When the arrest of Thomasville city manager Kelly Craver came to light yesterday, I thought arrest was a significant over-reaction for a minor misdemeanor (Is "minor misdemeanor" redundant?). Today Piedmont Publicus provides more background. This seems like fodder for my internet BFF Radley Balco or a subject for a Garrison Keillor "Worst Case Scenario" where a guy is quietly sharing a joint with a friend at the friend's house and the next thing he knows his is under arrest and out of a job.
I appreciate that we need laws to protect us from miscreants, but one of the reasons we pay police officers and prosecutors is to exercise some judgment in how strictly to enforce "laws". We give them considerable power but expect it will be used wisely. I guess we are lucky that during the time the deputy took to deal with Mr. Craver something bad didn't happen on that 911 hang-up the deputy was investigating.
This is a perfect time for the Thomasville city council to: (1) send Mr. Craver a letter reminding him he should not be committing misdemeanors, even in the privacy of a friend's home; (2) send the sheriff a letter reminding him that his deputies are expected to show some judgment in doing their jobs and pursuing a pot-smoker into his home on the basis of suspecting smelling marijuana smoke is not a good use of police resources; and (3) send the county district attorney a letter noting that there are more important things for the Davidson County justice system to do than pursue citizens committing victimless misdemeanors in their homes.
For the rest of us, it is a reminder of how important it is to practice using the critical phrase for innocent folks when dealing with law enforcement officers: "I do not submit to searches." If you question the wisdom of this advice, consider the case of Mr. Craver.