Pubdate: Thu, 12 May 2011 Source: Chico News & Review, The (CA) Copyright: 2011 Chico Community Publishing, Inc. Contact: http://www.newsreview.com/chico/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/559 Author: Evanne O'Donnell WHAT GOOD IS SERVED? Re "Bad news for Castle" (Newslines, by Meredith J. Graham, May 5): The conviction of Joel Castle highlights much of what is wrong with our criminal-justice system. We, according to the police chief, do not have enough officers to keep Chico citizens safe from violent crime, yet we can spare an officer to trap a 63-year-old man in a guitar-for-pot trade. California is cash-strapped, yet we spend thousands of taxpayer dollars prosecuting, defending and adjudicating this man's pot-for-guitar trade. Two police officers are taken off the streets to testify against Mr. Castle to assist in getting a conviction for this silly setup of a crime. Mr. Castle is poor, not able to afford a meaningful defense; of course he is convicted. He is facing a possible sentence of four years in prison at a cost to taxpayers of $200,000. California's prisons are bursting at the seams. Many of those housed in its cages are poor and serving time for convictions similar to Mr. Castle's, nonviolent drug offenses. Where is our collective common sense, our sense of fair play and justice? Evanne O'Donnell Chico - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.