Sunday, November 27, 2005

Telling tales out of school

Tom Angell at the DARE Diary catches an interesting article I missed in the NYT on a challenge to school zone enhancements. At issue was how the 1000 feet were measured.
On foot, Mr. Robbins's lawyers argued, the school is more than 1,000 feet away from the site of the arrest, because the shortest route is blocked by buildings. But as the crow flies, the authorities said, it is less than 1,000 feet away.


Lawyers for Mr. Robbins argued that the distance should be measured as a person would walk it because "crows do not sell drugs."
Unfortunately, the defendant lost at appeal but this goes to show how stupid the whole school zone scheme is. This enhancement was originally introduced to prevent drug dealing at schools but it's long since become a meaningless additional punishment. I've seen it used when there was a daycare in somebody's house that a dealer couldn't possibly know about and let's face it, even the most immoral drug dealer is not peddling to four year olds.

Its racist aspect is hard to ignore as well. In the inner cities, populated largely by poor people of color, you can't walk 1000 feet without a hitting a school zone and chances are your own apartment is within one. It's long past time to get rid of the enhancements altogether.


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