Federal Judge Blasts Lenient Treatment of Blogger Andrew M. Sullivan in Drug Case

225px-Andrew_Sullivan_croppedmarijuana-leafIn a rare rebuke to prosecutors, U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert B. Collings has criticized the decision of the United States Attorneys office to drop charges against well-known blogger Andrew M. Sullivan, who was arrested by park rangers on a Cape Cod national beach for possession of marijuana on July 13th. A conviction would have caused problems for Sullivan — a British citizen — in remaining in the United States.

Collings wrote “fidelity to the law requires that the Court grant leave to the United States Attorney to dismiss the Violation Notice against Mr. Sullivan. That the Court must so act does not require the Court to believe that the end result is a just one.”

U.S. Attorney James F. Lang insisted that prosecution of the writer was “contrary to public interest.” Collings clearly did not like that argument a wee bit.

Collings noted that the facts were “straightforward” and that “[i]t is quite apparent Mr. Sullivan is being treated differently from others. In fact, there were other persons who were required to appear who were charged with the same offense and who were being prosecuted.”

Collings accused the prosecutors of discarding the principle that “all persons stand equal before the law.” Of course, given this Administration’s effort to protect Bush officials from war crimes and torture prosecutions, this is pretty small potatoes.

I, of course, favor total immunity of bloggers from any crime as a reflection of our social standing and importance to the continuation of civilization as we know it.

Sullivan’s arrest is not unique and, in terms of bad press, pales in comparison to the charges against CNN personality Richard Quest who was able to rejoin CNN and appears to have struck a deal with prosecutors.

The fact is that pot possession is one of the lowest priorities for law enforcement in most jurisdictions. While this does not alter the claim of special treatment, many would like to see a day where we treat everyone equally by not prosecuting people for possession — bloggers or non-bloggers alike.

For the full story, click here.

25 thoughts on “Federal Judge Blasts Lenient Treatment of Blogger Andrew M. Sullivan in Drug Case”

  1. I await the right bitching about activist judges. I suspect I will be waiting for quite some time.

  2. Ken,

    You just don’t know how much LEO makes off of the system. Not only do you get busted for that illegal narcotics shit, we have bail bondmen, jail personal, cost of stay, cost of prosecuting, fines, incarceration, costs these are just a few of the amenities that we have to offer. Plus, if you don’t have the good shit and we know what i good and bad you will face a felony. Son, I don;t know about them laws in Arizona but we take drug crime seriously. Hey ma we are looking for some of that peyote. Thats only a misdemeanor here. Bring it on.

  3. There is no way that I would ever vote a guilty verdict on a marijuana charge were I on a jury. The drug war is a sham that wastes tax payer money and provides no benefit to society.

    The consequences for Sullivan would have been much more severe than for the other individuals. Damn right! The prosecutors did the right thing.

  4. Equal protection of the law is a virtue only when the law is not evil. You can see this by imagining the law against marijuana possession as even more evil than it is. Suppose that the penalty for marijuana possession was death, and everyone arrested but Sullivan was executed. Would it be in the interest of justice to execute Sullivan? Or suppose that Hitler had murdered six million people of every religion? Would that have been more just than murdering just six million Jews? (I know that he murdered gays, Gypsies, the disabled, and others, but let’s put that aside for the moment.) It is good that Sullivan got off, for whatever reason. I wish that all the others had gotten off too, for whatever reason.

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