Time: Sun Jul 13 06:45:30 1997
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Date: Sun, 13 Jul 1997 06:07:17 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: Calif. Judge pro legalization (fwd)

>By Gene Ghiotto
>The Press-Enterprize
>An Orange County judge suggested Thursday that marijuana, heroin and cocaine
>be sold in government-operated "package stores" as part of a new approach to
>dealing with drug use in the United States.
>"Regulate it and tax it and use the money for drug treatment and drug
>education," Superior Court Judge James P. Gray told about 45 members of the
>Grand Jurors' Association of Riverside County.
>Gray said the suggetion is part of a strategy put fourth five years ago when
>he began speaking about how government and law enforcement have failed to
>eliminate illegal drug use through the war on drugs.
>He said the policy has led to families being broken up because of the
>prosecution of drug dealers and users and that street violence has increased
>as dealers fight to control the lucrative drug trade. 
>"We are not making any progress," Gray told the former grand jurors. "We have
>no expectation of making progress."
>Gray did not say what he would do to revamp drug laws but said there should
>be some experimentation before another policy is approved.
>"California should try one policy. New Hampshire should try something else
>and Maryland should do something different," he said.
>Anything deemed successful should be incorporated into an overall policy, and
>the programs that fail are discarded, he said.
>Gray, a former assistant U.S. attorney, Municipal Court bench in 1984 and
>elevated to Superior Court in 1989. This is not the first time he has
>suggested the fight against illegal drugs has failed.
>In 1992 he suggested that the war on drugs be abandoned and that government
>look at other ways to deal with illegal durg use. His beliefs have not
>changed much since then.
>Gray said he believes drugs like heroin, marijuana and cocaine should be
>"decriminalized," and he likened the atmosphere surrounding their use to that
>which prevailed during Prohibition, when alcohol was illegal.
>During that era, crime increased because of the struggle to control the
>alcohol trade, he said. Once Prohibition was abolished, crime related to the
>alcohol business declined because disputes that once led to violence were
>taken to the courtroom to be resolved.
>If illegal drugs were regulated, Gray believes that violence associated with
>the illegal drug trade would end and that the huge profits that dealers are
>willing to fight over would dry up. 
>He insists something must be done because the current policy of arresting and
>prosecuting drug users and dealers is not working.
>"The criminal justice system is unable to handle the problem", he said.

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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