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Sons of Two State Chief Justices Face Drug Charges

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In a strange drug war coincidence, the sons of the top judicial officials in two states are both facing marijuana charges.

In North Carolina, Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark D. Martin’s son was charged late last month with possessing cannabis as well as a water bong, knife and various small empty bags allegedly used to package marijuana. It is at least the second time he has been charged with marijuana offenses.

In Alabama, the son of Chief Justice Roy Moore plead not guilty last month to charges of possessing controlled substances including marijuana.

The elder Moore is perhaps best known nationally for defying a 2003 federal court order to take down a monument commemorating the Ten Commandments that he erected outside the Alabama Judicial Building during his first stint as the state’s chief justice. As a result, he was removed from office, but in 2012 ran again for the same post and was reelected.

The new marijuana case isn’t the younger Moore’s first drug arrest either, but in a Facebook post he argued that the cannabis in question didn’t belong to him. “This is nothing more than a prime example of how media and crooked police officers and critics of my dad try to not only destroy his career for what he stands for but will go as far as trying to destroy his family,” he wrote. “I am not a drug user.”

Both judicial leaders have asked the media to respect the privacy of their families.

Moore “repeatedly declined comment about the incident, describing it as a personal matter,” according to AL.com.

In reference to the Martin case, a court official said, “The Martin family, like many other families across North Carolina, is dealing with a mental health crisis involving their minor son and have no comment at this time.”

While marijuana law reform advocates don’t wish to see the negative effects of prohibition reach any families, the cases of these relatively privileged sons of leaders in the criminal justice system will perhaps bring broader attention to the failure of criminalization to reduce drug abuse and the unnecessary harms it causes.

And, maybe these close-to-home struggles will even result in Chief Justices Moore and Martin showing greater compassion for people who find themselves in their courtrooms appealing drug cases in the future.

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