Home | Community | Message Board


Magic-Mushrooms-Shop.com
Please support our sponsors.

Feedback and Administration >> Shroomery News Service

Welcome to the Shroomery Message Board! You are experiencing a small sample of what the site has to offer. Please login or register to post messages and view our exclusive members-only content. You'll gain access to additional forums, file attachments, board customizations, encrypted private messages, and much more!

Amazon Shop for: ½ Pint Jars

Jump to first unread post. Pages: 1
Offlinedawn of a new day
un inglohablante

Registered: 01/16/03
Posts: 117
Loc: Earth
Last seen: 11 years, 6 months
Mushrooms vs. Murder ; an article from my local paper
    #2146309 - 11/30/03 12:01 PM (13 years, 8 days ago)

Mushrooms v. murder: Sentences in Kansas don't all fit the crime
By Eric Weslander, Journal-World

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Stephen Fletcher II tried to grow some psychedelic mushrooms in his Lawrence apartment.

Tremain V. Scott shot and killed a man at close range during an armed confrontation, then, according to an eyewitness, took the victim's gun and shot him with it as he lay on the ground.

An autopsy showed the victim had been shot 18 times.

Both Fletcher and Scott are in their early 20s and have little or no criminal-conviction record, their attorneys say. So who's facing the stiffer sentence?

Fletcher, by double.

Under state drug-sentencing guidelines, he's facing at least 11 1/2 years in prison unless a judge finds "substantial and compelling" reasons to lighten the sentence. Under a separate set of guidelines for all nondrug crimes, Scott faces between four and six years in prison for his violent crime.

"There's no question that that's not equitable," said Donald E. Jackson, a member of the Kansas Sentencing Commission, which advises the Legislature on sentencing policy.

The discrepancy is due to illogical, overly harsh drug sentences that don't serve justice, advocates say. In short, under Kansas criminal law, experimenting with forbidden fungus can be a more serious crime than murder.

"It doesn't surprise me because I know the laws," said Lawrence defense attorney John Frydman. "The bottom line is we are punishing our nonviolent offenders more harshly in many cases than our violent offenders."

?Alice in Wonderland'

There are more examples playing out in Douglas County District Court.

Dezerro D. Smith, 33, of Kansas City, Kan., is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday for cocaine possession and faces the possibility of serving about 10 years in prison.

The reason is that, until recently, cocaine possession was what attorneys call an "enhanced offense." Get caught once, it's a level four felony. Get caught a second time, it's a level two. Get caught a third time -- as Smith did -- it's a level one felony, the highest possible.

By contrast, point a gun at someone again and again, or knowingly infect someone with HIV again and again, and each time the charge stays at the same severity level.

The rules changed somewhat with passage this year of Senate Bill 123, which as of Nov. 1 did away with most enhanced drug-possession penalties. It requires drug treatment and probation instead of prison for people like Smith. But because Smith's offense happened before July 1, it's possible he'll end up behind bars -- again.

Lawrence defense attorney Jonathan Becker sees another problem with the new drug-treatment bill. Some drug users' past nondrug offenses can come back to haunt them and disqualify them for treatment.

For example, if someone gets convicted of home burglary, then later gets charged with drug possession, the past conviction automatically disqualifies the person from the drug-treatment law. A past conviction for a felony deemed slightly less severe under state law? such as stalking, does not automatically disqualify the person.

In other words, a drug addict who once stalked someone is eligible for drug treatment, but not a drug addict who once burglarized a home.

"Have you ever read ?Alice in Wonderland?'" Becker asked.

Drug offense
Defendant: Stephen Fletcher II, age 24.
Crime: Trying to make hallucinogenic "magic mushrooms."
Applicable statute: K.S.A. 65-4159, attempted manufacture of a controlled substance, a level one, drug felony.
Presumed penalty: Between 11.5 years and 12.8 years if he has no criminal record.



Mushrooms vs. meth

A psilocybin-mushroom growing operation isn't as dangerous as a methamphetamine lab, and mushrooms aren't as dangerous a drug as heroin.

That's what a police detective told Stephen Fletcher as investigators served a search warrant in Fletcher's apartment in September 2002, according to a police report.

Those statements may have put Fletcher at ease during the interview, but they don't reflect legal reality.

Under Kansas law, trying to grow hallucinogenic mushrooms -- which for Fletcher involved equipment such as horse droppings, brown-rice powder and moldy jars -- is treated the same as cooking meth, which involves a potentially explosive mix of chemicals.

Both offenses fit under the same criminal statute: manufacturing or attempting to manufacture a controlled substance. It used to be that a first conviction on that charge was a level 2 felony, but that changed in 1999 when the Legislature toughened the law to make it a level 1 felony on first offense, which means a minimum sentence of 11 1/2 years in prison.

Even Dan Dunbar, the assistant in Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney's office who prosecuted Fletcher's case, said he was not convinced Fletcher is the kind of person lawmakers were trying to target.

"I think they were after the meth cooks. I think the psilocybin people just got scooped up with them," Dunbar said. "It's not my goal to see this guy go to prison."

Homicide
Defendant: Tremain V. Scott, age 22.
Crime: Shooting and killing Quincy M. Sanders, 21.
Applicable statute: Charged with second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to K.S.A. 21-3403, voluntary manslaughter, a level three, person felony.
Presumed penalty: 4.6 to 5.1 years if he has no criminal record. Second-degree murder would have been between 9 and 10.25 years.



Facing prison

If that's true, why didn't Dunbar just let Fletcher plead to a lesser offense? Dunbar said his job was to convict people of the crime they committed, and if the sentence is too strong, to try to address that at sentencing.

Under Kansas law, a judge can deviate from sentencing guidelines if there are "substantial and compelling" reasons to do so. Fletcher's attorney, Elbridge "Skip" Griffy IV, said he planned to file a motion asking Judge Michael Malone to do that when Fletcher appears for sentencing Dec. 12.

There's a complication, however. The 1999 change to the law added language that says a sentence for drug-manufacturing "shall not be subject to statutory provisions for suspended sentence, community work service, or probation."

On Dec. 5, Tremain Scott will appear for sentencing for killing Quincy M. Sanders in March during an armed confrontation between the two men in the 2500 block of Ridge Court.

"I shot the (expletive) in the head," an eyewitness testified he heard Scott say before picking up Sanders' gun and shooting him with it.

Amid concerns cited by Scott's defense attorney that he would be able to argue at trial that the shooting was in self-defense, prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty recently to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. To the dismay of Sanders' family members, it cut Scott's potential sentence in half.

But assuming Scott and Fletcher have the same criminal-history background, even if Scott had been convicted of second-degree murder, Fletcher still would be facing more time for trying to grow mushrooms.

Room for improvement

Lawrence attorney John Solbach, who helped draft Kansas' sentencing guidelines 10 years ago as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, admits the system isn't perfect and isn't always fair.

"The drug crimes were always problematic and very emotional," he said. "There isn't any legislator who wants to go back home and say, ?I voted to reduce sentences for possession or sale or manufacture of drugs.'"

The sentencing grid -- an actual sheet of paper with rows and columns -- combines a defendant's criminal history score with the severity level of the crime at hand. Each defendant falls into in a box that contains a range of months considered to be the presumed sentence.

There's one grid for nondrug offenses, and a separate grid for drug offenses.

People who fall into certain boxes are expected to get probation. People who fall into others are expected to get prison, and there's a border area in between in which it's up to a judge to decide.

These guidelines were intended to create consistency in sentencing statewide and solve racial disparities that showed people of color were more likely to be sent to prison. Before the grid took effect, judges would sentence someone to a broad range of years in prison -- say, six to 20 years -- and the actual release date would be determined through the parole process.

Today, the sentence is right there on paper. But along with consistency comes inflexibility.

"There are always unique crimes or situations that our more rigid system doesn't handle very equitably," said Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence.

One way to solve these problems, Solbach said, is through the 17-member Kansas Sentencing Commission, which was created to analyze the sentencing guidelines in detail, monitor prison populations, and make recommendations for change. Expert advice from the commission -- which includes judges, lawmakers, community members and attorneys -- helps take heat off politicians who don't want to appear soft on crime, Solbach said.

Commission member Jeff Goering, a Republican House member from Wichita, said he thought sentencing discrepancies similar to the one Fletcher is facing were common. Goering said he didn't like that the guidelines take away judges' discretion for dealing with criminals individually.

Another unpleasant fact of life for commissioners, he said, is that concern about overcrowding in the state's near-capacity prison system is one of the major factors driving criminal-justice policy. The recent drug-treatment bill -- which was recommended by the Sentencing Commission -- was in large part an effort to manage the size and cost of the prison population.

"Until we build a new prison in this state, I think you're always going to be looking at nonviolent offenses to tweak to free up bed space," he said.



--------------------
"Why is marijuana against the law? It grows naturally upon our planet. Doesn't the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit . . . unnatural?"
- Bill Hicks


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
OfflinemotamanM
old hand
 User Gallery
Registered: 12/18/02
Posts: 6,021
Last seen: 12 days, 11 hours
Re: Mushrooms vs. Murder ; an article from my local paper [Re: dawn of a new day]
    #2146314 - 11/30/03 12:07 PM (13 years, 8 days ago)



--------------------
http://heffter.org


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
Offlinecybrbeast
Up, then down, then...
Male User Gallery

Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 01/06/03
Posts: 4,777
Loc: event horizon
Last seen: 6 months, 14 days
Re: Mushrooms vs. Murder ; an article from my local paper [Re: motaman]
    #2146456 - 11/30/03 01:30 PM (13 years, 8 days ago)

It never ceases to amaze me, how fucked up the DEMOCRACY America can be.


--------------------
futuretribe.space


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
InvisibleHarveyWalbanger
Demiurge
Male

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 3,070
Loc: 8b
Re: Mushrooms vs. Murder ; an article from my local paper [Re: dawn of a new day]
    #2146487 - 11/30/03 01:42 PM (13 years, 8 days ago)

Wow, an article on our side


--------------------


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
Invisibleluvdemshrooms
Two inch dick..but it spins!?


Registered: 11/29/01
Posts: 33,723
Loc: Lost In Space
Re: Mushrooms vs. Murder ; an article from my local paper [Re: cybrbeast]
    #2146570 - 11/30/03 02:19 PM (13 years, 8 days ago)

Quote:

cybrbeast said:
It never ceases to amaze me, how fucked up the DEMOCRACY America can be.



Anerica is not a democracy. It is a constitutionally limited republic.
(still a fucked up story though)


--------------------
You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
Anonymous

Re: Mushrooms vs. Murder ; an article from my local paper [Re: cybrbeast]
    #2147594 - 11/30/03 08:41 PM (13 years, 7 days ago)

It never ceases to amaze me, how fucked up the DEMOCRACY America can be.

we're far more of a democracy than was ever intended, and that's a major reason why we've got these sorts of policies. thank the masses.


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
OfflineDailyPot
Trip'n Time

Registered: 11/17/02
Posts: 2,207
Loc: Florida
Last seen: 10 years, 9 months
Re: Mushrooms vs. Murder ; an article from my local paper [Re: ]
    #2150356 - 12/01/03 08:42 PM (13 years, 6 days ago)

It is something that should be looked into. You compare drugs to other crimes and it just doesn't add up. Either they're going too hard on drugs or too easy on every other crime.


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
Anonymous

Re: Mushrooms vs. Murder ; an article from my local paper [Re: DailyPot]
    #2150600 - 12/01/03 10:20 PM (13 years, 6 days ago)

Either they're going too hard on drugs or too easy on every other crime.

it's both.


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
Invisiblechodamunky
Cheers!

Registered: 02/28/02
Posts: 2,030
Loc: sailing the seas of chees...
Re: Mushrooms vs. Murder ; an article from my local paper [Re: ]
    #2152534 - 12/02/03 07:05 PM (13 years, 5 days ago)

Can't the laws against psilocybin mushrooms could be taken to court (by someone with enough money), where the government would have to prove that they are a dangerous substance and deserve to be scheduled? I'm aware they were made illegal back in the 60's because of the whole LSD craze, they managed to slip them under the same rug as acid without actually explaining why they are 'dangerous'.


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
Anonymous

Re: Mushrooms vs. Murder ; an article from my local paper [Re: chodamunky]
    #2154762 - 12/03/03 01:12 PM (13 years, 5 days ago)

all the courts do is interpret and uphold the laws. they do not create them.

the law doesn't say that illegal drugs must be dangerous or that it's only illegal to have dangerous drugs, or anything like that.

the laws explicitly prohibit psilocybin. you'd have to talk to the legislature, not the judiciary.


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
OfflineDailyPot
Trip'n Time

Registered: 11/17/02
Posts: 2,207
Loc: Florida
Last seen: 10 years, 9 months
Re: Mushrooms vs. Murder ; an article from my local paper [Re: chodamunky]
    #2156271 - 12/03/03 08:31 PM (13 years, 4 days ago)

Quote:

chodamunky said:
Can't the laws against psilocybin mushrooms could be taken to court (by someone with enough money), where the government would have to prove that they are a dangerous substance and deserve to be scheduled? I'm aware they were made illegal back in the 60's because of the whole LSD craze, they managed to slip them under the same rug as acid without actually explaining why they are 'dangerous'. 



Laws dont have to be made for good reasons.

The court would only do something about drug laws if they were unconstitutional, which in my opinion they are but w/e. My guess anyways is that a case like that has already been to the supreme court and they ruled it was fine...so it'll be awhile before they do it again.

Pretty much the way laws in these cases work is people say they want drugs stopped, so whoever wants to get elected says they'll do just that, then people like you which means you keep a job. Until there are enough people saying they want them legal it will only hurt you to say you want to change it, or probably to even try. It has become pretty popular to say that you will be even hard on drugs and put more people in jail :confused: 


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
Jump to top. Pages: 1

Amazon Shop for: ½ Pint Jars

Feedback and Administration >> Shroomery News Service

Similar ThreadsPosterViewsRepliesLast post
* Mushrooms, marijuana lead to local's arrest Bridgeburner 2,449 15 03/25/08 02:18 AM
by deadatdusk
* Police: UF student grew mushrooms motamanM 2,033 12 12/07/09 08:12 PM
by DragonChaser
* 27th Telluride Mushroom Festival [CO] veggie 1,364 2 08/23/07 12:38 PM
by SunshineDaydream
* Poisonous mushrooms kill four in Lianzhou motamanM 738 0 09/16/05 10:02 AM
by motaman
* 28th Telluride Mushroom Festival [CO] veggie 2,729 0 08/06/08 02:15 AM
by veggie
* Is the (mushroom) trip over? veggie 3,993 9 10/06/08 12:56 AM
by travelleler
* On a mushroom mission veggie 1,374 3 08/30/07 02:55 AM
by georgeM
* Ten die after eating wild mushrooms in Nepal veggie 1,269 3 08/02/05 02:11 PM
by veggie

Extra information
You cannot start new topics / You cannot reply to topics
HTML is disabled / BBCode is enabled
Moderator: motaman, karode13, Alan Rockefeller, naum, Mostly_Harmless
1,905 topic views. 1 members, 5 guests and 3 web crawlers are browsing this forum.
[ Toggle Favorite | Print Topic | Stats ]
Search this thread:
Mushrooms.com
Please support our sponsors.

Copyright 1997-2016 Mind Media. Some rights reserved.

Generated in 0.078 seconds spending 0.004 seconds on 14 queries.