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Truth is sadder than fiction

As I've said before, I read a lot. And if you read a lot, you start to pick up on the cliche's and habits of fiction.

Here in New Hampshire, we have a criminal prosecutor by the name of Kenneth Bernard. He's been recently touched by tragedy -- his sister and her two children were murdered, and the main suspect is their brother Christopher -- arrested after attempting to kill himself the evening of the murder.

Now, in books, if a prosecutor found his own brother accused of murdering their sister and her children, he'd probably go on a drunken bender, then come back as a crusader against domestic violence (the sister was staying with Christopher when murdered) or dedicate his life to preventing such tragedies from happening again.

But this is real life. In real life, mundane crap happens. Kenneth is going through a divorce, and his estranged wife has busted him for marijuana possession.

Obviously, Mr. Bernard hasn't been convicted of anything yet. And just as obviously, if anyone deserves a brief vacation from reality, it's Mr. Bernard. And even more obviously, if it's true, he can't continue as a prosecutor.

But damn, it's events like this that make me wish life was a story.



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Comments (41)

A search warrant for less t... (Below threshold)

A search warrant for less than an ounce of MJ? Here, it is a ticket with a fine -- not jail. The cops and DA would laugh at you. There has to be something else going on here that everyone wanted to screw with this guy.

It looks as though she repo... (Below threshold)

It looks as though she reported him to pad the divorce. I mean she speaks about how she wonders if he would be able to take care of the children...seems like a custody battle in the making. Indeed it's sad and depressing at what this man has been thru recently, and I wouldn't blame the man for puffin up some lovely MJ. heh
I suppose confronting him privately doesn't have the same impact as rat'n him out to the police.

You have to convince the po... (Below threshold)

You have to convince the police or DA to go to a judge and convince him to sign a warrant. They didn't have to do it just based on the wife or her atty's complaint. Something is going on.

Heard on the radio today th... (Below threshold)

Heard on the radio today that Cow Hampshire is the highest pot using state in the country. So the prosecutor is right in line with the population, whose motto is

"Live High or Die"

Ditto - mine's like a nigh... (Below threshold)

Ditto - mine's like a nightmare. Life is crashing down on his head andI hope someone keeps on eye o him; we all have our broken pionts.


Life is a story. It's simp... (Below threshold)

Life is a story. It's simply all the books we could ever read. And when we leave this place despite being able to reach back thru the millenia reading literary giants who have gone before we will not know the height, length, or breadth of it. G-d help us to follow ancient admonishments "Be ye kind hearted one to another".

I'm betting Julie lives in ... (Below threshold)

I'm betting Julie lives in California. Most other places still take drug laws seriously. I don't think there's anything else going on from a legal perspective. In most places in this country, if the wife of the prosecutor called the cops, told them that her husband is using drugs, and told them there's evidence right here in her house, in most of this country the exact same thing would happen. I don't think they needed a warrant, since they had her permission to enter and search, but it didn't hurt. He won't go to jail for simple possession of less than an ounce. Nobody does, UNLESS they are already on probation, parole, home detention, etc.

Poor guy's life is just fal... (Below threshold)

Poor guy's life is just falling apart around his ears. I don't know if would be able to cope with all of that happening all at once.

If all he did in the midst of all that was toke a joint, he's a better man than I am (and I say that as an opponent of legalization!).

I don't think they neede... (Below threshold)

I don't think they needed a warrant, since they had her permission to enter and search, but it didn't hurt.

That's assuming they're still living together. Most people going through a contentious divorce are separated, and she wouldn't have standing to give permission for a search.

"I don't think they need... (Below threshold)

"I don't think they needed a warrant, since they had her permission to enter and search, but it didn't hurt.

That's assuming they're still living together. Most people going through a contentious divorce are separated, and she wouldn't have standing to give permission for a search."

You may be right about that McGehee. I wondered about that, but I was going on the assumption that she was part owner of the house.

California isn't the only s... (Below threshold)

California isn't the only state that has made it an infraction. Many other states make it a low level misdemeanor. No big deal if you're a private citizen but sort of screwed if you work for government.

The story has changed immensely from when it was posted this a.m. Initially, it said they executed a search warrant. Now they've changed it to her calling the cops to come get it. An arrest warrant was issued and he surrrendered. I can't believe they printed the baggie. But, if you are going to prosecute, I guess you have to. The couple wasn't living together. I don't know if it was a formal separation or not or if it even matters.

I assume when she moved out he started using again, otherwise, why is she so shocked? He does smoke a lot of dope for a married man with kids.

I'm sure she just wanted him out of the house. She may have trouble if she wants child support or if she and her kids are dependent on his insurance coverage, bc he won't have a job for long.

If the druggie did drugs th... (Below threshold)
Rob Hackney:

If the druggie did drugs then he desverves to get what's coming to him. That's the law and society doesn't allow you to get off just because you're having a "bad day". Never have I heard such a STINKING LIBERAL EXCUSE! Real life sucks sometimes. Think about what we went through with WW2. It was much worse. Suck it up and get on with it.

Is the "law" the main issu... (Below threshold)

Is the "law" the main issue here? It's not for me. Druggie, pot head or whatever nasty names you want to call him, the man has an enormous burden to bear and he's going to have to do it without his family for support.
I don't do drugs, don't smoke pot, I'm a card carrying Republican moderate, but I really can't blame the guy for lighting up.

Well it's nice to know you ... (Below threshold)
Rob Hackney:

Well it's nice to know you have such ambiguity when it comes to crime and criminals! It's that sort of PC liberal garbage that corrupts society.

Rob - The guy's a "Druggie"... (Below threshold)

Rob - The guy's a "Druggie" for puffing one f'ing joint? By that standard, last night's cherry Cosmo makes me a lush.

Well, I think he probably d... (Below threshold)

Well, I think he probably did alot of dope before his life went to hell in a handbasket, stopped and started again.

But considering he recently brutally lost three members of his immediate family and his brother will be in prison for the rest of his life, Rob, you are either pulling our legs and the joke is a bore; or your the real deal, therefore, don't ever let me hear you profess to be a Christian.

Hey Rob, how's the view up ... (Below threshold)

Hey Rob, how's the view up there in Self-Righteous? They say he's the highest horse in the land.

Touch any coffee or any form of alcohol lately?

*sigh* "in Self-Righteous"... (Below threshold)

*sigh* "in Self-Righteous" should, of course, read as "ON..."

Point still stands, though.

I was going to write that I... (Below threshold)

I was going to write that I sorta and generally agree with all that's written here -- sometimes certain overwhelming tragedies can offer a degree of justification for bad behaviors that otherwise would be just bad, no exceptions -- but julie, being "a Christian" does not mean indulging certain rationalizations and/or bad behaviors simply because others who are not Christian think they should go soft and pliable in the face of social ills ("compassion" and all, that is a great big tent of unreality when it accompanies an excusing perspective to and about immoralities) (true compassion empathises but has no requirement or instruction by Jesus Christ to indulge or excuse the sin, to be frank -- as in, hate the sin, love the sinner, but it doesn't mean go soft on the sin itself).

Undoubtedly there is more here than is in the mere story. I've known many people in my lifetime who turn to substance abuse because of "stress" but it so far, to my knowledge, has never solved or resolved the stress itself, but, rather, results in creating more stressful conditions.

I've also heard a lot of people involved in substance abuse who plead with others to have a care, help them continue their deeds, compassion and all, you know. Even Christ turned out the pleading legion occupants, perhaps in compassion, but certainly not in any indulgence for their doomed behavior.

As harmless as many today also paint MJ out to be, I've known a few folks who have gone quite completely crazy with ongoing MJ use. They always think it's harmless, funny even, not a problem, something needed inorder to "cope," and yet there's always a bad outcome over time.

It's possible to have compassion and to not indulge someone in issues of substance abuse, and, in fact, it's called "treatment."

This case is one of those s... (Below threshold)

This case is one of those situations where I ask which was first, the problems or the problems?

The guy deserves some understanding but it'd be best if delivered in the form of treatment. The rest is dealing with life tragedies and bad relationships...of which, life is fraught.

-S-, "As harmless ... (Below threshold)


"As harmless as many today also paint MJ out to be, I've known a few folks who have gone quite completely crazy with ongoing MJ use."

I'm a touch skeptical (does pot make you crazy or apathetic? the story keeps changing). But granting your point, yes, those people have substance abuse problems. Not everyone who smokes a joint, however, has a "problem". Use does not equal abuse.

Just got back in. surprise... (Below threshold)

Just got back in. surprised we are still on this article. Divorses routinely result in allegations of drug abuse, sexual abuse of children (custody battles)and animal cruelty. Remember Jeri Ryan? With nothing more to go on than the article it appeared they occupied the same dwelling. I can understand how they could do the search warrant based on the wifes' testimony but charges would require probable cause that the husband was in posession of the drugs. Since both of them could have had acess to any place in the house a viable defence is easily apparent and makes me wonder about the arrest warrant. There has to be much more not being told.

oops forgot to add. In the... (Below threshold)

oops forgot to add. In the State of Maryland there is a ex parte law under which a man can be put out of his home for seven days (or until a subsequent court hearing) upon allegation of assaulting or putting his wife or girl friend in fear of physical danger. It's been my experience that women angered enough to consider divorce see an attorney and almost magically get an ex parte order. Dude find's himself on the street for seven days (that's unless there actually was an assault). I am sure that the court system in this state is the main cause of homelessness among white males (If statistics are kept of such things).
coming the long way around to the point again information received in criminal cases from spouce's going thru divorse is going to be examined with a very cold eye by any jury.

The Zero Boss: I understan... (Below threshold)

The Zero Boss: I understand what you're expressing there within a certain conditional perspective, but to further expound here, I've known many people who smoke "just one joint" on a "now and then" basis and it's either them not knowing when the 24/7 cycles begin and end or that they don't understand what "one joint" actually means, OR, more commonly, that they start with one and then quickly abandon any sense of controls over when, how many, why, why not, who cares...

Most people who smoke grass do so with a dedicated casualness. It's not like they don't make it a recurring behavior, is what I write here, and usually, after "just one," no longer comprehend reasons why there was even an issue as to counting in the first place.

Grass is like that. Seems quite harmless, yes, but unfortunately, it isn't. It really IS a gatekeeper drug, despite it's supposed laughable significance. I'm reminded of someone who insisted he "only smokes it on occasion, no big deal" and once when accepting a ride home from the guy, opened his glove compartment to find a very, very large baggie of grass just filled to overflowing...in a convertible in heavy traffic at a stop sign in front of a neighborhood police station, and the guy looked up while I had the glove compartment open with my mouth agape, and waved at a motorcycle cop parked in the lane adjacent to us at the light.

Sad thing is, to that guy, it WAS harmless but if we'd been stopped, --I'D-- have been charged with possession of quite a lot of grass right along with that guy, and all I did was accept a ride home from him (but never again).

The thing that bugs me about the folks I've known in my lifetime who had that "casual dismissal" thing down about grass is that they never seem to be the ones who are found liable for their own problems, and yet it's those who have the bad fortune of intermingling with them who do...like me, that day, potentially, and here I can't stand smoke of any type and wouldn't be caught by choice or knowledge anywhere near MJ (I don't see the point).

Maybe that wife had a longer history of problems relating to substance abuse with that guy than we're told here. I don't know, just saying that MJ leads to other complications in life that wouldn't otherwise exist if the MJ use/affiliations weren't present.

But, about that "crazy" thi... (Below threshold)

But, about that "crazy" thing I wrote, yes, and I do mean crazy in a quite literal and obvious sense. I've known a few who literally went bonkers, a few who reformed, still have that certain "hazy" aspect to their personalities that even they accredit to having "smoked too much grass in (their) lifetimes."

I knew this lady in Hawaii, a neighbor, who smoked so much grass that she reeked of it when you'd pass her in the parking lot. Didn't see anything wrong with it, nor that she spent "about six hundred dollars a month" just to smoke her weed. Had two children, a husband to pay the bills, nothing to do but wander around from manicure to manicure and luncheon to luncheon and smoke her grass...

Last I heard she was hooking up with people in Hana, HI who were landing grass in bales from the Big Island, just so she could smoke more...

It may pose a gradual change in people's lives, not something most people notice from one month to another, but it certainly does lead to a sliding set of conditions in users' minds and lives and those who depend, or try to, upon them.

Those two children, specifi... (Below threshold)

Those two children, specifically.

I haven't changed any story... (Below threshold)

I haven't changed any story as to "crazy" and/or "apathetic," The Zero Boss (were you commenting about me? Not sure is why I ask here).

But, apathy is often a very large part of many forms of mental illness. It's just that someone being entirely apathetic is otherwise fine to general society, until other harms take place, which then place those people in contact with other systems of evaluation.

But, you know, every Alzheimer's sufferer, for instance (non grass related example here), every one of them is entirely apathetic. Doesn't make them not 'crazy' in a colloguial sense.

"Crazy" is one of those easy words used as shorthand to communicate a huge array of various and complex problems, I realize and I don't use the word often or easily. Just that, in reference to grass, I apply "crazy" to some I've known based upon their extensively complicated psychology and resultant problems, many of which are impossible to later separate from their use of grass and almost always, too, cigarettes and alcohol and other drugs, too.

Even on cardiovascular level alone, grass is far more awful for your lungs than smoking Camels. For starters...

err...colloquial sense, not... (Below threshold)

err...colloquial sense, not "colloguial..."

Well if they haven't charge... (Below threshold)

Well if they haven't charged him for marijuana possession, which I don't think is a big deal, it won't affect his job. Obviously another prosecutor will have to take care of business when it comes to his family ( I do remember this).

Unfortunately real life makes stories and not always good ones.


-S-, I wasn't saying you ha... (Below threshold)

-S-, I wasn't saying you had changed the story - poor communication on my part. I was referring to the governmental line on marijuana use. Originally, when it was first banned, it was done so on the grounds that it made "Negros" homicidal. Now, we maintain the same laws because it makes you lazy. (Cf. the ONDCP commercials with the brother hunkered in his mom's basement in a pot haze.)

I don't buy that marijuana is a gateway drug. I've used it frequently. I know many who use it frequently. It's never sparked a desire to move onto "the harder stuff'. This isn't just me - statistics don't bear out the gateway theory either. It's just another silly theory the government uses to maintain anti-marijuana laws that were originally passed to punish African-Americans. (See Jacob Sullum's Saying Yes for more historical background.)

For someone with a gambling addiction, you might say that Lotto is a gateway drug to slots and Blackjack. That argument makes just as much sense, and does as good a job of obscuring the real issue. Will some people go from marijuana to other drugs? Yes. This is a sign that they have deep psychological problems, and are not seeking occasional relaxation, but the obliteration of conscious awareness.

As for the possession incident you cite above, that opens up a whole 'nother debate about drug laws.

Where did I ever attempt to... (Below threshold)

Where did I ever attempt to rationalized his behavior? And exactly where is Rob's compassion?

sister stabbed to death
niece stabbed to death
nephew stabbed to death
brother I/C and accused of killing them
wife is dumping him
financial problems soon to get worse
will be fired from job
will have to go through state bar proceedings
arrested and charged with a misdemeanor
for possession of less than an oz. of MJ, [which in CA Is a ticket and no more than $100 fine]

Not exactly just having a “bad day.”
Yeah, suck it up!

He didn't murder or assault anybody.
He didn't steal from someone else.
He didn't go "crazy."
He smoked dope at home when his wife and kids weren't in the house.

There is the concept of proportionality in crime and punishment.

p.s. And society does allow one to get off because they are having a bad day.

For someone with a gambl... (Below threshold)

For someone with a gambling addiction, you might say that Lotto is a gateway drug to slots and Blackjack.

Uh, you've never been in line at the 7-11 while some fool was using all his/her rent money to buy lotto tickets. Or, know a bunch of housewifes who wrote bad checks so they could play bingo in the church basement.

It seems like there are sev... (Below threshold)

It seems like there are several arguements going on at once here.

I can certainly understand why the man lit up after a day like that. The question, then, has to be the following: is this a one-time thing or a glaring habit?

There are two members of my family who smoke pot. The one I can guarantee you smokes it, at most, about once a month. The other smokes it every day - in fact, she can't go without it. Is it fair to equate the two as drug abusers? Not at all. The first has used this far-flung pattern for years with no increase in the amount smoked and no signs of dependency or movement towards other drugs. The second I know for a fact will do coke if she can get her hands on it. She smokes every bit of pot she can find.

I'd say that in the case with this man it's a measure of degrees and self-discipline. How much does he smoke? How resistant is he to moving on to harder drugs? I'd say it's all in the person. I'm not sure I believe that pot is a gateway drug. It's all in the mindset of the person from the start.

Do I think his entire career should go down the tubes for this? No. I'm willing to bet that nobody here has ever been in such a situation. We can't say for sure what we would do until such a situation occurred. I say give the man a little credit: he could've done a lot worse than smoke a little pot.

I would submit that mariju... (Below threshold)

I would submit that marijuana is a gateway drug. Not because of any particular effect of the grass but because it tends to put the user(s) into contact with people who use and sell other drugs. The guy buying weed will eventually be offered a free trial of whatever else his dealer has. Just the same way, if one goes to places where there are a lot of pot smokers, one will find people using other drugs.
As far as the stuff causing serious problems, I believe that a large minority, if not an absolute majority, of people with a substance abuse problem got there by attempting to self-medicate for already existing problems.
If ever there was a candidate for self-medication, I'd put this poor guy at the top of the list.
The trouble with using illegal substances, or even alcohol to self-medicate for ongoing phyisical or psychological problems is that they often do something for the symptoms, they do nothing for the problem.

History, ancient and modern... (Below threshold)

History, ancient and modern, has shown us that neither truth, honor, morality, justice, decency nor love can withstand an offended woman's sense of entitlement to vengeance, however disproportionate and devastating to the object of her wrath. The only thing in the world that matters is destroying him...

You want to discuss wrath? ... (Below threshold)

You want to discuss wrath? How about the brother who stabbed to death the sister and her 4 and 2 year old kids? He destroyed both figuratively and literally.

It is truly frightening to ... (Below threshold)

It is truly frightening to see the comments about marijuana smoking from people who have no idea what the hell they're talking about. I suppose we can thank the Federal governemnent for doing such a good job of indoctrinating them. Peter- you expose yourself as truly clueless- I hope you don't have teenageers.

Of all the vices, all the addictions, from drinking to gambling, sex, or eating, MJ is no worse. The manufactured stereotypes are truly tranparent to those who know. Like medical doctors who want to ease the suffering of their patients, for instance.

People in this country would rather see families split up, jobs lost, property confiscated, because a guy wants to go out into his garage on a Saturday night and smoke a hand-rolled cigarette. Meanwhile, they pop their prescription tranquilizers from their doctor buddy- with a few martinis, of course.

In New Hampshire, posession of even the paraphernalia to smoke is a serious offense. One where the individual will have to appear in front of the judge. It's no parking ticket, no slap on the wrist.

Our motto is live FREE or die. What we do in the privacy of our homes is our own business. The fact that this guy's jaded wife used the system against him, is a total vioaltion of his right to privacy, and continuing evidence of the injustice surrounding the losing "war on drugs".

The Zero Boss: oh, right, ... (Below threshold)

The Zero Boss: oh, right, that'd be the "whole 'nother debate about drug laws" that every inmate facing ten to twenty has a lot of time on their hands to research and think about...

Seriously, there's a lot of damage that is associated with people who use drugs, including MJ, and it often goes unnoticed as to the obvious due to all the heat and talky talk necessary to users themselves.

I wish I could retract a bit of what I wrote earlier since I'm not so much a moralist about MJ as I have seen a lot of strangeness and actual destruction associated with it. I'd say it was equivalent of death by boredom to the light of day.

I realize it can be amusing here and there, just saying, based upon it's, umm, popularity, but I do think that the alleged benefits are far less than the hazards, and that "drug laws" are not the problem, the drugs/drug use is.

LJD: you have no idea what... (Below threshold)

LJD: you have no idea what people writing whatever have familiarity with and don't. The stories I could tell but, d'oh, obviously, am not.

And, I've yet to ever get to know anyone who used grass with any recurring frequency (of any recurring frequency) who was not at other times also in the company of people who presented other opportunities for drug use. Which equals "gateway."

I think it is impossible for anyone to have any perspective about drug use of any sort while they're using. And "using" is a state of mind. You either are or you aren't, is the thing, it's a perspective.

To Julie:My "COMPA... (Below threshold)
Rob Hackney:

To Julie:

My "COMPASSION" sort of left the building when my sister was RAPED by a DRUGGIE, thanks for asking.( It was many years ago now, and they got the bastard I am happy to say. )

Even if he was having a "bad day", think about where he got the drugs from, think what the dealer who he got them from does, think about what he probably also deals in and the people it creates.

In your quest to be a bleeding LIBERAL you seem to have forgotten that there can be many other victims to what appears to be harmless when it's NOT.

SO forgive me if I like the sound of ZERO TOLLERANCE and NO HYPOCRISY when it comes to the LAW.

Rob: You say you lost your ... (Below threshold)

Rob: You say you lost your sister? Well, among other things, this guy lost his sister, niece, and nephew all in one day. And it wasn't the result of him possessing a small amount of mj.






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