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Pot Dealer Gets Probation and a Firm Shove West

  "And you can use all those little plastic bags to pack your things!"

The way I envision it, that might have been the final line out of Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza's mouth, as she approved a plea deal whereby Brian Renaud would be sentenced to probation for his second marijuana-related felony in six years. As long as he agreed to leave the state of New York. Permanently. Renaud pleaded to a misdemeanor attempted possession charge, and agreed to be banished.

That seems pretty easy. The county doesn't have to spend money on a trial, the state won't have to find Renaud a room in its overcrowded prison system -- everybody wins, right?

No, not so easy. As Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice notes, making a deal like this, even with a nonviolent offender, is a little disrespectful to the citizens of the rest of the country (and their tax dollars). I had thought the era of dropping annoyances off at the edge of town ended when men were no longer required to wear hats every time they left the house.

And Renaud, of course, is no mere drifter. He is a homeowner, a resident of historic Lewiston, NY. The judge ordered him to put his house up for sale by June 30. Guess she doesn't even want him to be able to collect rental income in New York.

The legalizers have already come out in defense of Renaud (and, by extension, the judge) in the comments at the Sentencing Law and Policy blog. They seem to approve of his decision to relocate to California, where legal pot without any pretense of medical need is set to be on the ballot this November.

Here's a tip, Brian: When you're out in Cali, don't claim to be Miley Cyrus's fiance, or you might have to move all over again.

Posted by Eric Lipman on April 26, 2010 at 12:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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