John Tucker with Indy Week writes that one 34-year-old man got eight months behind bars for four grams of weed, enough for roughly 10 joints and perhaps 15 days in jail.
What happened? It was all about timing and unfortunate circumstances (though you could argue the same thing in many cases where the government has charged you with something). After a DWI arrest, law enforcement brought the man to lock-up, and in lock-up, officers found marijuana on him.
This led to a felony enhancement and is what makes this case different. He was charged with “possession of a controlled substance in a local confinement facility” – all because he happened to have had marijuana on him when he was arrested and brought to lock-up.
The case has now made its way to the North Carolina Supreme Court, where the man’s defense lawyer argued: “There was no evidence of an act of free will. We’re talking about a moral question.” In other words, for something that ordinarily would be a misdemeanor (four grams of marijuana, according to Tucker’s story) instead became a much worse crime.
Was the man guilty of a crime for knowingly possessing marijuana and failing to disclose its existence before he arrived to jail? Or was he simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, a victim of bad circumstances, and unable to make a choice as to whether to “possess a controlled substance in a local confinement facility”?
We’ll wait for the Court’s ruling.