918?sp=true [Accessed, 28 October 2010]

  • darkcycle

    Thanks Strayan. I’ll be using that information. Damn you’re on top of that…Kudos.

  • the man just has no balls. I mean physiologially he may have testicles but his cojones are lacking. Mr Obama you ran an outstanding campaign for President.Where’d that go?

    @ DdC… that was my question too. Kinda. Hell I’d settle for just hearing someone in the federal government say those words, speak those names.

    @ Maria… “The White House turkey got off death row!” And he got one hell of a lot more press… the level of absurdity floors me. We’re sooo in trouble.

    @ Strayan… thanks for the info. There’s not a whole lot out there, unless we consider the actual studies on cannabis and driving. Doih!

    I wondered where the 5 nanograms came from, piss-test trigger level eh….

    Had my bullshit meter triggered today when this poll came across the MAPtalk list:

    http://tinyurl.com/38zmyrs

    the headline is what got me – Should New Jersey have a potency cap on medical marijuana?

    Are these people for real? If Marinol® is at 100% THC (99.86% or whatever)… is somebody growing a strain that’s 117% THC? (head shaking and mumbling…)

    sigh…

  • the President and Vice-President of the United States are the co-authors of the “combat meth act.” what the hell did everyone think they would do about the drug war?

    it is a sign of intelligence to learn from experience.

  • claygooding

    No matter how our government handles ending the prohibition of marijuana,whether they do it quickly or drag it out for the next 5 years,they end up having to admit that the prohibition of marijuana was and still is a political action and not a health or security issue.
    After 40 years of buying harm research they still have no scientific proof of harm caused by the use of marijuana except studies that report “possible” harms or “could be connected with” results instead of the direct evidence of harm associated with alcohol,tobacco and many of the pharmaceutical drugs on the market today. And I can not think of any graceful way that they can back out of it.
    No matter how they end this war,they will end up with the egg on their face.

  • Duncan20903

    JRH I’ve never heard of a cutoff that low for a whiz quiz.

    The standard THC test is a one step rapid, qualitative immunoassay for the detection of tetrahydrocannabinol compounds (9-carboxy-THC) in urine. The cutoff concentration recommended by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA/NIDA) for a positive result in an immunoassay test is 50 ng/ml. The cutoff for GC-MS is generally 15 ng/ml.
    http://www.erowid.org/plants/cannabis/cannabis_testing.shtml

    Yes 5 ng/ml is a pathetically small allowance even granted that it’s a blood test. A heavy user can be two weeks without and probably quadruple that. (please remember we’re talking about presence in the blood. Both blood and urine tests are expressed in ng/ml but you need a lot more in your peepee to be declared “positive”. The traditional cut off for a urine sample to avoid issues with false positives is 50 ng/ml. It was 50 for a long time, they upped it to 1000 because they thought they were catching too many people, at 100 they decided that too many people were getting away with it so using some absurd ‘reasoning’ lowered back to 50 rather than try 75.

    When Nevada set it’s per se law for DUI-m they used 2 ng/ml but had to go back and redo it because too many people were getting convicted I swear to Santa Clause that I recall that happening but I guess it was just proposed.

    Does anyone other than me entertain the notion that the Feds and the researchers have neglected to establish true levels of current impairment and something at least approaching a reasonable per se limit because it’s a great piece of propaganda? I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a Know Nothing say that re-legalization would be fine as soon as we have a marijuanalyzer so we can get everyone incarcerated for driving stoned. What is so flipping hard about testing to see if someone is stoned right this minute? Nobody ever has ‘splained Australia to me and why they can figure out who’s currently stoned while driving but the rest of the world can’t.

    Now here’s a couple of hippies on film causing mayhem on the highways. You can literally see the smoke pouring out of their car because they smoked so much pot. A blend of Maui Wowie and Labrador indeed. That must be some good shit.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_L8DcjFOD1k

  • Clay,The egg on the face....

    ….I feel will happen when the collapse happens. The US government will soon be reaping what it has sown. The wikileak thing may hasten this. At that time,as you and many of us has said, they wont have the funds to enforce it(prohibition), nor the credibility. Wikileaks , it seems to me , is proving just how greedy and corrupt our government is…right along with the corporate/banking industries .

    The sooner they reap what they have sown, the sooner we can pick up the pieces and rebuild freedom.

  • Duncan20903

    the man just has no balls. I mean physiologially he may have testicles but his cojones are lacking. Mr Obama you ran an outstanding campaign for President.Where’d that go

    On his first night in the White House illegal aliens from outer space showed up to inform him that he wasn’t really in charge. If Mr. yOmama was indeed “the man” he would have been just the person we elected. This also explains why there are so many lame efforts to secure the atmosphere and keep the illegal aliens from landing on the planet. They then skirt our immigration laws by assimilating people who are natural born citizens granting themselves instant citizenship. Sometimes these aliens even assimilate children! Pay taxes? These monsters from outer space don’t even use money!
    ………………………………………………..

    Back on the ng/ml discussion below we have the case of a man arrested for OWI in Cleveland with a metabolite concentration 65.514 times larger than the legal limit. Let’s see a drunk do that. 65 * 0.08 = 5.2, now that would be a remarkable feat. Is there a doctor in the house? This man made the breathalyzer explode!

    OVI: A motorist was cited for OVI for an incident dating back to July in which police received a complaint back about an occupied vehicle parked in a cul-de-sac with the lights out. A responding officer noted a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the car and two passengers seemed to be under the influence. The car was searched at the officer found a small baggy of marijuana in a backpack. One passenger was cited for possession and the officer asked the driver to submit to a urine test. Due to delays at the state crime lab, the results didn’t come in until recently and the test turned out to be positive. The legal limit is 35 ng/ml and the driver was shown to have 2,293 ng/ml. He was cited for OVI.

    http://blog.cleveland.com/medinasun/2010/11/peeved_passenger_cited_after_a.html

  • Norma Sapp

    All of you who just wrote on this blog, Please spend at least as much time writing to the Presidents office. If everyone who felt this way about the drug war would write to him, he would know there is a majority out there and he would feel more comfortable changing this horrible unconstitutional miscarriage of justice.

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