Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Todd P'Pool Opposes Big Government and is Tough on Crime

Republican candidate for Kentucky Attorney General, Todd P'Pool -- who currently serves as Hopkins County Attorney -- has angered some Tea Party types for a recent prosecution of Dusty's Adult World.

Kentucky State Police executed a search warrant on the president of Dusty's two weeks ago and discovered a "display case [that] had salvia or simulated salvia and salvia paraphernalia items in it. Troopers also located a number of items that were of an obscene nature including DVD’s and magazines" according to Surf Mgulehnberg.

The president of Dusty's, Jo Ann Warner, was then charged with:
  • 79 counts of possession of drug paraphenalia;
  • 23 counts of prohibited practices concerning substances that simulate controlled substances; and
  • 16 counts of distribution of obscene matter.
Kentucky is one of 19 states that outlaws salvia. Many of us did not even know that the plant is being smoked as a hallucinogenic until Miley Cyrus was caught taking a bong hit of it on YouTube. Salvia has been associated with causing dangerous increases in the user's heart rate -- particularly coupled with the ADD medicine so many teens now take. Kentucky was therefore wise to criminalize its use.

Likewise, Kentucky criminalizes selling something posing as a controlled substance, in this instance, fake salvia. This is not a consumer protection statute for drug users. Rather, the statute criminalizes facillitation of the intended purchase a controlled substances, whether the actual substance was what was represented or not. So the dealer can be prosecuted whether the supposed pot was Oregano, or whether the drug was one of the designer clones (like K2) that are appearing with alarming regularity.

The obscenity charges apparently stem from simulated kiddie porn.

Todd P'Pool took an oath to uphold the law as County Attorney. If the Kentucky State Police make an arrest that appears valid on its face, he should prosecute. (Note, moreover, that before obtaining the search warrant, the police had to go before a judge to establish probable cause.)

P'Pool has a duty to enforce the law, period. He is not the face of an over-reaching government. To the contrary -- P'Pool is running for attorney general so he can join the multi-state challenge to Obamacare.

To those who think Salvia -- or fake Salvia -- should be legal, that's an argument for the legislature, not the prosecutor. Likewise for kiddie porn. Constitutional conservatives can understand that this is a separation of powers issue in the first instance.

Personally, given Kentucky's drug problem, I am thrilled at the prospect of finally getting an attorney general who has experience as a prosecutor. I reject the notion that drug use should be the choice of an adult; it is the common theme among too many of the sad cases of abuse and neglect that clog the dockets of Kentucky's family courts. The victims here are small children, not just the adults who chose to use.

And in any event, P'Pool faces no primary opponent. He is the Republican nominee. For those who want a conservative who believes in limited government and rule of law, he is the clear choice over Jack Conway, who refused to joint the suit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare.

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