HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Foundation to Help Teen Seek Probation After Drug
Pubdate: Mon, 10 Feb 2003
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2003 The Decatur Daily
Cited: NORML Foundation
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Incarceration)
Bookmark: (Youth)


MOULTON (AP) -- A Lawrence County teenager sentenced to 26 years in prison 
for selling marijuana to his classmates will seek probation at a hearing 
next month, aided by a Washington-based group.

Webster Alexander received the jail time for four sales, together worth 
about $350, that he made to an undercover drug agent at Lawrence County 
High School. It was his first drug offense.

Prosecutors have said the sentence - which Alexander, 19, agreed to as part 
of a plea bargain - was warranted to make an impression on students at the 
rural school.

"Certainly it makes a point, a very big point, about accountability," said 
Lawrence County District Attorney Ed Osborn. School principal Ricky Nichols 
said there were 26 drug and alcohol incidents at the school of 600 last year.

But Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the NORML Foundation, a 
Washington-based group working to bring marijuana laws in line with alcohol 
and tobacco laws, said prison terms of 10 years or more typically are 
reserved for repeat offenders or crimes in which guns are used.

"Putting a young man in jail for 26 years, on the face of it, appears to be 
over-punitive, too expensive to the taxpayer and of no deterrent value," he 

NORML will help Alexander argue his point at a March 10 probation hearing.

Alexander plans to tell the judge about how, after he was expelled from the 
high school, he found a private school where he earned his diploma.

He also graduated from a drug treatment program, found a job as a 
bricklayer and enrolled in Calhoun Community College.

The teen acknowledges that he sold the drugs, and that he smoked marijuana 
for the first time at age 9 and began smoking regularly six years later. 
But he denies prosecutors' depiction of him as a kingpin.
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