Charging Meth Offenders With Terrorism
A few weeks ago we told you about a prosecutor in North Carolina who is claiming meth is a 'Weapon of Mass Destruction' and prosecuting drug offenders under the state anti-terrorism laws. One of our complaints was:
This is nothing but a desperate attempt by frustrated law enforcement officials to fit a square peg in a round hole. No one supports meth labs, but if the North Carolina drug laws aren't sufficiently punitive for prosecutors and cops, they should take it to the legislature and pass a stricter law, rather than stretching an existing law past its common meaning and intended use.
I generally support many of the recent anti-terrorism laws, but one serious argument against them has always been that they won't be limited to terrorism, but will apply in situations whether the extra penalties or lowered protections that the anti-terrorism law provides are unjustified. This seems like an excellent example of this tendency; and it should also remind us more generally to be cautious when we hear assurances (even sincere assurances) that some broadly written law won't really be interpreted literally: In our fairly decentralized systems, local officials (or, for civil statutes, plaintiffs and their lawyers) often have ample incentive to push the envelope.
Glad to see Glenn and Eugene are on our side on this one!
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