Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The War On (Some) Drugs claims another innocent victim

I'm infuriated to read about a Florida man's ordeal.

[Donald] May was pulled over for an expired tag on his car. When the officer walked up to him, he noticed something white in May's mouth. May said it was breath mints, but the officer thought it was crack cocaine.

"He took them out of my mouth and put them in a baggy and locked me up [for] possession of cocaine and tampering with evidence," May explained.

The officer claimed he field-tested the evidence and it tested positive for drugs. The officer said he saw May buying drugs while he was stopped at an intersection. He also stated in his report May waived his Miranda rights and voluntarily admitted to buying drugs.

May said that never happened.

"My client never admitted he purchased crack cocaine. Why would he say that?" attorney Adam Sudbury said.

May was thrown in jail and was unable to bond out for three months. He didn't get out until he received a letter from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney's Office that test results showed no drugs were found.

"While I was sitting in jail I lost my apartment. I lost everything," he said.

While May was behind bars, the Kissimmee Police Department towed his car and auctioned it off. He lost his job and was evicted. Now May is suing the city for false arrest and false imprisonment. He wants to be compensated for the loss of his car and job.

There's more at the link.

Sadly, such incidents are no longer as isolated as once might have been the case. The real culprit is the anti-drug laws that permit police departments to confiscate the goods of drug dealers, sell them, and keep the proceeds. This encourages cops to make as many arrests as possible, as the proceeds help to pay their salaries, buy new equipment, and so on. Unscrupulous cops (and yes, there are such creatures out there) have been known to use extreme measures, at the very edge of the law - and sometimes beyond - to make arrests and secure convictions.

I hope Mr. May's lawsuit succeeds in teaching the agency involved a lesson . . . but since it's taxpayer money that will settle it, in the end, we all lose.

I fear the War On (Some) Drugs is a lost cause. It's done nothing to stop the inflow of illegal narcotics, or the demand for them, and has created many pools of wealth, both for the criminals supplying them and for law enforcement departments interdicting them. Perhaps it's time to reconsider the whole affair, and find a solution that works. The present measures certainly aren't!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's stories like that which point out the lunacy of the "War on Drugs" and why we should all fight that nonsense.

I advise *everyone* to learn about "jury nullification" so if you sit as a juror in such a case you can vote "not guilty" (for the person originally charged) and vote guilty against the cops who try to perpetrate such travesties.

Check out for more info. As the FIJA site says, "The primary function of the independent juror is not, as many think, to dispense punishment to fellow citizens accused of breaking various laws, but rather to protect fellow citizens from tyrannical abuses of power by government."