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Justice is Blind and Stupid

October 4, 2009

No one denies that crystal meth has cast a pall over vast swaths of America. Speed makes people act like louts, turns their brains to mush, and promotes ghastly tooth decay.  The “labs” (I hesitate to apply the same word to the large hadron collider and  a double wide trailer) where it is manufactured become saturated in toxic chemicals; their explosions blow up trailers and homes like popcorn.  It sucks.

No one denies that many over-the-counter cold medications contain pseudoephedrine, a chemical necessary to synthesize meth.

Few people deny that reasonable restrictions on the availability of medicines containing pseudoephedrine can be helpful in preventing at least some of the dangerous manufacture of a dangerous substance.

This is not such a case: Last March, a woman bought two boxes of cold medicine in the same week.  The 3.6 grams of pseudoephedrine contained in those separate boxes (that she gave to two ill family members) was 0.6 grams over the state of Indiana’s weekly legal limit on pseudoephedrine purchases.

No one contended that she had used the OTC medicines to manufacture meth.  No one contended that she had distributed OTC meds for others to manufacture meth.  No one contended anything.  She just bought a little too much cold medicine.

And that’s why she was scooped up by cops in a drug sweep. That’s why she appeared on the front page of a local newspaper in an article about said drug sweep.  And that’s why she’s being forced to pay court costs and attorney’s fees, and threatened with the prospect of spending several months of her life in jail.

That’s right.  For doing jack shit, this grandmother got herself on the wrong side of Indiana’s drug laws.  When the police and the prosecutor realized that she had done nothing wrong, they did not drop the charges; it was certainly within the prosecutor’s discretion to do so.  Rather, they put her through the criminal justice system, thereby extracting some cash and fear from this woman.  Bravo.

I grant myself license to fuck with your life!  Yip yip yip yip yip yip!  If you’re waiting for a chihuahua moment*, here it is.  Vermillion County Prosecutor, and asshole extraordinaire,  Nina Alexander has defended the way she handled this case thusly, “I’m simply enforcing the law as it was written.”

So, she knows that the defendant had no criminal intent.  She knows that no bad came of the separate cold medicine purchases.  She simply decided to flex her prosecutorial muscle because the state’s legislature was too fucking lazy to write a law that contained exceptions for real-world scenarios like a woman buying cold medicine for two different family members.  Bravissimo.

It’s a good thing lady justice is blind; if she saw what went on in this case, she’d flip the fuck out like a chihuahua on meth.

* Speaking of chihuahua moments: as you know, I have been awarding snarling chihuahuas to people who make a lot of ugly noise.  Not until today have I met a chihuahua who has been featured on this blog.  The moment I met Riggs, the chihuahua pictured above, he urinated on my backpack.  It went downhill from there.  He is a loud curmudgeon who seems to withhold his affection from every creature on this planet other than his doting owner.

In short, I love him.

I can only hope to own such a proud, strongheaded beast in my lifetime.

Very special thanks to Sara for bringing this ray of sunshine and hellfire into my life.

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