HURLEY, New York (AP) -- Art Garfunkel, part of the folk music duo Simon and Garfunkel, was charged with marijuana possession after police pulled his limousine over for speeding in upstate New York.
Garfunkel, 62, had a small amount of marijuana in his jacket pocket when a state trooper stopped the limo Saturday afternoon in Hurley, 55 miles southwest of Albany, the Daily Freeman of Kingston reported.
The trooper smelled marijuana after approaching the vehicle, in which Garfunkel was the lone passenger.
Garfunkel, of Manhattan, was scheduled to appear in court on January 28 on the charge, which carries a possible $100 fine, or he could respond by mail.
And, from the Daily Freeman of Kingston, N.Y.:
Garfunkel, half of the folk music duo Simon and Garfunkel, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation, on Jan. 17 after his limousine was pulled over for speeding on state Route 28 in Hurley. Police said the trooper who stopped the limo smelled marijuana upon approaching the car and found 6 grams of marijuana in Garfunkel's jacket pocket.
The maximum penalty Garfunkel faces is a $100 fine, unless he has had a criminal conviction in the past three years. Authorities have declined to say whether the singer has a prior record.
Federoff declined to discuss the case on Wednesday, and he wouldn't even identify himself.
"I'm not authorized to make any statements," he said twice, once upon entering the courthouse and again as he left.
The lawyer's name was obtained from the court.
Garfunkel, 62, lives in Manhattan and was en route to Woodstock when his limo was stopped, police have said. The driver, Ousmane Toure of the Bronx, was ticketed for speeding.
From "America", by Simon & Garfunkel:
I've got some real estate here in my bag
When I talked to local revenue agents, though, I got a very different story. There may be more moonshine in circulation today than thirty years ago, they said; the feds simply ignore it in favor of the war on drugs and terrorists. Gone are the Eliot Nesses, busting up stills with religious zeal; in their place are working-class detectives on tight budgets, squeezing in a few moonshine raids now and then between shipments of cocaine. Even so, between 1985 and 1998 agents in six Viginia counties alone seized 538 stills. "People keep saying that the moonshiners have gone, but we keep finding more stills," one agent told me. "I guess if no one prosecuted murderers, they wouldn't exist, either--there'd just be a bunch of dead people lying around."
From Noodling for Flatheads: Moonshine, Monster Catfish, and Other Southern Comforts, by Burkhard Bilger
The bazaars of Peshawar's Old City are the history of mankind as K mart. Everything ever made is on sale in a dirty puzzle of streets too narrow for a 1970's necktie and more crowded than a hockey-game fight. There's the Street of Tinsmiths, Street of the Gold Sellers, Street of the Bird Sellers, Street of the Storytellers and a whole street lined with huge images of false teeth. You can buy a new car here, antibiotics, opium, a Russian refrigerator, a fax machine, a wife. The money changers, squatting in a row on a stone shelf along the filthy Chowk Yadgar Square, keep telephones behind their rolled-up prayer mats so they can call Hong Kong for the latest exchange prices. If you go forty kilometers south to the bazaar at Darra in the so-called tribal areas (tribal areas are what the Pakistanis call the parts of Pakistan that Pakistan has no control over), you can buy a brand-new Moscow-issue AK-47 still in its shipping grease, an entire ack-ack gun, a shoulder-fired anti-tank missile or landing wheels off a shot-down MIG--useful, the locals say, for making a smooth-riding ox cart. At the tobacco stalls in the Saddar Bazaar in the British colonial section of Peshawar I held up a box of fancy Cuban cigarillos I'd bought in Europe. "Two days," said a tobacco seller, and two days later the cigars were there costing less than they cost in London.
From Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government, by P.J. O'Rourke
I love to get off on tangents. You'd think with a President that's an ex-cokehead boozehound, some of the silliness of the drug laws might get ironed out by a team of simpatico lawyer types from the classrooms of Boalt and Sterling. "Hey, we all inhaled, and we snorted, too." But that simply hasn't happened.
Your average Joe without a law degree doesn't spend much time dwelling on the philosophies of criminal law in America. If you were to ask, he could tell you that drugs are illegal, the cops can't search your house without a warrant, you get one phone call, and you are innocent until proven guilty.
But, if you step back and give it the bird's eye peep, you can see the goofiness of it all. Take Mr. Garfunkel for instance. "The maximum penalty Garfunkel faces is a $100 fine, unless he has had a criminal conviction in the past three years." So, a judge, making no less than $48.08 per hour, will listen to two attorneys who aggregately make no less than $200 per hour, argue about when Garfunkel (who probably still cashes elephant checks on royalties) and a cop who makes about $24 an hour, can all show up to discuss whether the singer should be fined $100.
Ahhh, the economics of freedom...can you smell it?
I threw in the Bilger and O'Rourke quotes to try and paint a portrait of selective prosecution. There are baseline crimes in this world that are simply "crimes." You don't kill another human being unless in self-defense. Without examining war just yet, murder is murder, most societies can agree on that, and the exceptions are weirder and fewer than sometimes portrayed.
But what about drugs and booze and various other forms of contraband? What has been lost in all of this is the Golden Rule: he who has the gold, makes the rules. Last week, I talked about how the recording industry had pressured some knuckleheaded prosecutors into going after some flea market owners because some of the merchants in their markets were selling bootleg CD's. That was a prime example of the institutionalization of criminal law, where, the penalties are paid by the people who seemingly can afford them, and, prosecution is advanced to discourage the illegal behaviour on a macro level, rather than arresting the exact offenders.
So what did that hillbilly just say?
Well, what I'm getting at is that so much of our legal system is driven by perceptions. As the federal agent in Bilger's book said, if no one prosecuted murder, it wouldn't officially exist, there'd just be a lot of dead bodies lying around. Drugs cause a great deal of distress in our society, I'm not some quasi-libertarian who's about to argue for their legalization. But, you could survey every state in our Union, and you will find a case of Stoney the Stoner, who's in the state's Federal pen for 40 or 50 years because he got busted with a pound of his own shit, and didn't have his father's crackerjack legal SWAT team to cover the whole thing up. Additionally, in each of those states, you will find the story of 1 or 10 officers who were gunned down in a raging battle with a bunch of scumbag street hustlers who were more well-armed than the Fedayeen. None of these people own a single Cessna or an acre of land in South America, the Far Middle East, or Southeast Asia.
The last 4 or 10 self-righteous bastards who have been President, have all talked about America's "drug problem." They have all also entered and exited various wars for various political and economic reasons that have often been vague, strange, and downright fraudulent. There's no secret society producing street drugs and filtering them into America. If asked, your typical ops level DEA agent could probably give you names, longitudes, and latitudes of where the stuff is being grown.
But that kind of seek and destroy mission is frowned upon. I mean, if some petty jackass in some foreign country was supposedly in possession or production of some thing that was an immediate threat to the welfare of the American people, we wouldn't just barge in there, blow up all his shit and take him captive, would we?
A great deal of adminstrative money, on both the State and Federal level, is going to be spent processing Mr. Garfunkel's $100 crime. And, if it is truly a crime, not one minute of prevention or prohibition will be realized from the man-hours spent on it. So, another washed up rock star from the 60's and 70's was stopped, smoking dope in the back of his limo? Duh! A handful of political demagogues who make big contributions to Representatives, Senators, and Presidents who create and enforce these rules, actually live for this shit. Rock stars getting busted for dope is something we export to communist countries, overzealous theocracies, and anyone else who isn't buying enough Nike Shoes and blue jeans.
Understand, I'm not advocating to scrap the whole thing. But, like the tax code, the drug laws in this country are a hopeless mess that has been created by a never-ending stream special interest nonsense, and the resulting morass has exactly the opposite effect of creating a larger and more prevalent drug culture in America. And, it will surprise some of my friends and colleagues when I tell you that, if anyone is in a position to create real, lasting, and effective change in American drug policy, it's a former cokehead, prep school, frat boy, President, who probably had access to the best shit from some rather high volume dealers. That is exactly the kind of real world experience that should come to bare, but is instead going up in a ball of green and white smoke.
Jack's 420 Top Ten
1. Post to Wire, by Richmond Fontaine
Fined $100 for smoking dope in the rain.
2. Famous Anonymous Wilderness, by Graham Lindsey
Fined $100 for smoking dope from a bong made out of a vintage Old Milwaukee can.
3. Warmth & Beauty, by Thad Cockrell
Fined $100 for smoking dope in a hollowed out cigarette.
4. Live at Billy Bob's, by Jack Ingram
Fined $100 for smoking dope after a breakfast burrito.
5. Oh the Stories We Hold, by Anna Fermin's Trigger Gospel
Fined $100 for smoking dope in the centerfield bleachers at Wrigley.
6. Fought Down, by Ken Layne & the Corvids
Just sent straight to Carson City, no fines, dope isn't allowed in Nevada, period.
7. Just For The Record, by Bobby Flores
Fined $100 for smoking dope out of a tiny, violin-shaped bong.
8. Railings, by Frog Holler
Fined $100 for baking a half pound of dope into a batch of scrapple...it still didn't taste any better.
9. Chinatown, by The Be Good Tanyas
Fined $100 for smoking dope in the back of a Subaru station wagon.
10. Chicago Country Legends by The Sundowners
There really isn't an off-color dope remark you can make about the Sundowners.