/An Oregon musician faces 40 years for marijuana, but his mother’s words might sway the judge

An Oregon musician faces 40 years for marijuana, but his mother’s words might sway the judge

Beadle, who was traveling southbound on I-55, had crossed the Yazoo River into Madison County. He was stopped by a Madison County deputy just seconds later. Beadle was found with 2.8 pounds of marijuana after a search of his car. After a July trial, a jury found him guilty of the charges. He could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison without parole. Beadle, an African American, and his aides claim that the fact that he was stopped is evidence of racial profiling. Law enforcement officials however maintain that the stop was due to a traffic violation. This case brings to light a class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against Madison County Sheriff’s Department earlier this year. It alleges that the department unlawfully targeted black people with traffic stops, roadblocks and arrests. According to the ACLU, Madison County is home to nearly five times as many black people than it is for whites. Although 38 percent of Madison County’s residents are black, they were responsible for 77% of Madison County’s arrests and 72 % of sheriff’s department citations between 2012-2017. According to Mississippi Today, blacks are responsible for a higher percentage of drug-related charges in Madison County than they are in neighboring Rankin County or the entire state. Beadle’s case was featured in the Clarion Ledger for the first time this month. He is a Rastafarian, a religious movement that uses marijuana for medical purposes. Beadle is also a resident of Oregon and in possession of a medical cannabis card. These factors should be taken into consideration when he gets sent to prison, his lawyers said. Beadle claims that he had the drug but was not trafficking it, which is a long sentence. Madison County circuit judge William Chapman said Monday that he would continue the sentencing until next month. He stated that he needed more time for reflection on what he had seen and heard during the day. His mother Tommy stood outside her Canton hotel, waiting for Patrick’s call. Tommy Beadle, her mother, had driven from Pensacola (Fla.) to Mississippi over the weekend. This was the same thing she’d done several times since her son was stopped near Canton in March 2017. A Madison County deputy placed him under arrest on that date for careless driving and resisting arrest. Tommy Beadle did not attend the trial. The sheriff’s office had dropped the charges of careless driving, resisting arrest and drug trafficking and she believed they would drop the trafficking. It took twelve white jurors just 25 minutes to convict Beadle of possessing marijuana with intent for distribution on July 30. She wondered if Tommy Beadle would have been there to witness the trial. Tommy Beadle stated that it would have made a significant difference for her right now. However, the interview with Mississippi Today did not make any difference to them. At the trial, Joseph Mangino (now a Pearl officer) testified that Beadle had crossed over the fog line on Beadle’s right side twice, then followed another vehicle too closely until Mangino pulled him off on I-55 South. Mangino testified that he noticed the car emitting a strong, overwhelming smell of marijuana. Mangino requested that Beadle get out of his car “twenty to thirty times,” but Beadle refused. Mangino used a Taser to force Beadle from the car, Mangino testified. The car was searched by deputies, who found three shrink-wrapped packages of marijuana in its interior. However, they did not discover any weapons, scales, or bags for distribution. Beadle claims he was a victim to racial profiling. This argument was made by defense attorney Randy Harris during his closing argument at trial. Harris stated that Beadle is a black man and that he has been racially profiled. These are his braids. Harris said that he has an out-of state license tag and that racial profiling has been a problem in the past. According to data from the Administrative Office of Courts, Madison County had close to 1,000 drug dispositions between 2013-2017. Mississippi Today discovered that only two people were found guilty of the total charges. About three out of five drug dispositions were made against African Americans. This discrepancy is even more pronounced when you consider guilty pleas. In Madison County, the majority of defendants pled guilty during this time to more than 600 charges. About 66% of those defendants were black, even though blacks make up just 38 percent of the county population. 32 percent were white. This is more than the racial disparity in neighboring Rankin County which shares a judicial area with Madison. About 26 percent of 1750 Rankin County drug cases in the past five years were handled by blacks, who account for 20.6 percent. Between 2013 and 2017, 46.1 percent of Mississippi’s drug dispositions were made by blacks. The state’s 37.8 percent African-American population makes up the majority of that state’s residents. Lawyer: What about Mississippi? Beadle’s friends, family, and activists, who drove up from Jackson, filled two benches in courtroom. His lawyers argued that Judge Chapman should sentence Beadle less than the 10-40 years required under the state statute. This includes conditions under which a sentence can be reduced. His mother and lawyers argued that Beadle was a marijuana user for religious and medical purposes but not a drug dealer. They pointed out that Beadle was allowed to legally use marijuana in Oregon. Chapman should also consider the unpredictable nature of changing social norms and changes in laws in the country. According to his lawyers and mother, Beadle was law-abiding with no previous felony record. He was charged in Georgia with marijuana possession in 2009. However, he was not convicted. They said that he used marijuana as part of his religious beliefs. Tommy Beadle stated to the judge, “I wouldn’t stand here for even one moment if he was trafficking.” Beadle was convicted of drug trafficking under a statute that was extended in 2014. The distinction between possession and traficking of marijuana was redrawn under HB 585 which was a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill. It was intended to reduce corrections costs in Mississippi. The law, which was lauded for reducing the state’s prison population and expanding drug trafficking, was also passed. Prior to that, possession of more than one kilogram of marijuana was only considered possession. That penalty carried a six- to 24-year sentence, along with a maximum fine of $500,000. The 2014 law was designed to recognize the difference between an addict who may have hope of rehabilitation and a trafficker. Andy Gipson, then an agriculture commissioner, said that the bill’s architect. Cynthia Stewart, Beadle’s attorney, said that the country was “in a mess” with rapidly changing marijuana laws. This is despite even “legitimate” people advocating medical marijuana in Mississippi. Stewart stated that while it was illegal in the state, Stewart acknowledged that Stewart was aware of Beadle’s guilt and added that this should be considered a “very significant mitigating factor” in Beadle’s sentence. Stewart stated that “in five years, it may not even be considered a crime.” Assistant district attorney Todd McAlpin countered that even though Oregon law makes it illegal to transport marijuana or possess more than 24 ounces of marijuana, the state does not make it illegal. McAlpin stated that Beadle, who did not testify, would have to travel straight from Oregon to Mississippi if he had not passed through at least five states where marijuana is illegal. He said that Chapman did not find the religious argument persuasive. He acknowledged that there is a lot of debate about marijuana use in society, but he said it was “a slippery slope” for a Mississippi judge to start securing sentences based on legalization in other states. Beadle could be sentenced to 2.5 years if Chapman decides to reduce Beadle’s sentence. This is because Mississippi law allows judges to prescribe sentences no less than 25% of the mandatory sentence under certain conditions. Matt Steffey, an associate professor at Mississippi College Law School, said that the question is whether it’s wise to give long sentences to marijuana users, given the current national trend. Steffey stated that no matter how the sentence is handed down, it’s difficult to determine the effect of one sentence on another due to the discretionary nature sentencing. This means that a judge will consider many factors of the case including the individual’s past history, threat likelihood, and ability to offer restitution. Steffey stated that no decision made by a trial judge has any binding effect on any other judge or on any judge in the future. “Nobody is bound by this example, regardless of what this example says.” The mother returns home after being detained for a month. But Chapman was impressed by Beadle’s testimony, he stated. He said he needed more time to consider the sentence and that the hearing should continue until Oct. 15. Beadle, who was not present at the sentencing hearing, is still in Madison County jail. His mother stated that he was born in Jamaica. He attended high school in Maryland and majored in biology and biochemistry. After two years of medical school, he decided to leave the United States to help others. His songs have been listened to over 40,000 times on social media. This was highlighted by his lawyer at Beadle’s sentencing. Harris stated that Beadle was trying to get custody of his eight year-old son in Cincinnati as Harris handed Beadle a photo. Stewart, one Beadle attorney, stated that they would appeal the case and file a motion for new trial, regardless of Beadle’s sentence. Tommy Beadle now had to make the long trip back to Pensacola with no clear answers as to her son’s fate. Stewart, one of Beadle’s attorneys, stated that they will appeal the case and file a motion for a new trial regardless of Beadle’s sentence.