Patterico's Pontifications

9/3/2007

More Good News from Texas

Filed under: Crime,General,Law — DRJ @ 2:25 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Good news for Cheech and Chong types. Effective September 1, a new Texas law allows officers to issue citations in lieu of jailing some offenders:

“The law applies to marijuana possession of less than four ounces, theft by check or theft of services less than $500, criminal mischief and graffiti with damage less than $500 and driving with an invalid license. Penalties for these offenses do not change.

The law was changed to ease jail crowding and keep officers available for more serious crimes. However, some jurisdictions such as this one in West Texas will still opt for jail time over citations for marijuana possession:

“If they’re stupid enough to violate the law, they’re stupid enough to go to jail,” said Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter. Painter said as far as the Sheriff’s Office is concerned, anyone with any amount of marijuana found in their possession will be arrested.”

Patterico should return today or tomorrow so I’ll take this opportunity to say Thank You to Patrick and everyone for letting me guest post. It was a blast and I’ll see you as a commenter tomorrow.

15 Responses to “More Good News from Texas”

  1. Tarrant County (Fort Worth) has also stated that they will continue to arrest people for possession of marijuana (six months for less than 2 ounces, a year for 2-4 ounces, remain the penalties).

    Jameson Lewis III (b21e0e)

  2. It’s time to end the INSANE War on Some Drugs , and send it’s junkie proponents to rehab

    Horatio (55069c)

  3. Possession of pot is a tiny offense that doesn’t warrant jail and is relatively victimless, but marijuana ruins lives and is a leading cause of schizophrenia (conveniently the media rarely reports the facts). Sale of marijuana should remain a felony. It should be at least the equivalent of battery.

    But mere possession shouldn’t be arrestable if the possessor reveals where she got her drugs.

    The war of Drugs does seem to be creating a lot of harm.

    Dustin (aba75b)

  4. Dustin,

    As pointed out at the first link, some Texas prosecutors are leery that they can prosecute based on a citation when there hasn’t been an arrest. I think that’s why some police and sheriff’s departments are rejecting the citation option.

    DRJ (bfe07e)

  5. … and I should add that others are rejecting citations because they think it’s a bad idea.

    DRJ (bfe07e)

  6. DRJ #4,

    It’s a statutory question, not a constitutional one. In Illinois, misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in prison, can be prosecuted by the same uniform complaint issued for not wearing a seatbelt. Depending on the rule-making authority of the courts it need not even be statutory — it can be done by amending the court rules.

    Actually, I’m surprised that Texas has not already done this for all misdemeanor offenses — a uniform complaint and a promise to appear in lieu of bail.

    nk (a6ecc6)

  7. Orange County District Attorney John Kimbrough said law enforcers in his county will continue to arrest applicable offenders as well.

    “It’s a great idea, but I think it’s got some problems,” Kimbrough said by phone. “If we just write them a ticket, how do we get them in the system? How is there a record? How do they get fingerprinted? How do they know when to show up for court?”

    I think Orange County needs to learn about police officers’ “key” dates. And data entry. And transmittal of complaints to the clerk of the court for docketting. And other miracles of modern police work.

    nk (a6ecc6)

  8. There is no such thing as uniform when you have 256 counties with 325 law enforcement agencies who each view themselves as “the law.” However, I’m not sure if Texas officials see this as a statutory or a constitutional issue as much as a practical concern. Here’s how one Sheriff described the problem:

    “Orange County District Attorney John Kimbrough said law enforcers in his county will continue to arrest applicable offenders as well. “It’s a great idea, but I think it’s got some problems,” Kimbrough said by phone. “If we just write them a ticket, how do we get them in the system? How is there a record? How do they get fingerprinted? How do they know when to show up for court?”

    It may be a common problem across the US but I know that, in Texas, there are countless people who simply don’t show up for hearings after being cited. Little is done to apprehend them unless and until they are subsequently stopped for another offense. I guess some jurisdictions aren’t willing to do that with drug crimes, no matter how petty they may seem to some.

    DRJ (bfe07e)

  9. Sorry, we cross-posted with the same quote. We must be on the same wave-length.

    DRJ (bfe07e)

  10. Someday, people will look back upon our hysteria toward and criminalization of pot, in the same way we look back upon those who thought leeches were a useful treatment, or that odd women should be tried for witchcraft.

    Jack (4d1249)

  11. Oh, BTW, leeches are a “useful” treatment, for certain medical conditions.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  12. Oh, BTW, leeches are a “useful” treatment, for certain medical conditions

    As is pot

    In the 1960s, Steppenwolf had a song – “The Pusher Man”. I think this should be the anthem used to condemn the junkie drug warriors

    Horatio (55069c)

  13. Plz reply with use full information, i have brother having Alcohol addiction from last 7 years.does any one know about alcoholism treatment center or Christian alcoholism treatment

    alcoholism treatment center (c7a4ea)

  14. The fact that gary painter said that pissis me off since he himself his a hypocrit and is the # 1 importer of marijuana into midland county. any of you that dont belive me open your eyes and learn the truth i know this from first hand expirence.

    Midland Resident (77081e)

  15. What marijuana is the leading cause of schizophrenia? I think fucking not. Who told you this Mr. Dustin. Get your facts straight dipshit

    Aaron (c6233c)


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