Friday, February 10, 2012

County Judge, ex-DPS Sgt, consents to search revealing pot

Guadalupe County Judge Mike Wiggins (that's "county judge" as in chairman of the commissioners court, not a workaday jurist) was arrested in College Station for possessing less than 2 ounces of marijuana, discovered after he consented to a search of his bag by law enforcement during a "protective sweep" of his hotel room. Wiggins, who is ironically a former DPS sergeant, told the Seguin Gazette, "There's nothing I can deny. It is what it is."

Somebody notify the folks from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, I think we've got another potential candidate for them.

Here are a coupla questions for the Peanut Gallery: What do you think would have happened if Judge Wiggins had refused to cooperate and declined consent to search his duffel bag? From the media description, does it sound like the officer had probable cause, or could Wiggins have successfully asserted his Fourth Amendment rights against an unreasonable search of his effects?

In the same vein, following the search, "According to the officer, Wiggins confirmed it was marijuana and admitted it was his." As a former DPS Sgt., we're talking about a man who understood his "right to remain silent." If Judge Wiggins had exercised it, would his glum mug shot still be plastered across the front page of the Seguin Gazette this morning?

Wiggins' term isn't up till 2014 and to my knowledge a Class B misdemeanor won't automatically disqualify him from office (any more than public officials must step down when they get a Class B DWI), so it will be interesting to watch how this plays out, how locals respond, and for that matter how well (or poorly) the media handle the whole episode. "It is what it is," Wiggins told the paper, but in this day and age, what is it? Support for marijuana legalization in America stands at record highs. Is this a big deal? A little deal? No deal? Will voters view Wiggins as hypocrite or hero? Must he grovel and apologize, or is "it is what it is" enough? Bottom line: Is this a career killer for a workaday 21st century politico, or something voters can forgive? What do you think?

MORE: From the SA Express-News.

31 comments:

Don Dickson said...

It's Mike Wiggins, not Mark.

Yeah, this is a real head-scratcher. Mike was not only the THP sergeant in Seguin, but by all accounts a really fine one, a "Trooper's sergeant." He was also president of the DPS Officers Association. (Note: I represent the Texas State Troopers Association, which is similar to DPSOA but unlike DPSOA, represents only first-line officers.)

We don't know the whole story, of course, maybe Mike was self-medicating for glaucoma or nausea or some other health condition. That's still illegal, but it would make more sense than believing that Mike has switched sides in the WOD.

Not long ago The New York Times carried a very interesting piece about police officers who had lost their jobs because they had voiced their opinion that the WOD had become an ill-advised waste of government resources. If you can't find it I posted a link to it on the News & Publications page of the TSTA website.

Mike's B misdemeanor likely won't affect his position as county judge - I understand he's very popular throughout the county - but it may take him out-of-the-loop in the magistration process.

I'm sorry to learn of Mike's troubles and I wish him well.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Don, this is probably the story you're thinking of from the Times.

I corrected the typo on his name; my bad.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

BTW, Don, just curious: if you were his attorney would you have advised him to consent to having his bag searched? :)

Anonymous said...

I guess I will not be staying at the College Station Hilton anymore. Thank goodness that the security guard was alert to this horrible crime taking place and called the police.

Harry Homeless said...

Pffft! I always go to the county judges and DPS guys when I need to score some pot. They always know where the best stuff is.

Anonymous said...

If an officer smells what he believes to be marijuana, he has probable cause for a search. At least that's what a female DPS officer said before she searched my daughter's car. Nothing was found, and my daughter doesn't do drugs, but was the officer lying?

Anonymous said...

While the media account may be leaving something out, the police apparently did something very illegal -- yet very common. The officer supposedly did a "protective sweep." But in order to justify a protective sweep in most federal circuits there must first be probable cause for an arrest. Even those that do not recognize a 'per se' arrest rule, the police don't merely get to walk in an look around "in case" there might be danger, or because it is "policy" to look around.

His attorney may well argue that the original entrance for a "protective sweep" was illegal as it was justified by neither an arrest nor (in some circuits) a "reasonable suspicion" of danger to the officer (i.e. investigating a crime involving weapons, etc.). Then the argument can be made that the illegal entry tainted the eventual consent.

For a nice discussion in case law, see United States v. Torres-Castro, 470 F.3d 992 (10th circ., 2006). In my jurisdiction/circuit, cases routinely get thrown out because officers think they can do a 'protective sweep' as a matter of "routine". They often use it as a pretext for gathering evidence -- which is precisely why its use has been limited. The evidence may be suppressed and the state may be unable to get a conviction, but the officer gets a "cleared by arrest" towards his quota (or "performance measure" or whatever other euphemism is in use).

Anonymous said...

From a commentator on the Seguin newspaper web site.
This is why marijuana is illegal;
Harry J. Anslinger, ran a smear campaign against marijuana. During this particular time frame, the media was swarmed with propaganda regarding the effects of marijuana. Harry J. Anslinger, a dominant leader in the prohibition against drugs, devised advertisements and commercials to inform the public of the believed side effects of marijuana. Citizens who were high on marijuana were crazy, insane, suicidal, had murderous intentions, etc. according to the propaganda.
Disregarding the scientific research on the subject and the falsified claims, the Marijuana Tax Act passed in 1937 quickly and with little debate and no opposition in Congress.
Harry J Anslinger Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”
“…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”
“Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

The "Marijuana: Assassin of Youth." July 1937, In “The American”, and abridged and reprinted in the "Reader's Digest”. WRITTEN BY, Harry J Anslinger, Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

Don Dickson said...

Grits, if Mike weren't a county judge and a retired THP sergeant, then no, I would have advised against giving consent. But in view of his public office and the circumstances of the contact, it probably made more sense for Mike simply to bird-dog the officer to his contraband, bond himself out of the pokey, and fall on his sword with the prosecutor and his constituents. Dealing with the situation in a straightforward manner would seem to hold out the best hope of getting past the matter with the fewest consequences. (And he may have even picked up some new supporters in Guadalupe County, who knows?)

Anonymous said...

Good grief we now elect potheads to trusted positions of leadership and try to elevate them to the level of hero/leader for doing what? For choosing to smoke pot?

What the hell does this say about his judgement?

Don Dickson said...

Poor judgment indeed...I'd at least have thought that Mike would have the good sense to put a towel under the door of his hotel room. :-)

Hook Em Horns said...

DPS and other law enforcement agencies have been known to "lie" or create an instance whereby they can search a vehicle. No, it's not uncommon for drugs to not be found.

Anonymous said...

Judge Wiggins knows better. He holds a position of public trust. Be it a county judge and elected official representing the citizens of Guadalupe County or as a DPS sergeant, he is there to uphold the rule of law and act at all times in a straight forward and upright manner. His personal behavior should exemplify the fact that he has the highest regard for the truth and law. His use of marijuana, even slight, is poor judgment at best and a violation of the public's trust and confidence in their elected officials. Drug use, even slight, should not be tolerated by the citizens of Guadalupe County. After all, we try to educate children about the harmful effects of drugs, yet our elected officials and teachers in the community continually ignore this tenet. Persons in the position of public trust should be the pillars of society and the role models for the community. Wiggins should resign his post. He has lost his moral compass and disappointed the citizens of the county.

doran said...

Anon 3:32

Would you be of the same opinions - about the Judge "losing his moral compass" and resigning -- if he had been ticketed for speeding, or running a red light, or operating a vehicle with an expired registration or inspection sticker or with no liability insurance, or found in possession of an open alcholic drink in his vehicle?

Anonymous said...

My guess is a Guadalupe County employee would be put on immediate leave ... or ... leave without pay .. or ... probably, most likely, would be fired under the same circumstances. I don't know their polices and procedures, but my guess is they are along those lines. He may be an elected official, but he should play by the same rules as other employees. After all, it is his Court that approves these policies.

This Judge may be popular, he may be a nice guy, he may have been an excellent Trooper in many regards, he may possess traits of a good leader, but he needs to resign. The whole system in Guadalupe County will be tainted and lack complete integrity otherwise.

Yes, he should fall on his sword -- he is guilty of a Class B Misdemeanor -- I know he hasn't had his day it Court, but like he said "it is what it is", and yes, he may have garnered new supporters, but he still should resign.

He should be prosecuted just like any other drug offender. If placed on probation, he should be required to complete the Texas Drug Offender Education Program regardless if his case is deferred adjudication or pre-trial diversion. He should also go to the Teddy Buerger Center and submit to a substance abuse screening and assessment.

If after resignation, and after he pays his debt to the communities of Bryan / College Station and Guadalupe County, he should run for office if he so chooses.

If no prosecution occurs and stays on the Commissioner's Court, then they might as well take bong hits at each Commissioner's Court Meeting right after they say the Pledge of Allegiance.

If his case is dismissed, then there is something seriously wrong.

Anonymous said...

@Doran..this appears quite different. Running a red light etc can be done without intent to break the law. Marijuana possession requires illegally obtaining marijuana from someone who is illegally transporting and/or selling the product. Places a judge in a precarious position deciding cases and damages his credibility as a jurist and decision maker. I expect a judge to not engage in behavior that a high school kid knows is illegal.

J said...

I hope it doesn't affect him, but it probably will. It's unfortunate that he was caught, but it isn't all bad so long as it doesn't affect him much professionally. The more the public sees successful, mainstream people smoking pot, the less they will carry this image of the dropout pot smoker who does nothing with his life, and the more they'll see drugs as something responsible people can and do use. If everyone who smoked had a "coming out" day, I think opinion in this country would change. Of course, many wouldn't have jobs to return to. Ridiculous.

Phillip Baker said...

3:32 and 5:21, did you even read the post about the reasons for the original criminalization of pot? It was stupid then and stupid now. Making stupid laws contributes to a pervasive disrespect for all laws. Maybe it's time for you both to take a new and hard look at "drug use" and recognize that not all "drugs" are heroin and crack and should be reclassified accordingly. Pot use is widespread and harmless in moderation. There are already laws on the books for DUI and such, so we should be focusing on dealing with irresponsible users instead of having a blanket prohibition.

Anonymous said...

10:37 (Mr. Baker), it isn't about the stupidity of the laws surrounding marijuana it is the fact that this person broke the law.

Lots of laws are stupid, that doesn't give us permission to break them.

It is stupid that marijuana is a Schedule I drug, but that doesn't change the fact that it is Schedule I.

One bust of a Judge on a Commissioner's Court isn't going to change the rules and laws surrounding marijuana.

It will take societal generations to pass through time before marijuana is no longer criminalized meaning, IMO, it will be at least 250 years before marijuana is no longer a crime, maybe.

If this Judge is forgiven and not prosecuted, then every single person who has been prosecuted for the same crime, should be allowed an expunction of their record.

Lots of people just like to "smoke a little dope on their own time". Doesn't make it legal though.

Anonymous said...

Calling all potheads, calling all potheads. Come make a stupid assinne statement about legalizing marijuana here.

Anonymous said...

Newspaper account makes me believe its a bad search and case should be tossed.

Retired LE

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at the folks who continue to want to throw good folks under a bus because its the law. The drug war on pot has caused more problems then pot ever has. The law is wrong! Police continue to push the war to increase their ranks and achieve promotion. Quit wasting tax money and harassing good folks.My respect for law officers is zero.

Anonymous said...

"Calling all potheads... make your assinine statement here."

Rick said...

How many people were killed or abused for the money the Judge spent on his marijuana? We should look at the bigger picture. The Judge is supporting the drug cartels by purchasing ANY drug. I guess he forgot everything he learned at the DPS academy. Drug money supports terrorism ...just sayin.

Anonymous said...

Rick...did you ever think there's the possibility he grows his own or bought it from someone in country that grows their own. Not all weed comes from Mexico. Legally grown in some California communities.

Rick said...

It really doesn't matter where he got this batch, he is still supporting a culture which, 1. is illegal in Texas 2. breaks his oath of office and finally destroys his integrity. As a retires DPS officer he knew better!

Sheldon tyc#47333 said...

51g of weed a grinder and rolling papers, Hum, must be that imported crap from Mexico. The elected official isn’t buying American and that’s kind of sad on its own merit. However many people can’t handle the high potency of American reefer; it’s much better quality than what comes out of Mexico’s drug cartels. Buy American Judge Wiggins.
Ignorance and pro WOD go hand in hand. Actually if we called it the war against drugs the acronym would be more fitting, WAD. And like other substances with a similar reference, this racist born agenda with its continuance based on ignorance needs to be flushed.
Since studding Engineering in college I had known that Randolph Hurst paper mills being threatened by a new invention at the time that could process hemp more efficient than what could be done with trees was behind the big push to criminalize America’s number 1 export. It was interesting to note a commentator on the Seguin newspapers web site posted a reference to an article from The American July 1937 and the Readers Digest that quoted Hurst’ flunky, Asslinger. The poster was kind enough to sort of explain who Asslinger was but failed to mention his association with Hurst and the reason behind it. Surprisingly it hadn’t been censored from the paper by the wod wing whack jobs that fall for this wad of foolishness.
------------------------------------------------------------
This is why marijuana is illegal;
Harry J. Anslinger, ran a smear campaign against marijuana. During this particular time frame, the media was swarmed with propaganda regarding the effects of marijuana. Harry J. Anslinger, a dominant leader in the prohibition against drugs, devised advertisements and commercials to inform the public of the believed side effects of marijuana. Citizens who were high on marijuana were crazy, insane, suicidal, had murderous intentions, etc. according to the propaganda.
Disregarding the scientific research on the subject and the falsified claims, the Marijuana Tax Act passed in 1937 quickly and with little debate and no opposition in Congress.
“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”
“…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”
“Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

The "Marijuana: Assassin of Youth." July 1937, In “The American”, and abridged and reprinted in the "Reader's Digest”. WRITTEN BY, Harry J Anslinger, Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
I have since come to question pro war on drug types to determine which category they fall into. Do they buy into this agenda because they are simply ignorant and/or close minded to the historical facts, or are they simply a racist. Perhaps both since the two go hand in hand. The WOD is a racest agenda and its continuance shows the black men elected to political office in America are nothing more than uncle Tom’s. We may have elected a Black man to be our President but we still have a long way to go. By continuing this racest agenda the war on drugs, it further than most are willing to admit.

Anonymous said...

Did his bong have the Guadalupe County Seal on it?

Maybe that is how they open up all the Comm. Court meetings so that they can have "enlightened thinking?"

C'mon free your mind maaaan.

Sheldon tyc#47333 said...

51g of weed a grinder and rolling papers, Hum, must be that imported crap from Mexico. The elected official isn’t buying American and that’s kind of sad on its own merit. However many people can’t handle the high potency of American reefer; it’s much better quality than what comes out of Mexico’s drug cartels. Buy American Judge Wiggins.
Ignorance and pro WOD go hand in hand. Actually if we called it the war against drugs the acronym would be more fitting, WAD. And like other substances with a similar reference, this racist born agenda with its continuance based on ignorance needs to be flushed.
At the turn of the 20th century a new invention that could process hemp, America’s top exports at the time, much more efficient than what could be done with pulp. Randolph Hurst was behind the big push to criminalize America’s number 1 export with due to his various pulp based intrest being threatened. It was interesting to note a commentator on the Seguin newspapers web site posted a reference to an article from The American July 1937 and the Readers Digest that quoted Hurst’ flunky, Asslinger. The poster was kind enough to sort of explain who Asslinger was but failed to mention his association with Hurst and the reason behind it.
------------------------------------------------------------
This is why marijuana is illegal;
Harry J. Anslinger, ran a smear campaign against marijuana. During this particular time frame, the media was swarmed with propaganda regarding the effects of marijuana. Harry J. Anslinger, a dominant leader in the prohibition against drugs, devised advertisements and commercials to inform the public of the believed side effects of marijuana. Citizens who were high on marijuana were crazy, insane, suicidal, had murderous intentions, etc. according to the propaganda.
Disregarding the scientific research on the subject and the falsified claims, the Marijuana Tax Act passed in 1937 quickly and with little debate and no opposition in Congress.
“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”
“…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”
“Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

The "Marijuana: Assassin of Youth." July 1937, In “The American”, and abridged and reprinted in the "Reader's Digest”. WRITTEN BY, Harry J Anslinger, Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
I have since come to question pro war on drug types to determine which category they fall into. Do they buy into this agenda because they are simply ignorant and/or close minded to the historical facts, or are they simply a racist. Perhaps both since the two go hand in hand. The WOD is a racest agenda and its continuance shows the black men elected to political office in America are nothing more than uncle Tom’s. We may have elected a Black man to be our President but we still have a long way to go. By continuing this racest agenda the war on drugs, it further than most are willing to admit.

Anonymous said...

Grits, since you asked. No, it's not a "career killer", the voters will continue to vote just to be voting & it won't matter one damn bit.

AHuck, AHuck, AHuck, donda, donnaa... Sorry about that, couldn't resist a lil Black Sabbath. Anyway, where the hell was I? Oh yea, he can thank his lucky stars he wasn't caught with Xstacy. Get it? Read all about it! "Wiggins caught wiggin-out in College Station".

But seriously, he'll plead No Contest - a 'plea' originally created by politicians for politicians/authority. He'll pay a fine, and damn sure won't do 6 months in a residential rehab. He'll be re-elected or retire like it never even happend.

Why? Because taxpayers and voters are jacked up on my shit don't stink morals & prescription meds. Thank you for letting us nuts rant and rant and rant......

Anonymous said...

From this Voter's point of view - I ask both sides of this debate to consider reflecting back to the days when we couldn't understand how we allowed ourself to allow Bush the Selected to 'take' office.

Coke-head, pot-head, drunk, drunk while driving, misfit, womanizer, it goes on & on. So what we have here is, history repeating itself. Judge Wiggins didn't just start banging the bong, he's been on it since he can't remember. But his elitist attitude compelled him to make a living busting folks for a joint or two,seeds & residue. Then as we can see, he took it to the top as a frigin Judge.

From a Taxpayers point of view -
I am & you should ask why you aren't tired of paying into a fund that supports a criminal justice system that's rigged in favor of politicians & law enforcement personel? Double standards that allow police to police themselves and courts to spank a hand vs. the same punishment(s) doled out to the citizenery is what you get when you are easily lead by the nose and pack Grand Juries with secrete cronies.

This is a Test - Buy a breath alcohol tester or drug screen tester from Fry's & I bet you can find off duty law enforcement & court personel at any red light or Pub parking lot within one to two hours of shift-change refusing to blow and/or submit. Why? because they are exempt and will probably pull out a snub nose to prove it. Just saying.