Pubdate: Thu, 12 May 2011
Source: Chico News & Review, The (CA)
Copyright: 2011 Chico Community Publishing, Inc.
Author: Evanne O'Donnell


Re "Bad news for Castle" (Newslines, by Meredith J. Graham, May

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

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