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Prosecutors continue to reach new lows in the war against the people we need to help

John H. Tucker has an excellent feature in the Riverfront Times: Angela Halliday was a junkie. Does that make her a murderer?

It’s a powerful in-depth article about a couple who shared everything – their lives, their love, their possessions, and their addiction.

One of them died of an overdose, and now the other one is being charged with his murder.

It’s about prosecutor over-reach and laws intended to be a deterrent that actually make us less safe.

I was also interviewed for the article and am quoted on page 5.

There are a lot of lessons in the article, and they all add up to the fact that our drug war is poisoning everything it touches.

Some people think that heroin is the poison. But no. Heroin is mostly just a conduit for the poison of prohibition.

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20 comments to Prosecutors continue to reach new lows in the war against the people we need to help

  • Duncan20903

    Well I bet that she’s sorry that they went the cheap route and didn’t pay up for oxycodone.

  • Imagine the same “laws” against Opiates applied to Tobacco and all the new problems with concentrated nicotine.

    The guilty of murder parties are the governments and those selling their souls to be a part of it.

    http://freedomofmedicineanddiet.blogspot.com/2011/01/drug-statutes-infinitely-worse-than.html

    http://freedomofmedicineanddiet.blogspot.com/2008/07/missing-point-heroin-as-controlled.html

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      That’s interesting speculation. Could I suggest you take a trip to the nearest pharmacy and ask about their selection of nicotine transdermal patches, lozenges and inhalers?

      Some lawmakers in NY thought it would be a great idea to ban e-cigarettes. Oh right, smoking is horrid and promotes poor health. Something comes along that seems very likely to mitigate if not eliminate the potential health hazards of smoking tobacco, quick make it a felony. Fortunately it seems to have failed.
      ———- ———- ———- ———- ———-

      Today a pot grower from Ellicott City MD, which is spitting distance from me, got sentenced to 6 months at home. I’ll betcha they make him pay for his monitoring device. This one was really kind of sad because he got busted because someone decided to drive, which he did, right into the poor guy’s living room. The proverbial axe of god indeed.

      I’m really curious. Have any cops anywhere, at any time, busted an indoor grow that they didn’t describe as “sophisticated” to the media?

      Has there ever been an indoor grow bust story that didn’t include neighbor(s) who were shocked to learn that such a thing was going on right under their very noses?

      • Or consider the example of CAFFEINE:

        http://www.blastcaffeine.com/

        Prohibition is all about creating problems for the sake of protecting others:

        http://freedomofmedicineanddiet.blogspot.com/2011/03/drug-war-tobacco-pharma-agricultural.html

      • kaptinemo

        To respond to your question, to my knowledge, no. They always say ‘sophisticated’. Hell, a simple wick hydro system to them is ‘sophisticated’. It shows the level of their grasp of technological development they seem to possess; I’d hate to see what they think is really convoluted. They’d probably have nervous breakdowns contemplating the inner workings of your common toaster.

        They’ve been doing this for over a decade; I recall Richard Cowan remarking about the same tendency way back in the early years of the last decade.

        Which leads one to assume that there are ‘talking points’ provided to LE courtesy of the Feds. (“We’ll tell you what to say” was actually in an ONDCP propaganda advertisement for parents on how to ‘talk to their kids about drugs’, again, from that time period.) Which in turn shows just how mentally shackled the prohibs are. One-trick ponies. One-hit wonders. One foot nailed to the floor, round and round they go, regurgitating the same old lines as they spin, spin, spin.

        Pathetic. And disgusting, as they are doing this on our dime, during one of the worst periods of economic dislocation this country has seen, using our money to lie to us…and lie badly. Not even providing a modicum of entertainment, like a struggling ‘C-list’ stand-up comedian who just can’t deliver a punchline to save their souls.

        I can only hope that the coming rounds of budget cuts agreed to by the political parties in Warshington will lead to the reduction in force of many DrugWarriors, but I’m not going to hold my breath. I said it long ago that the DrugWar was a mask, a means to create a paramilitarized police force to empower an already crypto-fascist government to be able to drop the smiley mask hiding the crypto aspects and go full-bore fascist. Bit by bit, quarter-turn of the screw by quarter-turn, those who’ve benefited from the status quo in operation slowly, slowly acclimated the people of this country into accepting from their own government what they would fight to the death to prevent a foreign one from accomplishing: the destruction of our rights and freedoms. Just as Lincoln said many years ago:

        “At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.” — January 27, 1838 – Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

        The DrugWar is proving to be the ‘author and finisher’ of that ‘destruction’. And the people causing that destruction couldn’t care less; they think they’re wearing the ‘white hats’. They think they’re the ‘angels of better nature’, when, in fact their wings are sheathed in bat leather and reek of sulfur.

      • darkcycle

        Duncan, prepare to spit coffee: The very same thing happened to me in my old place in Seattle. We lived on the corner, three AM one night a drunk plows into the house. Not just the house, the GROWROOM! My Lights flooded out like someone was making a porn film! Luckily, I have a truck-sized motorcycle trailer that sat next to the garage. In about two minutes I had the lights and fans out, the plants in the trailer and was hooking them up to the truck when the cops arrived. One problem was explaining why I was backing into the driveway when they gotthere, I explained I was helpfully making room. The only person who bothered to even look at the hole in the house was the tow truck driver. He was worried about the whole roof coming down when the car was removed. Plants went away to a friend’s house next morning and we moved out the next WEEK! By-by, Lake City.
        Going camping with the family, and the inlaws, and the dog, and the kid, and half the entire housefull of stuff we have. Back Sunday. Later!

  • kant

    So as I read the article (in multiple sittings…it was pretty brutal) I couldn’t help but think, “If I bought a bottle of aspirin and downed it all would the store cashier/manager be held responsible” OR “If I loaned money to a friend and they used that money to buy drugs would I be responsible?” OR “If i used my paycheck to buy drugs would my employer be held responsible for an overdose?”

    I’m sure there are nuances to the law but the last quote really blurred the line.

    “Anybody who facilitates any part of the transaction in the passing of illegal drugs has culpability.

    This interpretation is so horrifically vague that I could conceive a situations where merely giving driving directions could constitute “facilitation of a transaction”

    • Duncan20903

      kant
      On August 2, 2011 at 8:58 pm kant said:

      “So as I read the article (in multiple sittings…it was pretty brutal) I couldn’t help but think, “If I bought a bottle of aspirin and downed it all would the store cashier/manager be held responsible” OR “If I loaned money to a friend and they used that money to buy drugs would I be responsible?” OR “If i used my paycheck to buy drugs would my employer be held responsible for an overdose?”

      So when are these people going to learn that chest beating in a very threatening tone of authority just doesn’t work?

      As far as your question why not dig up the Missouri law that they mentioned and see what it says? State laws are usually not uniform in either content or penalty. Even the “Uniform” CSA adopted by all 50 States and DC allows States to put substances on whichever level of the naughty list that they see fit, as demonstrated by Oregon’s placement of cannabis in schedule II and pseudoephedrine in schedule III.

      Felony murder generally requires an inherently dangerous underlying crime. Well at least in California it does. It’s not like in TV crime dramas which act as it any felony will do. I first learned that fact when I read a story in the media about some California lawmakers were trying to add cooking meth to the list. IIRC they did succeed but even I would have a difficult time arguing that it isn’t. If you’re cheating on your State taxes and your wife drops dead from a heart attack when you tell her the huge sum of money that you saved from committing felony evasion of California income tax, just doesn’t qualify as felony murder. No, not Federal tax evasion, that’s completely legal under California law.

      • kant

        from the article page 6:

        If the case goes to trial, Halliday’s fate could come down to a technical question: Did Halliday physically handle Berkenbile’s money or the dope that ended up in his veins?

        If simply touching money is enough to be charged and potentially convicted of drug-induced homicide. I’m not sure how one could interpret touching money as somehow “inherently dangerous”.

  • kant

    Also what happened to all that prosecutorial discretion we’re told occurs by advocates of cayle’s law?

    • If the prosecutors had discretion, where are those seeking RICO actions against the legislative criminals for passing such blatantly unconstitutional (1st, 9th, 14th amendments USC) “laws” for cigarette-pharma-alcohol mercantilism?

  • No- rather the culpability rests with the dopes that wrote and enacted such “laws”.

    They were the ones that made it strictly illegal (aka whole plant equals concentrated alkloid by weight making say an 8 oz cup of coca tea as illegal as the same amount of cocaine powder- think also about the LSD carrier weight issue), encouraging the shift to the most dangerous forms and modes of use.

  • DdC

    ‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison’

    Busting her for murder, that’s $72,000.00 a year for the Koch’s Prison Resorts. If they just let her mourn and live a minimum wage existence in the privacy of her own home its also less income tax going back to DC. The Persecutors are in it for the “W”, not Justice. A future state AG or another cushy political position. Take from the States and give to the Rich. It’s a mirror image of what we were taught is right. To the Neocons Junkes are only useful as snitches or tax eating prison cages. Snitches keep the non violent cannabis crowds from getting too uppity and wealthy. Busting sick people was pretty common in the early days of Prop 215 with Kubby extradited and Tuck literally dragged from his Hospital bed. Killing McWilliams was a message the same as caging Tommy Chong or Rainbow Farm or the recent Rape and Pillage by the Neoconfederate Congress.

    “We have spent over a trillion dollars That’s we as in dung worriers have spent and the most important message for the kiddies, dung worriers have received over a trillion tax dollars trying to eradicate the world’s most beneficial plant off the face of the earth. A renewable home grown plant not taking profits from the subsidized with tax dollars oil corporations, or the timber industry, or the cotton industry and the 90 million pounds of poisons sold, or the meat, fish, dairy and grain Big Ag chemical frankenfoods and factory meat pits. 12# of grain = 1 pound of meat + the fresh water and poisons used, Imagine what a better world this would be if that money had been spent on treatment, education and studying the medical benefits of marijuana.” If not for the greed of Neocon DEAth Merchants.

    Anti-Drugs Worker Became Heroin Fugitive
    UK: Rob Preece Yorkshire Post (UK) 01 Aug 2011
    Law graduate Mahfooz Ahmed, 35, supported drug users in his hometown of Halifax and carried out research for the Government in taxpayer-funded schemes to help tackle the social problems caused by substance abuse.

    But after falling into financial difficulty, he became embroiled in drug dealing and went on the run after customs officers found heroin worth UKP 1.36m in a suitcase he had been carrying.

    “At DEA, our mission is to fight drug trafficking in order to make drug abuse the most expensive, unpleasant, risky, and disreputable form of recreation a person could have.”
    – Donnie Marshall, Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

    Republicans Want DOJ Busting Medical Marijuana Dispensaries U2b

    Once the religious, the hunted and weary
    Chasing the promise of freedom and hope
    Came to this country to build a new vision
    Far from the reaches of kingdom and pope
    Like good Christians, some would burn witches
    Later some got slaves to gather riches
    ~ Steppenwolf, Monster

    The Heroin Challenge

    The Neocon Puritanical inbreeds living in isolation to the point of natural xenophobia. Truly believe their God sanctions the killing of Americans for doing relatively safe activities in proper context. Doctors prescribe basically the same potentially hazardous drugs without incident on a daily basis. These very dangerous drug worriers have reduced human life to a figure in a ledger of profits. Who’d a thunk sharing needles would have spread disease? Or inconsistent supplies provide inconsistent recipes and substandard titration’s and ingredients. All deterrents that cause more harm than the drug has to cause. No one has to die of drugs. They make up the statistics, to keep Hemp blue jeans and veggie oil off the market shelves. To keep a safer alternative to beer and whiskey outlawed for the Booze Industrial Complex and the Drug Mfgers when the drunks crash into someone. Big Pharma doesn’t want granny growing her own doctor recommended remedy when their substandard pills with side effect pills are pure profit regardless if they work or do greater harm. Fossil Fools have shackled the fuel and plastic markets making rich Middle Eastern bin Ladens and Egyptians wealthy beyond their dreams. We get Enron and Asthma from the emissions. Sulfur emissions + rain = sulfuric acid. Runoff = acidic conditions for many species. For International corporations profit. The Neocon Shepherds prodding the American sheople to poison their own families in the name of God Wall St. Why would they care about junkies?

    End The Drug War, Face Jim Crow
    US: Michelle Alexander: Flanders, Laura The Nation 31 Jul 2011
    The NAACP has just passed a historic resolution demanding an end to the War on Drugs. The resolution comes as young black male unemployment hovers near 50 percent and the wealth gap has become a veritable gulf. So why is the forty-year-old “War on Drugs” public enemy number one for the nation’s oldest civil rights organization? Well, here’s why: it’s not extraneous, it’s central: the war on drugs is the engine of twenty-first-century discrimination–an engine that has brought Jim Crow into the age of Barack Obama.

    US or Them…

    SCAPEGOATING – Blaming social problems on a cultural, racial, or behaviorial group. PREJUDICE – Selling the public on the idea that all members of the targeted group are ‘bad’ people. NO PUBLIC DEBATE – “These people have no right to have their viewpoiunt aired.” and ” Anyone who disagrees or questions us must be one of them!” DEHUMANIZATION – Characterizing all members of a targeted group as subhuman and typically capable of monstrous deeds and/or crimes. PROTECT OUR CHILDREN – “They corrupt, seduce and or destroy our children.” CIVIL LIBERTIES SACRIFICED – “We must give up some of our freedoms, liberties, and rights in order to combat this menace to society.” LEGAL DESCRIMINATION – Laws criminalize members of targeted group and they may be denied jobs, the right to own property and/or be restricted as to where they may live or go. INFORMERS – Citizens are urged to ‘turn in’ friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members. SECRET POLICE – Non-uniformed police squads set up to wage war on targeted groups utilizing deception, infiltration, espionage and entrapment. CONFISCATION OF PROPERTY – Property and assets are seized from people who are members of targeted group. Property may be divided between the informer and the state. REMOVAL FROM SOCIETY – Prisons, rehabilitation camps, ‘hospitals’, executions and genocide…
    (“Kill Them All” “Zero Tolerance”)

  • TrebleBass

    “Anybody who facilitates any part of the transaction in the passing of illegal drugs has culpability.”

    That means that for any overdose death there are hundreds of people who have culpability. They could attempt to put hundreds of people in jail for murder over each overdose, which would do little or nothing to reduce overdose deaths (probably even increase them), or they could implement harm reduction measures which have been scientifically proven to reduce them.

  • Peter

    Madison County State’s Attorney Thomas Gibbons, a democrat determined to outdo the republicans on the law-n-order front. He does this by victimizing some of the most vulnerable members of his constituency, all in good time for the elections next year. Such is the politics of scapegoating.

  • Servetus

    The drug war filters out many legal professionals who might otherwise seek judgeships and jobs as prosecutors.

    Those still choosing to prosecute drug cases, to sentence drug war victims to prison terms, must necessarily believe in what they’re doing. Sympathy or lenience shown to drug heretics is considered heretical. This attitude forms the basis for mandated minimum drug penalties, according to former Drug Czar Bill Bennett, who condemned judges he believed were soft on drug crimes. Judges and prosecutors who disagree with harsh drug policies can always join LEAP; but for that, few options remain outside of resigning and doing something different with their legal skills.

    The judicial skew effect caused by drug enforcement means that the types of prosecutors and judges Americans acquire and retain have a high probability of being shallow-minded ideologues and people willfully ignorant of the disastrous net effect of the drug war. In this way, prohibition attracts idiots, bigots, sycophants, religious fanatics, sociopaths and authoritarians to key government positions, with a reinforcing effect. Once in power, the same people lend their moral incompetence to other types of law cases and government policies. Thanks in large part to the drug war, corruption, incompetence and institutionalized racism have become ubiquitous within the American legal system.

  • palemalemarcher

    Thank you for the clip of Rep. Justice committee critter. So Why can’t we cut spending on oil subsidies?!

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