Choice cuts from Acadiana's news media for Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014:

la-bill-2013'Reefer Madness' lives on
When it comes to Louisiana’s stance on marijuana, our state is and will continue to be stuck in the stone age, as was witnessed Tuesday in the capital. The issue, according to this report from KATC TV 3, came up for discussion during a hearing before the Administration of Criminal Justice Committee. Arguing against any changes to our state’s marijuana laws (not even decriminalization?) was Louisiana District Attorney’s Association President Charles Scott, who offered the outdated stance that marijuana is a “gateway drug.” To further bolster his argument, Scott adds this confusing nugget of wisdom: “When you’ve served in the drug section and you’ve spent time in the drug court and you’ve seen addicts come in that are hooked on drugs.” At least ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie Esman was on the scene to give this sage advice (though it’s likely to have fallen on deaf ears): “I think we need to realize that our laws are out of sync. They’re out of sync with our neighbors and they’re out of sync with popular opinion. Certainly it makes sense to consider whether we are treating people far too harshly for an offense that ultimately hurts no one.” In Louisiana, a second conviction for marijuana possession carries a potential sentence of five years in prison and 20 years for a third. Considering decriminalization couldn’t even pass muster with our legislature, and that was only last year, it’s probably a safe assumption that legalization will be a long time coming. In the meantime, the only thing getting higher, at least legally, will be the number of nonviolent offenders  going on lock-down in our already overcrowded jails.

A courthouse lovers’ quarrel
Based on this report from the Opelousas Daily World, it seems the recent actions of John Moreau — the now former St. Landry Parish Registrar of Voters arrested Friday on a felony charge — were those of a scorned lover unleashing his fury on the vehicle of a “former dating partner.” That, at least, is how his victim, Susan Gerace, listed her relationship with Moreau in a restraining order filed last week. Complicating matters even further, or at least adding a little drama to the story, is that Gerace and Moreau’s wife both work in the office of 27th Judicial District Judge James Doherty; talk about an awkward work environment. It appears this court house love triangle, however, has since come to an end, as Moreau tendered his resignation shortly after his arrest last week.

When lips are sealed
Within one week, there have been reports of two separate shooting incidents in Abbeville in which the victims refuse to name their assailants. The reason? They either fear retaliation for being a snitch, or perhaps, they’ve got something to hide. Either way, it’s got local law enforcers perplexed. “It is frustrating and I do not understand,” Abbeville Police Chief Tony Hardy tells Vermilion Today. According to this report from the local paper, here’s a plausible explanation for the silence from the victim of the second shooting: When officers arrived at the scene Monday, they spotted a blood trail, which led them to an empty garage behind an empty rent house, and inside the garage, a whole lot of drugs. The first report, however, involved a male victim who was shot in the groin, which sounds painful and could very well explain why he hasn’t gotten around to talking yet.

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