Saturday, December 15, 2007

This week's reader poll: Would you snitch?

Having discussed "snitching" in several recent posts, this week's reader poll asks, simply, "In your personal experience, have you ever had knowledge of a drug possession crime by another person and failed to report it to authorities?" In other words, have you ever known someone else had drugs in their possession and failed to report the crime?

For those who answer "Yes," let me know in the comments what you believe is the relation between your motives for failing to report that person and the "stop snitching" meme which has received so much attention in the last couple of years.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

When the possessor of illegal drugs is a cop, snitching is likely to be a suicidal act -- literally, as in getting yourself killed. When we're not safe to rat out cops, what's the point on ratting out civilians?

Doran G. Williams said...

Grits, I hope you know that you may be asking people to admit to a criminal offense. I don't have a Texas Penal Code or a United States Code close to hand, but my memory of things is that failure to report a felony can be, in itself, a felony offense.

My recollection is that at common law, it was known as mis-prison of felony. If I'm wrong about this, let me know.

Of course, some people may have, or have had knowledge that others possessed drugs, but the knowledge was confidential, such as would be had by an attorney, a medical doctor, or a drug counselor.

I suspect many Texans do not report drug possession by others because (a) they don't believe in snitching, (b) the other person was friend or family, or (c) the offense was itself an act the non-reporter thought should not be an offense. I like the latter, as it amounts to nullification by the citizenry of outrageous, victim-free "crimes."

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Doran, First, if it was pot possession it was likely a misdemeanor, not a felony, that somebody failed to report.

And anyway, the polling function processes answers anonymously. I have no way of knowing who they are.

Plus, I didn't specify a time period, and the statute of limitations isn't all that long speaking only of a drug possession offense. The response, "It was a long time ago," or "sure, yeah, I went to college, so what?" should universally suffice in the unlikely event someone ever asks questions. ;) best,

Anonymous said...

There are more COPS selling drugs in Texas than anybody else. Anyone who thinks different check out Interpol and their investigations to American police corruption. Hero's my ass. Police are are just like the rest of society. They are all out for themselves. WAKE UP TEXAS. J H C!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, sure, it was the late 60's and very early 70's. Why didn't I report it? Because they were folks who were friends of mine and it was pot for their personal use.

The statute of limitations have run on it. lol

Anonymous said...

I would snitch and fabricate a felony for you grits if that meant I could be released of a misdemeanor. It's the American way today.

Anonymous said...

Using or even selling drugs (to adults) isn't wrong, and the law doesn't change that fact. Therefore it would be morally wrong to report anybody for those things. Similarly, I would not report any vice "crime."

But breaking most other laws would be wrong, so I would report somebody who did them.

Everybody, including cops and judges, ought to place justice before law as I do. This is self evident and I'm appalled that it even needs to be said.

Anonymous said...

I am completely convinced that the less anyone has to do with the judicial system, the better off we all are. Therefore reporting anything to the police would be the very last alternative I would consider.

The purpose of police in modern society should be to protect people and prevent harm.

Any good purpose for laws that make possession of a controlled substance is a crime escapes me. Especially when the decision to "control" a substance is completely arbitrary.

sunray's wench said...

I've done both actually. There have been times when I have been in the company of friends and someone has rolled a joint or produced a bag of pills and I've just excused myself to another room or left altogether but not reported it (and our police dont really care here if someone has 'personal use' amounts anyway). But I have lived opposite a drug house and reported them, and watched them be taken away at dawn only to be replaced a few weeks later by more of the same.

Just as I wouldnt report a brothel if the females all seemed to be of age, but if any looked to be under-age (and yes, you can tell in daylight, its not as difficult as curb-crawlers would have you believe) then I would definitely report it.

JT Barrie said...

I have always considered drug laws as something of a bad joke. I don't take them seriously as crimes and as an act of contempt for these laws - refuse to report them as an act of civil disobedience.

Anonymous said...

Snitch on an American citizen? No way! Have I snitched on a deputy sheriff who is part of a narcotics team who steal drugs from evidence lock up and gives to his girlfriend? Hell yeah I did! Did I snitch on a city cop who buys and smokes dope? Hell yeah I did! Has the State Attorney General done anything about it? NO! Maybe the FBI will, but I seriously doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have known and No I would not snitch. I am not a cop, it's not my job, and wouldn't take any money if ever was asked. Jailhouse snitching is the lowest quality a person could have.
Like someone commented, more cops and C.O's are the distributors of drugs than people realise.
I recently did an article about jailhouse snitching for AC.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/458320/death_row_inmates_claim_jailhouse_snitch.html

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have known and No I would not snitch. I am not a cop, it's not my job, and wouldn't take any money if ever was asked. Jailhouse snitching is the lowest quality a person could have.
Like someone commented, more cops and C.O's are the distributors of drugs than people realise.
I recently did an article about jailhouse snitching for AC.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/458320/death_row_inmates_claim_jailhouse_snitch.html

Anonymous said...

If I see a child being raped and I tell the police is it snithing? If I see a robber holding up the grocery store is it snitching? If I see a girl get slapped in the park by her boyfriend or vice versa and I report an assault..is it snitching? Well, I would report each event...so call me a snitch call me whatever...but "the truth will set you free." Now, to be clear I don't go around and dial 911 from the cell phone when I see the neighbor littering or jay walking...but if I am asked or if it causes egregious harm or injury or violates another...I will tell the truth. I don't care who likes it, likes me or dislikes me....a wrong is a wrong and If I have been wronged and someone sees it....then please speak up. For instance, I was in a car accident and there where a bunch of 'witnesses' but noone spoke to the police then. I had to publish an announcement for some of the witnesses and then they told the truth. I asked them why it took all of that before they spoke...and do you know they told me "I didn't want to get involved but I had a car wreck a week later and wanted someone to speak up for me and nobody would." You reap what you sow and a closed mouth never gets fed.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Having said all that, 5:43, have you ever known about a drug possession crime and failed to report it?

You answered many questions, but never the one asked!

Anonymous said...

snitching is just another way of buying into the crimilization of drugs. I personally think anyone who snitches to get out of their own charges is a bad person. Who could say their own freedom is more valuable than someone elses??

Debbie said...

Application of the law, as regular readers of Grits know, does not always equate to the application of justice, and rarely so with the application of drug laws.

12/16 9:44 - I'm intrigued that you'd snitch on a 'city cop' who buys for personal use. If that cop isn't in narcotics and doesn't seek to arrest personal-users (one might expect the occasional arrest due to supervisor's scrutiny...failure to arrest being an act of civil disobedience that could very well cost the cop her job)...then how to you separate 'cop' from 'citizen' in this case?

Does your statement assume all cops believe in the drug war and seek to make, and even enjoy making, low-level possession arrests?

How can we expect individual cops to cut us slack if we don't cut them slack for the same act? Why wouldn't the moral standard of 'if it doesn't cause harm to another, it shouldn't be illegal' apply to all?

(But yes, certainly the narc cop stealing from evidence isn't going to be your 'friend' on the street, and stealing from publicly-owned evidence is 'harm' to the public).

If HB 2391 is implemented in your area of the state, there might be cause to reconsider your stance when they have discretion to not arrest and simply fine...if they even choose to do that. There may well be a surprising number of officers who take full advantage of it: a small, but significant step in creating a less punitive culture to help influence debate on the ills of the drug war (and maybe more cops will feel empowered to step up and speak out a-la "LEAP").

Departments that don't take advantage of HB 2391 should be viewed with suspicion, and questioned about federal grant programs and internal financial incentives. Although I'm not sure how much low-level possession weighs in on these grants vs. felonius arrests. Bet our man at Grits knows...

celtictexan said...

It's a trick question as the police do not use informants for info on folks who might have a few drugs, they use tem for taking down dealers. But in answer, yeah I've known people had self use amounts and not said anything, drug dealers I've reported on several occations.

Anonymous said...

Recreational/social m j exists in my family, and I consider it like recreational/social alcohol drinking. The drug laws are a sham because they can't be enforced. Laws that can't be enforced are bad laws.
I consider "anything in moderation" as appropriate as appropriate as "do no harm" to self or others.

JSN said...

If I had known in time my sons school bus driver was selling drugs to the students I would have reported it but some other parent beat me to it. Both of my sons could not believe that someone could do something that dumb.

Other than that no. In one case I told a grad student to stop smoking pot in his office and reported him to his department chair who got pretty huffy about it until I asked him if he would rather talk to the police.

Anonymous said...

I'd be about as likely to "report" someone to the police for having drugs as I would be to "report" someone to a group of muggers for carrying $1000. Either way, the result would be the same: the victim would be in for a very bad night, and would be a whole lot poorer by the end of it.

Anonymous said...

"I'd be about as likely to "report" someone to the police for having drugs as I would be to "report" someone to a group of muggers for carrying $1000. Either way, the result would be the same: the victim would be in for a very bad night, and would be a whole lot poorer by the end of it.

12/18/2007 02:41:00 PM"

That's how I feel about it, too.