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Florida’s Drug-Testing of the Poor Proves a Failure, but Some States Still Want to Follow their Example

By Kellen Russoniello, George Washington University Law student and NORML Legal Intern

The recent push for implementing drug testing for potential welfare recipients across several states has revealed at least two things: 1. The policy is not economically sound; and 2. It really brings out the hypocrisy in some elected officials.

NORMLReeferMadness 233x300 Florida’s Drug Testing of the Poor Proves a Failure, but Some States Still Want to Follow their ExampleLast summer, Florida implemented a law requiring all welfare applicants to submit to a mandatory drug test before receiving any benefits (Applicants had to pay the $ 30 for the test themselves, only to be reimbursed later if they passed. For more information, see this NORML blog post.). Not surprisingly, the program was brought to a quick halt. Back in October of 2011, a federal judge ruled that the Florida drug testing law was unconstitutional.

Further, in the few months that the program was up and running, it was shown that only 2% of welfare applicants tested positive for drugs. About 9% of the general population reports using drugs in the past month. So much for Governor Rick Scott’s theory that the poor use drugs more often than the rest of the populace.

Even more striking is the amount of money that Florida lost from this poorly designed policy. The Tampa Bay Online estimated that $ 3,400 to $ 8,200 in savings would be recognized every month from drug testing welfare applicants. As it turns out, the program is estimated to have cost Florida over $ 200,000. From any perspective, this policy can be regarded as a failure.

Despite the lessons that can be learned from Florida’s debacle, several states are still considering implementing programs to subject their impoverished population to drug tests. The Huffington Post reported that twelve states attempted passing legislation in 2011 that would require drug tests for welfare applicants. Florida, Missouri, and Arizona were the only three that succeeded. However, Pennsylvania has just begun a pilot program in Schuylkill County that subjects certain applicants to drug tests. By tailoring their laws to apply only to applicants that have aroused reasonable suspicion, these states are hoping to avoid constitutional problems like those that ultimately invalidated the Florida law and a similar Michigan law in 2000 (which was affirmed in 2003). Several states have also tried to drug test those who seek unemployment benefits, state employees, and private sector employees, including the passage of an Indiana law that requires drug testing for those in a state job-training program.

When pressed, legislators that support this policy try to justify their position by claiming that the taxpayers should not subsidize drug addiction. But taxpayers pay for much more than just welfare. Some of their money goes towards paying their legislators’ salaries. Wouldn’t this same rationale justify drug testing legislators? This has been the tactic of many Democratic state legislators to thwart Republican efforts to test welfare applicants. In fact, a Republican State representative in the Indiana General Assembly recently pulled a bill after another representative amended it to include drug testing for legislators. The bill was reintroduced and passed by the Indiana General Assembly the following week, which included a section requiring legislators to submit to random drug tests. Missouri and Tennessee currently have bills that would require legislators to submit to drug tests. These were introduced in reaction to a slew of bills aimed at requiring drug tests on different areas of the population. It seems that the legislators who want to drug test the poor aren’t really convinced of the merits of the program when applied to themselves.

Hopefully, state politicians will come to their senses as knowledge about the failure of Florida’s policy becomes more well-known. But given this country’s track record on drug policy, I wouldn’t recommend holding your breath.

To see a hilarious summary of Florida’s drug-test-the-poor policy, watch this Daily Show clip, which includes Florida State Representative Scott Plakon’s and Governor Rick Scott’s reactions to being asked to take a drug test.

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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Adult Content … Penn St officials head to court on perjury charges — The university is paying legal costs for Curley and Schultz because the allegations against them concern how they fulfilled their responsibilities as employees (11/07/2011) …

A few nice marijuana offenses images I found:

Adult Content … Penn St officials head to court on perjury charges — The university is paying legal costs for Curley and Schultz because the allegations against them concern how they fulfilled their responsibilities as employees (11/07/2011) …
 Adult Content  ...  Penn St officials head to court on perjury charges     The university is paying legal costs for Curley and Schultz because the allegations against them concern how they fulfilled their responsibilities as employees (11/07/2011) ...

Image by marsmet524
"Despite a powerful eyewitness statement about the sexual assault of a child, this incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency, as required by Pennsylvania law," Kelly said.

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This undated photo provided by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General shows Gary Schultz. Schultz, Penn State vice president for finance and business, is expected to turn himself in on Monday, Nov. 7, 2011, in Harrisburg, Pa., as he has been charged with perjury and failure to report under Pennsylvania’s child protective services law in connection with the investigation into allegations former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky …

Photo By Pennsylvania Office of Attorney GeneralSat, Nov 5, 2011

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FILE – In this Oct. 15, 2002 file photo, Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley answers questions about a letter he wrote to the Big Ten calling for a review of football officiating practices in State College, Pa. Curley is expected to turn himself in on Monday, Nov. 7, 2011, in Harrisburg, Pa., as he has been charged with perjury and failure to report under Pennsylvania’s child protective services law in connection with the investigation into …

Photo By Pat Little, FileSat, Nov 5, 2011

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Penn St officials head to court on perjury charges

By MARK SCOLFORO – Associated Press | AP – 3 hrs ago…… *** Monday November 7, 2011 ****

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Just hours after stepping down, two high-ranking Penn State administrators face arraignment Monday on charges they lied to a grand jury investigating former defense coordinator Jerry Sandusky and failed to properly report suspected child abuse, a case that has left fans reeling.

Late Sunday, after an emergency meeting of the Board of Trustees, university President Graham Spanier announced that Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, the school’s senior vice president for business and finance, would be leaving their posts.

Curley requested to be placed on administrative leave so he could devote time to his defense, and Schultz will be going back into retirement, Spanier said. Both men have maintained they are innocent of any wrongdoing in connection with the probe into whether Sandusky sexually abused eight boys over a 15-year period.

State Attorney General Linda Kelly and state police Commissioner Frank Noonan are expected to hold a 1 p.m. news conference about the case Monday a few miles from the Harrisburg district court. The arraignment is scheduled for immediately after that.

Sandusky was arrested Saturday on charges that he preyed on boys he met through The Second Mile, a charity he founded for at-risk youths. The charity said in a statement Sunday that Sandusky had had no involvement with The Second Mile programs involving children since 2008, when Sandusky told the foundation that he was being investigation on child-sex allegations.

The case has rocked State College, a campus town routinely ranked among America’s best places to live and nicknamed Happy Valley. Under head football coach Joe Paterno — who testified before the grand jury and isn’t considered a suspect — the teams were revered both for winning games, including two national championships, and largely steering clear of trouble.

In a statement issued Sunday, Paterno said the charges were "shocking."

"The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling," he said. "If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers."

Sandusky, whose defenses were usually anchored by tough-guy linebackers, spent three decades at the school. The charges against him cover the period from 1994 to 2009.

Sandusky retired in 1999 but continued to use the school’s facilities, but university officials said Sunday they were moving to ban him from campus in the wake of the charges.
Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office, told The Associated Press on

Sunday that whether Paterno might testify was premature and nothing more than rampant speculation.
"That’s putting the cart way ahead of the horse," he said. "We’re certainly not going to be discussing the lineup of potential witnesses."

The allegations against Sandusky, who started The Second Mile in 1977, range from sexual advances to touching to oral and anal sex. The young men testified before a state grand jury that they were in their early teens when some of the abuse occurred; there is evidence even younger children may have been victimized.

Sandusky’s attorney Joe Amendola said his client has been aware of the accusations for about three years and has maintained his innocence.

"He’s shaky, as you can expect," Amendola told WJAC-TV. "Being 67 years old, never having faced criminal charges in his life and having the distinguished career that he’s had, these are very serious allegations."

Sandusky is charged with multiple counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of a child, indecent assault and unlawful contact with a minor, as well as single counts of aggravated indecent assault and attempted indecent assault.

One accuser, now 27, testified that Sandusky initiated contact with a "soap battle" in the shower that led to multiple instances of involuntary sexual intercourse and indecent assault at Sandusky’s hands, the grand jury report said.

He said he traveled to charity functions and Penn State games with Sandusky. But when the boy resisted his advances, Sandusky threatened to send him home from the 1999 Alamo Bowl, the report said.

Sandusky also gave him clothes, shoes, a snowboard, golf clubs, hockey gear and football jerseys, and even guaranteed that he could walk on to the football team, the grand jury said. He testified that Sandusky once gave him to buy marijuana, drove him to purchase it and then drove him home as the boy smoked the drug.

The first case to come to light was a boy who met Sandusky when he was 11 or 12, and physical contact began during his overnight stays at Sandusky’s house, the grand jury said. Eventually, the boy’s mother reported the sexual assault allegations to his high school, and Sandusky was banned from the child’s school district in Clinton County in 2009. That triggered the state investigation that culminated in charges Saturday.

But the report also alleges much earlier instances of abuse and details failed efforts to stop it by some who became aware of what was happening.

Another child, known only as a boy about 11 to 13, was seen by a janitor pinned against a wall while Sandusky performed oral sex on him in fall 2000, the grand jury said.

And in 2002, Kelly said, a graduate assistant saw Sandusky sexually assault a naked boy, estimated to be about 10 years old, in a team locker room shower. The grad student and his father reported what he saw to Paterno, who immediately told Curley, prosecutors said.

The two school administrators fielded the complaint from an unnamed graduate assistant and from Paterno. Two people familiar with the investigation confirmed the identity of the graduate assistant as

Mike McQueary, now the team’s wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator. The two spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the names in the grand jury report haven’t been publicly released.

McQueary’s father, John, said his son was out of town on a recruiting trip Sunday, and he declined to comment about the case or say whether they were the two named in the grand jury report.

"I know it’s online, and I know it’s available," John McQueary told the AP. "I have gone out of my way not to read it for a number of reasons."

Curley and Schultz met with the graduate assistant about a week and a half after the attack was reported, Kelly said.

"Despite a powerful eyewitness statement about the sexual assault of a child, this incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency, as required by Pennsylvania law," Kelly said.

There’s no indication that anyone at school attempted to find the boy or follow up with the witness, she said.

Schultz’s lawyer, Thomas J. Farrell, told The Associated Press on Sunday that the mandated reporting rules only apply to people who come into direct contact with children. He also said the statute of limitations for the summary offense with which Schultz is charged is two years, so it expired in 2004.

The grand jury report that lays out the accusations against the men cites the state’s Child Protective Services Law, which requires immediate reporting by doctors, nurses, school administrators, teachers, day care workers, police and others.

Neither Schultz nor Curley appear to have had direct contact with the boys Sandusky is accused of abusing, including the one involved in the eyewitness account prosecutors say they were given.

The law "applies only to children under the care and supervision of the organization for which he works, and that’s Penn State, it’s not The Second Mile," Farrell said of his client. "This child, from what we know, was a Second Mile child."

Messages left later Sunday seeking comment from Frederiksen with the attorney general’s office, and from Curley’s lawyer, Caroline Roberto, weren’t immediately returned. Farrell said it was accurate to say the allegations against Curley are legally flawed in the same manner.

Farrell said he plans to seek dismissal at the earliest opportunity. "Now, tomorrow is probably not the appropriate time," Farrell said. "We’ll bring every legal challenge that is appropriate, and I think quite a few are appropriate."

As a summary offense, failure to report suspected child abuse carries up to three months in jail and a 0 fine.

"As far as my research shows, there has never been a reported criminal decision under this statute, and the civil decisions go our way," he said.

Curley and Schultz also are accused of perjury for their testimony to the grand jury that issued a 23-page report on the matter Friday, the day before state prosecutors charged them. Sandusky was arrested Saturday and charged with 40 criminal counts.

Curley denied that the assistant had reported anything of a sexual nature, calling it "merely ‘horsing around,’" the grand jury report said. But he also testified that he barred Sandusky from bringing children onto campus and that he advised Spanier of the matter.

The grand jury said Curley was lying, Kelly said, adding that it also deemed portions of Schultz’s testimony not to be credible.

Schultz told the jurors he also knew of a 1998 investigation involving sexually inappropriate behavior by Sandusky with a boy in the showers the football team used.

But despite his job overseeing campus police, he never reported the 2002 allegations to any authorities, "never sought or received a police report on the 1998 incident and never attempted to learn the identity of the child in the shower in 2002," the jurors wrote. "No one from the university did so."

Farrell said Schultz "should have been required only to report it to his supervisor, which he did."
Schultz reports to Spanier, who testified before the grand jury that Schultz and Curley came to him with a report that a staff member was uncomfortable because he’d seen Sandusky "horsing around" with a boy.

Spanier wasn’t charged.

About the perjury charge, Farrell said: "We’re going to have a lot of issues with that, both factual and legal.

I think there’s a very strong defense here."

The university is paying legal costs for Curley and Schultz because the allegations against them concern how they fulfilled their responsibilities as employees, spokeswoman Lisa Powers said.
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Genaro C. Armas in State College, Pa., contributed to this report.
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