Dream of: 17 May 1996 "Injustice"

Some other people and I were riding in a car along a highway. When I had boarded the car, I had noticed that one of the people in the car had put a considerable amount of marijuana into a cardboard box in the trunk of the car. Although I had had nothing to do with the marijuana, I was somewhat concerned that I would be riding in a car transporting marijuana.

As we rode down the highway, we were soon pulled over by the highway patrol and everyone was ordered out of the car. As I was getting out, I saw that not only my car, but dozens and dozens of other cars had also been pulled over, and I remembered that my car was part of a caravan of people headed to a gathering. The people were mostly the long-haired peaceful type. I had the feeling that about 400 people had been pulled over.

To my chagrin, as one fellow was getting out of a car, I heard him confessing that there was enough marijuana in one of the cars to make four thousand joints. I couldn't believe he would be so stupid as to make that kind of confession. I was concerned that the police would now have the probable cause they needed to search the car in which I had been riding. If the search took place and the marijuana were found, I might be implicated, because although the marijuana hadn't belonged to me, I had been riding in the car.

The driver of my car, a fellow with long blond hair, was right in front of me. The marijuana in our car belonged to him. I quickly stepped up behind him and began whispering in his ear. I told him that no matter what, he should not consent to having the car searched. I tried to impress on him the importance of his not consenting to a search, but I couldn't be sure my warning had sunk in. Abruptly a police officer told me to stop talking.

As I backed away, I thought to myself that everything depended on the driver's refusing to consent to a search. As an attorney I had learned that the worst thing a person transporting drugs in a car could do was to consent to having the car searched. If drugs were present, and consent to search were given, any discovered drugs could be used as evidence. However, if consent weren't given, and the police had no reason to search but searched anyway, it might be possible that the drugs wouldn't be allowed as evidence. If drugs were actually in the car, a person had everything to lose and nothing to gain by consenting to the search.

As for myself, I was unsure whether I would consent to a search of my belongings which I had in the car. Since I had no drugs, I had nothing to gain by refusing. If I refused, my refusal would probably only antagonize the police and make them more suspicious. In retaliation, the police – whom I knew couldn't be trusted – might even plant drugs on me. I was uncertain what I would do.

***

I was in a rural jail where all 400 people who had been on the road had been taken. With some of the other prisoners, I was led into a room where several men were standing by a wall, scrutinizing us. I was told that one of the men was a judge; I stepped up to him. He was probably in his mid 50s, overweight, and dressed in street clothes. I was made to believe that he wasn't the judge who would be presiding over the case, but only the judge who would set bail. I quickly asked him what the bail would be; he replied that it would be $12,500 for each person.

I could hardly believe it. I blurted out that in Dallas – where I came from – bail for such an offense was only $750. He looked back at me blankly, as if he didn't understand what I had said, or as if what I had said didn't make any difference. However, he seemed willing to let me speak, so I continued. Although I didn't really think it would do any good, I tried to reason with the man. I asked him how he could take part in such injustice. I wanted to know what had happened to the idea of freedom in American society. Was not freedom supposed to be one of the cornerstones of this country? I asked the judge if any of the 400 people who were locked up there had hurt anybody. I was trying to point out that possession of marijuana shouldn't be a crime at all, since using marijuana was simply a personal choice which each person should have the freedom to make, and that that choice only affected the person making it.

I also launched into an argument about the damage arresting so many people was doing to society. Where were all these people going to be held and who was going to pay for all the jails? What sense did it make to continue to devote so much effort to simply locking people up?

Somewhat to my surprise, the judge, as well as some other officials standing near him, was actually listening to what I had to say. It seemed that their stolid minds had never actually stopped to consider the consequences of the drug laws, that they had just automatically continued to arrest and incarcerate people without actually considering why. But now that I had spoken, it seemed as if they were actually thinking that maybe what they were doing wasn't completely correct.

Of course it was also clear that they still intended to hold everyone in jail and enforce the laws, however unjust those laws might be. When I asked how long it would be before a trial would actually be held, I was told it would probably be a year. Since I thought none of the prisoners would have enough money to make bail, I thought they would just have to wait in jail.

***

I was alone in a side yard beside the jail. A wire fence about three meters tall surrounded the yard, but no guards were in sight. I thought this might be my chance to escape. I hesitated, unsure I wanted to take such a risk. If I escaped, I would be a fugitive; I would have to live on the run. I was uncertain I would be able to handle that, but suddenly I knew I had to try it. I began climbing up the side of the fence, but just as I made it to the top, I heard a voice call out to me. Looking around in the direction of the voice, I saw a guard sitting in a tower. I hadn't noticed him before. Then I saw another guard. Clearly I couldn't escape now; I began backing back down the fence. When I again reached the ground, they ordered me back inside the building. I wondered if my punishment would now be increased.

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