Former Tyner High School football star Martez Mitchell recently was convicted in federal court in Chattanooga for, according to The Chattanoogan, "drug trafficking and using a gun in connection with drug trafficking." He faces five years for each charge, and the sentences, according to federal law, must run consecutively.
While I doubt that most people will give this a second look, I read the article all the way through because I was curious about the second charge. Did he actually point a gun at someone during a drug trade? Was he uttering threats while waving a gun?
It turns out that the gun was in the house where he lived, and police and federal agents never demonstrated in court that he used the gun to facilitate the selling of marijuana. In other words, "using a gun in connection with drug trafficking," is one of those legal technicalities that the feds use when they want to pile up years in prison on someone.
I will put it another way: the law lies. It is one thing if a person uses a gun to threaten someone else with death in order to make that person hand over money or property or to do something else; it is quite another when the presence of a gun in another room is used as "proof" of "using a gun."
Unfortunately, federal law is full of such technicalities that empower federal prosecutors but undermine the Rule of Law. For example, if Joe were to sell a small amount of marijuana to an undercover officer, and Joe also had an unloaded gun locked in the trunk of his car nearby, the same "using a gun" charge also would be applied to him.
That is correct. Under federal law, one does not have to use a gun to be charged with using a gun. Just another example of how the government turns the law into a lie.
I also would like to say that the jurors should be ashamed of themselves for going along with such a bogus charge in the first place. I'm sure that Judge Curtis Collier explained how the law worked, but jurors did not have to listen to him, and they certainly did not have to listen to prosecutors.
As I see it, a "judge" who goes along with this kind of charade is not a judge at all, but rather is nothing more than a shill for bad federal rules. I don't know much about Collier, but this case does not give me any confidence in his dedication to justice.