Saturday, April 24, 2004
A Sort Of Victory in the War on Drugs
A nice man, by all accounts, was duped into carrying some cocaine into the United States from Trinidad. New York Newsday reports that he was acquitted on all charges Friday.
The final outcome was the right one, but why was this guy even brought to trial? The cocaine was hidden in a can of butter that the man declared to customs, he was surprised when customs officials found cocaine hidden in the butter, and this guy had a squeaky clean record. The Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's office which tried the man has a 90% conviction rate. Is that why they went ahead with the case? After the trial ended, assistant U.S. attorney Paige Peterson was overheard saying to the defendant, "I think you are a very nice man and wish you the best."
I wish the man all the best too, but he still has a felony arrest on his record, and this entire incident has disrupted his life and the lives of his family members for months. At least the jury was able to exercise some common sense when law enforcement officials were not.