American Justice: It is Who You Are and Who You Know, Even In Small Town America [283*1]
HOW IS THIS EVEN FAIR?: How Fame and Fortune Can Get You Off
(One of these days, I will actually send these missives to our local weekly.)
Dear Letter to the Editor:
I was just made aware of a very disturbing example of lack of Justice in Bradford County Florida. Recently a young woman was observed by another person buying what turned out to be $5 worth of marijuana (about a ¼ to ½ a joint and street prices in Florida). The lady apparently reported this transaction and a couple of days later police show up at this young woman’s home and arrested her; apparently the person doing the sale was arrested as well.
In Florida, at this point in time, possession of pot is illegal with some strict exceptions for cancer related illnesses. The illegality of pot is not the point in this story; it is the State’s response to this crime relative to a similar arrest for a much larger quantity of grass and the leniency shown to the suspect who happened to be famous and rich. But first, what happened to the lady who purchased an amount whose ability to get someone high is problematic.
First and foremost, this crime, because it was a purchase, is a 3rd degree felony in Florida; something our young lady is going to have to live with for the rest of her life. Next, she was able to receive pre-trial intervention, a program that if the person satisfies all of the conditions of the program, which at a minimum means drug testing every month all charges are dismissed. But, the kicker is she will carry around a felony until if, and when, she can get her record entirely expunged. All of this amounts to a huge disruption and destruction of a young life, all over 0.1 gram, .017 ounces of marijuana; something that is legal fie recreational purposes in three states.
But What Happens When You Have Fame and Fortune>
Compare this to Mr. Letroy Shelton Guion Jr., a hometown football hero who went from the Florida State University to a million dollar Green Bay Packer defensive end, who was arrested late one night on Feb 16, 2015 the city of Starke, Bradford County Florida for possession of 12.5 ounces of pot, over $190,000 in cash in a black bag, and a 9mm pistol. According to the WESH (Channel 2) News, Guion was aggressive and non-cooperative during his arrest; our young lady was not; in fact she apparently admitted to the buy even though there was no evidence to convict her (that is my assumption anyway).
OK, so what happens to Letroy? Was he tossed in the slammer, charged with felony possession with intent to sell? Was the DEA called in? Did they confiscate his money, drugs, gun, and truck? Not in so many words. He was arrested and released on $100,000 bond. Ultimately, he pled “no contest” to both felonies and paid a whopping $5,000 fine, put on probation and ultimately given his money and truck back, no forfeiture as is very common in this kind of case (oh yes, the NFL gave in a 3-game suspension. Why? While Guion does have two felonies on his record, he went on to negotiate a $2 million contract into a $3 million one in 2015; in Feb 2016, Letroy received a 3-year, $11,750,000, and this is after it became known Guion had a deferred prosecution, prior to joining the Packers, for domestic violence.
So, let’s compare. What does less than a gram of marijuana get you?
- A felony
- Frequent drug testing
- Many other restrictions
- A total disruption of her life
How about almost a pound of pot, a weapon, over $100,000 in cash, and a previous record:
- A felony
- Drug testing goes with the football territory
- 3-game suspension
- A 3-year, $11,750,000 contract
- All the money and truck back, items normally forfeited in similar drug busts
- A normal life
How is this fair? Why is the person who is just another cog in humanity have her life turned up-side down for what … a miniscule amount of pot, but the home town football hero comes up smelling like roses, relatively speaking?
Zoey, The Abandon Cat
My Esoteric actually has a dog in this story (actually a cat). You see Mr. Guion had bought a house in the local area and let his family and relatives stay in it. To return his kindness, over the space of 2 to 3 years, they trashed the place, didn't pay their bills, had utilities turned off, even vultures were seen on their roof. They abandoned the home on occasion, only to return.later.
Finally, it seemed they left for good. Not long after that, their pets were found roaming around, a dog, two cats, and a pig; they ended up at various neighbors houses. Ultimately the dog, one cat (the other ran away), and the pig found homes; in the case of the cat, it is now staring at me from her cat tower; her name is Zoey.
Apparently, after many months, parts of the family returned and the home is again occupied.
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© 2016 Scott Belford