Wednesday, November 20, 2019

People v. Lopez (Cal. Ct. App. - Nov. 20, 2019)

A guy is a heroin user, and to support his habit, a relatively low-level seller of the stuff.  He's high on heroin himself when he gets caught with 35.9 grams of the stuff -- around 0.08 of a pound.  That stuff is contained in 24 separate bindles.  He's also got some money on him: three $20 bills, three $10 bills, and 11 $1 bills.  That'll give you a sense of what type of heroin dealer he is.

He's sentenced to 17 years, 8 months in prison.

Clearly, people should not sell (or use) heroin.  Of that I have little doubt.

Though I wonder what history will say about locking people up for nearly twenty years for this type of stuff.  Or even, after the Court of Appeal's partial reversal, a decade-plus.  There's some solace, to be sure, that one (potentially) gets time off for good behavior, at least on the state side.  But there's an underlying problem here.  One for which we're not even approaching a solution.

So we use potentially lengthy periods of incarceration.  Someone less lengthy than we imposed in the recent past.  But still lengthy.  Without, I suspect, much of a resulting dint in the underlying trade.  As a plethora of heroin users are going to sell the stuff, if necessary, to pay for their habit.  As sure as the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening.  Regardless of the length of their potential imprisonment.

And there are always others to take their place after any particular user/dealer is put on ice.

The nature of the trade.