When Henry Wooten was arrested in Tyler Texas for smoking a joint, police found a couple baggies with 4.6 ounces of marijuana on him. And because he was caught within 1000 feet of a day care center, that landed Wooten a 35-year prison sentence.
A post at Dallas/Ft. Worth NORML explains:
This is, more or less, a warning for those who would openly defy Marijuana Laws in Texas. The Texas Justice system is a series of policies designed to incarcerate people, not rehabilitate or help them in anyway. Henry’s case is unique because his possession limit was on the cusp of being a misdemeanor. In Texas, it is a misdemeanor to possess four ounces or less. One to two ounces is a class B, and three to four is a class A misdemeanor. Henry was found guilty of possessing four ounces to one pound, a felony which could be 2 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. However, since Henry was in a “drug free zone”, Smith County Assistant District Attorney Richard Vance had asked for the jury to give Wooten a sentence of 99 years. Do you think he got off easy?
Or perhaps we should phrase that question from a different perspective: do you think Texas taxpayers got off easy? Will society benefit from the hundreds of thousands of dollars that will be spent to imprison Wooten for the next three and a half decades, for the simple charge of possessing a substance we could all easily grow in our backyards?
Yeah, this is one of those extreme, hyperbolic examples, but our prisons are filled with these extreme, hyperbolic examples, in Washington state and throughout the nation. Why? Because our drug laws simply don’t make any sense. And that’s why we need a more Sensible Washington.