March 4, 2008

Jury Duty

This past week I was selected for a jury pool and after 3 hours of sitting and waiting I was actually chosen to be part of the jury (exciting for me!). So the case I was a part of was a drug case, not surprising here in DC. What was surprising was that the prosecution paraded in 15 or so witnesses including DEA forensic experts and all for what turned out to be $15-$20 worth of crack possessed between two 50 year old gentlemen. Now I understand that breaking the law is breaking the law and I am by no means soft on crime, but at what point are we killing a fly with a sledgehammer! Now the government wanted us to believe that this was a possession with an intent to distribute case when really it was a possession with the intent to smoke case. In the end it was our taxpayer dollars that went up in smoke (pun intended), I'm sure that the use of so many undercover officers and agents would have been better served out on the street looking for "real criminals" as opposed to spending a week in the courtroom shaking down two older gentleman with a known drug habit. I would bet that Lindsey Lohan or some other entertainer could have been caught with $20 worth of their drug of choice and not spent more than one day in court, if that. Now I don't claim to be some legal expert but I've watched my share of 'Law and Order' and this case was flimsy AT BEST. I'm beginning to think that we must make these convictions in order to justify the jobs of all the wonderful men & women of our drug enforcement agencies and to keep the BIG business that is our prison system working (God I hope I'm wrong). And while I am truly thankful for our judicial system (the best in the world) and the opportunity I had to be a part of the process, I just wish that the heavy hand of the law was handed out with an equal stroke. Instead it favors those with the ability to afford the best council and punishes those without. Now in this case we found the individuals guilty of possession and did not convict two drug addicts for being what the government called distributors. But I was forced to ask myself, how many people are withering away in our prisons for being addicts? Who is to say that a low-income persons drug of choice deserves jail but a suburban moms drug of choice deserves sympathy? If it were up to me, they all deserve our sympathy. But if we're handing out sympathy only to those with "soccer mom" bumper stickers or to those with a hit record then it's our judicial system that needs to be hit with the sledgehammer and not the flies...


Today I decided to start my blog. While I generally don't have tons of earth shattering things to share with the world, when I do, I am invariably not around the people I need to share them with. So I decided to start writing down my thoughts to ensure that I don't forget them. I anticipate this blog to be a place for me to discuss anything from music to politics and everything in between. So tune in, because you never know, one day I may say something earth shattering, or not.