Political commentator, author and writer for The Atlantic magazine Andrew M. Sullivan won’t have to face charges stemming from a recent pot bust at the Cape Cod National Seashore — but a federal judge isn't happy about it.Forget about the Mexican drug cartels -- save us from the AIDS-Infected British Dope Menace!
U. S. Magistrate Judge Robert B. Collings says in his decision that the case is an example of how sometimes "small cases raise issues of fundamental importance in our system of justice."
While marijuana possession may have been decriminalized, Sullivan, who owns a home in Provincetown, made the mistake of being caught by a park ranger with a controlled substance on National Park Service lands, a federal misdemeanor.
The ranger issued Sullivan a citation, which required him either to appear in U.S. District Court or, in essence, pay a $125 fine.
But the U.S. Attorney’s Office sought to dismiss the case. Both the federal prosecutor and Sullivan’s attorney said it would have resulted in an "adverse effect" on an unspecified "immigration status" that Sullivan, a British citizen, is applying for.
At the hearing, Collings observed that Sullivan would still have to state on his application that he had been charged with a crime, and he asked both the prosecutor and Sullivan’s attorney, Robert Delahunt Jr. (cousin of U. S. Rep. William D. Delahunt), for more information about why paying the $125 would have "any additional adverse effect." . . .
Collings says he expressed his concern that "a dismissal would result in persons in similar situations being treated unequally before the law. … persons charged with the same offense on the Cape Cod National Seashore were routinely given violation notices, and if they did not agree to [pay the fine] were prosecuted by the United States Attorney … there was no apparent reason for treating Mr. Sullivan differently from other persons charged with the same offense." . . .
UPDATE: Via Memeorandum, I see that my buddy Dan Riehl beat me to it:
Chill out folks, it's only pot. It isn't like he was caught using caffeine.Notorious martini addict VodkaPundit observes:
Make point about the media feeding frenzy if, say, George Will had been busted for pot.As a former teenage hoodlum who used to deal dope in felony weights, allow me to offer my Darwinian/draconian case for strict enforcement: Anybody stupid enough to get busted for dope is a danger to himself and others and should be locked up for the good of society. Dude, if you can't outsmart a narc . . .
Also, you put all the stupid stoners in prison, think of the positive impact on American culture. To begin with, nobody would ever again listen to The Grateful Dead . . .
UPDATE II: Thanks to VodkaPundit for the link-back, and to Freeper ABB for the linkage. Also, my libertarian friend Jacob Sullum now has a post at Reason magazine.
Though I consider myself in most senses a libertarian (priding myself on being a "top Hayekian public intellectual"), in the eternal struggle between law enforcement and hoodlums, I side with law enforcement, based on extensive personal experience as teenage hoodlum. And it's not just because I'm more than two decades past the statute of limitations that I feel the need to speak out about this.
Juvenile delinquency can be a valuable learning experience. Most journalists and intellectuals we goody-two-shoes in their youth, and therefore they don't even get my full meaning when I say that I dealt felony weight.
If you're a nickel-and-dime dopehead, occasionally selling a quarter-ounce of weed to your dope buddies in order to support your habit, maybe you can afford to be stupid and sloppy. But when you are selling by the quarter-pound, it's a different story altogether.
Since the '70s, the law has distinguished marijuana possession as misdemeanor (an ounce or less) or felony (more than an ounce). When you are buying dope by the pound, your stash constitutes irrefutable evidence not only of felony possession, but also of possession with intent to distribute, a felony in its own right.
Because you don't want to be caught holding, a smart dealer moves the merchandise fast -- and I was the Sam Walton of Weed: Deep discounts, undersell the competition, make the profit on volume. So if I bought a pound of weed, I'd first get one of my trusted buddies to buy a quarter-pound at 20% above cost. That way, I quickly recouped 30% of my capital investment and only had to sell another 12 ounces (at a higher mark-up, but still slightly below the going rate) to be dope-free, once more an upstanding "legit" citizen with nothing to fear from the law.
Well, if you sell someone a quarter-pound, your customer is also automatically holding evidence of a felony possession, you see? If he gets busted, he's going to be under serious pressure to rat you out, and personal loyalty has its limits. Therefore, don't sell large quantities to stupid people. And you never, ever, sell dope to people you don't know.
While I won't explain the entire rulebook of smart dope-dealing here on the blog -- that might aid law-breakers, who should be locked up immediately -- my experience means that I have zero sympathy for an idiot like Sully.
Sully is no better than those moronic losers you see on the TV show COPS, pulled over for a broken turn signal and busted for a roach in the ashtray, a dime-bag in their pocket, or a crack-pipe the glove compartment. A smart doper doesn't do stuff like that, and however Sully got caught, he is a "victim" of nothing but his own stupidity -- just another dumb hoodlum who ought to be in jail.
Never give a hoodlum an even break, or he will become arrogant and thus more dangerous, both to himself and to society. Read more about my hoodlum past in my blog memoir All Girls Named Tonya (a work in progress).
And somebody hit the tip jar -- this kind of valuable ex-hoodlum insight ought to be worth something, even if no sane book publisher would ever buy it.
UPDATE III: You're invited to join the Concerned Patriotic Americans Committee to Deport Andrew Sullivan. Join now -- it's for the children!
UPDATE IV: Dan Collins:
You know, The Atlantic can’t fire him, because that would have an adverse impact on his immigration status, and besides, he’s gay.And you knew Ace of Spades would have a field day. It's sort of like the AOSHQ Fitzmas.