Various thoughts on current events with an emphasis on politics, legal issues, books, movies and whatever is on my mind. Emails can be sent to email@example.com; please put "blog comments" in the subject line.
On Wednesday, Radel was sentenced to one year of supervised probation
and ordered to pay a $250 fine to a victims' compensation fund. If
Radel breaks probation, he faces six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
If he successfully completes the probation, the court would then dismiss
Meanwhile, he won't get in trouble by Republican House leadership even though the reports are that he took awhile to notify them, it being "a substance abuse or an addiction issue." Rep. Radel (R-Fl) just released a statement that he is ongoing treatment and so forth, taking a leave of absence during which he will donate his salary to charity. That's generous, though some more strict sorts want think a conservative member of Congress (well, politics-wise) should resign. Then again, it wasn't like he was trying to get food stamps or something.
If buying cocaine is going to get you probation and a small fine (it isn't miniscule but still relatively small as fines go; btw, $250 is how much he offered for the cocaine), perhaps more support should be given to decriminalize marijuana. After all, cocaine is a lot more dangerous. It is not that I particularly find the sentence wrong, given my general laissez faire sentiments regarding drug criminalization, but it is a pretty notable thing. In some other case, either someone with less connections or unlucky enough to get arrested in a less liberal jurisdiction, much worse can occur.
Lawrence O'Donnell read a few comments putting a different spin on Toronto mayor's antics, citing the addiction issues involved in crack cocaine use. The mayor does seem a troubled soul. If we viewed drug abuse more as a health and morals concern than a criminal one, we would be in a much better state in my mind. There is also some signs of recklessness when a public official buys drugs like this -- you would think people like that have ways to get it with a bit more finesse. Still, not everyone who uses illegal drugs are just addicts who are desperately in need of help. I have little knowledge of where Mr. Radel fits in here.
Would appreciate some consistency.
(To be fair, this article references his support of a bill to reform mandatory minimums for drug offenses. The article also says the fine is $260. The story I linked to above has an official document citing cited has him paying that to the person for the drugs, perhaps because he didn't have change?)