Jul 8, 2014

If you get caught with small amounts of marijuana better be in Brooklyn

Newly elected Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson has stated going forward prosecutions of low-level marijuana possession will cease due to giving more resources and higher priority of prosecuting other crimes. NYPD police commissioner Bill Bradley has stated that would not affect NYPD policy of arresting individuals with less than an ounce of marijuana in Brooklyn; basically the NYPD is fully aware that they will be wasting beat cops time and therefore tax-payer money to harass Brooklynites all for the cause of keeping up the appearances in the futile "War on Drugs."

For those that think this policy change is going to turn Brooklyn into The Wire's Hampsterdam, fret not, since leniency will only be granted to those without a criminal record and no violent charges that coincided with the arrest. What was the impetus for this policy change? Last year over two thirds of the marijuana possession arrests were dismissed by the judge (at least those that met the criteria DA Thompson has set as policy going forward). If a vast majority of those arrests weren't ever going to get convictions, why put forward the limited resources of the DA office to prosecute victim-less crimes? I believe we are going to be on the verge for some prosecutor seeking out jury nullification for low level marijuana possession charges akin to what actually occurred during the Prohibition Era. What will the ever increasing militarized police do when fewer and fewer of their arrests get prosecuted or when the prosecutor seeks out jury nullifications?

The question you may have is that if carrying 1-2 ounces of marijuana is the law, then why does the local prosecutor get the ability to not enforce the law? It is because since the late 1970's it is legal in New York State to carry up to 2 ounces of marijuana as long as it not openly carried. So the police seeking to meet their quotas or arrest goals (stop & frisk is intrinsically tied to these bunk arrests) beat cops routinely demand their suspicionless stop & frisk victims to turn out their pockets which if they are in possession of a joint to comply with the cop's demand they have to break the law, which is the reason that it is NYPD policy not to reach into the pockets since that would not incriminate the targeted individuals.