Who is the criminal?

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2006

A recent Juneau Empire article stated, "But Berkowitz added that the effort to criminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana may be futile as courts would still side with the constitution and not overturn their 1975 decision."

So let me get this straight. Our lawmakers are up on the hill passing unconstitutional legislation that will do nothing but waste more money? Are we not sick of lawmakers using their positions to grandstand themselves for the purpose of being reelected? At least Berkowitz has the proper assumption that not all Alaskans are apathetic about the First Amendment.

Money will be spent wasting time working on these bills, investigating and prosecuting Alaskan citizens who are well within their first amendment rights, and money spent by the citizens of Alaska on appealing convictions, which when overturned will now become money wasted by the court system as well.

This takes money away from investigations into heroin, methamphetamine, oxycontin and other dangerous drug epidemics Alaska is facing as we speak.

So what lawmakers want to do is unconstitutionally make 44 percent of voting Alaskans into criminals who were committing no crimes according to the Supreme Court. (Considering how low voter turnout is, you can imagine that the actual percentage of citizens is much larger.)

So think about this, while the Legislature does nothing but fills our jails with noncriminals, while violating our constitutional right to privacy, what happened to police doing good old-fashioned detective work, getting informants into commercial operations, obtaining search warrants and following the law's bound by the constitution that were set forth by our founding fathers?

Why must they resort to Gestapo tactics on ordinary law-abiding citizens that will be overturned at the Supreme Court level and waste so much of Alaska's limited resources that could be dedicated to so many other good things for the state?

Alaskans and Americans had better wake up and think about what the first amendment means to them. This is not a pot issue. This is a constitutional issue.

Sean Purvis

Auke Bay

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