Saturday, February 16, 2008

Failed War on Drugs: Combined January-February Edition

Corrupt Cops, This Week in Drug History, Reforms, News, More!

Our January-February Special Edition of the "Failed War on Drugs" is a special combo edition that covers all that we've received in the last two months.

It takes a look at all aspects of the second longest-running war in U.S. history. Only the "War on Poverty" is older.

1 It's Safer to Be a Cop Than a Farmer
Police deaths in the line of duty were up last year, and so was the number of cops killed by gunfire. But only handful died. enforcing the drug laws, and policing remains safer than a good number of other professions.

2 This Week's Corrupt Cops
The Detroit drug squad is under investigation, a Pennsylvania police chief is accused of stealing money from drug busts, and a Wisconsin prison has a problem with pill-stealing guards.

3 Seeing Someone Smoke a Joint Outside is not Grounds for Police to Enter Home
The California Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled last Friday that police cannot enter a home without a search warrant just because they see someone smoking marijuana inside. Police may enter a home to preserve evidence of a crime, the court held, but only if the crime is punishable by jail or prison. The ruling came in People v. Hua.

4 Vermont Looks into De-Criminalization; Wants to Crack Down on "Hard" Drugs
The Vermont legislature will this year take up a bill to decriminalize the personal possession, growing of two plants, and small-scale sales of marijuana. At the same time, the legislature will consider a proposal to lower the threshold for what constitutes "trafficking amounts" for hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Both proposals will be discussed at public hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 23.

5 After 30 Years, Nebraska Legislator Wants to Re-Criminalize Pot
For three decades, marijuana possession has been decriminalized in Nebraska, but now a state legislator has filed a bill, LB844, that would make it a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. Currently, the maximum penalty for possession of less than one ounce is a $100 fine.

6 The Poppies Blossum in Iraq
British journalist Patrick Cockburn, writing in The Independent reports that opium poppy cultivation is rapidly spreading across Iraq. While Cockburn reported in May that poppies had appeared near Diwaniyah in southern Iraq, he now reports that poppies are growing in restive Diyala province, where Al Qaeda in Iraq is making what could be a last stand.

7 This Week in Drug History: January 4, 2008
Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

8 This Week in Drug History: January 11, 2008
Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

9 This Week in Drug History January 18, 2008
Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

10 This Week in Drug History January 25, 2008
Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

11 This Week in Drug History February 15, 2008
Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

12 Ohio SWAT Team Kills Mother, Wounds Toddler in Drug Raid
An Ohio SWAT shot and killed a young black mother and wounded the toddler she was holding in her arms during a routine drug raid last Friday. An angry community wants some answers and some accountability.

13 Drug Smugglers Battle Cops, Soldiers in Mexican Border Town
The new year has brought more drug war violence to the Mexican border, as drug gunmen battled cops and soldiers in a bloody confrontation in Rio Bravo, across the river from McAllen, Texas.

Group to Challenge Controlled Substances Act over Pain Medication

The arrest and prosecution of a Kansas pain management physician and his nurse wife have prompted a leading pain advocacy group to file a lawsuit challenging the application of the Controlled Substance Act when it comes to doctors and patients.

15 More Corrupt Cop Stories

There's some funny accounting in some Mississippi anti-drug task forces, a pot-peddling Houston cops is in hot water, there's a bunch of dope missing from the Boston police evidence room, and crooked cops are headed for prison in Chicago, Nashville, and New Haven.

16 DEA to Hire 200 New Agents
Thanks to funding provided in the 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, passed last month by Congress, the DEA will be able to lift a hiring freeze in place since August 2006, the agency announced late last month. The new funds will allow the agency to hire 200 new agents, as well as a similar number of support staff.

17 International Campaign to Stop Drug Executions Gearing Up
Some 32 countries have laws on their books allowing for the death penalty for drug offenses. A new report details the situation and lays the groundwork for a campaign to stop it.

18 Still More Corrupt Cops Stories
A crooked Florida cop seeks a sentence cut, and two more jail guards get in trouble.

19 British Police Chief Predicts Drugs will Be Legal in 10 years; Ecstasy Safer Than Aspirin
Richard Brunstrom, the Chief Constable of North Wales, has created a firestorm with comments made to the BBC that drug legalization is both desirable and inevitable and that ecstasy is "safer than aspirin." In response, anti-drug campaigners, politicians, and elements of the British tabloid press are calling for his head.

20 Iran, Vietnam Ring in New Year with More Drug Executions, Death Sentences
Both Iran and Vietnam greeted the new year by resorting -- yet again -- to the ultimate sanction for drug trafficking offenders. In Vietnam, eight convicted heroin traffickers were sentenced to death this week, while in Iran, five drug traffickers were among 13 people executed Wednesday.

21 No Relief in Sight: Reynosa, Mexico Military Occupation Yields No Let-up in Drug War Violence
In the latest move in his ongoing war against Mexico's powerful and violent drug trafficking organizations -- the so-called cartels -- President Felipe Calderon last month sent some 6,000 Mexican soldiers and federal police into the cities on his side of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, from Nuevo Laredo down to Matamoros. They disarmed the municipal police forces, who are widely suspected of being in the pay of the traffickers, established checkpoints between and within cities, and are conducting regular patrols in Reynosa and elsewhere.

22 Another Round of Corrupt Cop Stories
A Pennsylvania cop's bad habits get him in trouble, a Boston cop goes to prison for steroids and perjury, and a Texas Department of Public Safety technician goes away for a long, long time for ripping off the lab's cocaine stash.

Faced with Swollen Prisons, Idaho Ponders Reforms

With nearly 7,500 people behind bars in Idaho -- more than half of them for drug offenses -- the Idaho legislature is finally beginning to move away from the "tough on crime" posturing and infliction of mandatory minimum drug dealing sentences that helped create the current crisis. A bill with bipartisan support that would give Idaho judges the option to send people convicted of drug distribution offenses to treatment instead of mandatory prison terms if they are found to be addicts is on the move in Boise.

24 Smell of Pot No Grounds for Arrest or Search
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has ruled that the scent of burning marijuana emanating from a car window is not probable cause for an arrest and vehicle search. The decision came in the case of Archibald Janvier, who was pulled over for a broken headlight four years again in La Loche, Saskatechewan.

25 Nebraska Man Files Complaint over Bogus SD Bust
Eric Sage got pulled over on his motorcycle as he left South Dakota after the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally last summer and ended up being charged with possession of paraphernalia even though he didn't possess any paraphernalia. He fought the charges and faced threats from prosecutors if he didn't plead. Finally, the prosecutors gave up, but Sage still wants justice.

That's this month look at the Failed War on Drugs. Next edition: March 15. Send all submissions to:

Thanks to Stop The Drug for the great links.

Back editions of The Failed War on Drugs archived at Failed War on Drugs.

by Hummmbert
images: wfxl


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