Last week, a local TV station ran a story about a defendant serving life without parole for distributing marijuana. Unfortunately, the story did not include all of the facts.
The truth is that the defendant was a career criminal with four prior drug crimes. He was given leniency and received probation for his first two crimes. He then received jail time for his next two crimes. Even after the four prior criminal acts, he did not change his conduct. Instead, he was caught with 92 lbs of marijuana. He turned down a plea offer from the prosecutor that would have allowed him to be paroled. But rather than accepting responsibility for his conduct, he chose to take the case to trial and was convicted. The judge decided five criminal acts was the end of the line.
Criminal sympathizers are now attempting to use him as a catalyst to change drug laws. Career politician Bob Johnson of Lee’s Summit is one of those sympathizers. His comments for the story show a fundamental misunderstanding of our criminal laws.
As a career prosecutor who has prosecuted hundreds of drug crimes, I know the truth. It is a myth that our prisons are full of drug users. Those defendants never wind up in prison, unless they have long rap sheets for other crimes or repeatedly refuse to obey a judge’s orders while on probation.
But drug dealers are different. Contrary to what Mr. Johnson apparently believes, drug dealing is not a victimless crime. In my years as a prosecutor, I’ve seen too many lives destroyed by illegal drugs to have sympathy for drug traffickers who prey on others for their own monetary gain.
Missouri’s citizens deserve the truth about issues rather than the tired platitudes from career politicians.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Lee’s Summit Resident and Candidate, Missouri House of Representatives, District 34