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Winners in the War on Drugs: Congressional Family Drug Offenders

Winners in the War on Drugs

Congressional Family Drug Offenders

Escape Mandatory Sentences, Get Favorable Treatment

— Cunningham, Shelby,Watts November-December 1998

Drug warrior Ashcroft’s nephew got leniency on marijuana charges while uncle was governor and others went to prison for growing less — visit http://www.Salon.com — politics section to learn more.

Ashcroft’s nephew got probation after major pot bust Although his arrest for growing 60 plants could have landed him in federal prison, Alex Ashcroft was tried in state court and avoided jail — despite his uncle’s crusade for tougher federal drug laws and mandatory prison sentences

By Daniel Forbes Jan. 12, 2001

The nephew of Attorney General-designate John Ashcroft received probation after a felony conviction in state court for growing 60 marijuana plants with intent to distribute the drug in 1992 — a lenient sentence, given that the charges against him often trigger much tougher federal penalties and jail time. Ashcroft was the tough-on-drugs Missouri governor at the time.

Alex Ashcroft, then 25, and his brother Adam, 19, were arrested and charged with production and possession of marijuana after police raided their home in January, 1992.A housemate, Kevin Sheely, then 24, was also arrested. Officials said approximately 60 marijuana plants were found growing in a basement crawl space, and a lighting, irrigation and security system was also discovered.

Although growing more than 50 plants often triggers federal prosecution, and results in jail time — thanks to federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws Ashcroft fought to toughen as senator — Alex Ashcroft was prosecuted on a state charge and received probation. His brother Adam did not live in the house and was never prosecuted.

According to Sheely’s lawyer, Dan Viets, who practices in Columbia, Mo., Ashcroft tested positive for drugs during his first post-probation drug test, yet still remained free.

“As I recall it, in his first month on probation, Alex had a positive urine test,” Viets said. He asserted he has spoken to someone who has recently seen documentary evidence of the failed test.

Reached for comment, Alex Ashcroft’s father Bob first denied that his son had failed a urine test, then said, “Anything’s possible.” Asked about the failed urine test, Alex’s mother, Beverly Ashcroft, told Salon, “I have no idea. That’s such an upsetting time, it’s all a little foggy.”

Ashcroft was sentenced to three years in the Missouri Department of Correction for a class C felony involving more than 35 grams of marijuana. The sentence was suspended, and he was placed on probation for three years and sentenced to 100 hours of community service, which he served.

Ashcroft’s parents point out that Sheely, who went before a different judge, received even lighter treatment. Sheely’s records are sealed, and all Viets would say is that his client was officially “not convicted.” Bob Ashcroft says, “The prosecutor was from the other side of the aisle. He did everything he could to prosecute my son.” His mother, Beverly, adds, “I think the facts are clear that his uncle as governor certainly did not bail Alex out.”

Aaron’s note: there’s LOTS more on the site! Go check it out!



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