Tuesday, March 01, 2011

A Crack Smoking Poodle

As I mentioned back in October, the US Supreme Court took on a case of about whether freebase cocaine is the same as crack cocaine. The difference is quite important as crack cocaine has prison sentences 100x worse than for cocaine powder.

The case was heard yesterday,and...well... I hate to suggest it, but it looks like Justice Breyer may have tested some of the evidence in the case. Consider this line from the official transcript(page 34, line 25 - page 35, line 3):
"People sniff it often, I guess, if it's a salt. And that's bad. And then there's a kind that's worse, that's freebase or crack, and that isn't a salt and it isn't a poodle and it isn't an acid."(emphasis added)
In all honesty, the poodle first made his appearance back on page 28, line 10, but even given that, Justice Breyer's comments still had the strong stench of a non sequitor. The overall discussion was much more a matter of semantics and grammar than a legal or chemical discussion, emphasizing how difficult it can be to do a great job in writing legislation.

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