There is a far-too-common game I play when reading the crime blotter. It’s called WITCH-WW:What if they caught him with weed?
The basics: A crime story appears in my news feed. The perpetrator has committed a heinous act against a victim. The case goes to trial and the perpetrator is found guilty. But in a shocking twist, the perpetrator is given either a laughably lenient sentence or he is set free. I then go look up how much time that perpetrator would be serving if, instead, the police had caught him possessing, selling, or growing marijuana.
The case today comes to us from Virginia:
A former Virginia high school student who sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl will serve no active prison time, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Logan Michael Osborn, 19, pleaded guilty in September to the charge of having carnal knowledge of the girl. At the time, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with eight years suspended.
In early January, Chesterfield Circuit Court Judge T.J. Hauler decided to pause the two-year term, saying that he wanted more time to review the case. On Wednesday, he declined to reinstate the original sentence.
According to the trial, the 19-year-old rapist “forced the 14-year-old onto her knees, then tied a belt around her neck and hands before the assault.” He had a previous history of sexual assault dating back to age 12. The clinical psychologist who interviewed him said he had a “moderately high risk” of re-offending.
So… What if they had caught him with weed?
According to NORML, a second offense of merely being caught with less than a half ounce of weed would’ve merited a possible 12-month jail term for the 19-year-old rapist. But, of course, a lenient judge could have just suspended that time.
But if that 19-year-old rapist had rolled a joint from that weed and shared it with the 14-year-old victim, then he would be sitting in prison right now.
Judges can’t suspend mandatory minimum sentences, so the 19-year-old rapist would be doing two years in prison if only he had shared a joint with the girl.
Now, what if the police had investigated where that joint came from and determined that the 19-year-old rapist had grown it? Even more prison time:
Yes, had the cops just found one cannabis plant the 19-year-old rapist had grown, he’d be sitting in prison for five years.
What kind of society are we to have mandatory minimum sentences for gardening, but not for crimes of violence against people?
The kind that goes easy on white rapists… as long as they aren’t stoners.