Drug Law and The Idaho GOP

There’s this:

“There are some people we don’t need to throw the book at,” said state Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol. “They’re not really criminals, they’re people with a problem. We want to help them solve the problem.”

And then, there’s this:

Darrington said Idaho’s mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking are designed so “that those people who are into this business that far and are destroying the lives of our youth and our people, are going to go to prison.” He called the new proposal “the first step to break down our sentencing laws.”

Two world views from two men in the same party?

Darrington is chair of the Judiciary committee in the Idaho senate. Darrington also proclaimed the bill, co-sponsored by Hart, would not make it thru the senate. Mr. Hart was joined by the following: Reps. Lynn Luker, R-Boise; Raul Labrador, R-Eagle; and Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise. (For anyone interested, this Mr. Labrador.)

When I was in treatment, one of the things I found absolutely astounding was the sheer number of people who were considered felons. Considered, hell! They were felons. Not because they held up a bank or convenience store, not because they beat the shit out of someone – a few times on different occasions – but because they got caught with drugs, usually crack.

Here’s the breakdown under Idaho law:

  1. Certain drugs with specific defined amounts constituting possession and/or selling.
  2. Marijuana: Possession of more than a pound (454 grams = 1 pound/0.5 kg) – mandatory minimum sentence = one (1) year if found guilty of trafficking.
  3. Methamphetamine: Possession of more than 400 grams (0.4 kg), essentially less than half pound results in a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years if found guilty of trafficking.

Herein lies the rub.

Manufacturing meth in any amount brings a five-year minimum sentence – a law that Darrington and then-Gov. Dirk Kempthorne championed.

Is that what’s it about? Is it about helping people with an addiction problem or is it about being bucked? Is Darrington one of those who fit the personality types described by John Dean in his book, ‘Conservatives Without Conscience’?

As Rep LeFavour “told the committee Monday …. most people convicted of drug-trafficking crimes deserve stiff sentences. Those only marginally involved in drug dealing because of their addictions, however, should get a second chance to get clean and stay out of prison.


4 Responses

  1. I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    Karen Halls

  2. Don’t get me started on Mr. Darrington today…
    Can you tell me where Athol, Idaho is?

  3. Athol is between Coeur d’Alene and Ponderay. On I-95 up by Farragut State Park, up by Sagle, Rathdrum…..up thataway.

  4. No wonder I didn’t know where it was! Northern Idaho and Southern Idaho are two different planets…

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