Friday, February 27, 2004

Rush Limbaugh's prosecution shows the benefits of wealth

Title: Rush Limbaugh in pill probe
Source: New York Daily News
Date: October 2, 2003

Back in October, Rush Limbaugh's house keeper broke the story that Mr. Limbaugh was hooked on painkillers. According to the article, "Wilma Cline, 42, says Limbaugh was hooked on the potent prescription drugs OxyContin, Lorcet and hydrocodone." Limbaugh was allegedly taking massive quantities of the drugs: "She also gave the Enquirer a ledger documenting how many pills she claimed to have bought for him - 4,350 in one 47-day period - and E-mails she claimed Limbaugh sent her." The way it started was on a much smaller scale:
    "He asked me casually, 'Is he [Cline's husband] getting any pain medication?' I said, 'Yes - he's had surgery, and the doctor gave him hydro-codone 750,'" Cline said. "To my astonishment, he said, 'Can you spare a couple of them?'" Cline said she gave Limbaugh 10 pills the next day and agreed to give him 30 of her husband's pills each month.
Now move forward to January...

Title: Prosecutors refuse Rush Limbaugh's plea offer
Source: USA Today
Date: January 23, 2004

One fascinating quote from the article is this:
    Limbaugh, who has admitted that he became addicted to prescription painkillers while being treated for a back injury, has not been arrested and no charges have been filed.
There is also this:
    In an attempt to head off charges, Limbaugh's attorney, Roy Black, wrote prosecutors on Dec. 11 to suggest that his client enter a court-sponsored drug intervention program without a guilty plea.
Rush Limbaugh makes something in the neighborhood of $30 million per year from his radio show. He is extremely wealthy. The question is, how would he have been treated if he were not wealthy? To answer that question, the following article is helpful:

Title: A prescription for prison
Source: Port Clinton News Herald
Date: February 20, 2004

From the article:
    Within a span of six months in 2002, Bonnie Reaper lost her brother to drugs, a daughter to a condition during pregnancy and her Rocky Ridge home to fire.

    The tragedies led the 33-year-old on a year-long prescription drug binge that temporarily masked the pain, but eventually cost Reaper more than she bargained for -- her freedom.

    "I really didn't think 10 morphine pills would cost me 17 months of my life," she said recently in a face-to-face interview at the Marysville Reformatory for Women in Marysville, Ohio, where Reaper is serving a 17-month term for theft of a dangerous drug.
From the same article:
    It's in Port Clinton, where Erika E. Gregg of Clyde was sentenced Ottawa County Common Pleas Court this week to 15 months in prison for trying to illegally obtain oxycodone with a photocopied prescription at the Kroger pharmacy.
So, we have Bonnie Reaper, who stole 10 pills and was sentenced to 17 months in prison. We have Erika Gregg, who photocopied one prescritpion and was sentenced to 15 months in prison. That is what happens to normal people. Then we have Rush Limbaugh, who was allegedly buying thousands of pills per month. He "has not been arrested and no charges have been filed."

This is the power that wealth gives you in America today. If you have enough money, you can in many cases manipulate the judicial system in ways that are extremely unjust.

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