The Reality Of “Mules,” “Ghost Dope” And A “Fetid Feedlot On A Humid Day”
Sept. 28, 2015 (Mimesis Law) — As Scott Greenfield notes, Senator Charles Grassley, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is probably against eliminating statutory minimums. That’s too bad. They ought to go.
But if Senator Grassley and others wish to retain statutory minimum sentences as they presently exist so as to get at serious drug dealers, while not netting the small fry, there is a partially effective fix. That is, don’t apply the statutory minimum regimen (1) to “mules” and (2) don’t apply it at all unless the government can actually produce at trial or sentencing the actual quantity of drugs necessary to trigger the statutory minimum.
Out here in flyover country, there are lots of “mules” who carry large amounts of dope for small change. Many times they do so for traveling money to get north of the border to work in the huge packing plants in this part of the country or because they have been made “an offer they could not refuse.” We also see a lot of “dry,” or “barely” wet, conspiracies where the government presents small quantities of dope (and sometimes no actual dope at all). The government then relies upon snitches to testify about much greater quantities (“ghost dope”), the government lacking the actual dope about which the snitches testify.
In either case, subjecting “mules” to statutory minimums or relying upon “ghost dope” to trigger statutory minimums, does not reflect the real world. “Mules” don’t deserve draconian sentences—they are at the very bottom of the food chain. Frequently, snitches lie or their brains are fried. Punishing “mules” and using “ghost dope,” under the statutory minimum regimen, smells like a fetid feedlot on a humid day.
Surely, Chairman Grassley knows the difference between that malodorous odor and the lovely aroma of roses.