Vice Squad
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Vicewire, 9/22/2004

1) Guess who's controversial again: Joe Camel. The article deals with a case related to the broader problem of using the first amendment to market cigarettes to children.

2) Here's an interesting story about challenges to DWI arrests in North Carolina, including an officer's negligence in asking the driver to remove his false teeth and a woman's inability to perform the "line test" effectively due to wearing stiletto heels. Defense attorney Bill Thomas had this to say: "I know that DWI is a hot political issue. But the public has to understand one important thing: The constitutional protections that follow us in our daily lives also apply to DWI cases. These protections are part of the fabric of our country. They are constitutional guarantees that ensure justice and freedom."

3) Unsurprisingly to regular Vice Squad readers, a new wave of Colombian drug lords is emerging. More surprising, perhaps, is a news story proclaiming this.

4) From the "other" Chicago paper is Mayor Daley's controversial new plan to ticket people caught with small amounts of marijuana, rather than court dates. The article is chock full of interesting data and statements...for brevity's sake I list two things that caught my eye.
- If a Chicago cop makes a bust for less than 30 grams of marijuana -- a misdemeanor under state law -- the case is usually prosecuted by an assistant state's attorney. ..Most of the cases are dismissed because an officer does not appear in court to testify about the arrest or a lab technician fails to show up to verify that the seized grassy substance was, in fact, marijuana, sources say.

Federal prosecutors rarely take such cases to court in Chicago...But prosecutors rarely take a case involving less than 100 kilograms -- 100,000 grams -- of marijuana.

- Donegan estimated Chicago could have collected at least $5 million in fines last year under his proposal...
"Most misdemeanor assistant state's attorneys have a difficult time justifying requiring a police officer and a lab tech to appear in court for the better part of an afternoon for $12 worth of weed. It just doesn't make sense," said one former misdemeanor prosecutor.

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