Everyone is aware of the opioid crisis and significant increase in overdose deaths in the United States. The Pennsylvania legislature has tried to encourage people to call for medical assistance for people that were suffering from an overdose by passing a law that was supposed to protect both the caller and the person suffering from an overdose from most prosecutions. Clearly, the spirit of the law was to place a greater emphasis on the protection of human life over the prosecution for a violation of the law. Everyone understands that breaking the law is illegal, but the law was intended to show that the value of human life trumps prosecution of a non-violent drug possession offense.
Massachusetts recently repealed a law that had been on the books for almost 30 years which imposed a license suspension for drug possession crimes even though the offenses had nothing to do with driving or a vehicle. According to a Boston Herald article, the legislation was actually supported by law enforcement and passed unanimously by both the House and Senate before being signed by the governor.
Harrisburg could be the third city to pass laws that would reduce the severity and penalties associated with marijuana possession in Pennsylvania. Currently, a person that possesses up to thirty grams of marijuana for personal use in Pennsylvania is charged with an ungraded misdemeanor offense under 35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(31), and that charge is punishable by up to thirty days in jail, a $500.00 fine, and a suspension of Pennsylvania Driving Privileges. The current law in Pennsylvania does not allow for the expungement of a misdemeanor charge, so a conviction of marijuana possession would remain on a person's criminal record and thereby could impair the person's ability to obtain employment.
Another Pennsylvania county has recognized that rehabilitative and therapeutic courts are a great way to treat addiction and thereby reduce recidivism. While drug addiction has always been a problem, the type of people who are becoming addicted is changing. Addiction has often been viewed as primarily affecting the lower class of citizens, but more and more middle and upper class people are becoming hooked on painkillers like OxyContin and Percocet after being prescribed the medications following a surgery or injury. After the doctor refuses to renew the prescription, the person either purchases the narcotics illegally or switches to other drugs like heroin. Other people are unable to afford the drugs, so they may resort to burglarizing homes and stealing prescription medications, or they may steal money or other items to sell to get money to buy the drugs. Aside from drug possession and drug delivery charges, many drug addicts face charges such as burglary, theft, and receiving stolen property. The victims in many theft cases are family and friends of the drug addict who simply want their friend or family member to get help.
I thought that I had heard of almost everything, but a state correctional inmate receiving a marijuana delivery while working on a road crew was a new one. A Florida inmate was working with other inmates when a black Dodge Charger drove by and something was tossed out the window. The inmate picked up the bag, but after seeing police officers approach, the man threw the baggie. In another odd twist, when the man tossed the baggie, it hit a deputy standing nearby. The substance in the baggie was later tested and found to be marijuana.
What is a successful coach? How about 12 team national championships, 28 individual NCAA titles, 10 Olympians, and 188 All-Americans over a span of 31 years! That is winning a national title almost every other year. Who was this coach? The former leader of the men's fencing team at Penn State. That is a record that any coach would be proud of. So what caused Penn State to fire this gem of a coach?