Pubdate: Mon, 14 Oct 2002
Source: Detroit News (MI)
Copyright: 2002, The Detroit News
Author: Linda MacDonald
Referenced: full oped, Traverse City Record-Eagle (MI) -, oped from Detroit News -
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


I am responding to former Gov. William G. Milliken's commentary about our 
harsh drug laws and how these laws need to be changed ("Michigan must 
reform harsh drug sentences," Sept. 20). As an average citizen, I never 
really knew how harsh these laws were until this past year when a family 
member was arrested for selling cocaine.

He was not addicted to cocaine, but was shown by a much bigger dealer how 
easy it was to make money. He was given the clientele and soon he was on a 
downward spiral.

This went on for seven months, and in the meantime his supplier was having 
other legal problems. Although they were very good friends since childhood, 
his supplier gave him up to the police for leniency for his own legal 
problems. His home was raided and he was found with 86 grams of cocaine. He 
is now facing a mandatory 10-year sentence.

I do not condone any criminal behavior. But the fact that my family member 
has no previous criminal record should be taken into account. He never even 
owned a weapon and is nonviolent. He is married with a five-year-old 
daughter and holds down a regular job. He has worked in a convalescent home 
and delivers for the meals-on-wheels program each holiday. He is a good 
person who made a mistake.

As for the supplier, he is still out there. He served no jail time, and 
with the help of his well-known "drug lawyer," he is back to his old way of 
life. What kind of justice is this?

There are so many other measures besides prison terms that would be 
appropriate for first-time drug offenders -- probation, work release, 
community service.

Linda MacDonald, Taylor
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