Monday, March 10, 2008

Editorial: Citations for low-level pot busts make safety sense

The Dallas News today has an editorial with which I wholeheartedly concur, congratulating authorities on agreeing to a pilot program allowing police to issue citations instead of arresting certain low level misdemeanants ("Citations vs. Jail Time," March 10). Though Dallas has a significant jail crowding problem, the News' editorialist framed the issue in terms of whether officials adequately trust police, arguing that:
it makes perfect sense to give street cops the option to write citations for certain lower-level crimes instead of requiring them to continue with the time-consuming arrest and jail booking process. We trust them to shoot or retreat. They can handle this.
Good point! I also agree when they write:

We only hope Dallas police and prosecutors get over their reluctance to apply this program to misdemeanor marijuana possession. Does every 20-year-old popped for two or three joints need to see the inside of a jail cell?

If we're going to be smart on crime, let's use our heads.

Dallas is the second major city (after Austin) to implement the new police authority, but in some agencies the same practice has been in place for years.


FriĆ°vin said...

I am always looking for the positives in a downward spiraling economy and perhaps this is the best positive of all.

Anonymous said...

Will Dallas-area police and the DA's office follow this or will they continue to displayed their "above the law" mentality that has resulted in this county being labeled the exoneration capitol of the U.S.A.

Readers need to take a look at the videos below and then demand better solutions to the problems within our judiciary. The marijuana law is a start. We have bigger issues when innocent people are being prosecuted and sent to prison for decades for crimes they did not commit.



Trial: April 21, 2008
Dallas, Texas
Criminal District Court No. 05

Making The Walls Transparent website:

State of Texas v. Lakeith Amir-Sharif

F0525061, F0559639, MA0521971,MA0425257

To find many of the answers as to why there was a Fake Drug Scandal in Dallas, and why 15 recently exonerated citizens were railroaded to prison, and why 400 plus others imprisoned citizens from Dallas County alone are claiming they were wrongful convicted and that DNA testing will prove their innocence, you need to look no further than the case of Lakeith Amir-Sharif and the many things MTWT, Justice Watch, Prison Legal News (PLN) and others have pointed out to the world via MTWT's website and other sources. Today, the wrongfully accused is Sharif, but tomorrow it could be you, or someone you know or care about.

For all those interested, a Public Records Request will verify everything that MTWT is saying regarding the case of Lakeith Amir-Sharif:

1. Thus far the prosecution of Lakeith Amir-Sharif has costed taxpayers over two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000.00). Why? This is not a murder case.

2.The allaged victim/witness, Cathy Jonette Hawkins is a vindictive, and heartbrokken ex-girlfriend who has committed perjury in her three criminal complaint affidavits, filed Nov. 23, 2004; Feb. 10, 2005 and Sept. 01, 2005. This same individual has given contradictory and inconsistent testimony about the alleged crimes. The DA's office has ignored all of this, why?

3.Police officers from the Farmers Branch Police Department committed perjury in their affidavits presented to the magistrate judge to obtain an arrest warrant for the alleged Stalking charge. in those affidavits the officers falsely claimed on numerous occassions that they had responded to calls to Ms. Hawkins place of employment and home regarding criminal acts perpetuated by Sharif.

There is "NO" police report on file that shows the Farmers Branch Police responded to Ms. Hawkins home, and only two reports can be found that they responded to her job. Only one of the dates given in their affidavits match the numerous dates given to they alleged when seeking the arrest warrant.

4. The Stalking charge is "statutorily invalid" and was known to be so by the Bill Hill administration when it was presented to the Grand Jury. The Texas Penal Code at sec. 42.07 requires two (2) reported incidents of stalking, yet there is "NO" two police report of stalking on file with either the Dallas or farmers Branch Police Departments. Why, was this charge ever processed and why are tax dollars still being used to prosecute this case?

5. For 16 1/2 months while Sharif sat in the Dallas County Jail, he was court-appointed two different attorneys and neither of these attorneys filed any motions on Sharif's behalf. These court-appointed attorneys also "NEVER":

a. Conducted any investigations, to prepare a defense.

b. Requested any subpoenas to obtain security footage available that could of proven that Sharif was not anywhere in the area at the time alleged in the Stalking complaint.

c. Requested any subpoenas to obtain telephone records, pawn store receipts, and other financial statements of the victim and Sharif, which would of discredited Ms. Hawkins claims that she had broken off her relationship and she was not intimately involved with Sharif after mid 2004 and all of 2005. Why hasn't the DA's office verified this?

5. Ms. Hawkins wrote a letter stating Sharif is "innocent". Why, has the judges, the DA's and even Sharif's court-appointed attorneys suppressed this evidence? Why hasn't a handwriting expert been sought if the letters authenticity is in question? Why hasn't Ms. hawkins herself been questioned about this letter if truth and justice is what these proceeding are actually about?

6. Sharif has been denied his Constitutional right to a speedy trial on a 2004 misdemeanor charge involving Ms. Hawkins. Why despite numerous request from Sharif has the judges and his court-appointed attorneys refused to grant him his day in court on this charge? He has more than enough time served, so why is the DA's office wasting tax dollars by prosecuting it?
7. Sharif was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon(to wit: a car) causing serious bodily injury. First, the alleged vicitm Ms. Hawkins suffered "NO" injuries, repeat "NO" injuries.
Next, Ms. Hawkins ran into Sharif with her car knocking him onto her hood and causing Sharif to have to be hospitalized. Why wasn't Ms. hawkins charged by the DA's office for this crime. After Ms.Hawkins assaulted Sharif, she alleges that Sharif hit her cars rear end when she abruptly slammed on brakes to avoid striking the exit gate at their apartment complex. Why is Sharif charged with a criminal offense?

There are many more red flags and unethical behind-the-scene activitives inn the case of Sharif. If we continue to deprive citizens of their legal and Constutioanl rights then we will be no better then the Nazi's. each of you receiving his email have a stake in the quality of our justice system and the perception that the nation and world has of the State of Texas.

Unknown said...

I know that our local municipality in Oregon abuses the "citation" alternative to "let the bastards off" with fines. I see people on minimum wage making 50 dollar/month payments in addition to the high cost of the pot. How do these people make ends meet? Between the petty crooks and government they have no discretionary income. And yes, they were ALL low income people in municipal court. Talk about selective enforcement.

Anonymous said...

Randall County (Amarillo/Canyon) is trying this approach. Amarillo Globe News, usually hard right law'n'order, has editorially commented favorably. Amarillo Police Department still favors lockin' 'em up.

Charles in Tulia

Anonymous said...

How do these people make ends meet?

They could stop buying pot, maybe?

I don't think it should be illegal, but it is recreational, so if they're having a hard time making ends meet maybe the pot should be the first thing they save money on.

Maybe that makes too much sense for pot somkers.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Yes rage, dopers should stop smoking pot, drunks should stop drinking, and immigrants should stop crossing the border without permission. While we're at it, men should stop paying for sex with women other than their wives. Afterward, close your eyes, click your heels together and repeat "there's no place like home" to head back to Kansas.

Society offers lots of seemingly wise yet utterly meaningless advice in these contexts, most of it based on how the mainstream thinks people SHOULD behave instead of how they do.

Anonymous said...

Genius! Here poor man. Here's some more government assistance so you can still buy your pot. What have we become? Grits, surly you aren't anti-responsibility are you? If you can afford it smoke it, otherwise you're on your own.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"government assistance"