I think my credibility as an anti drug war spokesman is enhanced by the fact that I stand to lose a lot of business when we end prohibition. A good portion of my criminal defense practice involves drug cases.
When we end Marijuana prohibition I will lose some business. It is still the right thing to do. I can always take more car wrecks. I would still have a busy criminal practice.
If we changed our felony drugs laws I would have to sell Amway.
My office is in Kaufman, Texas. Kaufman is the county seat of Kaufman County. Kaufman County is directly East of Dallas and is growing with the exurb boom.
Kaufman has two district (felony) courts, the 422nd and 86th judicial district.
Let's look at the new cases for June in the 422nd District Court.
The grand jury indicted 66 new cases. Grand jury indictments are how felony cases are filed. Out of those 44 were drug cases.
Out of those 44-
30 were for Possession of a Controlled Substance. 15 of those cases for under 1 gram.
8 were for Manufacturing and Delivery. No Pablo Escobars in this group. 3 of the dealers had less than 1 gram of drugs. All had under 4 grams.
3 were for Marijuana possession (over 4oz is a felony, that's a lot of weed).
3 were for bringing a prohibited substance into jail. That charge is when you do not give the cop the crack rock in your shoe and it is found during book in.
2/3 of the new cases for one month in one court involve prohibition enforcement. Those cases all required substantial law enforcement time and resources to get to the grand jury. The cops made arrests, compiled reports, conducted interviews, and gathered evidence. All drugs in Kaufman county are sent to a lab for verification. Then the case goes to the district attorney for intake. A prosecutor spends time reviewing the evidence, looking for problems with the case, and either prepares an indictment, rejects the case, or asks an investigator to gather more evidence.
All of the defendants charged were arrested, booked, bail was set, and now they have at least one if not many court appearances in their future. All felony defendants get an attorney in Kaufman before they plead. If they are indigent the taxpayer pays for that.
All of those resources are not being used to catch or convict killers, rapists, burglars, arsonists, or identity thieves.
One month does not a statistical sample make. It does show how the answer to a failed drug policy is not more of the same. Texas recently approved 8,500 more prison beds. That is the War on Drugs version of a troop surge.
Not only would I lose business if we ended prohibition but thousands of government employees would be gone also. With a new approach to the drug war we could lower the budget for law enforcement and increase the amount we spend prosecuting non drug crimes (sex offenders, violent crimes, theft, murder etc).
I will be happy to find other ways to make money (Were you injured in a car wreck?). Prohibition is a failure, an expensive failure that makes us less safe. As a society we should demand that our tax dollars and criminal justice resources be better utilized.
Labels: Kaufman County, War On Drugs