The sheriff’s dilemma

Hey, y'all leave my twin Leon alone. The sheriff's got enough problems without folks giving him a hard time for saying he wants to apply the law equally. (And no, y'all haven't been piling on so much here on the blog, but I keep reading the letters and so forth…)

That said, I find myself wondering: Is there a case here to prosecute? I mean, are there precedents that lead one to think this is a case worth pursuing?

The theory in favor of the sheriff going after Michael Phelps goes like this: A rich, white, international celebrity shouldn't skate for doing something that poor, obscure, black kids do time for. That sounds good. Equality before the law and all that.

But I wonder: How many of those poor, obscure, black kids were put away on the basis of the sheriff having heard that they smoked dope at some time in the past, accompanied by a photo that in and of itself is vague. If the alleged perp weren't admitting it, we wouldn't know that was him, or that he was actually smoking dope through that bong. (Before you scoff, I had a good friend in college — a boy from Clio, as it happens — who had shoulder-length hair, and who liked to use Zig-Zags to roll himself a joint made of pure pipe tobacco. If not for the sweet smell, no one would have believed that wasn't dope. But it wasn't. It takes all kinds to make a world, you know.)

If you make me pick a number, I'd say the number of guys doing time at the Alvin Glenn center, or in the state pen, who were put away on that sort of evidence would be approximately zero. Generally speaking, if you're not holding at the time of arrest, the cops don't bother, right? So how is this equality of the law, speaking in terms of way things actually work in the world?

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the prisons are full of people who were nailed when somebody posted a picture of them apparently toking on MySpace. I'd be quite interested to hear evidence to that effect.

8 thoughts on “The sheriff’s dilemma

  1. Lee Muller

    Obama didn’t even file a tax return for at least 12 years of his adult life. Investigate him for a change.

  2. p.m.

    “Leon” is “noel” spelled backward. “Noel” derives from the Latin word for birth.
    So the sheriff’s name means “death lot”. Phelps’ situation is grave.

  3. Lee Muller

    Brad, you should have kept up with the news during the election. Of course, that would mean looking outside the NY Times and other media which was hiding the truth about Obama.
    Obama can’t account for 13 years of his adult life – no rent receipts, no address, no leases, no utility bills, no tax returns, no voter registration.
    That doesn’t seem to bother folks who want bigger government, and saw Obama as the man with no resume they could put on a pedestal and sell to the unwitting public.
    As a newspaper man, were you one of the salesmen, Brad, or one of the unwitting dupes?
    You don’t know if he really attended college, because his records are sealed.
    You don’t know if he is an American citizen, either.
    All you cared about was his promise to relieve you of your responsibility to pay for your own medical care.

  4. bud

    Brad you show at least a teeny tiny bit of common sense here. But you miss the bigger point. (Actually I think you simply don’t care about the bigger point). Why not go all the way and become an advocate for legalizing pot? That’s the logical conclusion to the remarks you just made. It goes like this. Kid smokes pot. Sheriff arrests kid. Much money is spent arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating kid. Kid becomes jaded while in prison and upon release pursues a life of crime. How many examples are out there of folks who just wanted a bit of recreation but end up having their lives ruined by the likes of Leon Lot?

  5. Lee Muller

    Sheriff Lott has no dilemma.
    This is Brad trying to manufacture news.
    Every sheriff has to decide what is worth prosecuting. This case is not. Maximum fine is $200. Michael Phelps already lost millions in endorsement contracts. He has already served as an example for the anti-marijuana campaign.

  6. p.m.

    Certainly, now that The State has tried and convicted Michael Phelps of gambling in newsprint with the help of nameless sources, Sheriff Lott has no dilemma whatsoever. There is no jury pool left anywhere.
    The State can stand up and be proud. It may have destroyed an Olympian and further besmirched the reputation of Columbia and the University of South Carolina for no purpose whatsoever other than to line its own pockets. Phelps is a public figure, yes, but he’s not a public servant.
    If The State wants to play Tattler, I’d guess that puts an end to movies being made in South Carolina, too.

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