Friday, June 15, 2007

Speaking of the Vice War:

via The Angry Black Woman, this story:

Jonathan Magbie

Jonathan Magbie

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.


expatbrian said...

excellent post. great blog. My first time here but not my last.

belledame222 said...

cool, welcome, expatbrian.

Moira said...

Pot makes me feel better too. I could stop taking at least some of the fistfuls of pills I take daily to control the fibromyalgia pain if I could smoke pot instead. Since I don't want to lose my job (and I really don't want to wind up in jail), I don't. It's nowhere near Limbaugh-level use, but I do take a lot of hydrocodone just to stay functional.

But I keep forgetting that the demon weed has no medicinal value. Silly me. Marijuana's bad, m'kay?

KH said...

A two-thirds majority of DC voters had just said that medical marijuana should be legal. For daring to say essentially the same thing to the judge, this man died. If she didn't have sovereign immunity, she'd be liable for negligent homicide.

It's telling that there isn't more anger about the criminal justice system.

am i a bodyfascist? said...

"miscommunication between jail, hospital, and court officials"

oh, yeah. seems to happen all the time. kinda reminded me of my "lost" medical prescription when being transferred to airport prison. (surprise, surprise, was the only guy there with a local passport ...)

just that i've been lucky enough 'only' having to swallow cortisone etc. for 5 years afterwards, in order to stabilise my lungs ...

guess we all can imagine why death in custody figures hardly make the news ... not to mention several related 'coincidences' which you refer to as "a number of conclusions" missing in the original article ...

Zan said...

Oy Gods. Just...oy. I want to be surprised by this, but I'm not.

I hate the world lately. Seriously.

Dee said...

Me too also, Zan.