Archive for Friday, March 16, 2012

7-year sentence given for bath salts

March 16, 2012


A federal judge in Nebraska on Thursday sentenced a Lawrence man to serve more than seven years in federal prison for possessing a form of a synthetic drug often called “bath salts.”

According to federal court records, Judge Richard G. Kopf in Lincoln, Neb., ordered Steven Sullivan to serve the 92-month sentence after he was convicted by a jury in December.

According to media coverage of the trial, Sullivan was stopped for speeding in southeast Nebraska on Oct. 27, 2010, and officers found the drug and another called K2 in his car. The “bath salts” were not yet on a law enforcement list of controlled substances, but he was convicted for possessing a “structural analogue” of the drug with the intent to distribute it. Federal prosecutors had argued the substance was similar to the chemical structure of an illegal substance and that it has a similar effect on the human body.

Sullivan can appeal the verdict and sentence.


l_eustacy 5 years, 9 months ago

When officers stopped Steven, they asked him if he had any illegal substances in his possession. He replied, "I'm clean."

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm so happy that our tax dollars are being spent this way!

Be sure to smile and be joyous when you write checks to pay your taxes, knowing they are going to be giving people like Mr. Sullivan free room and board for months, and maybe years!

And, as an afterthought, give the Lord above a prayer thanking Him for giving the lawyers a chance to earn some money.

P.S. Be sure to pay a little extra for the wars too, while you're at it.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 9 months ago

But this is maybe the best part of all:

After release from prison, Mr. Sullivan is quite likely to have a bit of trouble finding a job. So, one of his few options is going to be to resort to crime.

If you come home and find the back door of your house kicked in, be thankful that someone cared enough about you to air out your house a bit.

hawks1313 5 years, 9 months ago

^I second that. Sounds like he didn't have an attorney at all!^ I also like how the pervert that touches little girls in the story below got probation and the dude cruising around Nebraska with some bath salt gets 7 years. Our justice system is something else!

patkindle 5 years, 9 months ago

Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

tomatogrower 5 years, 9 months ago

I only clicked on this story, because I was worried I wouldn't be able to take a bubble bath anymore. What a relief.

patkindle 5 years, 9 months ago

The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are out numbered by the people that vote for a living.

tomatogrower 5 years, 9 months ago

How many druggies do you think vote? And what does that have to do with this sentence? Conservatives just have such a problem staying on subject.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 9 months ago

-1 Sheesh. Sounds like a punchline from Pilonidal Cyst, the radio god.

Corey Williams 5 years, 9 months ago

Go ahead. They stole it from H.L. Mencken anyway.

impska 5 years, 9 months ago

The article indicates that they weren't on the list of controlled substances. So it actually sounds like it wasn't illegal to have them.

I'm a little confused about how this guy is going to prison for seven years of possessing something that wasn't yet considered a drug.

Paul Geisler 5 years, 9 months ago

"Federal prosecutors had argued the substance was similar to the chemical structure of an illegal substance and that it has a similar effect on the human body."

So, exactly how is this stuff "kind of" against the law??? I suspect an appeal is warranted here.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 9 months ago

Yup, time for an appeal. And very likely a countersuit also.

I hope the taxpayers of Nebraska have very thick wallets. Or better yet, maybe the amount awarded, plus all of the court costs, plus the incarceration costs, can be deducted from the paychecks of the arresting officers.

They'll have to work without any paychecks for many years!

Tom McCune 5 years, 9 months ago

Tommy Chong went to federal prison for being associated with his son's business that sold bongs. Not drugs. Bongs, made out of a couple pieces of glass. And it wasn't even Tommy's business.

The estimated cost of "Operation Pipe Dream" was over $12 million and included the resources of 2,000 law enforcement officers. They were going after more people than Tommy, but $12m for bongs? Seven years for a precursor chemical?

pizzapete 5 years, 9 months ago

Seven years or any time for that matter is excessive for bath salts especially if they weren't illegal at the time of possesion. What ever happened to our right to be sucure from unreasable search and seizure or even ex post facto law in this case? I thought the government would be happy that hippies are finally taking baths.

jesihka 5 years, 9 months ago

To everyone interested in this case. ... I wish we could have afforded a better attorney at the time. Never hire Glen Shapiro of Shafer and Shapiro law firm in Nebraska. He was completely incompetent. He never deposed any of the prosecution's witness', never called any witnesses in Steven's defense, and only ever filed frivolous motions in the case. Any good attorney could have had the case thrown out before it even had to go to trial. He also lied to us about the existence a plea deal that was supposed to give Steve a year and a day. Steve agreed to this plea, not out of guilt, but to be released to his family and get on with his life. Steve is not guilty of anything, but a victim of unjust, and in this case a very obscure, laws and the unjust interpretation of them. The analog act is a law that crates a very slippery slope. What will the federal government to next? Arrest everyone who sells herbal tinctures or teas because they have a calming effect, or maybe coffee and chocolate because they have stimulating effects. Maybe they will arrest the makers of spray paint and glue because people get high on it, even though that is not it's intended use. We will be fighting this case as long as it takes to get him free, even if it means going on to fight the constitutionality of such a law to exist in the first place. In the case of USA v. Damon S. Forbes the court ruled that the definition of controlled substance analogue given in the Federal Analog Act was unconstitutionally vague, in that

“Because the definition of 'analogue' as applied here provides neither fair warning nor effective safeguards against arbitrary enforcement, it is void for vagueness.”

The common law principle that the people should have the right to know what the law is, means that the wording of laws should be sufficiently clear and precise that it is possible to give a definitive answer as to whether a particular course of action is legal or illegal. However despite this ruling the Federal Analog Act was not revised, and instead AET was specifically scheduled to avoid any future discrepancies.

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