Resident wants rebuke, fine for commissioner’s marijuana case

A Fayette resident who has been critical of County Commissioner Robert Horgan for his May 2009 arrest — for misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving with an expired tag — Thursday asked the commission to act swiftly in rebuking him.

The ball is in the court of Horgan’s four fellow commissioners now that a Superior Court Judge has upheld an ethics panel’s ruling that Horgan violated the county’s ethics ordinance.

Thursday night Robert Ross urged the commission to fine Horgan $750 for each of the two ethics violations. He also suggested Horgan should be forced to reimburse the county for the costs incurred in dealing with the entire ordeal, which Ross estimated to be $6,155.

Ross also noted that Horgan has already violated the terms of his probation by testing positive for alcohol during a July 9 test at the probation office. A subsequent hearing in front of State Court Judge Fletcher Sams resulted in Horgan being ordered to 20 days of community service work and attend 30 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in a 30-day time period.

Ross urged the commission to take public action to censure Horgan, which would essentially be a formal rebuke of his conduct. The commission also has the power to determine whether or not to fine Horgan up to $1,000 according to the county’s ethics ordinance.

Horgan has already pled guilty to misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving with an expired tag, charges filed after he was pulled over May 23 on Stanley Road in his pickup truck by a sheriff’s deputy who spotted the expired tag. Horgan was arrested on the charges and booked into the Fayette County Jail before he bonded out, officials have said. On Oct. 22, he pled no contest to the misdemeanor marijuana and expired tag charges. He was sentenced to an $800 fine, 12 months probation and 40 hours of community service by Judge Sams.

Sams also ordered Horgan to avoid any drug or alcohol use for which he will be tested during the probation period.

Horgan did not reply to Ross nor citizen Pat Hinchey, who also asked the commission to resolve the matter “very swiftly.”

“I don’t want to be represented by somebody who doesn’t take the law in place in our state seriously,” Hinchey said. “... We all have to follow the same rules.”

Hinchey and Ross jointly filed the ethics complaint that led to a three-attorney panel ruling that Horgan had indeed violated the county’s ethics rules on two counts.

Horgan has resisted numerous calls for his resignation, including one several weeks after his arrest by fellow county commissioner Eric Maxwell. Horgan also survived a recall challenge when a Superior Court judge in LaGrange ruled in August 2009 that Horgan’s infractions occurred when he was not on official county duty.

suggarfoot
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a suggestion offered in kindness

I hope Mr Horgan reads this as it is meant as a kind suggestion.

Holding an Office is not as important as getting control of your life. I'm sure you are miserable and tired.

This might be the time to cut everything else out of your life and go back to the very basics.

Give up your office and everything else that is secondary in your life. Then when you've cut all the unnecessary things out, just take baby steps and try to figure out who Robert is and why he is unhappy. We have just one life, and yours must be pretty miserable right now. You must hate yourself pretty bad.

It isn't that people don't like you. Most of us don't know you. What you did as far as your office is loose people's trust. I don't care what you do behind closed doors, that is none of my business. But when you are out rolling down the highway smokin dope, you used very bad judgement.

Times are hard for a lot of people. They need someone in office they can count on. When people see you make a judgement call of driving while smoking, they can't help but think your judgement might not be the best when it comes to things that affect us and the money we are shelling out in taxes.

A lot of people don't admit they have problems and they lead lives of quiet desparation that never get better. Quit being so unkind to the person inside you. That is what you are doing.

Drop the office. If you take the time to get straight and get your life together in a livable fashion, you will be happy and an inspiration to others.

If you do that, and people see it, you may well be elected again and be someone people point to as an example, not a casualty.

pips1414
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Courthouse and Save At It Again

Robert Horgan holds one of the highest offices of public trust in the county. I agree he needs help, but you can't force it on him. He must want to help himself, or it is of no avail. Obviously, being placed on probation did no good, or he would not have violated its terms. Many of our children will be hearing discussions or arguments about what Horgan did. If he is not made an example, they get the message that drugs are OK and just a part of life unless it can be proven that their jobs will be affected by it. What does that tell us? Would you build him a shrine for his unjustified suffering?

Proving that it didn't affect his job performance is another thing. Behavior or deportment is one thing, but what a person doesn't do is another. In reviewing county issues, his mind must be 100% attentive. For instance, the influence of drugs might have kept him from expressing new ideas or suggestions that would have saved the taxpayers money. Or, his mind might not have been where it should have been during the presentation of important county issues. Just imagine what would have happened if a sheriff's deputy were found guilty of the same offense. Do you suppose that almost a year later he would still be a deputy sheriff? I don't think our sheriff would tolerate such conduct.I think people have the highest respect for law enforcement officers, and the county leaders should be no less deserving because of their higher offices. It's a case where one bad apple can stigmatize or spoil the whole barrel. Violating probationary terms is indicative that the message never got through. The recommendations of Messrs. Ross and Hinchey should be taken into consideration by the other commissioners. Otherwise, the public gets the message that the Commission is more of a brotherhood than an office responsible to the public.

Those against such terms of punishment would be hard pressed to present an argument that Commissioners should not be held to the same standards of morality and public trust as law enforcement officers. Irregardless, there are those who just like to argue. They thrive upon taking a position against the majority of voters or commenters. Maybe that's good, though, as it keeps posted opinions in the "top ten" and before the public for longer periods of time.

Perhaps things will change with the Commissioners after the first of next year.

ginga1414
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Courthouse, Finally We Agree On Something

Mr. Horgan does need help. His family needs help and relief from this situation. My heart goes out to his family.

Courthouse, as I said, you and I agree that Mr. Horgan needs help. However, I don't agree with some other folks' comments.

Laws were established for the protection of all citizens, Mr. Horgan included. According to the law, drugs and alcohol are the same. They both impair ones ability to reason and judge.

It is quite obvious that Mr. Horgan's ability to reason was impaired. Otherwise, why in the name of common sense would anyone who had been placed on probation for a drug offense, knowing they are subject to random testing, would put themselves in the position of being caught with alcohol/drugs in their system? It is just plain common sense.

Judge Sams is not unduly trying to make things hard for Mr. Horgan. He is trying to help Mr. Horgan, his family and the public as best he can under the confines of the law.

As far as we know, Mr. Horgan hasn't injured anyone yet, other than himself and his family. However, if Judge Sams just overlooked or swept under the rug his offenses thus far and Mr. Horgan, while under the influence of drugs/alcohol, killed someone's child, wife, mother or father.....

I have worked in courtrooms many times where repeat offenders have been checked during meetings with probation officers and have been found with drugs/alcohol in their systems. Mr. Horgan's additional sentence is nothing unusual.

I do not want someone with impaired thinking making decisions that will affect me, my family, my neighbors or my community. We have no way of knowing how many decisions Mr. Horgan has made, in his capacity as Commissioner, while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

From the start, Mr. Ross and Mr. Hinchey have been trying to represent the public trust and best interests of Fayette County voters. As a Commissioner, Mr. Horgan has now repeatedly betrayed the public trust and his position of responsibility. I greatly commend and appreciate Mr. Ross and Mr. Henchey's efforts.

Courthouserules
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Horgan

I think what some of you are doing is calling smoking a weed the same offense as injecting Heroin! Or it is so much worse than takng 2-3 drinks of alcohol when you feel like it!

Several states have now allowed the smoking of marijuana, not only as a pain killer but as recreational----just as alcohol is and cigarettes are.

Horgan got caught! His worst offense was trying to get out of it, as most people do, but the position he holds requires that he face the law.

scribbler
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CHRS LEGAL LOGIC

Lemme seee....

Cigarettes /tobacco products are legally purchased by those of legal age-- and may used as they are intended without causing harm or endangering anyone except the health and longevity of the smoker /chewer /snuffer /spitter...

Alcohol may be legally purchased by those of legal age, and consumed except as prohibited by laws that provide for public safety (from public drunkeness /nuisance... to DWI)

Gee, CHRS...
I checked...
And possession and use of marijuana remains ILLEGAL in our state...
JUST LIKE HEROIN...

Sooooo..
Even though is was "just a little weed"--
It remains on the WRONG SIDE OF THE LAW-- in possession and use... by the esteemed commissioner.

So you are saying....
By logical extrapolation & extension of your reasoning...

I can STEAL your wallet...
I mean after all... its pretty small and of no real financial consequence...

But if I STEAL your vehicle... or your computer..
WELL.... THAT PART REALLY is against the law...
-- and should be dealt with by the legal system!!

We either live in the light and constancy of the law--- or...
We default into our own preferences and opinions of which laws to obey...
--and which ones are "just kidding"....

Don't kid yourself dude,...
To fall into the latter mindset... is to recommend lawlessness... and inviting anarchy.

If the law is unjust or unfair....
We have the rights and the means...
Get on your horse... get busy... change the law.

But until the law is changed and in effect--
I expect you... as you expect me...
And the citizens expect their public servants--
To live disciplined and self-controlled lives within the sturcture and intent of the law.

Oh yeah...
Hand over your wallet dude... [/sarcasm = OFF]

Courthouserules
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scribbler

Many minor laws are violated until they finally are voided.

If your brother or sister were caught puffing a marijuana cigarette I think your argument for hanging would be somewhat different!

We are constantly changing the laws because when enough people have had enough of the law it becomes null and void!

Remember prohibition when it turned out to be WORSE under that law than before?

Yes. we are a nation of laws and not of men's opinions, but that is why we have judges isn't it?

scribbler
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CHRS -- Crime & Punishment....

CHRS...

No one is being hanged by the neck... for puffing....
GET REAL!

Yet there are progressive punitive sanctions for increasing levels of law-breaking behavior.

FOR EXAMPLE--
Misdemeanor possession doesnt carry the same penalties that possession with intent to distribute might garner from the bar of CRIMINAL justice.

For Horgan's case...
Public servants & elected officials...
--are held to higher standards.... whether they like it or not

Busting a stop sign is a teenage "I-dare-ya" thrill...
It's a minor offense... lets void that one... say what??

Unless of course.... you kill someone else in the intersection.
But it's only a small little trafffic law.... after all
Should I have to obey it every time??

The laws are uniformly on the books until they are changed....

The laws are uniformly enforceable... until they are changed...

CHRS...You go ahead...
You break the "little ones" YOU DECIDE are useless and mundane...

Then use your brilliant line of reasoning when you stand before the judge or jury...

Courthouserules
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scribbler

Yes, public officials can be fired from their job, or punished for certain things.But they can't be tried for it in a court of law under any different kind of circumstances than you can.

You fail to see that.

Courthouserules
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Mr. Horgan

I don't know him! So I am not favoring his actions nor his dismissal from an elective office, which I think is what is going to happen.

I have a question though about justice; Would just anyone, say a kid from Riverdale, who was on probation and violated that parole by having alcohol in his blood at a test, receive the same treatment as did Mr. Horgan?

The answer is no! Why? Because Mr. Horgan is obviously considered to be an alcoholic by the judge or he wouldn't have insisted that he attend AA meetings.
Serving in an elective office as an alcoholic who has hurt no one else is not a reason to dismiss him from office.
I believe there are other alcoholics serving in elective office in Fayette County right now! I will not give you names however. Certainly ones who smoke Marijuana! As we found out recently we also had judges who violated laws. They resigned. Maybe Mr. Horgan will, maybe he won't. He needs help. We have a county here in Fayette with many, many alcoholics or nearly so. If we are going to allow drinking, then we must treat the sick.

I once lived in a city where the County Judge was an alcoholic and so were many of the police. The took him home every week-end where they found him on the road! No other official took any action, ever. The judge sentenced many drunk drivers to jail anyway.
As far as I know it went well! Just ask your police who they are if you need to know. They know.

He should be admitted to a facility for treatment for alcohol and drugs and let the citizens decide next election whether to re-elect or not.

Save Fayette
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Do not give in Horgan

I was at the meeting last night, these two guys who say they are there for the people are only there to hear them self’s talk. They only seek personal vendetta gain against the commissioner. They both know that during the public comment section of the agenda that the Board of Commissioners is not allowed to respond to the comments. After they made their rants they left the meeting. Public comment is on the first part of the agenda.
All the work of the commission is done after that.
Horgan stay the course, you have showed that you do not give up. We know you work for the people of Fayette County; our neighbor has a son who is being helped by the new Fayette Counseling Center that you made possible. The only bad I hear is from people like Ross and Hinchey who have a personal gain. Build the By-Pass!!

Pat Hinchey
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HORGAN

Excuse me for interrupting with facts, I know they are troubling. However, I have attended many of the meetings over the years, and last night I did not, as usual, leave until the very end. Ask Commissioners Smith, Maxwell, Hearn, and Frady, who each approached and acknowledged me prior to their executive meeting. I would appreciate if people who hide behind fake names would get the facts straight prior to running their fingers over the keyboard.
Also, I am really trying to figure out just what personal gain is possible for me. I have spent way too much time and energy on this pathetic situation. Unfortunately, no one else seems to care that they are represented by a pot head. I prefer clearer thinking representation. It is just amazing to me that there are so few that this offends! Fortunately, at least 3 jurists and one judge agree with me that Horgans behavior VIOLATED this county’s Code of Ethics. I am sorry you don’t.
I for one am tired of elected officials who think they are rock stars. If you wanna live that way, go to California where they encourage moronic behavior. But please don’t try to make it the norm in Fayette County. Or have the courage to use your real name and change the laws.
I wish Mr Horgan all the best. He needs help. He needs to get his act together. I wish the same for you.

PTC Observer
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Pat - you should know

that SaveFayette is aka, Mr. Horgan.

Save Fayette
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WRONG

I resent that!
No Sir, this is not Mr. Horgan.

PTC Observer
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Save Fayette - wrong?

I don't think so.

No one would defend the actions of Horgan but Horgan.

Dogood Quietly
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I can understand

I would resent being Horgan as well

Spyglass
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When's the Hanging?

Even that wouldn't satisfy some.

AtHomeGym
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Spy & Hanging

Hanging will be at the Ballot Box, come early,bring ID!

NUK_1
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The lynch mob can't wait!

MUST KILL NOW! CAVEMAN CANNOT WAIT FOR ELECTION!

If I am Horgan, I am thinking of hiring private security because Robert Ross is beyond obsessed over all of this.

Glad to see life is so great in FC that a misdemeanor offense becomes the end of the world as we know it. Seriously, get a life.

Spyglass
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That's fair enough...

:)

PTC Observer
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Spyglass & Nuk

Apologists for bad behavior – you and/or your kids must have been in trouble with this issue too that’s why you don’t see the “big deal”.

I’ll just bet....

Spyglass
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You would lose that bet..

I'm not sure why you chose to go into attack mode. You are above that.

PTC Observer
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Spyglass - bad day

but look at my response to Nuk_1 below on this thread.

Courthouserules
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observer

Bad conclusion!
Not everyone who is for or against any certain thing makes them or their whole family guilty of something!

That is why I can say Bush was a terrible manager and thinker, but he showed considerable courage whipping alcoholism!

NUK_1
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I'll take that bet, PTC Observer

I have said all along that he should be punished exactly like anyone else who pleads guilty to a misdemeanor. The court sentenced him accordingly and now the commissioners can give him a "public censure" and fine him if that is what they feel like. I haven't seen anyone here say that Horgan shouldn't be punished just like anyone else convicted of a misdemeanor.

I don't see where anyone has "apologized" for Horgan's behavior. Hell, I didn't vote for him originally because at the time I thought he was doofus and wouldn't vote for him if he ran again either. What I see is some don't think it's the end of the world. Of course, most people with any brains don't look up to a Fayette County commissioner as some sort of a "role model" in the first place. Please.

This just in: just because someone believes pot or any other drug should be fully legalized doesn't mean that it's because they use the stuff or would if it were legal. Of course, this subtlety is lost on a lot of the knee-jerk hysterical crowd who probably assume that when William F. Buckley-father of modern conservatives-said pot should be legal, that must meant he was a pot smoker!

The pro-War on Drugs crowd always likes to say "well, if you don't like it,vote to change the law." Well, here's one for u "warriors:" if you don't like the fact that possession of small amounts of marijuana is already decriminalized and a misdemeanor in GA and the vast majority of US states, CHANGE THE LAW!

PTC Observer
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NUK _1 OK

I am as much a libertarian as you and what I believe should be done with drugs and what the law happens to be are two different things.

The fact is we should hold our public servants to a higher standard as they are sworn to uphold the law as part of their service to the community. If they break that trust then they should be thrown out. It has nothing to do with “looking up to them”.

Whether you believe in the law or not is immaterial, it’s the law. The fact that Horgan shows no shame but only contempt for those that call for his resignation says more about us as a society than it does about Horgan’s lack of conscience.

Remember there are good people out there losing their lives over this “War on Drugs” and Horgan supports this illicit trade through his drug use. Thus he is an accessory in the loss of life of those serving to protect us.

I understand you believe he should be treated no differently than all other citizens, on this we disagree.

Courthouserules
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observer

So as a Libertarian if Georgia, like other states, authorizes marijuana just like cigarettes are and taxes it, then it would be OK for Mr. Horgan to smoke a weed if he wishes---since you are a Libertarian!

Libertarians are a joke. Pick and choosers!

PTC Observer
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Bonkers

Ever wonder why people know that CHR is actually Bonkers?

Yes, it would be ok then Bonkers as long as he wasn't driving a truck under the influence.

Pretty simple concept that even you should understand.

ginga1414
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Bob, Pat, Doright, and Mickeyc

Thank you Bob. Thank you Pat. Thank you for having the courage to represent the citizens of Fayette County when our own commission won't represent us.

Mickeyc, legally and literally speaking, alcohol is considered to be a drug. That is the reason Mr. Horgan was ordered to abstain from the consumption of alcohol.

Courthouserules
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ginga1414

Great day, I saw a woman weighing about 400 pounds today smoking unfiltered cigarettes and drinking a beer, and she had a bottle of whiskey in her purse and several "dime bags." (she dropped her purse---couldn't pick it up).

Se was on here way to attend a city meeting of the council to protest "towers" she said. Her cell phone rang continuously and her boom box was turned up loudly.

The hamburger (those with 3800 calories) she was eating and the 32 ounce coke kept her from answering the phone very often.

Her t-shirt said, "Libertarians forever, TEAS in November! Where did NASCAR go?

Her unemployment was running out (Libertarians do draw that) and she wants an income from the towers to use before they kill her.

She also said no one was representing her in the local government and that they just wanted to cram her somewhere she wouldn't be seen or heard.

Had planned to go to Gainesville, FL today to assist Reverend Herr Terry in the burning of books, and to turn over all she owned to him for sanctuary...now that is all gone.

Mikeyc
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Pots slippery slope

Ahhh, of course, I wasn't thinking. With pot being the "gateway" drug that it's known to be, it was only a matter of time before Mr. Horgan began that hellish decent and moved on to the really hard stuff, beer!
Lets all pray he doesn't slide further into depravity and start snorting nicotine or ingesting caffeine. He’ll be speeding all over the roads of FC in that old broken down truck, driving with one hand on the wheel all hopped up on Starbucks! The judge will have no choice other than to order, "Shoot to kill"!

Courthouserules
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Mikey

I don't know what a hellish decent is but beer ain't it! If it were one-half of all Fayette County would still be sliding on the decent. They all just have diabetes and heart trouble but not from beer alone.

It's geting so a feller like Horgan can't even have one joint just because his tag was expired!
I would rather see those dudes who robbed the gun armory or those who killed the guy at Red Room, or those who robbed the bank and assaulted the hotel lady being hunted like Bin Laden is----oh wait, that aint workin either, than go after a fellers joint!

Mikeyc
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CHR, easy now.

Let me slow it down for you. It was "sarcasm". (From one who engages in it so often, I'm a little surprised)
He was smoking a joint, and he was banned from booze. I don't use either, but one is legal and one isn't. He was banned from the legal one that had nothing to do with this police matter, for imbibing in the illegal one.
If Mr. Horgan happens to BE an alcoholic, and stops cold turkey, there is a very good chance that he will drop dead. I wonder if the judge ever even considered this? Some Judges and some old people get irrational when it comes to Pot. It scares the hell out of them.
I personally am more afraid when my son is on a golf cart after a Friday night football game when some of these folks are driving home from the country club. Nobody has to make up statistics about that one, drinking and driving kills. In PTC however, if you're part of the court system, a police report is not even filled out when you're caught with your pants down.

Courthouserules
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Pants down

Is that part about being "caught with your pants down," sarcasm also?

Of course there are them what don't get tickets or warrants, and there are them who don't get sent to trial for misdeeds, and there are them who have automatic protection from getting caught!

"Them" are the "court" crowd as you say, other law officials, usually elected officials, public extortionists usually---too embarrassing to go to court, judges, large wage earners or very rich individuals, well known celebrities who are too good and earn to much (large tax payers) to go to jail very long, and well known racial problem makers---white and other colors.

Of course there are! It would be too chaotic to do otherwise.

They ain't never going to put Holifield, Lohan, local judges, airport managers, crooked chiefs of police, and on and on in jail long.
Isn't the convicted former Mayor of Atlanta in a law firm in Florida! He served some in a country club.

(addendum at edit)
Two of the last three Atlanta airport Managers were in serious trouble with the law. Two of the three now being considered are without a job for various reasons now. (the third guy dropped out he was a minority for Atlanta stalking horse).

Also, consider the practice in Atlanta of running extension cords to other houses with no power, around the meter or with the meter; and, doing the same with water. The white top guy was just let go for charging them with all that water!!! (the thing to do is average their least used monthly amount of water and automatically bill them for that----obviously something is wrong with the computers! There ain't no cheatin!

Cops know about this also, so does the Mayor, D.A., Sheriff, etc.
They won't go to jail. Neither will AIG executives!

Mikeyc
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Pants down

CHR, no that wasn't sarcasm. I read it about it the newspaper.
I also read about a judge (or prosecutor, can't remember) who was pulled over by the police. Nothing wrong going on, but she offered to let him leave his car there by the side of the road and hop in with her to let her drive him to his kids little league game. I think you, me, Horgan, NUK and a few others might have been asked to do aerobics by the side of the road before puffing into a straw, but sometimes I just read too much into things.

Courthouserules
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Ginga1414

You mean alcohol is a "drug?"

My goodness that makes 2/3 of Fayette County, druggies!

I drink OK
2 drinks OK
3 drinks OK

Drink defined as 1 and 1/2 ounces or 1 beer. Or 1 glass of wine. Most everyone who drinks at a bar or home has 3-5 drinks worth! Can't be Commissioners! Nor Hollywood Stars in Fayette!

1 Mary Jane Probation
2 Mary Janes AA pick up trash
3 Mary Janes 5 years!

doright
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Let's make that plural please

I think if one looks around one will find that there are many standing with Ross and calling for max sentence on our Pot Smoking Commissioner.

Let's go Commissioners, DO THE RIGHT THING and stand up for the people of this county and censure this law breaking commissioner and impose the maximum fine.

Chairman Smith this could be your shining moment and a chance to leave on a positive note. DO THE RIGHT THING!

Thanks.

Mikeyc
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Commissioner Horgans Sentence

One thing that has bothered me about this whole thing is the judge’s sentence. How can he order Mr. Horgan to abstain from alcohol? Nowhere in this whole affair is alcohol involved. Can a judge order you to abstain from anything they may think of for any infraction? Taillight out? No sex for you! Smoking in a city building? Suspend his driver’s license for six months.
I mean, if we could choose, I'll speed all over the county and you can test me for drugs and alcohol for the next ten years, no problem! The punishment should fit the crime. Arbitrarily banning "something" is just being vindictive.

bladderq
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Trying to make Logic of Drug Sentencing

There is no logic & that is why this country has the highest prison pop. of any country. Can't afford to pay teachers but CAN lock 'em up & throw away the key. 40+ yrs of War on Drugs back to Nixon & 70+ since "Reefer Madness" & THEY are coming for your wife & daughter. Headline today: 25 killed in Mexico. Reason: Fueling the US demand for drugs. Liquor prohibiton didn't work but was given up for control & taxation. Drug prohibition is dying a much more slow & painful death.

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