Meth Addicted Prosecutor Says He'd Be More Compassionate Now

Does former Texas Panhandle District Attorney Rick Roach deserve compassion now? The New York Times has a long article on the meth-addicted but zealous prosecutor who's headed to jail.

Even as he was hounding drug offenders into jail, it turned out, Mr. Roach was sinking into his own hell of drug addiction, by his own account stealing methamphetamine and other drugs from police seizures to cope with depression and sexual impotence. Equally astonishing was that his taste for drugs was hardly a secret: it had come to light in two election campaigns.

We wrote up his story here and here.

In an interview reported in the Times article,

"There's no excuse," he said. "I've gotten what I deserve."

He was ill, he said; drug addiction was an illness, "but there's no defense for taking an illegal substance to treat mental illness. Who in their right mind would inject themselves in front of an employee?"

... "If I'm ever a prosecutor again, which will never happen," he said, "I would be much less Rambo-ish and more compassionate in the way I handle an offense, particularly for users."

It seems Mr. Roach did not become addicted on the job, but has a decades old habit that predates his career in law enforcement. And, his usage was not a secret, either to his family or those around him. The real question after reading the Times article is not so much whether Roach deserves compassion, but how on earth did he ever get to be a prosecutor in the first place?

Jail is not the right answer for drug addicts, including Mr. Roach. But is that what he's really being sentenced for, or is it the abuse of his office and the public trust?

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    Re: Meth Addicted Prosecutor Says He'd Be More Co (none / 0) (#2)
    by roger on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 05:48:50 AM EST
    everyone deserves compassion. Even (or maybe mostly) scumbags like this guy

    Compassionante Conservatism talks.

    Redstater values

    Re: Meth Addicted Prosecutor Says He'd Be More Co (none / 0) (#5)
    by cp on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 06:14:36 AM EST
    you ask a valid question: how on earth did he become a prosecutor in the first place? the answer, of course, is in the first paragraph of the post: "Texas Panhandle District Attorney" if a drunk, incompetent, semi- texan can become governor of the state, and then president, why is it so difficult to conceive of a known drug addict becoming a prosecutor in that same state? at least he was able to get into law school, graduate and pass the bar exam, more than can be said for the semi-texan.

    What was it Friedrich Nietzsche said, so long ago? "Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong." Mr. Roach is a perfect example of why there's so much truth in that admonition...and why there's usually a terrible price involved in not remembering it. If the War on (Some) Drugs is supposed to have a moral basis, then what does it say when such as Mr. Roach are it's exemplars?

    Re: Meth Addicted Prosecutor Says He'd Be More Co (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 06:36:21 AM EST
    I like that quote nemo, I'll have to remember that one. Roach and Rush should start a new support group, hypocritical crackheads anonymous.

    Let's put Rush Limbaugh in prison before we stop the practice of imprisoning drug addicts. That man deserves it for all of the hate and lies he spreads over our airwaves.

    The system is screwed up, admittedly. But he did what every defendant does...he weighed his options and took the best deal. I don't condemn him for that. If he hadn't accepted the deal with its guilty plea, the Sentencing Guidelines would have viewed that as "a failure to take responsibility" and added time to the sentence. If he enetered a Not Guilty plea and went to trial, then was found guiolty, that would have been viewed as lying and would have added time to his sentence. So he took the deal. If his sentence is less than 7 years he'll go to a Federal Prison Camp. Although the movies suggest that cops and prosecutors get raped and killed as soon as they enter the system, that doesn't usually happen at camps. Almost nobody in a camp is going to go back behind the wire for something like that. Hell, one of my cellmates was a cop (a civil rights violation) and he did just fine. Didn't get killed or stabbed or anything. I almost punched him for "reckless chainsaw handilng" out on the landscaping crew, but it had nothing to do with his being a cop. Given that drugs were involved in his case, he'll be required to participate in drug classes. He'll be forced to get the help he wouldn't have on the outside. There is no parole in the Federal system, so he'll be required to do 85% of his sentence inside. For a seven year sentence, that's just shy of 6 years. He may get to attend an intensive drug treatment class, 9 months long, that will knock a year off his time. At any rate, he's going to be inside for at least 5 years. That's enough...more than enough...for a guy with a drug problem. The more pressing question is why do we continue to lock up addicts?

    As for his abusing the public trust, it was Texas. I have no sympathy for any abused public trust in Texas. This has nothing to do with the Prez, it has to do with my personal experiences with the Texas legal system. I shouldn't let my personal bitterness bleed over on everything Texan, but hey, that's my one flaw.[;)] I'll live with it.

    ... I have no sympathy for any abused public trust in Texas...
    would it be considered a knock on tx if i second that.

    Re: Meth Addicted Prosecutor Says He'd Be More Co (none / 0) (#12)
    by Joe Bob on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 11:29:54 AM EST
    Maybe this guy can get an empathy implant while he's in the joint. The newly found compassion he expresses is too typical of many of the conservative law and order types. He was clueless/didn't give a s**t until it happened to him. I actually sympathize with the guy because I don't think people should be going to jail for drug use. However, I can't help but feel that he is deserving of jail because it took being hit upside the head with the 2x4 of his own hypocrisy before he was able to even start to put himself in someone else's shoes.

    Re: Meth Addicted Prosecutor Says He'd Be More Co (none / 0) (#13)
    by Rick B on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 12:02:08 PM EST
    Joe Bob, the only thing close to an empathy implant that turkey will get is if someone hands him a Bible and explains that he will get better treatment if he finds Jesus in the joint. He doesn't deserve your symnpathy. He deserves the same "justice" that he himself has handed out during his career. As a life-long Texan I will agree with the earlier comments on "abuse of the Public Trust." This state is still run on the morality of the conservative Southern Baptist Church as exemplified by Paul Pressler and Paige Patterson. They scream to hang the drug addicts/Mexicans/Blacks/alcoholics and no one dares to stand up and publically speak against their insanity and irrationality as they wave their inerrant Bibles in the air. The purpose of all of this "lock'em up and throw away the key" is to set the sinners up so that if they repent and join the flocks then they are forgiven and get special treatement. Then they are paraded around to show the rest of the flock what the wages of sin are, and that joining the flock is a good move. It's all a sick group manipulation activity, and it's protected from government interference by the Constitution. It's also the worst side of Texas.

    Rick B: Sounds like a cult...

    Re: Meth Addicted Prosecutor Says He'd Be More Co (none / 0) (#15)
    by Mycos on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 09:21:09 PM EST
    Why is it that every addict with a job has their excuses made for them by the media itself. For instance, Roach gets "Mr. Roach was sinking into his own hell of drug addiction-- snipped---to cope with depression and sexual impotence". He wasn't doing it for impotence, he was impotent because of his drug use! Hell, I'm reminded of every movie star, politician or princess who gets outed for their drug use, and it always due to the horrible pressures of fame, beauty and more money than they know what to do with. Geez! You'd think that society's elite are... for some mysterious reason...too stupid to know that the best thing about dope is that it feeels good! .

    Re: Meth Addicted Prosecutor Says He'd Be More Co (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 10:47:24 AM EST
    Good point Mycos. An unemployed drug addict is just a low life criminal, but a movie star or prosecutor who is addicted is just "under a lot of pressure." I've been unemployed, that's freakin' pressure! Goes to show addiction is a medical problem, regardless of what walk of life you are from.