Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuolumne County Superior Court - Interesting Grand Jury Report

Apparently the Tuolumne County Grand Jury (in Sonora, California) covers a lot more ground than the grand jury here in Albany or in most other places. I was adding an entry for the courts in Tuolumne County when I came across this.

They investigate public agencies and seem to find a high degree of professionalism everywhere. I get the feeling their investigations may be somewhat limited in scope, and guided by a public official. You can see the most recent report (including detailed subreports) at Tuolumne County Grand Jury Reports. The menu on the left shows reports from previous years.

Some great quotes:

The Grand Jury investigated the Tuolumne County Narcotics Team (TNT), a component of the Sheriff’s Office. The TNT was found to be a highly effective, pro-active, drug enforcement unit combating illegal drug manufacture, possession, and use within the county.

Um ... did they hear from anyone who thinks the drug war is not effective?

But there's also this gem:

The jury was concerned with some aspects of records keeping and the overall management of the TNT’s activities and operations. Specifically, the lack of adequate management reporting and the lack of current policy and procedures governing the TNT were found to be disturbing.

But wait ... there's more ...

Marijuana cultivation is the largest illegal drug enterprise in the county. The TNT is a member of the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP). This multi-agency effort uses helicopter flyovers to locate 99% of the marijuana gardens discovered. In FY 2006-2007, the total number of illegal plants seized was 84,095. In FY 2007-2008 up to January 16, 2008, a total of 109,759 illegal marijuana plants were discovered and destroyed. The TNT staff believes that despite these large and growing numbers, law enforcement is only discovering 40-50% of the total amount of marijuana grown in the county.

Okay, so let me get this straight. It's a highly effective unit, but it only discovers less than half the total marijuana grown there? And that's their own estimates.

The conclusion says it all as to the fact that the grand jury was guided:

The jury recognizes that the TNT is a highly effective, pro-active, drug enforcement unit combating illegal drug manufacture, possession, and use within the county. It is reasonable to conclude that more manpower allocated to this effort would result in more drug-related seizures, arrests, and prosecutions.

No way the grand jury came to that conclusion on their own, and they certainly didn't have all the evidence. There's no indication they heard from drug war critics.
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