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  • What to do about synthetic drug sentences?

    In the past five years we have witnessed dozens of violent incidents here locally resulting in injuries and deaths of LEOs and bystanders as well as the users. It would not be surprising if only 10% of arrests make the news, but Bath Salts and other synthetic drugs are falling between the cracks in many states because laws are not keeping up with the inventiveness of Walter Whites of the world.
    What should be done? It is an international crime syndicate, involving multinational players.
    Opions please.
    WASHINGTON — The men who sold it called it Mr. Miyagi, a mind-altering chemical compound mixed with vegetable material and resembling marijuana.

    It was clear the drug was meant to be smoked for a potent high, notwithstanding the deceptive label that the product was potpourri not fit for human consumption. But less clear was how to punish the people who pushed it.

    As drug enforcement authorities sound alarms over the effects and accessibility of synthetic drugs, the Mr. Miyagi case in Louisiana is but one example of how courts are struggling for consistency in dealing with substances that are developing faster than the laws to govern them. The result is a sentencing process that's often bogged down by complex science and can yield uneven results in courtrooms around the country.

    "It's been a challenge for the courts and for the regulatory agencies to manage and make appropriate, logical decisions relating to these new substances," said Greg Dudley, a West Virginia University chemistry professor who has testified in synthetic drug cases. "If they're interpreted differently in different courts, you end up with broad disparities in sentencing for similar offenses."

    Now the federal panel that sets sentencing policy is studying ways for courts to better handle cases involving drugs such as "bath salts," which can provoke violent outbursts, and the party drug Molly.

    The issue matters, given the sustained popularity of synthetic drugs — man-made compounds that mimic more conventional street drugs and hallucinogens and are sold under catchy names in stores and on the internet.

    Drug Enforcement Administration officials have repeatedly warned about the products' harmful effects but say it's hard to police them. Those who make synthetic drugs can alter their chemical makeup faster than regulators can ban them, and those who sell them can skirt the law through misleading labeling. Meanwhile, the DEA's forensic testing laboratories are "overwhelmed with the amount of substances" they're trying to identify and analyze, said spokesman Russ Baer.

    Amid concerns about consistency in punishment, the U.S. Sentencing Commission is doing a two-year study on synthetic drugs that, among other things, will look at whether to update the drug quantity table that federal judges rely on at sentencing.

    Judges use the table to come up with the starting point for the sentence based on the amount of drugs involved, then factor in considerations like a defendant's criminal history and level of responsibility. That's easy for drugs like marijuana, cocaine and heroin that are listed on the table.

    Problem is, "bath salts" and similar synthetic or designer drugs aren't included.

    In prosecutions involving those drugs, judges consult the table to find the most similar drug to the one in their case, based on chemical makeup and pharmacological effects. They then convert the drug quantity in their case to the equivalent quantity of marijuana to calculate a base offense level. But that often causes confusion.

    Selling something that gets you high isn't necessarily illegal "unless it's kind of like something on the list," said Lloyd Snook, a Virginia defense lawyer.

    "Well, how kind of alike does it have to be? Who knows?" Snook said.

    The commission says it's heard complaints about days-long hearings with dueling chemistry experts, disagreements about which drug is most analogous and varied sentences in similar cases.

    The Mr. Miyagi case, for instance, turned on a dispute over which drug was most similar to the product the defendants' sold — pure THC, marijuana's principal ingredient, or marijuana itself.

    A federal appeals court sided with the government's conclusion that it was most like THC. Since sentencing guidelines treat one gram of THC as equivalent to 167 grams of marijuana, the defendants, Thomas William Malone and Drew T. Green, were held responsible for 233,800 kilograms of marijuana and given long prison sentences. Each was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison.

    The defendants had argued it was most like marijuana and that a 1:1 ratio was appropriate, an assertion that if accepted would have resulted in lighter punishments.

    But, in an example of the disparate outcomes the guidelines sometimes yield, the ringleader in the case, sentenced in Florida, received only probation. And another man who worked with Malone and was charged in a similar case was allowed to avoid a conviction in New York by entering a diversion program, a supervised remedial plan for petty offenders.

    "You just have a nightmare situation that cannot be explained to a defendant because it makes no sense," said Malone's attorney, Steven Sadow. "He's at the mercy of what the judge chooses to do with the ratio and how the judge treats certain people."

    Some judges have openly struggled with formulas. In Florida, U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks said he found no scientific basis for the standard marijuana-to-THC ratio and rejected it in a case involving a designer drug known as XLR-11.

    "Although I asked each of the experts at the hearing, no one could provide me with a reason for this ratio, which has major implications in determining the base level offense," Middlebrooks wrote. "After my own research and a phone call to the Sentencing Commission, I still could find no basis for this ratio."

    Snook, the lawyer, said he was glad the commission was studying the problem but thought Congress might need to get involved.

    "There are a lot of reasons why it's an arbitrary and capricious system and why it ought to get changed," he said.
    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/...dz6?li=BBnbfcL
    Dispite our best intentions, the system is dysfunctional that intelligence failure is guaranteed.
    Russ Travers, CIA analyst, 2001

  • #2
    Since Texas made them illegal we have seen little of them in our region.

    You need effective statutes and aggressive enforcement.

    And jail space.
    Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
      Since Texas made them illegal we have seen little of them in our region.

      You need effective statutes and aggressive enforcement.

      And jail space.
      Idaho passed laws, closed down shops selling it, but people are getting it from online dealers.
      It's nasty stuff.
      Dispite our best intentions, the system is dysfunctional that intelligence failure is guaranteed.
      Russ Travers, CIA analyst, 2001

      Comment


      • #4
        Though I will say that bath salts do make does one hell of a fight....had a proper trailer park throw down this time last year with a guy on them. A good 10 minutes of rolling in an old school trailer, where my radio didn't transmit.
        Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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        • #5
          If people start using stuff as drugs, ban the manufacture and importation of them.

          Pruitt
          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
            Though I will say that bath salts do make does one hell of a fight....had a proper trailer park throw down this time last year with a guy on them. A good 10 minutes of rolling in an old school trailer, where my radio didn't transmit.
            Bath salts ?? What are they made of then ?

            Edit,

            Never mind,

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_salts_(drug)

            Must say we have much less of these "homemade" drugs -

            could it be because the original product is more easily come by here ?
            Last edited by Snowygerry; 25 Jan 17, 03:14.
            Major Atticus Finch - ACW Rainbow Game.

            Bolgios - Mercenary Game.

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            • #7
              One has to wonder, like the sudden increase in Heroin deaths nationwide, if such drugs have been tampered with at the Federal level similar to what they did with bootleg alcohol during prohibition in an effort to trap alcoholics as they ended up in the hospitals. Over 50,000 died from such poisoning. http://www.slate.com/articles/health...mists_war.html

              Given that there are so many teens out there that will eat anything, drink anything, inhale anything, smoke anything, inject anything, even hang themselves while masturbating, is it any wonder why there are so many deaths and injuries among them in their quest to get high?
              “Breaking News,”

              “Something irrelevant in your life just happened and now we are going to blow it all out of proportion for days to keep you distracted from what's really going on.”

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by SRV Ron View Post
                One has to wonder, like the sudden increase in Heroin deaths nationwide, if such drugs have been tampered with at the Federal level similar to what they did with bootleg alcohol during prohibition in an effort to trap alcoholics as they ended up in the hospitals. Over 50,000 died from such poisoning. http://www.slate.com/articles/health...mists_war.html

                Given that there are so many teens out there that will eat anything, drink anything, inhale anything, smoke anything, inject anything, even hang themselves while masturbating, is it any wonder why there are so many deaths and injuries among them in their quest to get high?
                The government that is behind this is China as most of them are being made in China, and the rest by Mexican cartels
                Dispite our best intentions, the system is dysfunctional that intelligence failure is guaranteed.
                Russ Travers, CIA analyst, 2001

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                  If people start using stuff as drugs, ban the manufacture and importation of them.

                  Pruitt
                  Right. Look at how well that's worked for various opiates, heroin, cocaine, crack, cannabis, LSD, PCP, MDMA, etc, etc, etc. A full century after opiates were declared "controlled substances" no one uses them recreationally any more. Every month I'm registering like a God [email protected]*d criminal for friggin' Claritin, but we all know just how completely crystal meth has disappeared from the scene. Just based on our experience with Prohibition alone you'd know full well that enacting yet another law will instantly end the scourge of addiction.

                  I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison

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                  • #10
                    Alright, then. If you ban the manufacture and importation, then treat them like dangerous controlled substances. The OP was about how to sentence abusers for sale and use of them.

                    Pruitt
                    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Given the rate of deaths from using these manufactured substances, I'd say stock up on body bags. I see no reason to try to save this level of stupid from itself. It goes against nature.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SRV Ron View Post
                        One has to wonder, like the sudden increase in Heroin deaths nationwide, if such drugs have been tampered with at the Federal level similar to what they did with bootleg alcohol during prohibition in an effort to trap alcoholics as they ended up in the hospitals. Over 50,000 died from such poisoning. http://www.slate.com/articles/health...mists_war.html

                        Given that there are so many teens out there that will eat anything, drink anything, inhale anything, smoke anything, inject anything, even hang themselves while masturbating, is it any wonder why there are so many deaths and injuries among them in their quest to get high?
                        You don't need to wonder about heroin deaths. Read up on fentanyl: 500 times as potent as morphine, and cheap. Dealers don't understand how to cut it properly.

                        The 'hang themselves" business is called auto-eroticism, and it is not limited to kids.
                        Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          David Carradine was found with a rope around his neck.

                          Pruitt
                          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
                            You don't need to wonder about heroin deaths. Read up on fentanyl: 500 times as potent as morphine, and cheap. Dealers don't understand how to cut it properly.

                            The 'hang themselves" business is called auto-eroticism, and it is not limited to kids.
                            That's bad for business if you kill off your customers. Your suppliers can get quite upset as well as the friends and relatives of the addicted.

                            Locally, two teens died a day later after huffing gasoline in the basement of their house when one of them was dying for a cigarette.

                            Drug sentences? Synthetic or imported? You go after the pushers like you would any other serious crime.

                            The user? Give them a choice. 1. Prison, 2. Mandated rehab, 3. Let them kill themselves abusing the drug of their choice in a controlled setting where they can do no harm to others.
                            “Breaking News,”

                            “Something irrelevant in your life just happened and now we are going to blow it all out of proportion for days to keep you distracted from what's really going on.”

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The law already has an adequate way to deal with this: if one is in any way responsible for a crime or a murder, one can be charged for the same crime as an accessory and receive the same punishment.

                              Lawyers and judges are just looking for reasons not to follow the law.
                              Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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