Today, while at work, I was perusing the dead-tree version of the Rocky Mountain News when I came across this article. Apparently, there are 8 people (vile, vicious, and among the worst of the worst, in my opinion) that are probably going to walk free after a court reporter failed to properly transcribe their trials. Definately not good news for anyone who doesn't like child molesters and murderers running around their neighborhoods.
So I come home, flip on the computer, and run through my blogroll just like I always do. Lots of stuff about Fitzmas, the (I-can't-believe-this-is-still-an-)on-going Miers flap, random top-tens, and cats taking unscheduled trips to France. Just another day in the life of the blogosphere.
Except for this. Which really made me do some serious thinking.
Apparently there's a guy named Richard Paey in Florida who is parapalegic, suffers from multiple sclerosis, and (from reading between the lines) a victim of possible malpractice. He needs his morphine prescription filled, but it is in such a high dosage that most doctors and pharmacists won't touch it. So he goes back to his old doctor in New Jersey, who proceeds to authorize the script and later reverses said authorization. Which gets poor Richard in deep water with the local DA's office, ending up with him being charged with possession with intent to distribute narcotics.
There's a saying among some people in this country that goes along the lines of "No jury in the world will convict me if..." We pretty much all have heard it at some point in time, as did Mr. Paey who insisted on his right to a jury trial. And said jury not only convicted him, but sent him to a medium-security prison for twenty five years.
Now, compare this to a sampling of the pond-scum that is about to be released from Arapahoe County due to what amounts to a clerical error writ large:
• Darkhanbayar Tumentsereg, 30, was convicted on Nov. 29, 2001, of four counts of sexual assault and received a prison sentence of 16 years to life.
• Richard Carmichael, 38, was convicted on Oct. 15, 2001, of sexual assault on his 13-year-old niece. He received a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.
• Clevia Firethunder, 31, was convicted on April 23, 2002, for stabbing and killing her live-in boyfriend in Aurora in 2001. She was sentenced to five years in prison.
• James McNurlen, 49, was convicted of sexual assault against a child on March 18, 2002. He has been out on bond pending his appeal.
Notice anything odd about this? Sexual predators and murderers get less time on their prison sentences than a guy who was just trying to fill his prescription, all because the size of said prescription put him over a certain statutory mark for possessing a controlled narcotic.
Seems to me that our country seriously needs to re-examine our priorities and policies regarding drugs, legal or illegal. I don't like people that use illegal drugs. I happen to believe that they are weak, but they damn well shouldn't get more jail-time than either child molesters or stone-cold murderers. Period.
[Side note = As for me, I have only three addictions: caffiene, nicotine, and chocolate. The day I need a fourth crutch is the day one of those three goes the way of (not)Justice Miers, and that ain't going to happen anytime soon. In fact, the phrase "cold dead hands" comes to mind.]