On September 24, 2004, 27-year-old Jonathan Magbie died while serving a 10-day sentence for marijuana possession in a Washington, D.C., jail. Magbie, a quadriplegic since a drunk driving accident at the age of 4, was a first-time offender.
D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith E. Retchin defied a presentencing recommendation that Magbie be given a term of probation — a sentence that even the prosecutor found acceptable.
Retchin imposed the sentence because she didn't like Magbie's attitude, and the car in which Magbie was riding when apprehended had a loaded gun and cocaine. Magbie had told Retchin that marijuana made him feel better and that he didn't think there was anything wrong with using it.
A miscommunication between jail, hospital, and court officials gave Retchin the impression that the D.C. jail could handle Magbie's medical needs — primarily, a near-constant need for ventilation to help him breathe. In fact, the jail could not accommodate him, but by the time Magbie reached a hospital, he was dead.
Ironically, D.C. voters passed a medical marijuana initiative in 1998 with 69% of the vote. The initiative has never taken effect because Congress blocks its implementation. Had the law been in effect, Magbie might have been able to present a medical defense in court, and might be alive today.
Yes well of course there are a number of conclusions one can take away from this little story, besides the part about the maryjane, aren't there. Starting, as ABW notes, with the color of his skin. (Three guesses: it's not the same as Paris Hilton's, and presumably neither is his class). Another might have to do with gee golly, quadriplegic? Oh yeah, we can accomodate y--oh no, oops, guess we can't, oh well, sorry about your DEATH.
In jail, that is. In jail for toking marijuana, because it makes him feel better. Made.
But punishment is really way more important that helping people -feel better.- Besides, he should've just taken Vicodin or something.
I mean, presumably the person who originally caused his condition, the drunk driver was severely punished. We hope so. It'd make up for -everything.- If not, some fuckoff celebritante's tears will do for the moment, I guess. bread and schadenfreude. What else is there?
Oh yeah, and: the judge "didn't like his attitude." Chew on that one for a while.
This is after all the point: not safety, not even adherence to law, not what's best for everyone: RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH.
yeah, I can't imagine where it all went wrong.