Way OT - Quad gets seven years of prisongreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
For education interest or whatever
Quadriplegic jailed on pot charge could cost Georgians $660,000 Copyright ) 2000 Nando Media Copyright ) 2000 Associated Press
By JAMES PILCHER
ATLANTA (February 18, 2000 4:28 p.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com) - A quadriplegic who says he uses marijuana for medical reasons has been sentenced to seven years in prison - costing taxpayers five times more than an average inmate - after being accused of selling the drug from his home.
Louis E. Covar Jr., 51, who uses a wheelchair and can't control his muscles beneath his shoulders, was convicted of marijuana possession last March in Augusta. The judge gave him seven years of probation, telling Covar that if he was to continue using the illegal drug, to keep it to himself.
The same judge, J. Carlisle Overstreet, revoked the probation and sent Covar to prison Thursday after police testified that Covar was selling the drug. Overstreet said he took the costs of jailing Covar into consideration but felt he had no choice.
"He's been in a bad situation for a long time, but I've been in a wheelchair myself for about five months, and it isn't justification for breaking the law," Overstreet said in an interview Friday. "And this just got to the point where he was showing a blatant disregard for the law."
According to the Department of Corrections, the special care Covar will need will cost $258.33 a day - or more than $660,000 if he serves his full seven years. A typical prisoner costs taxpayers $47.63 per day.
"Throwing a quadriplegic into a prison cell is asinine and shows the idiocy of our drug policy," said Keith Stroup, executive director of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws. "This is just an incredibly poor use of our limited law enforcement and corrections resources."
Covar, who has been paralyzed since breaking his neck in a diving accident on July 4, 1967, says marijuana is the only thing that will relieve the pain from muscle spasms in his neck.
In an interview with The Augusta Chronicle before Thursday's ruling, Covar said he had tried legal drugs to relieve the pain, including Valium.
"I don't know where I am half the time I'm taking that," Covar said. "I'm already in prison in my body, and they want to put me to sleep all the time. If I had another alternative, I would do it."
Although Covar denied selling marijuana, authorities said they were tipped that he had indeed been dealing. Investigators found about 1 1/4 ounces of pot in his home.
"We feel strongly he was selling out of his house," Richmond County District Attorney Danny Craig said. "Police tried everything they could to avoid taking him into custody, and we did everything we could to avoid the scenario of turning a quadriplegic over to the prison system."
Covar's father said the marijuana officers found didn't even belong to his son. Louis Covar said his son spent all of Thursday night in his wheelchair while awaiting transfer from the Richmond County jail to the state prison hospital in Augusta.
"They just let him sit there in the back cell and they only gave him one Valium for the pain," the elder Covar said. "This after he did what the judge said; he kept it to himself. This just isn't fair."
Charles A. Toole Sr., chief jailer at the Richmond County Jail, said he didn't have enough time Thursday to make arrangements for Covar, but jailers did give him a bath and put him in a bed. He will remain in a normal cell with special care until his transfer, expected early next week.
"We're not inhumane and we see the man can't help himself," Toole said. "I didn't put the man in jail, but while he is here, we'll take care of him."
The ironic thing about this is that taxpayers are paying $75,000 and up for that judges wisdom and sense of justice. Lets all give them another round of raises for the good job there doing.
Oh yes, I forgot. 1 1/4 ounces = 7 years of prison, is it no wonder we have more people in prison than any other country in the world?Maybe that's why our unemployment rate is so low.
-- Guy Daley (email@example.com), February 18, 2000
your last paragraph was the most important of the entire thread;
how true; superb thinking!
-- Perry Arnett (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 18, 2000.
"Everything is moving towards a grand harmonious conclusion" - Robert Anton Wilson, in Schroedingers Cat
-- (@ .), February 18, 2000.
Doubt those officials have any idea what they're in for. Bedsores are a terrible risk, and come from being in one position too long. With a quad that could be just 15 minutes, depending on their skin condition, sensitivity, history, and tone.
He'll need lots of repositioning.
This one seems really stupid. It's not like he's hard to control!
He can sue for megabucks if he gets a bedsore ...
On the other hand if he WAS selling drugs that was incredibly stoopid.
Alcohol, tabooco, caffeine, sugar are all addictive and central-nervous-system altering drugs.
Peculiar and messy hypocritical "standards" in play. The US should either be totally scientific and moral and stringently ban all drugs, or find some humane way to address man's proclivity to addiction, forcibly separating the weakness from $$$$$$$.
It's the money driving this whole thing ... definitely not the morals or science.
Read that Mormons, who eschew coffee 'n tea, are the world's biggest consumers of chocolate.
-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (email@example.com), February 18, 2000.
I wonder if they hand-cuffed him.
The more you meditate on this story, the more surreal it becomes. He's being bars? Like, they're afraid he might escape? Overpower the guards, steal a police car, run for the border?
Didn't I see this on Saturday Night Live?
-- thanks (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 18, 2000.
This is sick really sick!
-- ET (email@example.com), February 18, 2000.
Congrats if you've read past the above,
Again, He was originally given PROBATION, NOT PRISON TIME and told to STOP SELLING ILLEGAL DRUGS from his home. After he agreed to that in court, HE KEPT SELLING ILLEGAL DRUGS when he was released.
What else was the judge supposed to do? He gave the guy a chance, (which probably wouldn't have been given to someone who *wasn't* a quad), and he went back to the same exact criminal behavior that got him arrested in the first place.
Limbs or no limbs, this guy has shown himself to have no respect for the law. If he's jailed, too bad. His *actions* are what are deciding his fate, not the evil system.
And to be redundant for those of you with short term memory loss ;) Guy, you said,
"Oh yes, I forgot. 1 1/4 ounces = 7 years of prison, is it no wonder we have more people in prison than any other country in the world?"
No, 1.25 oz. = seven years PROBATION that means NO prison time! The seven years in prison came after the criminal refused to quit committing his crime. Frank
-- Someone (ChimingIn@twocents.cam), February 19, 2000.
Uh, Someone; The judge revoked the probation on the ACCUSATION of the continued sales.:
Although Covar denied selling marijuana, authorities said they were tipped that he had indeed been dealing. Investigators found about 1 1/4 ounces of pot in his home. "We feel strongly he was selling out of his house," Richmond County District Attorney Danny Craig said. "Police tried everything they could to avoid taking him into custody, and we did everything we could to avoid the scenario of turning a quadriplegic over to the prison system."
-- Chuck, a night driver (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 19, 2000.
nope, even worse, chuck........
he "was convicted of marijuana possession last March in Augusta. The judge gave him seven years of probation, telling Covar that if he was to continue using the illegal drug, to keep it to himself."
the judge had already "allowed" him to break one law......so how was Covar supposed to know he'd be thrown in jail for breaking another?
of course.....that's "alledegly" breaking another.....
-- mebs (email@example.com), February 19, 2000.
It seems some of you can't grasp the point. If the quad wants to sell pot how does that affect you. It doesn't, no more than if he was selling cigarettes. However his incarceration does affect the taxpayers. Dissenters aghast that he committed something against the law. Did it ever occur to you that we have idiots passing legislation that should never have become law. This is a classic example. Now the taxpayers are responsible for his welfare for seven years. It should only be the select taxpayers that want pot to be illegal to pay for his welfare, not I!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Bottom line - pot shouldn't be against the law. If you find sufficient reason for it to be a crime then cigarettes should also be against the law as well as alcohol. Posession of alcohol - jail, selling - prison. Cigarettes the same. Double standard otherwise. Personally, I have never smoked anything but if he wants to smoke pot at his residence, that's his business.
-- Guy Daley (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 19, 2000.
How does a quad smoke pot? There must be at least one ablebodied accomplice here. Is this person also doing hard time?
-- (email@example.com), February 19, 2000.
Chuck and Mebs and Guy,
Again, it seems that everyone was trying to give this guy a break, and he wouldn't go along. Don't like the fact that they re-accused him based on tips? If they had done a "sting" would you be saying "great, they really proved he's still selling" or "wow, look at all the money wasted proving this guy was still selling, when every neighbor on the block was watching him do it on a daily basis"? The point is, you can always complain, but someone has to draw the line somewhere and make a decision. They seem like they were being more than fair to this guy *to me*.
The real question here I think is do you think that selling MJ should not be a crime, or do you think that a quad should not be jailed for committing crimes? If it's the former, go to misc. threads and see the thread "on HEMP". If the latter, what if his crime was something like selling bootleg software or child pornography, probably neither would directly affect you, so would you care (Guy)?
Personally, I believe that there IS a high societal cost to drug use, and don't want it encouraged. I also believe, that if an ADULT is still committing crimes after being told not to, they have to be punished regardless of whether they are a quad or a Clinton (well, now you know I'm not a Senator).
-- Someone (ChimingIn@twocents.cam), February 19, 2000.
What disturbs me (and I sense, some of the other respondents) is how terms of probation can permit the state to incarcerate someone on a charge that has not been proved in court. Mr. Covar was found guilty of one crime (possession), but jailed on suspicion of a different crime (distribution). That doesn't strike me as due process.
-- David L (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 19, 2000.
How sweet it is to know that you are an instrument of justice and God is on your side.
-- Tom Carey (email@example.com), February 20, 2000.
I agree with you *in principle*, however all we have to go on is this newspaper article and not the full facts of the case. Does anyone who is found guilty of *possesion* of MJ in this day and age get SEVEN YEARS for a first offense? I doubt it (although again I can't prove it didn't happen that way).
Where I'm coming from is that what I think happened is that they *were* going to try him for distribution originally, but instead allowed him to plead guilty to a lesser charge, possesion. In this scenario, and after being placed on probation and doing NO jail time, I think that for the guy to get out and go back to doing what he was doing before his arrest is reprehensible, and needs punishment regardless of who he is. Again, as I don't have all the facts, I can't say that this *really* is what happened, but it's my guess, and hence my position on the matter.
Also, I know a couple of deputy DAs personally, and they are both decent people. I can't imagine either of them to be itching to send a quad to jail. Again this plays a part of my belief in that what we're reading here isn't the whole story.
Tom Carey, you said,
"How sweet it is to know that you are an instrument of justice and God is on your side."
-- Someone (ChimingIn@twocents.cam), February 20, 2000.
I wanna say somethin intelligent about this,but I can't think of anything.I guess it's easier to arrest someone for this "horrible"Crime commited in a Wheelchair,than to throw a coke snorting GW Bush into the Pokey.We've always had an extraordinary Number of"BRAVE" People in this Country,that like to beat up old Ladies and other helpless Folks.
-- Gomer (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 20, 2000.