Latest Drug War News
These stories can't be told without your help.
24 1/2 Years
March/April 2006 - New Zion's Herald (US)
"Illuminating the Dungeon"
When The Door To Hope Closes, The Pain Is Multiplied
By Diana Webb
In June of 2004, I met Lori Kavitz -- a vibrant 44 year-old widowed mother from Iowa. Lori's husband committed suicide, leaving her to fend for herself and two young boys.
Grave sadness turned to depression, and eventually Lori fell into a recession of the heart. On the rebound, she commenced a new relationship with a man she believed would be her new life. But the drugs he brought into their relationship marked her for a fate more like death than life. In the blink of an eye, Lori found herself locked away in a federal prison serving a 292-month sentence without the possibility of parole.
There are some who say Lori received her just reward. Why? Because the propaganda surrounding the drug war makes drug use sound so atrocious that eliminating the individual from society seems like the only solution. But, are we truly safer because Lori is off the streets? Was justice served?
Lori is a first time, non-violent drug offender. She was not a drug user or abuser. She is a homespun all-American girl who lived a normal, middle-class life with not even a blemish on her driving record. Lori's crime was to become involved with a man who sold drugs -- a crime of the heart.
The crime she was charged with, however, is the catch-all "conspiracy" charge. Conspiracy, like the tango, takes two. When the indictment was handed down in the Northern District of Iowa in 2001, Lori was labeled as her boyfriend's co-defendant -- an assistant for his drug transaction, and therefore equal in responsibility before the law. Although clueless about the quantity of drugs sold by her boyfriend, by law, she was held accountable for all of it. Each co-conspirator bears the weight of the entire conspiracy.
Ironically, no drugs were ever recovered in the case. Lori's home was raided, but the military search-and-destroy operation yielded nothing. Federal law does not require it. Spelled out more plainly, physical drugs are not a necessary element of a drug conspiracy.
The conspiracy laws were enacted in the 1980's as a part of the war on drugs. The idea behind them was to charge the low-on-the-totem-pole drug dealers and users with the same charge as the big men -- if they didn't help the government snatch up somebody else.
Often, the drug dealer himself is a poor addict simply trying to make a buck for his next fix. The more people he sells and the more drugs he claims those people sold, the less time in prison he serves. Hence, there is a strong motive to lie. They hoped this would catch up the big guys -- the drug-dealing Kings of Capitalism who worship money above all else.
Back to the Wall
Next Prisoner of the War on Drugs