Marc J. Victor, Phoenix Criminal Attorney
To have freedom, 'let people be free'
an article by Dary Matera
News item: A judge pro tem was fired Thursday, his first day on the
job, for refusing to hear drug cases.
The late March story went on to say that the Mesa criminal defense
attorney, a marijuana legalization activist and member of NORML
(National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), felt he
couldn't honestly dole out the required mandated punishment for drug
Intrigued, I gave the guy, Marc Victor, a call to set up a bong
session . . . I mean an interview.
Driving to his, I had visions of Jerry Garcia in pinstripes, hanging
out in a psychedelic office with black light posters of Kurt Cobain
on the wall. Ten to one, a refurbished VW van with shag carpet would
be parked outside.
No such luck. Victor, 34, turned out to be a teetotaling, ex-Marine
sergeant who operates out of a glass and concrete business complex he
shares with mortgage brokers, life insurance companies, PR firms, and
someone who does "endodontics," a dental procedure that requires that
you get really high first.
Inside this sea of conservatism lurks a squeaky clean Desert Storm
vet with the look of a Republican but the soul of a rebel.
"It's not about drugs or legalization. It's about the violation of
the right of self-ownership," the married father of three young
children said. "I'm fighting for the right of the individual against
government intrusion. If you want freedom, then damn it, you have to
let people be free - even if you don't agree with it."
In other words, Victor is not a big fan of victimless crimes or
legislating what adults can do with their bodies.
Granted, Victor's career sacrifice wasn't derailing. Judge pro terms
are unpaid attorneys who fill in for full-timers.
Still, the legal dodge is a vengeful, good-ol'-boy network, and
Victor's stance took no small amount of courage, especially for a man
with aspirations of becoming an appellate judge.
If that's now the impossible dream, Victor can live with it. In fact,
as much as his refusal to handle drug cases was blown up in the
press, it could have been a lot worse. Victor said he also would have
refused to handle gun possession, gambling, zoning or prostitution
"If adults want to rent their bodies to other adults, they should
have the right to do so," he said.
Strong words from a bull-doggish Marine who hits the gym at 4:30 a.m.
six days a week to pump iron. A man who wouldn't think to poison his
compact, 5-foot-5 body with drugs or alcohol, but refuses to judge
those who do.
Warming up, Victor said the American judicial system is collapsing
under the weight of unnecessary drug cases. In Arizona, he said he
believes it's verging on an implosion.
He's considering running for county attorney on a platform of doing
away with drug laws and other victimless crimes, and re-emphasizing
the prosecution of quaint, old school criminals such as murderers,
thieves and rapists.
Right on! He'd get my vote.
Dary Matera, a new community columnist, is an author who lives in
Chandler. The views expressed are those of the author. He may be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.