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November 2003



A new novel to check out…

I haven’t read this new book by Ayelet Waldman yet, but it’s high on my wish list, and the reviews have been outstanding. Waldman is a former public defender and author of the popular Mommy Track mystery series.
According to the Review in the Chicago Sun-Times:

Some defense attorneys burn out because they come to believe they are doing little more than hastening criminals back onto the street.

Author Ayelet Waldman, a former federal public defender in Los Angeles, had the opposite problem: She got tired of seeing “innocents” taking the fall in America’s war on drugs.
“I thought I would be seeing kingpins going to jail, but the kingpins negotiate deals and go to jail for very little time,” Waldman says. “It’s the people who are on the lowest rungs on the ladder, and so have no information to sell, who go to prison for a long time — the guy who carries the box or the woman who takes a phone message.”
Lawmakers who set up the rules of engagement for America’s “war on drugs” instituted stiff mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of trafficking in illegal substances, so that a judge or jury can’t try to single out a particular defendant for more lenient treatment.
“After a while, I thought, I can’t do this anymore,” she says. “Rapists, pedophiles get out of jail sooner than my clients would. I wasn’t helping anything funneling these people through the system.”
In Daughter’s Keeper, Waldman follows one young woman, Olivia Goodman, whose undocumented Mexican lover, Jorge Rodriguez, thinks a quick drug deal or two will provide him with enough money to get established in the United States.
Jorge doesn’t realize that the acquaintance who proposed he get involved with selling drugs in the first place is an informant for the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. Jorge is arrested, and in order to reduce his own sentence, he tells DEA agents that Olivia was also involved.
Olivia had tried to dissuade Jorge from selling drugs, but because she was in the car when he went to pick up the drugs and she conveyed a phone message about the deal, she faces 10 years in prison.

Welcome Cannabis Culture

A warm and belated welcome to all the visitors from Cannabis Culture Magazine Online which was nice enough to provide a link to this site while I was busy this past week. Check them out.

Illinois limits use of drug-sniffing dogs

Chicago Tribune: Court bars drug-dog use in traffic stops: ‘Hunch’ doesn’t validate search

a contentious 4-3 decision, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday that police cannot use drug-detection dogs to sniff vehicles during routine traffic stops. Before police summon a dog, they must have a reasonable suspicion that the driver is carrying drugs, not […]

Drug Policy Reformer enters Senate race in California

Judge Gray, a Drug-War Foe, Will Run for Senate: Now a libertarian, the longtime advocate of legalization will challenge Boxer in 2004. This is extraordinary news. Gray is the author of “Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs” – a […]

Catching up

While I’ve been busy doing a musical and other fun stuff, a lot’s been happening in the drug war. Some of this will be old news to some of you, but these are a few stories I felt important to include. For more review of events in the past week, be sure to check […]