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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Poor babies

See if you can follow the reasoning on this one. A proposal in the General Assembly to create drug-free zones, by making it a Class A felony to sell illegal drugs within 1,000 feet of a church, would be unfair to city-dwelling users of illegal drugs. When added to current drug-free-zone laws -- protecting such places as schools, parks and housing developments, this would create such overlapping zones that someone could be guilty of a Class A felony just for possessing illegal drugs in a private residence. In rural areas, such laws work because there is a lot of distance between such places. And, of course:

"Because inner cities are disproportionately inhabited by blacks and Hispanics, the bill would also have much greater effect on racial minorities." They note, "Contrary to popular belief, white Americans have the same rate of illicit drug use as black and Hispanic Americans."

These were college freshmen coming up with this line of reasoning, so perhaps they can be forgiven. But it's a little scary that this might be what is being taught in colleges these days.


Mon, 02/12/2007 - 10:22am

I think the law, as introduced, is a bad idea because it's disproportionate to the crime. (I seem to recall that the bill was amended and, instead of making the offense a Class A felony when committed near a church, left it as a Class B felony but allowed the court to consider the proximity to a church as an aggravator.)

As a Class A felony, the General Assembly would be making a determination that selling drugs to a willing adult purchaser near a church is more serious than rape or voluntary manslaughter.