Richland County Sheriff Looking to Charge Phelps For Pot Incident
On the one hand, the sheriff has a point:
“If someone breaks the law in Richland County, we have an obligation as law enforcement to investigate and to bring charges,” Sheriff Leon Lott said in a statement.
“The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is making an effort to determine if Mr. Phelps broke the law. If he did, he will be charged in the same manner as anyone else. The sheriff has a responsibility to be fair, to enforce the law and to not turn a blind eye because someone is a celebrity.”
There were over 800,000 arrests for simple possession in 2007 (the most recent year I could find data for). It’s stupid, but that’s the law. What makes Michael Phelps any different from any other young adult at a party…or for that matter our last three presidents? Wait, I lost my train of thought.
Oh, right. You get caught, you pay the price. One day maybe we’ll have a sensible drug policy, but not today.
On the other hand, there is such a thing as prosecutorial discretion. The University of South Carolina police and the Columbia police have announced that they have no intention of filing charges. The sheriff is something of a hard ass when it comes to drugs, though. Dangling it out there with a photograph and an apology is probably expecting too much restraint.
In the meantime, Phelps is hanging on to sponsors Visa, Speedo, Omega, and PureSport. Kellog Co., the cereal company, hasn’t decided yet.