What is pot prosecution good for? | Feature | Chicago Reader

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What is pot prosecution good for?

Little rhyme or reason in reefer cases

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Lawrence has been arrested for marijuana possession so many times that he can't recall the exact number. His trips to court have given him a sense of how to play the system, but in this most recent instance he might have been too smart for his own good.

With a warrant in hand, police showed up at his family's Ravenswood apartment on March 9. When they asked him who he was, Lawrence—worried there was a warrant outstanding for one of his previous arrests—lied and gave them his brother's name.

Bad move.

The warrant they were trying to serve was actually for his brother. Realizing his blunder, Lawrence finally told the police he was really Lawrence. The cops charged him with obstructing information, a misdemeanor. He spent an evening in police lockup.

But Lawrence skipped his April court date, and this time a warrant really was issued for his arrest. He was picked up a week later and had to post a $300 bond.

When Lawrence was back in court on August 2, he asked for a continuance so he could hire another lawyer. "I want to get proper counsel," he said.

The judge told Lawrence to sit down and think about it. Lawrence then went out to the lobby and made a call on his cell phone. A few minutes later, the judge announced that a message had been left for him from an attorney who was interested in representing Lawrence. He told Lawrence to be back in court with the attorney the next morning.

The next morning Lawrence was there, but without the lawyer. "My father called his office," Lawrence said. "But he didn't come and I've been trying all morning to reach him."

The judge decided to give Lawrence until September to hire an attorney. He told Lawrence to get right on it.

Outside the courtroom, Lawrence expressed annoyance that the case hadn't simply been dismissed. "I'm trying to relocate to Indiana in a couple of weeks," he said. "Now I've got this hanging over my head."

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