Lott won’t charge Phelps

Just thought I'd provide y'all with a place to comment on the latest on this local story that's made international waves. An excerpt:

    Michael Phelps will not be charged with marijuana possession, though
the Olympic champion swimmer admitted to being pictured holding a
marijuana pipe at a Columbia house party in November, Richland County
Sheriff Leon Lott announced today.

Me, I think the sheriff did the right thing. You?

14 thoughts on “Lott won’t charge Phelps

  1. Greg Flowers

    He obviously was unable to assemble evidence which the Solicitor’s Office felt would result in a conviction. Robert’s cartoon showing Lott taking a hit from the bong of national media attention was right on point.

  2. Brad Warthen

    Whatever you think of the sheriff’s actions, it was a stong cartoon. And here’s a link to it, folks.

    Actually, that was Robert’s second cartoon on the subject in as many days. Here’s the first, which ran on Sunday.

    Between the two of them, they pretty well state the pitfalls in the sheriff’s campaign to make sure a celebrity didn’t get special treatment — the only way to prosecute him, given that he wasn’t caught holding, was to … give special treatment, by going to lengths that were easy for a cartoonist to lampoon.

    So yeah, the sheriff was right to decide he didn’t have enough of a case to press on…

  3. slugger

    I am not sure that Phelps should have ever been before the public for smoking pot. It is a question of whether he broke the law. No person is beyond the law. Examine the case and apply the law. The guilty should be punished according to the law.

  4. Greg Flowers

    Law enforcement officials have great discretion regarding which cases they persue and with how much vigor. For a case of this nature and magnitude where the suspect was not caught in possession indicates to me that the official let potential media attention get the better of him. I do not use any illegal drug (or alcohol or tobacco) but abhor the amount of resources we expend on prosecution and punishment. Maybe in this time of diminished resources we will will rethink our priorities.

  5. bud

    The bigger question in this is whether what Phelps did should be illegal. There is no reason to have it illegal. Heck there are plenty of things that I find offensive, even dangerous, that I acknowledge should remain legal. Why pick on pot? Here’s a list of things that I would make illegal before pot:
    Shirtless men in public
    Door to door solicitors
    The Catholic Church
    Cel phone’s in theaters/restaraunts etc.
    Mountain Dew
    ED advertisements (Viagra)
    Yet I do not actually advocate any of these things be illegal per-se. Cel phone etiquete, though not perfect, seems to be working to keep these annoying devices in their proper place. Others, such as the Catholic Church, though dangerous in many ways, should be allowed on constitutional grounds. In the end freedom is a precious commodity that should be endorsed and supported, even when one finds something offensive. If allowed to run amok we all stand to lose something of value in the end. So if that means enduring the sight of a big mac, then so be it.

  6. Charlie

    I think the whole war on drugs is a joke. When choosing between victimless crimes (not crimes by my definition) and crimes where citizens are victimized, I think the resources should go to those crimes where people are victimized. A classic example is the lady who wished her purse had been stolen by Michael Phelps and wrote that searing letter to the editor. It was classic.
    Brad, you clearly are beholden to Lott on this issue. It is kinda sickening watching you pull a suction on the sheriff’s derriere. He must have cleared up some tickets for you.

  7. Phillip

    I’ve got to say that Ariail’s cartoons, esp. the bong one, were genius.
    The whole premise that Lott “had” to conduct this “investigation” lest he be accused of giving a celebrity an unfair break is completely invalid and ludicrous, so Brad don’t buy this junk that Lott was in a tight spot, in any way whatsoever. That scenario might have applied had Phelps been smoking weed right in front of a cop, or been caught red-handed with a bag in his possession. With only the photo to go on and some dubious eyewitness testimony, this was NEVER a “case” that any rational sheriff in any county nationwide could prosecute. Not from the beginning and Lott knew it.
    The ONLY reason Lott dangled the possibility for so long, while knowing all the while that he could never successfully pursue this path, was to garner publicity for himself, and perhaps to ingratiate himself with his fellow cultural constituency of idiot good-ol’-boys who drool over the kind of moron that says things like “I don’t care what a dope smoker in California says about the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.” (Note the deliberate choice of state…)
    Lott talked about the people of Richland County who voted for him to “protect them.” We don’t need protection from a guy smoking a little weed. We need protection from one more fool elected official who once again makes South Carolina a national joke.

  8. bud

    Here’s my list of things we should legalize:
    Video Poker
    Shirtless women in public
    Cigarette Advertizing
    Same Sex Marriage
    Foul language on TV
    I find some of the above offensive. But why should I infringe on what other people want to say, do or wear.

  9. David

    It is astounding to me that no one has thought to discuss what a disgraceful loser Michael Phelps is. This idiot clearly has a substance abuse problem: He got a DUI before he turned twenty and from the account of the pot incident I read I gather that it’s pretty obvious he’s a regular stoner and general party animal.
    Just what the world needed: Another drunken, dope smoking, completely self absorbed tweny something A-hole who, as it happens, can swim. What a terrific role model this jerk off is, huh?
    The article I read said all the guys at the party wanted to be his bud, and all the girls wanted a piece of him. Some of the girls names were mentioned.
    College girls at a party with drug abuse and desiring to pull off their underwear for a famous A-hole. I bet their moms and dads are so proud.

  10. bud

    If this case had gone to a jury AND the evidence was overwhelming that Michael Phelps did indeed smoke pot should the jury vote to convict? If I was a juror in this case I’d vote to acquit. This law is so stupid and wrong juries should just ignore it.

  11. Faust

    If there was clear and overwhelming evidence that a law had been broken and you as a juror would vote to acquit because of your low opinion of the law, then that says much more about you than it does about the law. This kind of inanity and shallow thinking would turn the judicial system on its head if engaged in by every moron who thinks he knows more than the society which passes laws it believes best represent it’s morals and values. I am thankful that the majority of people selected to the solemn and weighty duty of sitting as a juror in judgement of a fellow citizen take that responsibility more seriously than you do Bud.
    Was Sheriff Lott wrong the use resources as he did? I don’t know. Maybe. I DO know he takes his responsibilities to fight crime very seriously.
    I also know illegal drug use is most assuredly NOT a victimless crime.
    Anyone who thinks it is, is a shallow thinker…or worse.


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