Saturday, January 28, 2006

When the DEA plays doctor

This issue of Drug Sense Weekly is, as always, worth reading in full. But in case you don't get through it all, and frankly I don't always either, let me draw your attention to this item.

I've been blogging about Richard Paey since he was arrested, as have many other bloggers including TalkLeft, the Agitator and of course Drug WarRant. John Tierney at the NYT did a piece but this is probably the biggest break this case will ever get. This Sunday, 60 Minutes will be doing a segment on him.

This is another illustration of just how successful the reform community has been in raising the issue in the public dialogue. I don't think you would have seen this on mainstream television five years ago. Reviewing the promo, one would think it will be a sympathetic piece that takes a real slap at the prosecution.
Florida State Prosecutor Scott Andringa says, "This case is not about pain patients, it's just not. This case is about prescription fraud. We were very reasonable in this case. But once somebody says, 'I'm not going to accept a plea offer however reasonable it is …' "
Paey refused to plead to a crime he didn't commit. He believed a jury of peers wouldn't convict him. By all reports, they didn't want to. Unfortunately, under the draconian drug laws, they were forced to do so by the system.

The body of the state's case rested on the amount of pills Paey procured. The prosecution contended that no one could take that much medication themselves and thus charged him with dealing based solely on the amount. They had no witnesses who could claim buys. The lede paragraph in the CBS promo is the ultimate rebuttal.
The same judicial system that prosecuted Richard Paey for obtaining too much pain medication is now supplying him in prison with more than that amount to ease his tremendous pain.
One hopes with the nationwide exposure this story will get on the program, will generate enough public outrage to set Paey free. Even the stauchest prohibition supporters in Florida must see that hundreds of thousands of their tax dollars have been unwisely spent on this case and Paey's incarceration.

If nothing else, how ironic that the taxpayers are now paying to provide Paey with more drugs than he had been able to obtain on his own on the outside and which he paid for himself; not to mention the costs of incarcerating him instead of allowing him to return to being a productive tax-paying member of society.

Paey should be pardoned. Why don't you drop Jeb Bush a line and tell him so and beat what I hope will be an avalanche of mail in Paey's support.


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