Justice Pennsylvania-Style

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Via Dave Weigel’s takedown of David Brooks’s “pot for me, but not for thee” column, here’s an excerpt from Sarah Stillman’s New Yorker piece on marijuana arrests. When the injustice done by the punishment is clearly greater than that of the crime, you know you’ve got a bad law:

According to a report by the Philadelphia Police Department, the younger Leon had a sideline: on the afternoon of July 10, 2012, he allegedly sold twenty dollars’ worth of marijuana to a confidential informant, on the porch of his parents’ home. When the informant requested two more deals the next week, the report said, he made the same arrangements. Both were for twenty dollars, purchased with marked bills provided by police.

Around 5 p.m. on July 19th, Leon, Sr., was in his bedroom recovering from surgery when he was startled by a loud noise. “I thought the house was blowing up,” he recalls. The police “had some sort of big, long club and four guys hit the door with it, and knocked the whole door right down.” swat-team officers in riot gear were raiding his home. One of the officers placed Leon, Jr., in handcuffs and said, “Apologize to your father for what you’ve done.” Leon, Jr., was taken off to jail, where he remains, awaiting trial.

The police returned about a month after the raid. Owing to the allegations against Leon, Jr., the state was now seeking to take the Adamses’ home and to sell it at a biannual city auction, with the proceeds split between the district attorney’s office and the police department. All of this could occur even if Leon, Jr., was acquitted in criminal court; in fact, the process could be completed even before he stood trial.

This entry was posted in Miscellany.

3 Responses to Justice Pennsylvania-Style

  1. Ed Boito says:

    If you see the injustice in this article, please check out John Hanger’s 3 step marijuana reform plan at hangerforgovernor.com

  2. John Hanger says:

    Jon:
    We are in the race to change Pennsylvania and to win. This issue will win the Democratic primary and the elites who support these cruel, destructive laws include most elected Democrats. We would love them to “evolve,” but they are as likely to evolve on this issue as campaign finance reform.

    While most elected officials support the cruel, destructive marijuana laws, most people don’t. The NAACP and the ACLU support marijuana legalization, in part, because they know these laws target minorities. African Americans are being arrested at 5 times the rate of whites right here in PA. Our People’s Campaign gains strength with the young and people of color, because we are the only ones serious about ending mass incarceration (half of all drug arrests are for marijuana). Jobs, Not Jails. Schools, Not Jails. Join the People’s Campaign at http://www.hangerforgovernor.com