Skip to comments.Court's marijuana ruling a victory for authorities(zero tolerance in the real world)
Posted on 06/22/2006 9:52:05 PM PDT by freepatriot32
Marijuana users can be arrested for drugged driving weeks after they toast a joint, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in a Jackson County appeal.
A veteran prosecutor hailed the ruling as a correct interpretation of the zero-tolerance law that will make enforcement easier. A longtime defense attorney said the high court has opened the floodgates on overreaching government.
"This goes to show the Supreme Court does not seem to care about individual rights," Jackson attorney Jerry Engle said.
At issue were cases from Jackson and Grand Traverse counties. The local case involved the prosecution of Dennis Kurts for driving under the influence of marijuana.
Blackman Township police in February 2004 cited Kurts, 44, of Michigan Center, after he was stopped for driving erratically. He admitted smoking marijuana, police said. The time frame in which he smoked is unclear.
A blood test did not detect the narcotic THC, or tetrahydrrocannabinol, which is in marijuana. Instead, the test showed the presence of carboxy THC, a benign product of metabolism that can remain in the blood for a month after marijuana use.
Jackson County Circuit Judge Chad Schmucker dismissed the case in 2004 on the basis that the THC remnant was not an illegal controlled substance. Wednesday's ruling sends the case back to Schmucker's court.
"The Supreme Court makes it clear carboxy THC is a controlled substance, and the Michigan Legislature says it is against the law to drive with any controlled substance in the body," said Jerrold Schrotenboer, appellate attorney for Prosecutor Hank Zavislak.
Had the ruling gone the other way, prosecutors and defense attorneys would have to offer dueling expert witnesses to argue the issue, Schrotenboer said. The high court's ruling considers the THC derivative and the actual narcotic one in the same, rather than circumstantial evidence that a driver might have been high.
"This makes it vastly easier for prosecutors to convict on drugged-driving charges," Schrotenboer said.
That alarms Engle, who argued against Schrotenboer before the Supreme Court in January. Not all police and prosecutors use discretion, and some might see the same dollar signs that drive drunken-driving convictions, Engle said. The Legislature in recent years passed fees of up to $3,500 against drunken drivers, and those same fees apply to drugged driving, he said.
"Suppose someone runs a red light into your car. The cop asks if you have smoked marijuana in the last several weeks," Engle said. "A blood test shows carboxy THC. The other guy gets a traffic ticket, and you go to jail."
So what? The voters through their representatives have decided to keep potheads and other illegal drug users off of the public streets while they still have dope residue in their systems.
Their roads, their rules.
Let me know when you're the majority.
State law. Try to keep up.
The irony of your screed is that Amsterdam, where marijuana law enforcement is so lax it's considered legal, is now majority Muslim. Sharia can't be too far off in the future.
---I've know long term marijuana users who over the years have essentially become "rubber heads," as the saying goes. Even when not officially "high," they exhibit poor judgment and pose a danger to themselves and others. This, in my opinion, is why the judges were correct in their ruling.---
Well, we can't have "rubber heads" running loose can we?
Better running than driving.
Interesting... So anyone who has ever had a drink should also be arrested? Even if it was the night before, and their system has (mostly) cleared itself to be under the limit?
Really? Where's that the law?
Where is it the law that the byproduct of metabolizing THC is the same as THC? Despite the fact that the court has decreed it so, the two are not the same.
The law in this case was against driving while under the influence. The evidence for marijuana was established to be THC under that law. By fiat, the judiciary has now negated the chemistry that differentiates THC from its metabolized derivative.
The intent of the law, IMO, was to use THC levels to detect the impairment of driving in a measurable manner. The rewriting of the law to include non-impairing derivatives - in direct contradiction of the physical properties of the two substances - is breathtaking.
Michigan penalizes driving with the presence of carboxy THC in the body. Read the article.
Man pleads guilty in child's traffic death
Saturday, June 17, 2006
By Steven Hepker
email@example.com -- 768-4923
A 25-year-old Jackson man who has never had a driver's license pleaded guilty Friday to causing the traffic death of his girlfriend's son.
Circuit Judge Chad Schmucker will sentence Mario Morgan on July 26.
Morgan was driving a 1999 Mitsubishi on Lansing Avenue at 6:30 a.m. Nov. 10 when he claims he fell asleep. The car crashed into a bridge abutment.
Da'Shaun Ingram, the 4-year-old son of Shiree Thomas, died instantly in the crash, according to Blackman Township police.
Police did not order blood tests because they did not suspect Morgan had been drinking. However, blood drawn as part of his treatment at Foote Hospital showed traces of marijuana, prosecutors allege.
Assistant Prosecutor Nick Mehalco Jr. received the test results through a court order.
Prosecutors charged Morgan with driving on a suspended, revoked or denied license causing death. Morgan told Schmucker he never had a license.
While Morgan was not charged with driving under the influence of drugs, the presence of the marijuana byproduct carboxyl THC in his blood could impact his sentence, Mehalco said in a Friday hearing.
This is good news.
And more good news in the WOD:
Thank you, but I did read the article.
The high court's ruling considers the THC derivative and the actual narcotic one in the same, rather than circumstantial evidence that a driver might have been high.
The "high" court has now ruled that two separate substances are the same - which is a physical unreality. Chemistry by fiat.
This is the basis for my opposition to this ruling. If carboxy THC is not, on its own, listed as a controlled substance, then the law does not make it illegal to have it in your system when you drive. THC - the narcotic - is obviously listed. Annulling the scientific identities of these two substances by word of judge is a crock.
If you don't want to talk about the Constitutional issues, don't start.
No, they ruled that THC is THC. They didn't try to weasel out of enforcing the law as it was written, as you would have them do.
Too bad they didn't have a chance to Mario Morgan and his carboxyl THC laden butt off the road before he killed the 4-year-old.
The police powers of a state don't originate in the Commerce Clause.
Read a book.
No, they just stop there.
"By continuing to apply this rootless and malleable standard, however circumscribed, the Court has encouraged the Federal Government to persist in its view that the Commerce Clause has virtually no limits. Until this Court replaces its existing Commerce Clause jurisprudence with a standard more consistent with the original understanding, we will continue to see Congress appropriating state police powers under the guise of regulating commerce."
Sorry, but the two chemical substances are not identical. If they were, there would be no separate name for carboxy THC. Neither your statement nor the court's can change that scientific fact.
I believe that Mario Morgan has never had a license, according to the story. How does this ruling change the fact he was driving illegally?
BTW - If the court had ruled that carboxy THC were a controlled substance, were to be added to the controlled substance list, and were to be henceforth treated the same as THC, I would not have a problem with this ruling. But the court retroactively redefined THC to include its cousin, carboxy THC.