Phillip Smith at Alternate writes 13 Years in the Slammer … for Two Joints? An excerpt:
Bernard Noble has already spent nearly four years in a Louisiana prison for being caught with two marijuana cigarettes—and he’s still less than a third of the way through a 13-year sentence with no shot at parole. The sentence is outrageous, but hardly unique in a state with one of the harshest marijuana laws in the country.
Under Louisiana law, possession of any amount of marijuana up to 60 pounds is punishable by six months in jail on a first offense, up to five years in prison for a second offense, and up to 20 years in prison for a third offense. While first- and second-time offenders are eligible for probation, third-time offenders are not. Distributing any amount of pot, even a joint or two, garners a five-year mandatory minimum prison sentence, and that includes possession with intent to distribute.
Add in the gross racial disparities in pot possession busts—African-Americans in the state are 3.1 times more likely to be arrested for than whites and account for nearly two-thirds of all pot arrests while making up less than one-third of the population—and you have a pipeline to prison for black Louisianans.
In Bernard Noble’s case, getting caught with a couple of joints morphed into more than 13 years behind bars because of the way the state’s harsh marijuana laws intersect with its harsh habitual offender law (known colloquially as “the bitch.”) Because Noble had two previous drug possession offenses, one 12 years old and one 24 years old, he fell under the purview of the habitual offender law.
Even though his current offense was trivial (pot is decriminalized in nearly 20 states and possession is legalized in four others and DC) and even though his previous offenses were low-level and non-violent, the statute called for the 13 years, without parole. […]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008—EPA Chief to CA: We’ve all got problems:
EPA head Stephen Johnson has finally released his official statement on why he denied California the emissions waiver needed to set tougher standards on cars. Prominent scientists at the EPA have been vocal in saying California had not only met the requirements to get the waiver, but that the law did not allow it to be blocked.
Johnson, already in the hot seat for overruling staff advice that he was legally required to grant California’s requested waiver to regulate greenhouse gases, faces a litany of charges that he has also been duplicitous on an array of other scientific integrity, information suppression and workplace relations issues, said PEER.
So what was Johnson’s justification for violating the law and — for the first time in history — not granting a waiver? His reasoning comes down to things are bad all over.
But Johnson wrote: “While I find that the conditions related to global climate change in California are substantial, they are not sufficiently different from conditions in the nation as a whole to justify separate state standards.”
In other words, because we face global warming everywhere, Johnson isn’t going to allow it to be addressed anywhere, even though an internal study conducted by the EPA showed that California does suffer disproportionately from the effects of global warming.
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: GunFAIL update: woman who forgot her loaded gun in a church bathroom wants the charges against her dropped. Except it’s a problem that runs in the family. There was no avoiding the Hillary Clinton e-mail story today, so Armando joined us as we read through a round-up of reportage, reviewed it from a tech perspective, took our opportunity to say “What Digby said” on the subject, compared it to the treatment of Jeb Bush’s own use of private e-mail, then complained about media people like us spending too much time on the story. We spent a few minutes on some King v. Burwell loose ends, rounded up some weird news items, and called it a day.
SOURCE: Daily Kos – Read entire story here.