I had another two court day; morning in Dallas, and afternoon in Kaufman. I had a few passes and an open plea in Dallas. I saw a few friends at the courthouse one of whom pointed out a MADD courthouse runner.
MADD sends spies to the courthouse to monitor the DWI cases. I’ve never actually seen one until today. He was an earnest looking young man armed with a notebook. I wonder who he reports to and what he is reporting? If I see him again I’ll ask.
On my open plea- I had a DWI case (don’t tell MADD), the state made a plea offer but we chose to plead open to the judge.
That is, my client pled guilty and asked the judge to set punishment. It worked out well and we received reasonable terms.
Judges are an important safety valve on the criminal justice system. If the DA is worried about offending MADD and won’t make a reasonable plea offer, sometimes you need a judge to dispense justice.
How much is weed in Terrell, Texas?
I arrived in Kaufman just in time for a 1:30 setting on a felony case. There was a hearing underway in which the defendant had pled for 8 years TDC and was asking for shock probation. Shock probation is where you serve a little TDC jail time but get out on probation. The idea being that the “shock” of jail will scare you straight.
The State wanted the judge to deny the motion and called a narcotics officer to the stand. A typical strategy in a drug sentencing is for the State to highlight the monetary value of the transaction. As an objectivist this has never made sense to me. Voluntary transactions are inherently moral. This defendant was helping to meet the perpetual demand of our nation’s millions of cannabis consumers. If he was selling cigarettes or Jegermeister there wouldn’t be an issue. Such is prohibition.
The narcotics officer was asked how much weed costs. He responded that in Terrell, Texas his last buy was $250 for a quarter pound. He also said a full pound may not be $1000 (economies of scale happen).
Here is what is amazing about supply and demand. Terrell is a small town of 13,000. You can’t buy sushi in Terrell, but every day of the year you can buy pot, crack, meth etc. Unlike the doltish marijuana laws of our state, the laws of supply and demand are always obeyed.
The officer went on to discuss the fundamentals of the marijuana market. Marijuana is bought in El Paso and shipped east (Dallas, Atlanta etc). The border price will rise or fall depending on border security and whether the buyer has a decent connect. The retail price depends on the risk involved, the number of mules required etc.
So what happened to this defendant? For the “crime” of possessing 80 pounds of a verboten plant he is serving 8 years in TDC at taxpayer expense.
What did this prosecution accomplish? We could ask the narcotics officer what happens when you reduce supply and demand stays the same. Somewhere 80 pounds of marijuana did not arrive, the local price will increase, and supply will follow.