Prejudicial or Statute?
The law is often confusing, even for an experienced professional. In my years as a prosecutor, it was my job to present a case that was prejudiced by definition, ie: The goal of the prosecuting attorney in any case is to prove the guilt of the defendant.
That does not mean we bend the law to our liking, or interpret it based on our personal beliefs. We view it in the context in which it is written, and proceed according to the available and verifiable facts. Our ‘prejudice’ is limited to presenting the truth as the State sees it, based upon the facts, and is something we researched to determine how ‘solid’ a case might be. Reckless prosecutions do absolutely no good for the legal system and most especially, for the community as a whole.
When we find inconsistencies in the laws, we do not have a right to simply disregard the law, we must work to change the law. We must work within the system.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey is being attacked right now from activists as being ‘against’ legalization, even though he is absolutely right when he says state law trumps a city ordinance. Despite the Commissioner’s stance, the city council stands by it’s ordinance. It’s clear the State must step in. The largest city government within that state– the Philadelphia city council– is directly challenging a state law.
This is why the continuing fight for Marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania is so critical.
It’s a mess.
Are we really prepared to leave this decision up to just anyone who wishes to interpret the law as they see fit?
And this is not, in fact, an indictment of the Commissioner. He has solid legal ground for his position. What his personal stance on legalization is, has not been clear. No matter, though.
Until this is resolved through a comprehensive, intelligently regulated state law, these problems will continue to muddy the waters, and leave cancer patients and sick children unable to get the treatment their Doctors have approved, and will continue to make criminals out of otherwise law abiding, productive citizens.
Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey may go down in history as the man who made legalization in Pennsylvania happen.
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