Pubdate: Mon, 05 Mar 2001
Source: Watertown Daily Times (NY)
Copyright: 2001 Watertown Daily Times
Contact:  260 Washington Street, Watertown NY 13601-3364
Fax: (315) 782-1040
Author: Lee Monnet


Dear Editor;

District Attorney Jerry Richards 02/25/01 letter to the editor (DA s 
War on Drugs) astonished me. The harsh words he used toward drug law 
reformers contradicted two previous statements he made.

On January 14, 1997 in the Watertown Daily Times article ( Drug 
Dealing and Turf Wars on Rise, Deputy tells Legislators). Mr. 
Richards said "There are a significant number of people in this 
country, this state, and this county who casually use marijuana and 
hold jobs just like the people in this room and are otherwise 
law-abiding citizens."

On February 11, 1997 in the Ogdensburg Journal article (Legislature 
vote No on Drug Deputies) he said "I may be in a little political 
trouble, but that s OK. in my mind I'd rather see these kids smoke a 
pound of marijuana because that kid would be alive today."

Why is the DA new lashing out against people who don t embrace the 
current drug policies? The drug war has allowed prosecutors to wield 
substantial power in sentencing offenders.

If, the punitive drug laws are reformed they face the possibility of 
having to relinquish some of the control they have over drug 
offenders. For example, a person looking at life behind bars for drug 
possession can become and informant for the DA for a reduced sentence 
or an outright dismissal of charges.

A serious flaw with this is that many of these people have little 
integrity and often fabricate accusations against others in order to 
save their own hides. A St. Lawrence County drug task force deputy 
sheriff summed it all up in the same 01/04/97 Watertown Daily Times 
article when he said "The informants you deal with are often just as 
bad as the people you're going after. You have to pretend you trust 
them when you really don't."

Mr. Richards, you may label us drug users or drug profiteers but the 
fact of the matter is we are people who are speaking out against 
police corruption caused by the huge profits from drugs, innocent 
people being killed in botched drug raids, terminally ill people 
being denied medical marijuana, people serving more time for drug 
possession than would a burglar, child molester, or rapist, and most 
of all the erosion of the Bill of Rights which, has suffered terribly 
in the last 30 years of this insane war on drugs.

Lee Monnet, Ogdensburg, NY
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