Wednesday, August 31, 2011

US Attorney for Arizona Resigns



http://www.azcentral.com/12news/news/articles/2011/08/30/20110830us-attorney-arizona-burke-resigns30-ON.html 

A great law professor of mine once said, “If they get you asking the wrong question, it doesn’t matter what the answer is.”  The wrong question here is, “How should the federal government best observe, track and control the flow of guns?”  The right question is, “What types of things can be done to reduce the violence in our society?”  Guns do not kill or harm people.  Bad people sometimes use guns to injury or kill people.  Focusing on what causes people to hurt and kill others is what we should be focused on. 


The idiotic drug war is probably the single biggest cause of violence in our society.  The prohibition on certain drugs, just like the similarly failed prohibition on alcohol, creates a black market of trade which relies on violence to enforce contracts and to protect or transport goods.  Say what you want about all the bad things that result from the ingestion of alcohol, at least the Miller guy and the Budweiser guy don’t shoot it up in the streets when they disagree.  Peace emanates from a respect for others which includes tolerating the notion that adults are in charge of themselves and have a right to put into their bodies whatever they want without anybody’s permission or approval.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

County Attorney Does Not Want Debate Recorded!

 
 
Tuesday, August 30, 2011 County Attorney Does Not Want Debate Recorded!
 
An email was sent to both County Attorney Bill Montgomery and Attorney Marc Victor asking that the debate be recorded. Marc Victor welcomed the idea of recording the debate, but County Attorney Bill Montgomery does not want the debate recorded. If he is so sure of his position, why would he not want his words recorded? His "excuse" is in the email below:
 
Subject: Marijuana Debate
 
 
I have had a request that the debate be recorded in order to be posted
on the internet for those not able to attend the debate during the day.
I was not sure how you both felt about that.  Let me know what you
think.  Thank you both again for your willingness to come and debate at
our school.  It is looking like we should have a pretty good turnout.
 
 
 
From: "Marc Victor" <marc@attorneyforfreedom.com>
Subject: RE: Marijuana Debate
 
Fine with me.
 
 
 
Subject: RE: Marijuana Debate
 
Mr. Montgomery has requested that the debate not be recorded to ensure that his views on this subject are not used in any way regarding pending litigation the county is involved with.  Thank you
 
 

Mike Wasdin
Law Firm Marketing Manager
Law Office of Marc J. Victor, P.C.
3920 S. Alma School Rd. Ste. 5, Chandler, AZ 85248
Direct: 480-455-5206 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              480-455-5206      end_of_the_skype_highlighting Fax: 480-857-0150

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Arizona State University 420 Event

Self Defense

Fourth Amendment Rights

How To Survive a Traffic Stop

Committed To Excellence

Commiteed to Excellence 2

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Media is ignoring Ron Paul




It appears the mainstream media has decided that Dr. Ron Paul, for whatever reason, should not be the next president of the United States.  However, in an age of widespread internet access, it really shouldn’t matter what the mainstream media decides to cover.  In the final analysis, American voters will get what they deserve.  Dr. Paul was a legitimate candidate in the last presidential election.  He was similarly ignored and belittled by the mainstream media.  That notwithstanding, any interested person with internet access could have easily learned everything there was to know about candidate Ron Paul.  Instead of opting for the one candidate who was interested in derailing the out of control gravy train unleashed by both the Republicans and the Democrats, American voters once again opted for the clueless, slick talking, handsome, tax and spend guy.  It seems every four years they opt for the clueless, slick talking, handsome. tax and spend guy; whether it is the Republican or the Democrat.  Dr. Paul is a “throw back” to an earlier time when Americans believed they were in charge of themselves and “freedom” was more than just a buzz word.  Wouldn’t it be great if the average American returned to an earlier time when spoon feeding from the mainstream media wasn’t as effective because large groups of people actually thought for themselves? 

Marc Victor named one of Arizona's finest lawyers for 2011



Marc Victor named one of Arizona's finest lawyers for 2011

 
Criminal Defense Attorney Chandler My name is attorney Marc J. Victor. I am a Chandler criminal defense attorney, personal injury attorney, medical malpractice attorney, and accident injury attorney. I am a certified specialist in criminal law. My law firm is located in Chandler, Arizona. My Chandler law firm handles criminal law matters such as drugs sales, marijuana drug possession, marijuana drug sales, marijuana drug distribution, marijuana drug production, and all marijuana and drug related cases. Our Chandler law firm also handles criminal appeals and all criminal appellate cases, child molestation and sex offenses, robbery, burglary, theft, self defense, fraud, forgery, gun and firearm cases, gun and firearm related cases, assault, aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, criminal damage, domestic violence, aggravated DUI, all DUI cases, and all DUI related cases in Chandler. My Chandler law practice has extensive experience with Driving Under the Influence cases in Chandler Arizona. I often speak to people in Chandler regarding Driving while Intoxicated (DWI), self defense, gun, drugs, marijuana and other criminal law issues.

I have personally represented several hundred people in Chandler on DUI and DUI related criminal cases from my Chandler law office. My Chandler law firm also represents criminal law clients in Chandler and other Arizona locations in arson, rape, murder, manslaughter, assault, aggravated assault, DUI, domestic violence, marijuana, drug, money laundering, drug conspiracy, theft, self defense, homicide, kidnapping, white collar crime, perjury, custodial interference, sexual exploitation, weapons and firearms, prostitution, gambling, escort, and all drug cases. My Chandler law firm also represents criminal law clients in trial level and criminal appellate and criminal appeal level criminal cases from our Chandler law firm in both state and federal criminal court. I have extensive experience in criminal law matters in federal court including white collar and mortgage fraud and all marijuana and drug related felony crimes.

In addition to criminal defense matters in Chandler and other locations, my Chandler law firm represents clients in personal injury matters such as automobile accidents, tractor trailer accidents, motorcycle accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice cases, serious injury personal injury cases and all accident and personal injury and accident cases in Chandler. We accept personal injury and accident cases where clients have suffered a personal injury or accident injury resulting in death or serious injuries. Many of these cases are car accident or motorcycle accident personal injury cases. My Chandler law firm also accepts slip and fall cases resulting in personal injury. Marc J. Victor P.C. has also represented several personal injury and accident injury clients in our Chandler office in wrongful death personal injury cases and other serious injury cases. I am known as the Attorney For Freedom, and I also represent personal injury and accident clients in all courts in Arizona locations in addition to Chandler, Arizona. Our Chandler Law Office also accepts serious injury and serious accident personal injury cases in other states.

Several members of my Chandler law firm also ride motorcycles. We are members of several motorcycle riding clubs, as well as have our own, Attorney Freedom Riders. We understand the inherent dangers motorcycle riders experience regarding motorcycle related personal injuries within Chandler Arizona. Motorcycle accidents can result in serious injuries or death. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident and suffered a motorcycle related personal injury, feel free to call my Chandler law firm immediately for free advice offered to all motorcycle riders. Many of these motorcycle related personal injuries result in head injuries and other serious personal injuries. Head injuries and serious motorcycle related personal injuries require immediate attention from a head injury medical professional as well as personal injury attorney in Chandler. You can visit my law firm in Chandler or we will come to you for all motorcycle personal injuries and all motorcycle accident cases.

I am a former United States Marine who is committed to excellence and I demand this of all the attorneys and paralegals of my law firm. As a former Marine I learned the importance of honor, integrity and being committed to excellence. I take this same approach with my law firm, Attorney For Freedom in Chandler. Chandler is located in Maricopa County Arizona just outside of Phoenix. Chandler is named after Dr. Alexander John Chandler a veterinary surgeon from what was known at the time as the Arizona Territory. While plans for the town of Chandler were being drawn up on what was known as the Chandler Ranch at the time Dr. Chandler settled on a ranch south of Mesa.

The town of Chandler opened on May 17, 1912 and by 1913, a town center had become established, featuring the luxurious Hotel San Marcos, the first golf resort in the state. Chandler survived through most of the great depression; however the cotton crash some years later had a greater impact on the residents of Chandler. With the addition to Chandler of Williams Air Force Base in 1941 Chandler saw a small surge in population, but Chandler still only held 3,800 people by 1950. The population of Chandler grew sharply in the 1980Õs to 30,000 and with housing boom of the 1990Õs that population had grown to be an impressive 238,000 residents. Large Corporations such as Intel, Microchip and Motorola, as well as the addition of several freeways were responsible for a large portion of the growth of Chandler.

Today Chandler is an ethnically diverse community with exceptional schools, top-notch healthcare, restaurants and retail centers. In 2010, Chandler was named as an All-America City, a prestigious honor bestowed by the National Civic League. In 2012, Chandler celebrated its 100th Birthday. The community of Chandler is very important to me because I not only practice in Chandler, but I am a resident of Chandler as well. I represent the people of Chandler in Criminal defense. As a Chandler criminal defense attorney the Law Firm of Marc J. Victor is committed to providing the best in criminal defense in Chandler.

I opened my law firm in Chandler in 2004 after moving my practice to Chandler from Mesa. As a criminal defense attorney in Chandler I serve the residents of Chandler Arizona in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Civil Law. I am a certified specialist in Criminal Law. I have represented clients in more than a thousand major felony cases including first and second degree murder, sex cases, gun cases, major drug cases, complex white collar cases, federal appeals, and other complex state and federal matters in Chandler and throughout Arizona, as well as nationally.

Criminal defense attorneys are not all alike, it is important that you select an attorney that will fight for you should you find yourself in need of a Criminal Defense Attorney in Chandler. I am a Chandler Criminal Defense Attorney who will fight for your rights. If you are looking for an experienced attorney in Chandler Arizona or anywhere in Arizona, please visit our website and read about our commitment to excellence in Criminal Defense.

Marc Victor Named one of the World's Most Prominent Libertarian Thinkers



Marc Victor Named one of the World's Most Prominent Libertarian Thinkers

Marc J. Victor has been named one of the World's Most Prominent Libertarian Thinkers in Professor Walter Block's new book.
I Choose Liberty: by Professor Walter Block

Former Marine Now On Duty as Attorney


Marc Victor, Former Marine Is Now On Duty as an Attorney

Gov. Brewer being sued for day of prayer call



Lawyer: Federal, state constitutional provisions violated:

http://www.azcentral.com/video/8369955290 01

Arizona day of prayer in jeopardy



PHOENIX - A lawsuit says Arizona has no business in prayer but Governor Jan Brewer says, “This lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt to drive religious expression from the public square. I will fight it vigorously."

The people behind a lawsuit filed in court on Tuesday claims Gov. Brewer violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution when she declared May 6 the Arizona Day of Prayer.

"I'm not looking to keep anybody from exercising their religion. They can believe in whatever they want. That's fine. Just don't get the state involved and don't push it on me," Mike Wasdin said.  He is one of the four plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit with the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

Wasdin says, "I'm a freedom-minded person. This is more about freedom than religion with me. I don't like the government telling people, like myself, what to do."

3TV spoke to the governor in downtown Phoenix at the faith-based Cityfest event. She told the crowd, "What a beautiful day the Lord has made. This is what Arizona is all about."

She tells 3TV she will see them in court. "Well, I think it’s a little bit of a frivolous lawsuit. Of course, the majority of Americans, the majority of Arizonans all support... it's been a sort of tradition in America, if you will."

3TV received a mixed reaction from Arizona residents.

Christina Cousins points out that nobody would be forced to pray, "If you don't want to pray, fine. It's like today, St. Patty's Day. If you don't want to celebrate St. Patty's Day, then don't. If you don't want to pray on the day of prayer, then don't."

Elita Irving is all for prayer but feels this the holiday would breach separation of church and state. "I wouldn't say I am strongly against it, just because the intentions are so good but, on a principal and ideological level, I don't think it's good."

The Freedom from Religion Foundation was successful on a federal level challenging the National Day of Prayer. A U.S. District Judge ruled it unconstitutional.

Wasdin feels they have a strong case, "The same people that are upset that we have filed this lawsuit…how would they feel if we decided to enact a day of non-belief, of non-prayer? Would those same people join us and support us? I don't think so."

That federal case is being appealed.

According to the Freedom from Religion Foundation, 17 percent of Arizona residents consider themselves non-religious.

http://www.azfa mily.com/news/Arizona-Day-of-Prayer-in-Jeopardy-118218739.html

Atheist group sues governor over prayer day



Gov. Jan Brewer is being sued for issuing proclamations in support of an Arizona Day of Prayer.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court, alleges that Brewer's actions were unconstitutional because they violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits Congress from establishing a state religion. The lawsuit seeks an injunction preventing the governor from issuing similar proclamations in the future.

"This is not about money. This is about trying to get the right thing done," said Marc Victor, a Chandler attorney who brought the suit on behalf of three Maricopa County residents and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based group of atheists and agnostics.

Victor said his clients believe it is "completely inappropriate for the governor to be declaring days of prayer" in her official capacity as the state's chief executive. But he added, "We are just as much in favor of people exercising their right to pray as we are equally in favor of keeping government out of everyone else's business."Brewer has declared an Arizona Day of Prayer twice since assuming the governor's seat two years ago. Both instances coincided with the National Day of Prayer, which is also facing a legal challenge from the same organization. In addition, Brewer proclaimed a day of prayer for the budget on Jan. 17, 2010, according to the lawsuit.

Matthew Benson, Brewer's spokesman, said Wednesday that her office had not yet seen the suit, but would vigorously defend it.

"Public calls to prayer are an honored American tradition dating back to George Washington," Benson said, adding that the call to prayer for the budget was appropriate. "Absolutely, I think in these days of fiscal crisis, there is nothing wrong with Arizonans, if they choose, praying for the wisdom to solve the problems facing the state."

Congress established the National Day of Prayer in1952 and in 1988 set the first Thursday in May as the day for presidents to issue prayer-related proclamations.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit against the federal government in late 2008, saying the day violated the separation of church and state.

Last spring, a federal district judge in Wisconsin handed the group a court victory when she ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional. The case is currently being appealed, and prayer related events are still being held as the case works its way through the courts.

Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative non-profit advocacy group, called the lawsuit against Brewer "frivolous," and said days of prayer are a part of the nation's history.

"Our founding fathers opened their meetings with prayer - there is a long-standing tradition of religious invocation (in this country), and this is a day that goes to our nation's foundation and heritage," said Herrod, who added that her group would closely monitor the lawsuit against Brewer.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation also has a case pending against former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter over his decision to proclaim a day of prayer in that state in 2008. A judge has dismissed the organization's arguments, but the group is appealing, said Annie Laurie Gaylor, the organization's co-president.


Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/03/16/20110316arizona-atheist-group-su es-brewer.html#ixzz1UqaRbmrO
 

Victim's husband files civil suit against suspected Baseline Killer



http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/News/085434-2011-03-10-victims-husban d-files-civil-suit-against-suspected-baseline-killer.htm

PHOENIX - Alvin Hogue says he vividly remembers the day he found out his wife had been murdered.
"I was driving a cement mixing truck and I heard something on the radio about a crime situation then a few minutes later I got a message in my truck computer to call home," said Hogue.
That was five years ago.

"I lost my wife on February 20, 2006, she was murdered on 91st Avenue and Lower Buckeye while working in her lunch catering truck," said Hogue while sitting in his attorney's Chandler office.
His wife, Romelia Vargas and another woman were killed in the early morning hours.
Phoenix police detectives linked the double murder to the series of crimes tied to the 'Baseline Killer'.
Mark Goudeau has been charged in the so-called 'Baseline Killer' crimes and faces more than 70 charges.
The trial against Goudeau is expected to begin April 6 and last one year.

"I'm very interested in Mark Goudeau, I'm just blown away that this person could very well be responsible for killing my wife," said Hogue.  "I want Mark Goudeau to get a fair trial and I'm going to go to court as much as I can."

But Hogue and his attorney Marc Victor will be watching the trial closely because they're also suing Goudeau.

"Obviously we're very interested in what happens in court, at trial," said Victor.
As previously reported, Victor and Hogue have filed a civil suit against the City of Phoenix claiming the city could have done more to prevent the crimes tied to the 'Baseline Killer'.  That suit involves the city's crime lab and how DNA was used during the investigation.

The civil suit against Goudeau, according to Victor, will likely be lumped together with a suit against the city.
"We have other victims of these crimes involved with us as well," said Victor.
Hogue admits he's not sure what to expect out of the suit against Goudeau especially because his trial hasn't even started.

"I don't know that he has any resources where I could go after him financially," said Hogue.
Even if Goudeau is acquitted, Victor says it's likely he'll continue to pursue the civil case against Goudeau.
"If that happens, then it's similar to the OJ Simpson case, he was acquitted of murder but found liable in a civil case," said Victor.

At the time Romelia Vargas was murdered, she and Hogue had been married a little more than 3 years with 4-month old twin boys.

Baseline Murders



Marc Victor Appears on KFYI With Jim Sharp to Discuss the Baseline Killer Case

http://www.attorneyforfreedo m.com/index.cfm/g/chandler-personal-injury-dui-lawyer-news/f/marc-victor-appears-on-kfyi-to-discuss- baseline-killer-evidence.htm

Lawsuit against city alleges 'Baseline Killer' could have been stopped



Lawsuit against city alleges 'Baseline Killer' could have been stopped:

http://www.attorneyforfreedom.com/ index.cfm/g/chandler-personal-injury-dui-lawyer-news/f/family-of-woman-killed-by-baseline-killer-sue s-police-tv3.htm

Family Of Woman Killed By Baseline Killer Sues Police



Family Of Woman Killed By Baseline Killer Sues Police:

http://www.attorneyforfreedom.com/inde x.cfm/g/chandler-personal-injury-dui-lawyer-news/f/family-of-woman-killed-by-baseline-killer-sues-po lice.htm

Attorney Tells Students How to Deal With Police



http://www.attorneyforfreedom.com/index.cfm/g/chandl er-personal-injury-dui-lawyer-news/f/attorney-tells-students-how-to-deal-with-police.htm

When it comes to rights, Marc Victor has the answers. The defense attorney spoke to students Tuesday evening on the Tempe campus, informing them of their rights when dealing with police officers.
The event, a collaboration between ASU Students for Liberty and the ASU chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, took place in the Education Lecture Hall.
Victor said that police officers can take advantage of people’s lack of knowledge of the law. Being aware of your basic rights can be the difference between a conviction and an acquittal, he said.
“It’s always good to be educated, so you know what your rights are,” Victor said.
Philosophy sophomore Joshua Horn, director of Students for Liberty, said students have a habit of getting arrested frequently.

“Students — young people in general — have a way of performing activities that can be considered ‘high risk’ from a legal standpoint,” Horn said.
He said it is important for young people to know their constitutional rights and what they do and do not have to surrender to the police in certain situations.
Finance senior Alex Falkenstein, west coast director of Students for Liberty, said many students are testing their boundaries with their first tastes of freedom.
“Students, especially college age, they’re embracing adult responsibilities for the first time,” Falkenstein said. “They need to be respected just like any other kind of adult when dealing with the police.”
Victor said people should know that they are not required to talk to the police, nor are they required to consent to a search.

“The officer is always going to ask. They want to search everything, all the time,” Victor told the students. “It’s never going to happen where they say ‘Can I search?’ and you say ‘Yeah, you can search,’ then he goes ‘Well, he doesn’t have anything to hide, I’m not going to search.’ It doesn’t happen.”
Victor said he could be accurately described as a radical, pro-freedom Libertarian “with a small ‘L,’” and has defended clients in criminal cases since 1994.

“I very strongly believe that people are self-owning,” Victor said. “Everything I believe sort of politically or philosophically would line up with that.”

Victor wrote an article titled “Legalize Methamphetamine!” which he admitted was intended to shock people, but argues the case for many illegal drugs.

“I very strongly support the rights of other people to use, or abuse, their own body in anyway they see fit,” Victor said.

Legalization of Marijuana Debate Continues



Legalization of Marijuana Debate Continues:

http://www.attorneyforfreedom.com/index.cfm/g/chandler-personal -injury-dui-lawyer-news/f/legalization-of-pot-debate-continues.htm

Attorney: Medical marijuana patients being arrested




The citizens of Arizona have spoken.  Medical marijuana is now legal pursuant to state law so long as the patient complies with the requirements and obtains the required card.  Those people who don’t like the change in the law because they desire to control what other adults put in their bodies will have to get over their desire to run the lives of others.  Although federal law enforcement officers may enforce federal law notwithstanding the changes in state law, all state law enforcement officers are obligated to follow state law.  It is likely that better training is needed for some in law enforcement to educate them about the new law.  State, county or city law enforcement officers who knowingly ignore state law and arrest citizens who legally possess marijuana pursuant to state law should be immediately terminated and sued in court.  My law firm has also been contacted by people who have been illegally arrested for possessing marijuana, and we are instituting law suits as well as defending them in the criminal courts.  We stand eager and ready to defend the rights of people to legally possess marijuana pursuant to state law.  This is a freedom issue.  I sincerely hope this law is extended to completely legalize marijuana for all adults for all purposes.  Additionally, federal law also needs to be changed so we can once again have a legitimate claim to refer to our country as the, “Land of the Free.”

Chandler police arrest 3 in pot bust involving almost $100,000



http://www.azcentral.com/community/chandler/articles/2011/08/04/20110804chandler-p ot-sting-3-arrests-abrk.html 

This is yet another sad chapter in the ever increasingly popular “reverse sting” marijuana operations conducted by Chandler police.  Besides being a horrendous waste of resources which could be used to help apprehend people who commit crimes against other people, these operations are extremely dangerous for everyone including the participating police officers.  Just last year, a Chandler police officer was killed during one of these operations.  Unfortunately, there has never been a shortage of criminals who commit dangerous crimes against other people.  The citizens of Arizona would be better served if all law enforcement and prosecutorial funds were expended to apprehend people who hurt others instead of the failed and misguided effort to try and save people from themselves by stopping the marijuana trade.  In a free country, adults should be free to smoke marijuana or ingest any other substance into their bodies so long as they do not harm others or trespass on the rights of others.  The drug war is inconsistent with freedom, un-American, dangerous, a complete failure and a huge waste of resources.  It needs to end.

Dad appalled by son's death at hands of police




These can be difficult cases.  The initial reaction to a story like this one is outrage.  However, as always, there are at least two sides to every story.  It may be true that this story involves overly aggressive police officers who should be removed from their jobs.  However, there also may be a justification for the violence used by the police.  We don’t have all the facts.  This is exactly why we strive to have orderly court proceedings with clear rules of evidence and unbiased fact finders.  I always urge people to avoid broad brushing police officers as well as all other groups.  There are many good police officers and many bad police officers.  As the facts are revealed, we will get to learn the truth about what happened and judge it accordingly.  The public has a right to know exactly what happened and to call for changes if necessary.

 

Pinal County deputies find $100,000 of marijuana in car




Isn’t it sad that SWAT team members and a K9 unit are diverted from possibly being used to apprehend people who commit real crimes to chase down some guy transporting a relatively harmless plant?  At a time when federal politicians celebrate their last minute deal to further bury the next several future generations with more debt, precious funds are wasted trying to eradicate a highly valued naturally growing plant from the planet Earth.  I wonder who would have been victimized had that marijuana been allowed to reach the end users who were willing to pay to receive it.  To really be the “land of the free” people need to respect the rights of others to control their own bodies; even if that means tolerating the millions of adults who choose to peacefully ingest marijuana as humans have for thousands of years. 

Marc Victor Speaks to ASU Students at the 420 Rally



Attorney Marc J. Victor of the law firm Attorney For Freedom speaks about the failed war on drugs and why it needs to end:

http://www.attorneyforfreedom.com/index. cfm/g/videos-featuring-marc-victor-attorney-at-law/f/marc-victor-asu-420-legalize-marijuana-drug-war .htm

Marc J. Victor Speaks to a group of U.S. Marines



Attorney and former U.S. Marine Marc J. Victor Speaks to a group of U.S. Marines:

http://www.attorneyforfreedom.com/index.cfm/g/ videos-featuring-marc-victor-attorney-at-law/f/az-attorney-marc-victor-speaks-to-marines.htm

Legalize Methamphetamine!



I'm the last guy who ought to argue for the legalization of meth 1. As a practicing criminal defense attorney, I make a good income from defending people who are charged with drug crimes. If the drug war ended, I would lose a substantial portion of my income. Additionally, some would call me a health nut. I go to the gym six times a week and eat organic foods as often as possible. I wouldn't change my healthy lifestyle if drugs were legal. I have three little kids. I don't want them ever to become drug addicts. I want them to grow up in a safe world. Indeed, that's exactly why I want the drug war to end.

When I was in law school, a wise law professor of mine taught me that if you are asking the wrong question, the answer doesn't matter. In regards to meth, the question is not whether meth is dangerous and unhealthy. Over the years, I have represented countless meth users. I have seen the consequences of meth use up close. I am convinced meth use will likely ruin the user's life. It is an extraordinarily dangerous addictive drug. Few drugs are more addictive or dangerous than meth 2. Many of those who oppose legalization of meth identify the horrors of meth use. I entirely agree with their assessment of meth's dangers. Asking whether meth is dangerous or unhealthy or addictive is not the right question.

The relevant question is whether our society would be better served if meth was manufactured, distributed, bought and sold legally. The answer is yes. There are two related but separate reasons why ending the drug war is critical. First, a free society requires that the drug war end. I refer to this argument as the freedom argument. Second, the consequences of ending the drug war would yield economic and other benefits which would greatly benefit our society. I refer to this argument as the consequentialist argument.

Most readers will not be persuaded by the freedom argument. This fact is disturbing to me. In fact, many of the issues which plague our world will persist unless and until people come to respect the principles embodied in terms such as individual responsibility, self ownership and freedom. These concepts are what our country was founded upon and the very reason why America prospered. Now, they are given mere lip service if they are considered at all. If you shrug your shoulders and brush off the freedom argument, you should be ashamed of yourself. Whether you realize it or not, you are the problem.

The Freedom Argument

I'm a good dad. I don't want my kids using meth. Indeed, I will force my opinion about not using meth upon my kids. I will prevent them from using meth by force if necessary 3. As a dad, I have other policies as well. For example, my kids are not allowed to ride their motorized quads without helmets or to ride in the car without seatbelts. They are not allowed to smoke cigarettes or skydive either. However, at some point, my kids will be responsible to decide for themselves what activities are too dangerous for them. Both assessing the dangerousness of an activity and determining how much danger is acceptable will become the exclusive domain of each of my kids as it pertains to them. Resolving these questions for one's self is an important task and responsibility of any free person.

The question of who gets to make decisions about the disposition of certain property is central to understanding freedom. Who gets to decide what activities are too dangerous for you? Should I get to decide what activities are too dangerous for you? What about your neighbor? Or the majority? Or the president? Or congress? Or some judge? In a free society, the owner of the property gets to decide how the property is used 4. Because you own your body, I assert that you should decide how your body is used or abused 5.

In terms of the freedom argument, the question of legalization of meth poses exactly the same question as many other issues currently confounding our fellow citizens. The following non-exhaustive list contains questions which are each different versions of the same question about how a particular body is used:

Should people be allowed to eat Big Macs?
Should people be allowed to consume any unhealthy foods at all?
Should people be allowed to play football despite the risk of serious injury?
Should people be allowed to skydive or rock climb?
Should people be allowed to ride in cars without seatbelts?
Should unprotected sex between consenting adult strangers be allowed?
Should consenting adults be allowed to have sex in exchange for money?
Should adults be permitted to ingest marijuana for health reasons?
Should adults be permitted to ingest marijuana for mere personal pleasure?
Should competent adults be allowed to voluntarily end their lives if they choose?

Each question begs the initial question about who gets to decide how a particular human body is used. Those of us who are pro-freedom would in each case conclude that the owner of the particular human body in question should decide how that body is used 6. The initial issue of who decides must be resolved first.
Although I would try my best to persuade others not to use meth, I concede it is not my decision. Among adults, persuasion is fine, but coercion is not. I will not force others to live by my assessments of dangers. I respect the property of other people such that I respect their right to use their property in ways I vigorously disagree with 7. I have no claim on how others use their property unless and until their activities trespass upon my property 8.

The freedom argument is much bigger than the question of whether meth should be legal. It certainly resolves the question, but it raises larger questions about the very nature of government. Any legitimate role of government is confined to protecting rights. Indeed, unless you disagree with the principles upon which this country was founded and believe government is the source of rights which may be distributed to us or taken away, you must agree that government can have no rights other than the ones we individually delegate to it. Because you have no right to be my daddy, you have no such right to delegate to government. Further, because no person individually has any such right, even the majority of people added together collectively have no such right. Therefore, when the government acts as my daddy, it acts wrongfully; even if it acts pursuant to an accurately counted democratic vote 9. Although it is perfectly fine for me to act as a daddy to my kids, the government has no right to act as a daddy for us.

Some people posit that legalized meth would send the wrong message to people about using meth. However, the government's role is not to send messages to us about what is right or wrong or good or bad. We don't need messages from government. Free people determine for themselves how to run their lives. I have a right to be a self destructive idiot if I choose. I own me.

Additionally, the “messages from government” objection overlooks an important point. The concepts of legal and illegal are far different from the concepts of right and wrong or good and bad. Because an activity is legally permissible does not obligate people to conclude such an activity is right or good 10. Merely because the law allows my kids to insult other kids doesn't prevent my wife and me from successfully teaching them not to do it. The unwillingness or inability of many people to invest the mental acuity to distinguish between these concepts has contributed to an intellectual feeblemindedness which is akin to a malignant tumor killing our society. The “messages from government” objection nourishes that tumor. We should embrace the concept that we are free to adopt personal standards of conduct which exceed the minimal threshold defined by law.

I regret devoting so few words to the freedom argument. It deserves much more. Many others have far more eloquently detailed the case for freedom. I hope to live to witness the day when the freedom argument is accorded the respect it deserves. I hope this skeletal argument stirs the interest of those who read it and encourages them to explore it more fully. The reason our society has been deteriorating in so many ways is because it has come to accord less and less respect to the freedoms of others. Winning the freedom argument is the only way to destroy the cancer that infects our world.

The Consequentialist Argument

Some people say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. They are right. The government has been recklessly ramping up the war on drugs for the past thirty five years 11. Every year we get tougher laws and tougher sentences. Approximately 1.6 million people are needlessly arrested every year for non-violent drug offenses. Many more non-violent drug users are simply charged without arrest. Some of them are students who lose their student loans and can no longer afford college. Others are people who hold professional licenses and can no longer work in their professions. Lives are being needlessly ruined.

The growth of the prison industry has mushroomed. We now have private companies in the prison business 12. This is no surprise when you consider that the United States claims 4.6% of the world's population but 22.5% of the world's prison population. The DEA has grown from 2,775 employees in 1972 to almost 11,000 employees with 86 foreign offices in 62 countries in 2005. We have well over two million people in prison. Since 1980, America's general population has increased 20%, while America's prison population has increased at twenty times that rate or an astonishing 400%. America imprisons more people as a percentage of our population than any other country in the world 13. This is a sad state of affairs for any country; especially one which refers to itself as the land of the free.

Despite the explosive expansion of government to fight the war on drugs, drug use is more prevalent today than it was before the war on drugs started. Additionally, drugs are cheaper, more potent and easier to get than they were in the early years of the drug war 14. Throwing more money at the issue has not resulted in fewer people using drugs. Even the federal government admits drug use has increased recently from 6% in 1993 to over 8% in 2003 15. Despite the frantically increasing efforts to curb the flow of drugs, high school students report drugs are still easy to obtain. Almost 90% of twelfth graders report marijuana is "very easy" or "fairly easy" to get 16. Over 47% of twelfth graders say cocaine is "very easy" or "fairly easy" to get and more than 32% say heroin is "very easy" or "fairly easy" to get. I have had clients tell me they became addicted to drugs when they were in prison. Even in a prison setting, drugs are prevalent.

Not only are drugs readily available, some of them have become more dangerous as a result of the drug war. Looking specifically at meth, the drug war has resulted inexacerbating the dangers associated with amphetamine use. While attempting to put the hysteria currently surrounding meth use in perspective, a columnist named Jack Shafer who writes for Slate aptly stated the following:

In the mid-1960s, just before the government declared war on amphetamines, the average user swallowed his pills, which were of medicinal purity and potency. Snorting and smoking stimulants was almost unheard of, and very few users injected intravenously. Today, 40 years later, snorting, smoking, and injecting  ethamphetamines of unpredictable potency and dubious purity has become the norm—with all the dreadful health consequences. If the current scene illustrates how the government is winning the war on drugs, I'd hate to see what losing looks like.

The United States now spends over fifty billion dollars every year to combat the war on drugs 17. The war on drugs has been a colossal and unparalleled failure 18. Despite my countless conversations with judges, prosecutors, police officers, DEA agents and drug dealers, it is extraordinarily rare for me to find anyone who thinks the drug war is working or will ever work under any circumstances. Indeed, despite my countless invitations, I have yet to find anyone willing to debate me publicly on the drug war. Imagine a fifty billion dollar annual program nobody seems willing to defend.

I understand why nobody wants to debate me on this issue. I believe the people who work in the justice system, and truly understand the problems associated with the drug war, know they would be debating the wrong side of the issue. I recently argued the case for meth legalization before a group of judges and prosecutors. I was disappointed during question time when, despite my provoking and challenging them, there was only one half-hearted attempt to engage me on the issues. The case for legalization is overwhelming.

I have had occasion to talk privately and confidentially with many drug dealers for well over a decade. I estimate I have represented hundreds of drug dealers. Although some have simply been users who sell to support their habit, others have been major players in big drug organizations. I have found many of them to be bright people who are well aware that an end to the drug war would immediately put an end to their businesses. They realize that they could not compete with large corporations in a legal market. Their ability to make money by manufacturing, distributing and selling drugs exists solely because of the drug war. They very much want the war on drugs to continue and even expand.

Many drug dealers understand that each large drug bust brings increased profits for them. Although a drug seizure is bad news for the particular drug dealer involved, it is wonderful news for all the other drug dealers in the market. When you see government agents celebrating a large drug seizure, imagine all the other drug dealers celebrating along with them.

The economics of drug sales are no different than any other product sold in the market. Every big drug seizure causes a temporary decrease in the supply of that drug in the relevant market. However, the drug seizure doesn't affect the demand for the drugs.

Drug users still want drugs despite some drug dealer being arrested 19. When the demand remains constant and the supply is decreased, prices go up. Imagine being a drug dealer with a big supply of drugs on hand when prices suddenly go up. It would be accurate to say that drug dealers gain the most, through increased profits, when government agents make a seizure. Increased profits also serve to entice people to embark on new careers as drug dealers. Drug dealers love the drug war and do not want it to end. If you support the drug war, you are on the side of, and act as an unpaid lobbyist for the plight of the drug dealer.

Some of the drug dealers I have met are actually very nice, non-violent people. I have represented drug dealers who do not use drugs at all. They were simply unable or unwilling to refuse an illegal opportunity to make a lot of money. However, some of the drug dealers I have met are not nice people. They sell their drugs with the help of violent street gangs. Some of these gang members intentionally market drugs to kids. Because gang members generally can not utilize the court system to settle disputes over drug sales, nor can they insure their merchandise against losses, violence and guns are necessarily involved.

Simply causing meth to be manufactured illegally is by itself a huge problem. As a result of illegal meth labs, toxic chemicals used to produce methamphetamine are often discarded in rivers, fields, and forests. The environmental damage which occurs results in ever expanding cleanup costs. The massive growth in costs to cleanup such environmental messes is also illustrative of the failure of current policy. The DEA's annual cost for cleanup of clandestine meth laboratories in the United States has increased steadily from 2 million in 1995 to 23.8 million a mere seven years later in 2002 20. A huge collection of well documented facts about the failure of the current drug policy.

I have heard the saying that those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. I suspect some criminal defense lawyer in the 1920's incurred wrath from the establishment for writing an article advocating the legalization of alcohol. I would bet the nice attorney was attacked by small thinkers who repeatedly pointed out the harmful attributes of alcohol 21.

In case you are unaware, the government decided in 1919 to amend the United States Constitution to grant power to congress to prohibit the manufacture, sale and distribution of alcohol. Their drug war played out just like ours; a complete and total disaster. However, it was the best thing that ever happened to organized crime. The manufacture, sale and distribution of alcohol 22 were conducted entirely in illegal and violent markets. Criminals prospered and criminal organizations grew. A major crime wave began in the 1920s and continually increased until the end of prohibition in 1933 when it immediately started to reverse 23. Prohibition did nothing to curb the desire of people to use alcohol. Indeed, both the per capita consumption of alcohol as well as the rate of alcoholism increased during prohibition. 24 25 Illegal clandestine stills manufactured alcohol of inconsistent and unpredictable quality. Law enforcement was overwhelmed chasing after people involved in alcohol related crimes. Does any of this seem familiar to you?

In 1933, they figured it out and repealed the eighteenth amendment 26. To be fair, we still have people with substantial alcohol abuse problems. It is a real problem. We have no shortage of alcohol related crimes. However, violent criminal street gangs do not make money from the sale of alcohol. Although few people “home brew” alcoholic beverages, people do not brew alcoholic beverages in clandestine labs. Nobody is offered large cash rewards to transport alcohol. The Budweiser guy doesn't fight the Miller guy if they both happen to arrive at the store at the same time to deliver their drug. Alcohol companies settle disputes peacefully in court. Alcoholics can seek help without the fear of criminal prosecutions. More resources can be devoted to apprehending real thugs because our justice system is not overloaded with cases of people manufacturing, distributing or selling alcohol. Isn't this obviously a better deal?
We know certain things for sure. If meth was no longer illegal:

1. All dangerous clandestine meth labs in residential neighborhoods would close;
2. All dangerous street gangs would be out of the meth business;
3. Every dime currently spent on meth prohibition could be spent on real crime 27;
4. Meth addicts would have no legal disincentive to seek help;
5. The manufacture of meth would be safe and produce a consistent product; and
6. Toxic waste from meth production would be safely disposed.

If you support maintaining the war on drugs, you must necessarily conclude that either I am wrong about the above six assertions or that the benefits of the drug war outweigh the obvious benefits contained in the six assertions. It is difficult for me to imagine one could rationally and honestly dispute any of the six assertions. They are obvious and virtually guaranteed to flow from legalization. Therefore, a drug war supporter is left with the argument that the drug war's benefits outweigh the benefits contained in the six assertions. If this is your position, I challenge you to honestly reweigh the costs and benefits of each scenario. Unless you put your finger on the scale because you personally benefit from the drug war, you must conclude legalization wins.

I do not intend to claim that the above six assertions are the only benefits of legalization. I list them together because I find them to be indisputable. There are other benefits of legalization. I suspect many people would either not experiment with or stop using meth. Recently, a teenage meth user confirmed for me that she and her friends started using meth at least in part because it was illegal. I cannot recall any friends of mine who didn't drink alcohol prior to reaching age twenty-one 28. Indeed, I consumed more alcohol prior to reaching age twenty-one than I do today or since I have been age twenty-one and one month.

In countries where the alcohol drinking age is sixteen, rates of alcohol related problems appear to be lower than in the United States where the drinking age is twentyone. The National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse reports that in 2003, 5.55% of Americans were either alcohol abusing or alcohol dependent 29. The Austrian drinking age is sixteen and 2.2% are regarded as alcohol dependent. The German drinking age is sixteen and 3.9% of Germans' alcohol use is considered harmful 30.

Even during prohibition, while rates of death from alcoholism and cirrhosis were rising in the United States, they were decreasing during the same time period in Great Britain, Denmark and Ireland where alcohol use was legal 31. I recently traveled to Amsterdam where marijuana use is legal for those over eighteen years of age. Marijuana use among minors in Amsterdam is decreasing. Indeed, the rate of marijuana use by minors is five times less than what it is in the United States 32. Even among adults, the rate of marijuana use in the United States is twice as high as in the Netherlands where use of marijuana is legal 33. Many of the locals informed me that marijuana use is simply not exciting and they virtually don't ever use it unless people from out of town are visiting. As you may expect, I had a lot of questions for proprietors of marijuana coffee shops. I personally witnessed a peaceful and safe marijuana trade in Amsterdam. Although I wouldn't want to live there for unrelated economic reasons, the Netherlands is a good example of why legalization makes sense 34.

Tobacco is a far deadlier drug than is meth. For the year 2000, tobacco is blamed for causing 435,000 deaths 35. Deaths resulting from the direct or indirect use of all illegal drugs including meth, cocaine, OxyContin, heroine and ecstasy for the same year total 17,000. id. 36 37 Despite the fact that tobacco is legal, tobacco use is declining. In 1956, 42% of adults smoked. In 1980, only 33% of Americans smoked. Additionally, in 1977, 29% of high school seniors smoked. Four years later, the number of high school seniors who smoke had fallen to 20% 38. Education about the dangers of tobacco use can be credited for the decline of tobacco use which occurred while the drug was legally available and without any of the crime and violence associated with the drug war. The recent rise in popularity of non-alcoholic beer and low nicotine cigarettes can be attributed to the same phenomenon. The same beneficial effects could be applicable to meth and other illegal drugs.

Fortunately, people are slowly waking up to the fact that this war on drugs is the entirely wrong approach. I am encouraged by a courageous group of law enforcement and former law enforcement members who have joined together to form a group entitled Law Enforcement Against Prohibition or LEAP. The over two thousand law enforcement members of LEAP state the following, “The membership of LEAP believe to save lives and lower the rates of disease, crime and addiction, as well as to conserve tax dollars, we must end drug prohibition”. The members of LEAP are willing and eager to debate their views with anyone willing to try to defend the drug war. Also, judges are finally starting to speak out.

Astute observers of the drug war might point out that the $50-$69 billion dollars currently being spent on the drug war annually could be used to more effectively address the problems associated with drug abuse. That money could go a long way to facilitate drug abuse education, treatment and prevention.
Additionally, some may argue that legalization of drugs could be administered in much the same way alcohol is currently dealt with. Certainly, people who commit real crimes should be punished whether or not they were using drugs at the time. Legalization of drugs does not mean laws must permit unsafe drug impaired drivers on the roads.

Further, employers and other private citizens would be free to prohibit any and all drug use at their workplaces or on their property as they can now with alcohol. Indeed, what would change with a reasonable scheme of legalization would be a deletion of much of the crime and violence only; everything else would remain much the same or improve.

It is a substantially better deal than the ongoing and worsening disaster we currently endure. The drug war is un-American. One cannot simultaneously value freedom and yet support a governmental scheme which denies the individual his or her sovereignty over his or her own body. Indeed, control over one's own body is the most fundamental of all rights. Worse, the drug war has effectively birthed countless violent criminal enterprises.

This possibly well intentioned effort has resulted in effectively creating our 51st state; the state of incarceration. The state's population is growing out of control and it is choking the life out of the other 50 states. Thousands of peaceful Americans are currently living in cages because of the drug war. The drug war is lunacy and it must end immediately. As it did for the revolutionaries who founded our country, the time has come for us to be bold and courageous. We must speak out against this horrendous mistake. We have the better case.



1 I support legalizing all drugs which are currently illegal.
2 Incidentally, many say tobacco is actually more addictive than meth. Isn't it interesting that approximately 50% of tobacco users have quit using tobacco in the past ten years all during a time while the drug was completely legal.
3 My ex-wife is a good mom. She supports my ban on meth use for our kids.
4 I acknowledge this concept is extraordinarily radical and barely comprehensible to some. For a better understanding, fmd someone who refers to himself or herself as a "libertarian" and talk to that person.
5 If you assert no claim of ownership to your body, I may be interested in laying a claim. However, I would want to see you first.
6 In case you are confused, the correct answer to each question is yes.
7 Can you honestly say this? If not, you should think about what possibly justifies you in controlling another's property. You should also not complain when others seek to control your property. It's a freedom thing.
8 As a finer point, when their activities trespass upon my property, they are now using my property without my permission. Said more precisely, others are free to use their property in any way they please with no restrictions. A trespass is simply the acknowledgement they are wrongfully using another's property.
9 Democracy and freedom are not the same concepts. Freedom is when the owner of the property decides how the property is used. Democracy is when a majority of non-owners decide how an owner must use his or her property. Democracy and freedom are often incompatible.
10 The opposite is also true for some acts which are currently illegal.
11 In 1969, Nixon spent $65 million on the drug war. In 1982, Reagan spent $1.65 billion on the drug war. Bush's budget for 2006 requests $12.4 billion dollars which is a 2.2% increase over his 2005 budget.
12 I have nothing against private prisons. Indeed, the private sector should be administering prisons. My point here is simply to note that private entrepreneurs recognize the huge potential to prosper in this growth industry.
13 732 people out of every 100,000 live in government cages as of 2005.
14 These are facts asserted by current and former law enforcement officers. See www.leap.cc
15 Drug Use Trends and National Survey on Drug Use and Health, White House Office of Drug Control Policy (2004).
16 Monitoring the Future, National Results on Adolescent Drug Abuse, Overview of Key Findings 1999, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Page 48.
17 Some former police officers claim the current annual amount spent is sixty nine billion dollars per year. See, http://leap.cc
18 Some may say George W. Bush's Iraqi policy is a failure of such magnitude that it rivals the drug war for the biggest failure attributable to a governmental effort. I admit it is a tough call.
19 Most drug addicts don't watch the evening news or read the newspapers. They are not generally aware of drug busts or any other news for that matter
20 National Drug Threat Assessment 2004 (Jolmstown, P.A.: National Drug Intelligence Center, April 2004), p. 18.
21 Yes, I am aware that alcohol abuse is harmful. My point here is that they were focusing on the wrong question.
22 It is worth noting that at least they aclmowledged congress otherwise had no such power by amending the constitution rather than pretending the Commerce Clause includes such a power. I'm still searching for that amendment which grants power to congress to run today's drug war.
23 Pandiani, John A., The Crime Control Corps: An Invisible New Deal Program 348-358 (British Journal of Sociology, 33 September 1982).
24 Cases of alcoholism at New York's hospitals increased over lOO% during prohibition from 1919 to 1924. The National Prohibition Law: Hearing Before the Subcommittee of the Commission on the Judiciary, 69th Congress 148 (1926).
25 During prohibition from 1921 to 1929, per capita consumption of beer increased 463%, wine increased 100% and consumption of spirits increased 520%. Warburton, Clark, The Economic Results of Prohibition 174 (Columbia University Press, 1932).
26 At least their politicians had enough spine to admit their mistakes. With very few exceptions, today's jellyfish politician is too worried about what the general public thinks to take a real leadership stand on this issue.
27 By "real crime" I mean when people trespass on the rights of others by force or fraud.
28 I realize such comparisons are difficult for a variety of reasons. However, the numbers are different enough that it appears a reasonably certain conclusion can be drawn.
29 Die Haujigkeit von Alkoholismus und Problemtrinken in Osterreich, Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift, 110 (10), 1998, pp. 356-363.
30 Reprasentativerhebung zum Gebrauch psychoaktiver Substanzen bei Erwachsenen in Deutschland, 2000 Sucht, Sonderheft 1, (2001).
31 Warburton, Clark, The Economic Results of Prohibition 78-90 (Columbia University Press, 1932).
32 Untitled editorial in The Lancet, Volume 346, Number 8985, (November 11, 1995) p. 1241. See also, Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, Drug Policy in the Netherlands: Progress Report September 1997-September 1999, (The Hague: Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, November 1999), p. 7.
33 Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, Drug Policy in the Netherlands: Progress Report September 1997-September 1999, (The Hague: Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, November 1999), pp.7-8.
34 For more stats and documentation about how legal marijuana has resulted in less marijuana use as well as other overall societal benefits, see http://www.drugwarfacts.org/thenethe.htm
35 Journal of the American Medical Association, Jan. 19,2005, Vol. 293, No.3, p. 298.
36 This number includes deaths attributed to illegal drugs resulting from suicide, homicide, motor-vehicle injury, HIV infection, pneumonia, violence, mental illness, and hepatitis.
37 The number of confirmed deaths attributed solely to a marijuana overdose in the history of the world is zero. See, Janet E. Joy, Stanley 1. Watson, Jr., and Jo1m A. Benson, Jr., "Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base," Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Research, Institute of Medicine (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999), available on the web at http://www.nap.edu/htmllmarimed/; and US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, "In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition" (Docket #86-22), September 6, 1988, p. 57.
38 Trebach, Arnold, Peace Without Surrender in the Perpetual Drug War, 136 Justice Quarterly 1 (1984).

Are You Really For Freedom?



I know you say you love freedom. Virtually everyone says they love and value freedom. Even such murderous villains as Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein claimed to love or advocate freedom.
“The German people are not a warlike nation. It is a soldierly one, which means it does not want a war, but does not fear it. It loves peace but also loves its honor and freedom.” Adolf Hitler to Reichstag in Berlin February 1936

“[Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti] blood will light torches, grow aromatic plants, and water the tree of freedom, resistance and victory.” Saddam Hussein, Iraqi Radio, January 26, 1999


It is easy to simply claim to support freedom, but it is much more difficult to accept the sometimes scary implications of such a claim.

Did you ever wonder what it really means to say, 'I’m for freedom?' It is difficult for me to express how unimpressed I am by the enthusiasm of a person to strongly support the rights of another person to use their freedoms in exactly the same way they themselves exercise their own freedoms. For example, alcohol users who support the rights of others to use alcohol or marijuana users who support the rights of others to use marijuana does not seem such a principled stance to me.

On the other hand, people who steadfastly and enthusiastically support the rights of other adults to use their freedoms 1 in ways they themselves would never personally engage in is truly inspiring. A real freedom attitude is about accepting the sovereign rights of other adults to peacefully use their bodies and their property in ways you personally disagree with, morally oppose, find degrading, ill advised, harmful or completely foolish.2 Indeed, this is the test to determine whether a person honestly supports the concept of freedom.

The adult users of the horribly destructive and often addicting drug called 'alcohol' who oppose the legalization of marijuana because they personally choose not to use marijuana are, in freedom terms, identical to the adult users of marijuana 3 who oppose the legalization of methamphetamine because they personally choose not to use methamphetamine.4

A similar example can be found in the area of free speech. Americans rightly take pride in their right to free speech. So long as the speech is “acceptable” there is no controversy. However, when unpopular groups like the Ku Klux Klan or the Neo-Nazis want to peacefully march, many self proclaimed free speech supporters seek to use the law to ban them.5 6

These are the scary implications one must accept and embrace to truly be a person who advocates freedom. To hold otherwise suggests your freedoms actually extend no further than some other person’s personal preference regarding their own freedom. This concept is what I refer to as, 'The dark side of freedom.'
I suspect when most people pride themselves about loving freedom, they have in mind wimpy concepts like the rights of others to decide for themselves where to go on vacation or what model of automobile to buy. This wimpy concept of freedom doesn’t generate much controversy because most people personally agree with whatever decision another person makes in these areas.

Simply acknowledging that other adults have a right to run their own lives as they choose doesn’t mean we are obligated to agree with or support whatever they say or do. If we choose, we may seek to peacefully persuade them to act as we believe they should act. Further, acknowledging the rights of others does not mean we are sending a message of approval regarding their choices. Indeed, we are free to peacefully send messages of disapproval if we choose and they are free to ignore our messages entirely if they choose.
In one of my other articles entitled, 'Legalize Methamphetamine!' I argue that the war on drugs should be ended. I have been asked many times to modify the title of my article to something like, 'End the Drug War' or to some other boring but inoffensive title. 7 In fairness, the title is somewhat incomplete. I am considering changing it to, 'Legalize Methamphetamine and Crack Cocaine!' or to, "Legalize Methamphetamine and All Other Horribly Addictive Drugs!" My point here is to emphasize that advocating for freedom is sometimes not as easy and popular as it first may appear to the casual self proclaimed freedom supporter. However, it is necessary if we are to have freedom.

In the end, wimpy freedom advocates are not freedom advocates at all. If we are to again be the land of the free, we desperately need people to strongly advocate for freedom; in all its beauty and in all its ugliness.


1 By using their “freedoms” I mean being in control of your own body, time, money and other property. This does not include using another’s body, time, money, or property without their consent. Freedom includes the notion that all voluntary conduct between consenting adults, whether others approve or not, is absolutely legal.
2 Don’t be confused by the concept that a person could morally oppose an activity yet strongly support its legality. A moral question and a legal question should be two entirely different questions. Some of my friends morally oppose prostitution while supporting its legalization. There is no contradiction. Questions about "right" and "wrong" are also different questions than questions about what should be "legal."
3 Or any other substance.
4 Yes, I know and agree with you about the awful consequences of methamphetamine use. Yes, I know it will rot the teeth out of your mouth and destroy your skin and possibly your life if you use it. I would strongly discourage anyone from ever trying or using it.
5 I agree with nothing said by either group, but I absolutely support their right to peacefully say whatever they want. It is important to note that nobody is required to listen to them. People have a right to peacefully protest against them and even to ridicule them for their deranged views.
6 When a Christian pastor in Florida recently threatened to publicly burn a Koran, Fox News presented legal 'scholars' who generated creative ideas to use the law in an attempt to stop this constitutionally protected expression. The pastor ultimately backed down.
7 I have even been asked to delete the exclamation point in favor of a question mark. I like the exclamation point.

Pro Tem Recusal Minute Entry



A justice system is a necessary prerequisite to any civilized community of persons. For any justice system to be effective and just, the judges who work in such a system must possess a strong sense of justice.
Only human beings have the capacity to possess a strong sense of justice. An inflexible, rigid and mechanical approach to judging is not appropriate and has throughout history caused tremendous injustice. As such, an honorable judge must frequently consult his or her individual sense of justice.

A judge is obligated to faithfully follow and apply the law. However, cases may arise where the applicable law is reconcilably at odds with a judge’s strong sense of justice. In such a case, the judge is thrust into a moral ilemma. The judge is faced with either applying a law that is contrary to his or her strong sense of justice or failing to faithfully apply the law. This case presents such a moral dilemma for this judge pro tem.
A judge who applies a law which is contrary to his or her strong sense of justice betrays not only the trust of those in the courtroom but also the honor of the judicial office. This judge pro tem will not act in contradiction to his strong sense of justice. Additionally, a judge who will not faithfully apply the law cannot preside over a matter in which that law is applicable. Therefore, recusal is the only option.

However, a recusal without explanation would deprive any interested party of the reasons underpinning the moral dilemma faced by this judge pro tem and would wrongly enshrine this court in a cloud of mystery and secrecy. Free people are entitled to know and evaluate the motivations, explanations and reasons underpinning a judge’s actions.

The Non-Initiation of Force Principle

This judge pro tem will not use the power of the state to initiate force against persons who have not trespassed or used unlawful force or fraud against others or their property. This judge pro tem has deeply held personal views which are in direct contradiction to the duties of a judge who presides over non-violent drug cases. The two positions cannot be reconciled.

This judge pro tem is unaware of Arizona judges recusing themselves for similar reasons. However, there is evidence to believe that some Arizona judges have grave concerns about Arizona’s ongoing war on drugs. See, Rudolph J. Gerber, On Dispensing Injustice, 43 Ariz. L. Rev. 135 (2001). Additionally, at least one federal judge, the Honorable Jack B. Weinstein of the United States District Court in New York has refused to try minor drug cases.

The list of learned judges across this nation who have publicly objected to the war on drugs is substantial and includes:
  1. Hon. Juan R. Torruella - U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
  2. Hon. Myron Bright - U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit; See, 61 F.3d at 1363
  3. Hon. Donald P. Lay - U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  4. Hon. Richard Posner - U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  5. Hon. George Pratt - U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  6. Hon. Robert W. Pratt - U.S. Southern District of Iowa
  7. Hon. Nancy Gertner - U.S. District Court, Boston
  8. Hon. John L. Kane Jr. - U.S. District Court, Denver
  9. Hon. Stanley Sporkin - U.S. District Court, D.C.
  10. Hon. Whitman Knapp - U.S. District Court, New York
  11. Hon. Robert Sweet - U.S. District Court, New York
  12. Hon. Vaughn Walker - U.S. District Court, San Francisco
  13. Hon. John T. Curtin - U.S. District Court, New York
  14. Hon. Warren Eginton - U.S. District Court, Connecticut
  15. Hon. James C. Paine - U.S. District Court, Florida
  16. Hon. James Gray - Superior Court, Santa Ana, CA
  17. Hon. Peter Nimkoff - Former U.S. Magistrate, Miami
  18. Hon. Volney V. Brown Jr. - U.S. Magistrate, Los Angeles
Many abbreviated statements of the preceding judges, can be reviewed online at
www.november.org/dissentingopinions/dissentingopinions.html and www.ndsn.org/julaug98/courts5.html.
The well reasoned views of the honorable judges cited above in addition to the concurring opinions of people such as Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman weigh heavily upon the conscience of this judge pro tem. This judge pro tem will not participate in administering laws which, for so many reasons, wreak havoc on our society and conflict with the moral conscience of this judge pro tem.

Although the above rationale may not mandate recusal, no such legal mandate is required for recusal. The Arizona Supreme Court has long held, “¿[A] judge may on his own motion, if he acts timely, recuse himself even though the reason given might not be sufficient to form the basis of a legal disqualification.” Zuniga v. Superior Court, 77 Ariz. 222, 269 P.2d 720 (1954). See also, State v. McGee, 91 Ariz. 101, 370 P.2d 261 (1962).

Although the deeply held personal views of this judge pro tem is a sufficient reason to warrant recusal in this case, it is not the sole reason for recusal.

The Arizona Constitution

There can be no doubt that the Arizona Constitution was instituted as an attempt to protect and maintain unenumerated rights which individuals possess independent of government. Indeed, the Arizona Constitution specifically states, All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights. Ariz. Const. Art. II, § 2.

Further, so there could be no misunderstanding, the drafters of the Arizona Constitution explicitly stated, The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny others retained by the people. Ariz. Const. Art. II, § 33.

For a free society to remain free, a frequent revisiting of the fundamental principles of freedom must never be relegated to a mere academic discussion. The framers of the Arizona Constitution understood the importance of a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles. Such mandate was enshrined in the Arizona Constitution and is important enough to be restated here:

A frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is essential to the security of individual rights and the perpetuity of free government. Ariz. Const. Art. II, § 1.

Based on the Arizona Constitution, there can be no doubt that individuals have rights which exist independent of government and that such rights exist despite not being enumerated in the Arizona Constitution.
Among such un-enumerated rights must necessarily exist the fundamental and basic right of each adult to control his or her own body. It is difficult to conceive of or envision any right more central and essential to a free society than the right to control one’s own body. The right to control one’s own body must necessarily encompass the right to control what foods, medications and other substances are introduced into the body.
In interpreting the Arizona Constitution, the Arizona Supreme Court has previously recognized the liberty right of an individual to refuse the ingestion of unwanted chemical substances. See Large v. Superior Court, 148 Ariz. 229, 714 P.2d 399 (1986). Such a pronouncement is merely an illustration of the more fundamental and basic right to control one’s own body. Consistent with this constitutional right to refuse ingestion is the reciprocal right to voluntarily ingest chemical substances into one’s own body. Considering that the human body is entirely composed from items which are ingested, the fundamental right to control one’s own body would be rendered meaningless without the right to control what is ingested.

Furthermore, a constitutional right to ingest a substance into one’s own body necessarily implies a related right to manufacture, transport, sell, purchase or possess such a substance or ancillary items. Therefore, this judge pro tem cannot reconcile the current drug prohibition laws with the constitutional right to control one’s own body. The drug prohibition laws appear to this judge pro tem to be in violation of several provisions of the Arizona Constitution including Ariz. Const. Art. II, §§ 4, 8, 33.

As with virtually all other rights, the right to control one’s own body is not absolute. However, the current drug prohibition laws deprive all citizens of rights without any finding of prior criminal conduct or other circumstances justifying a restriction or deprivation of such a fundamental right.

This judge pro tem is bound to faithfully support the Arizona Constitution. Ariz. Const. Art. II, § 26. However, this judge pro tem acknowledges that the Arizona Supreme Court has previously determined that possession of marijuana in a person’s own home is not a basic constitutional right. See, State v. Murphy, 117 Ariz. 57, 570 P.2d 1070 (1977). As such, there can be no doubt that the Arizona Supreme Court and this judge pro tem disagree about the meaning of the Arizona Constitution. As a Superior Court Judge Pro Tem, it would be wholly inappropriate to enter an order in direct contradiction to the Arizona Supreme Court’s clear precedent. Therefore, recusal is the only appropriate course of action.

The United States Constitution

Similarly to the Arizona Constitution, the United States Constitution also contemplates that people have rights independent of government which they retain despite the fact that such rights are not enumerated in the constitution itself. See, U.S. Const. Amends. IX, X. Indeed, the United States Supreme Court has previously identified particular fundamental constitutional rights which are not enumerated. See, Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 85 S.Ct. 1678 (1965); Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S.Ct. 705 (1973).
This judge pro tem concludes that, based on the same reasoning as applied to the Arizona Constitution above, there exists a fundamental constitutional right to control one’s own body which is protected by the United States Constitution and is applicable to the State of Arizona via the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. Although this judge pro tem is not aware of any binding decisions which have recognized the existence of such a federally protected right, this judge pro tem is equally unaware of binding decisions specifically finding that no such right exists.

However, more particularly relevant to this case is the fact that the Arizona Supreme Court has found that no violation of a defendant’s federal constitutional rights occurs when the state criminalizes the mere possession of marijuana in one’s own home. State v. Murphy, 117 Ariz. 57, 570 P.2d 1070 (1977). Additionally, the United States Supreme Court specifically recognized the power of state governments to make possession of narcotics a crime.

Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557, 89 S.Ct. 1243 (1969). That being the case, it would be wholly inappropriate for this judge pro tem to enter an order which contradicts in any way the precedence established by either the Arizona Supreme Court or the United States Supreme Court. Therefore, recusal is the only appropriate course of action.

NORML

The Code of Judicial Conduct requires a judge to disqualify himself or herself when the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned. Sup.Ct.Rules, Rule 81, Code of Jud.Conduct, Canon 3 E (1). The mandates involving recusal in the Code of Judicial Conduct apply with equal force to part time judges pro tem. Sup.Ct.Rules, Rule 81, Code of Jud.Conduct, Application § D.

This judge pro tem is currently a member of the legal committee for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (“NORML”) This organization has as its policy statement the following:
NORML supports the right of adults to use marijuana responsibly, whether for medical or personal purposes. All penalties, both civil and criminal, should be eliminated for responsible use. Further, to eliminate the crime, corruption and violence associated with any "black market," a legally regulated market should be established where consumers could buy marijuana in a safe and secure environment.

As a member of the NORML legal committee, this judge pro tem believes that in a matter such as the one at hand, the impartiality of this judge pro tem might reasonably be questioned. As such, recusal is required. Therefore, for all the reasons detailed in this minute entry, this judge pro tem recuses himself.

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