Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rules for rules' sake?

I'm awfully late to this story, but Huckleberries Online has been buzzing for days about the exceedingly frustrating case of Kendra Goodrick, a recovering meth addict who may soon have to return to jail. The prosecutors on her case and the Idaho attorney general argued successfully that her probation release was illegal, and that she should serve out the rest of her sentence. (Kind of like a certain case we've been hearing a lot about lately. But, uh, not exactly.) In the time since she's been out of custody, she's gotten her meth habit under control, gotten a job, and even married and had a child. Should the order for her return to jail be completed, she would have to be parted with her 6-month-old infant for six months before she could even be granted a clemency hearing. The link above gives a much better picture what's going on than I do, so go ahead and follow it.

I'm somewhat comforted to know that there's more to this story than plain old evil: the judge whose ruling was in the wrong, John Mitchell, has a history of overstepping his bounds in these kinds of decisions. It's fair that the AG would want to keep an eye on Mitchell's misdeeds, and breaking the law is a problem, but given that there's plenty of evidence in other cases I have to question the importance of taking this case so far. My estimation of this situation isn't helped by my general disapproval of drug laws and how addiction and drug use are addressed in this country, but still. A legal system should benefit the lives of the people it regulates, not simply perpetuate itself. Consistency does not trump kindness. We make up the rules in a Democracy, so we don't have much of an excuse for making bad ones.

If you'd like to appeal to our governor, Butch Otter, on behalf of Kendra, you can email him here.

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