Tag Archives: naacp

Why doesn’t Loudoun have a drug court?

John P. Flannery was a federal drug prosecutor in the Southern District of NY, and has served on various drug task forces]

John P. Flannery was a federal drug prosecutor in the Southern District of NY, and has served on various drug task forces]

There is a frenzy among elected officials, seeking to discourage drug use and addiction, including street heroin and prescription drugs, but they mostly bypass drug kingpins, and go for arrest stats instead, chasing the victims of the drug trade, the addicted.

Our current law enforcement policies come awfully close to criminalizing an individual’s status, as an addict, when we know well an addict likely can’t help himself, and may commit other crimes to afford his fix.

In the case of prescriptions, law enforcement resists the critical and fine distinction that a chronic pain patient may be dependent on pain medication to function and the treating doctor is healing rather than dealing prescription drugs. As a former federal prosecutor from New York, I learned early on that drug dependency would never be solved by prosecuting the victims. But it’s easy pickings to criminalize young users and addicts.

There is a partial solution to our drug problem in this County and it’s a Drug Court.
When this was proposed years ago, the County Board of Supervisors said they didn’t want to coddle these “criminals.” In recent days, Republican Delegate Randy Minchew introduced a bill (HB 180) in the General Assembly to create a Drug Court for the City of Winchester, and the Counties of Frederick and Warren, but not for Loudoun. Why is that? Continue reading

Take That Statue Down!

Confederate soldier statue in front of the historic Leesburg Court House

Take that confederate soldier statue down that stands in front of the historic Leesburg Court House!

It’s a symbol of disunion and slavery.  If it’s to stand anywhere, let it be in a museum but not at the front of a court of law on public grounds.

Our forebears could have placed a less offensive symbol in front of the court house in 1908.  But they didn’t.  They intended to make a statement – an unacceptable statement – and it’s high time we rejected that offensive statement.

Years ago, in the 1980s, there were stocks and whipping posts in front of this same court house.

I made reference at a sentencing in the court house once, how it was “unfortunate” that such dehumanizing and tortuous methods of punishment stood directly in front of a court house when we were considering punishment in a criminal case. Continue reading