Are any of us better off because of this?


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Warren
October 26, 2004, 07:45 PM
This man (http://babelogue.citypages.com:8080/bsmith/2004/10/26) died because of the attitude about guns and drugs in this country.

FULL ARTICLE: (further links on original website)

The story of the death of 27-year-old Jonathan Magbie, in a District of Columbia jail, is a sorry tale in so many ways... so sorry that it's hard to know how to characterize it. My role here is only to try to make more people aware of this story. Henri Cauvin and Colbert King of the Washington Post have dug out the facts and written about it several times.

Jonathan Magbie was a person who couldn't harm anyone else if he had wanted to... a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the chin down. He could guide a wheelchair with chin movements.

That he could end up in court, much less in jail, taxes ones imagination, but it happened. Magbie was charged with marijuana possession, a first offense. There was a loaded gun in the car, and the driver pled guilty to gun charges. Notice that Magbie wasn't physically able to "put" anything in the car. The DC prosecution dropped all but the marijuana possession charge in exchange for a guilty plea by Magbie, and recommended probation.

That wasn't good enough for Superior Court Judge Judith Retchin, who sentenced Magbie to 10 days in jail. She told Magbie that she had decided against giving him straight probation because while he was not charged with having the gun -- as his co-defendant Beckett was -- she considered it "just unacceptable to be riding around in a car with a loaded gun in this city."

Then began the series of blunders that are so much a part of governmental systems. Magbie needs a respirator at night. The judge didn't know that. When she asked the correctional people if they could accommodate a paralyzed person, they said they could... and off he was shipped... and it went downhill from there, involving various jail personnel and a hospital. In 5 days, Magbie was dead. If you want to read about the finger pointing and denials from the officials involved, Colbert King (below) has documented what he could find out. It's the kind of bureaucratic mess we're far too familiar with... another one we'll never be able to sort out.

We could blame it on a single poor judgment, or even a series of mistakes that are so typical of governmental systems. We could blame it on the War on Drugs having created a draconian attitude toward punishment. We could blame it on overcrowded jails with overcrowded staff, or overcrowded court systems having to push cases through with too little communication.

I have little doubt that each person in the DC justice system was just trying to do his job. I have respect and sympathy for judges, but Judge Retchin's sentence smacks of personal attitude about guns and perhaps about drugs. In effect, she sentenced him for something he wasn't capable of doing, and wasn't charged with (and that shouldn't be a crime in the first place). I suspect that could be appealed, but that wouldn't do Jonathan any good, would it?

What I do know is that our government systems stink... from top to bottom. It starts in Congress, with pandering attempts to win votes, and results in careless legislation that spreads its complex tentacles throughout society where it grabs individuals and twists them, based on interpretation of words on a page. That "system" destroys thousands of people every day, but we hear about only a tiny percentage of them, because most are not unique enough to get the little publicity Jonathan Magbie's case received. The rest of us go on our merry way, mostly oblivious to the fact that we escaped for another day. It makes me very angry. I hope you have the same reaction.

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Ian
October 26, 2004, 07:48 PM
Saw the story a couple days ago...it's too bad prosecutors and judges can get away with murder.

Baba Louie
October 26, 2004, 09:53 PM
A tragic case to be sure.
Quadriplegic.
Marijuana.
Gun in Car.
DC (could be anytown)
Police got involved... how?
His attorney did what?
What I do know is that our government systems stink... from top to bottom. While I may rant and rave now and then about governmental injustices, I only wish that I knew of a better form of government for a community of 280,000,000+.

How often do you go driving around in your car with your gun and some grass and then attract the attention of the police... and then not have an attorney adequate for some basic representation? Personally I try to limit my own behavior somewhat to fit within the crystallized prejudices of the community.

Yes, its a tragedy of some concern for those involved. Was J. Magbie a dupe used by his friends or did he know about the weed and the gun and the laws prohibiting same? Or was everyone so buzzed from the hemp that they forgot about the gun while driving around DC stoned?

You can lay blame at the gov't if you so desire... and in fact one or more persons within one or more of the governmental systems involved may be guilty of something or other.

But who fired up the first doobie and decided to go for a ride? Or maybe they just wanted to air out their bag of grass or take it and their gun for a little ride. :-)

Nightfa11
October 26, 2004, 10:41 PM
Or maybe they just wanted to air out their bag of grass or take it and their gun for a little ride. :-)


Yaknow....I take my gun for a ride all the time. But of course I have that right because I don't live in a vermin infested hellhole like WashDC. There you don't have that right.

I don't smoke (at all..cigs or dope) so don't have a comment on marijuana, other than I don't understand why stoners rights should be deprived when we protect the rights of alcoholics.

joab
October 26, 2004, 10:52 PM
Was J. Magbie a dupe used by his friends or did he know about the weed and the gun and the laws prohibiting same? Or was everyone so buzzed from the hemp that they forgot about the gun while driving around DC stoned? What does all that matter. He was jailed for posession of a gun. Something that he was incapable of doing. An item that would be of absolutly no use to him so why would he have even requested that it be put in the car. Was this even Magbie's car? I doubt it but it could have been.

This whole thing is as stupid as charging a blind man with posession of inappropriate photographs.

Standing Wolf
October 26, 2004, 11:23 PM
I haven't smoked marijuana since 1972, but never get into my car without a gun, sometimes two. It's legal for me because I live in Colorado. It was illegal for him because he lived in Washington, D.C.

Why hasn't the federal government enforced the Second Amendment?

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