A Man with a Flashlight


It doesn’t get better than this
April 17, 2007, 12:57 am
Filed under: Drug Prohibition, Politics

I don’t really understand the whole U.S. attorneys scandal. All I can glean from the news is that the White House staff wanted to get rid of anyone who wouldn’t conduct pro-Republican investigations.

I guess we’ll figure out tomorrow whether Alberto Gonzales will get to keep his job. It’s no skin off my back either way. Gonzales’ next job should be gassing rabbits, but he wouldn’t have the intellectual curiosity or gentleness of spirit to fit in with that crowd.

What I do understand is that one of Justice’s replacement attorneys, Scott Schools, is making a complete ass of himself in San Francisco, going after a man who was growing pot for patients. (Nod to Seeing the Forest.)

It doesn’t faze him that that’s legal under state law. It also doesn’t worry him that Ed Rosenthal was already tried in federal court and sentenced to one day in prison – the judge’s way of slapping the prosecution in the face – or that his conviction was overturned on appeal, but the sentence given upheld as fair had the conviction stood, meaning that if he is convicted now, he will face no sentence at all.

Nor does it bother Schools that the judge who will hear the case, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer, is the same judge who heard it last time. Though Breyer said the U.S. Attorney’s decision left him “no choice” but to schedule a trial, he asked point-blank who had made the decision to retry Rosenthal, seemingly betraying scepticism about the wisdom of doing so.

In short, Schools is using his position to harass a medical marijuana grower, though he has no chance of winning a sentence against him and very little chance of even winning a conviction, though his prosecution directly opposes California state law, and in the face of criticism from the presiding judge. Can you say “political theater?”

Now for the good part – Rosenthal dressed up for his first day in court:

“This isn’t a criminal case, this is a political case,” said Rosenthal, who appeared in court dressed in a blue wizard’s robe with a golden marijuana leaf emblazoned over the breast. “I may as well get my money’s worth and have a trial.”

Mr. Schools, Ed Rosenthal is treating your unbecoming witch hunt with precisely the respect it deserves.

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