Published on May 21st, 2015 | by News Feed
The War On Drugs Has Claimed Another Victim
While the topic of marijuana and its legalization are growing more and more popular across the country, there are still major hurdles to jump when it comes to the court system and the “War on Drugs.”
The story of Ronald Hammond Jr. should be a learning experience for all people in this country. Hammond is a resident of Baltimore, Maryland. He was recently arrested for possession and he was urged to accept the plea deal. The story is very intriguing and worth your time.
Hammond and his girlfriend were having an argument in the summer of 2012. Unfortunately the police responded to the incident and Hammond was searched. When the police did their pat down they found 6 grams of marijuana. This is not enough marijuana to make a joint. It is a miniscule amount.
Hammond was arrested and charged with misdemeanor possession. However when he was brought before district judge Askew Gatewood, things began to look a little better.
“Why would I want to spend taxpayers’ money putting his little raggedy butt in jail—feeding him, clothing him, cable TV, Internet, prayer, medical expense, clothing—on $5 worth of weed?” Gatewood asked.
Hammond was urged by Gatewood to take the plea deal and simply pay the $100 fine. Hammond and his lawyers agreed to the plea and the case was over. Or so they thought. Unfortunately Hammond had a previous record in Baltimore.
In 2009 Hammond had been arrested for selling $40 worth of crack to a narc. He was arrested and brought before one of the more strict judges in the land. Judge Lynn Stewart-Mays presided over the session and was set to throw the book at Hammond. However his lawyers were able to persuade her to hand down a suspended sentence.
“I’ll give him 20 [years] suspended,” Stewart-Mayes said. “He gets every day of it if he violates.”
Because Hammond accepted the plea bargain from the 2012 incident, he was then forced to come before Judge Stewart-mays yet again. This time the prosecution demanded a stiff sentence and Stewart-Mays seemed ready and willing to comply.
“This court understands that marijuana is not the crime of the century,” Stewart-Mays said. “And the court understands that somehow, some way, not that I agree or disagree… that marijuana has become a little more accepted. However, when you are on probation, your freedoms are restricted. So what may be commonly accepted for one, you can’t do, because you’re on probation.”
The most stomach churning aspect is that Hammond is serving time for a dumb law. Based on his case alone, the outcome is shocking. A person who kills another individual due to driving while under the influence will get a maximum of 10 years. Further, Maryland recently passed a law where possession of anything under 10 grams of pot is only a civil infraction and a fine of $100.
“Sending somebody to prison for $40 of cocaine and not enough marijuana to build a joint seems unfathomable,” Mary Price, general counsel for Families Against Mandatory Minimums, said.