This happened almost a year ago, but is a good example of many of the things that are wrong with the war on drugs.
Me, my wife Stacy, and her brother Rick were driving home to Austin after visiting their mom in Bryan, TX. We had had a little weed that weekend, but none that day (and never when driving) and I was pulled over for speeding by DPS, the state police. I was doing about 10 mph over the limit in my Integra GS-R, a car that definately looks out of place in rural Texas. I cooperated with the officer as I would in any traffic stop and all seemed fine until the cop deciced that she smelled marijuana.
I'll give away a bit of the story right now-- Someone gets arrested. The stop was valid, but the discovery of the weed was a pure act af "profiling" and a violatian of my rights by a corrupt police officer. Let me describe myself. I have long hair down to my waist, a gotee, and small glasses. I'm 24 years old and I was in a nice car.
Anyway, the cop claimed to smell MJ. Nothing has ever been smoked in my car. Not cigarrettes and never weed. We hadn't smoked anything that day, so our clothes were clean and our breaths minty. There was weed in the car. There was less than an eighth of an ounce in a 35mm film canister in a make-up bag in a suitcase in the trunk of my car. I'd like to know how any human could smell that while standing outside of a car.
Naturally, I refused to let them search the car, but they have a judge sitting around 24/7 that will grant leagal warrants to any cop that asks for one. With a warrant somewhere in the court system, they called for a dog and backup.
At this point, 3 Texas state troopers are occupied with searching for a miniscule amount of pot and detaining a 24 year old computer geek, my wife, a 32 year old government employee, and a 31 year old insurance agent. None of us has ever had an arrest or done anything worse than a traffic ticket. Acording to the propaganda, we are the worst scum of society.
The dog indicated that there was pot in the passenger-side door and one of the rear wheels before indicating that there was something in the trunk. THe cops egerly searched the contents and found the booty-- The weed, a pipe, and a hair accessory that uses an aligator clip that was dubbed a roach clip (why we'd need a roach wen we have a pipe and no papers is beyond me).
Fortuneately, it was in my wife's suitcase and the cop had to arrest Stacy instead of me. She seemed very dissapointed that she didn't get me. I'll spare you the part about my wife going through the jailing process.
I say fortuneately (and my wife agrees) that it was her is because she got better treatment and sentancing than I would have. People that look like me avoid rural areas for a reason. The court was tied up for an hour or so while Stacy pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possesion of paraphanalia. That got her a $250 fine. The misdemeanor psossesion of enough pot to maybe get a mouse high consisted of the following:
This was her first offence. She's white and middle class. Minorities get worse sentancing.
- $750 fine
- 50 hours community service
- Enrollment in a "drugs are bad" class
- One year probation
What's the point of the story? The corruption of the cops is a good lesson. The loss of constitutional protections is another. How about the loss of resources spent making the bust? I'm sure there were some drunk drivers who passed by us that could have been caught. The courts were burdened and I doubt that the money made from fines covers the cost of processing all the paperwork. If Stacy is good and does all that life-disrupting work, it won't go on her record, but if it did, an experienced, degreed, member of society may have become unemployable.
I got stoned last night. I'm at work today and I'm doing fine.