Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Life Sentence

When a person hears that a jury has given them a life sentence it is usually the result of something socially unaccepted. The one that comes to mind first would be a murderer. Most of the times that is the case. As you watch the Cailee Anthony murder trial, and you would not believe just how many are, the death of a child is what in the legal field is called a heinous murder. There are other cases that fall into that category. The killing of more than one person. Death that involves the commission of a felony. A death involving torture. The killing of a sworn protector of the law. These are all heinous murders and are punishable by death in most states. In the state of Alabama a man was sentenced to life for one joint. How is that possible? It is called the habitual offender act. The state of Texas conceived of the law and Alabama followed suit. The idea behind this law is that if a person commits two felonies and commits a third, the punishment is enhanced, thinking that a person who commits many felonies needs more time to rehabilitate. This is the most ill-conceived law that our states have ever drawn up. I gave you a perfect example at the start of this story. A guy buys some merchandise that happens to be stolen. He gets a slap on the wrist, pays a fine, and has to do some probation. Maybe some community service work. One year later, this same man writes a bad check and guess what? Felony number two. He pays a larger fine and depending on several factors such as, the present prison population,  how good of a lawyer he has, there is a real chance that he may not see the state prison, just a couple days in the county jail. He gets 5 years probation, mainly because the prison is so overcrowded and there is no room in the inn. Now, this same guy has been doing good the last 4 years, been paying his supervision fee every month, has got a good job, and decides to go out to the club for some drinks and a little dancing with the ladies. A beautiful blond approaches and asks if he has a joint. It just so happens that his buddy has some in the car. He gets the keys, walks out to the car and grabs the joint and hands it to her. CLANK, you are under arrest for the distribution of controlled substances. He makes bail, hires an attorney and goes to court. It just happens to be election time and the D.A. will not plea because he is trying to be elected to the circuit judge and his platform is 'Tough on Drugs.' He goes before the same judge that used to be the D.A. and is given a life sentence for being an habitual offender. This is a true story. I was in prison with the guy. You tell me, is this justice system got some problems in it? It does when you give a man a life sentence for one joint. Nineteen states have made it legal to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. It is up to our generation that the laws change. Give the life sentence to the guy for raping a woman, not for a joint.    theblogmeister

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