Monday, March 08, 2010

Texas jury jails man 35 years for marijuana possession


For being caught with just over a quarter pound of pot, 54-year-old Henry Walter Wooten will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars, thanks to a jury in Tyler, Texas.

His prosecutor, Smith County Assistant District Attorney Richard Vance, originally sought a sentence of 99 years over the 4.6 ounces of marijuana police found in Wooten's vehicle.

Wooten was reportedly caught smoking pot within 1,000 feet of a day care center. Tipped off by the smell, police would later search the man's vehicle, only to discover his cannabis stash and a digital scale, according to The Tyler Morning Telegraph.

Wooten, who was convicted of two felonies in the 1980s, was also accused of marijuana possession in a drug free zone in 2008, the paper noted. Drug free zones, or perimeters around schools, playgrounds, churches and other selected institutions or organizations, mandate significantly stronger penalties for anyone caught with illegal substances on the wrong side of the boundary. They were passed in the 1980s amid a surge in the popularity of "crack" cocaine, which the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency was later found to have aided the distribution of................................................

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