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The March 21 front-page story was about honoring a new statute that says a person cannot be prosecuted and put in jail for drug use when medical help is asked for in an overdose situation.

The purpose of this statute is to encourage drug users to not "run" out of fear of being arrested if they call 911 to try to save the life of an overdosed friend, or an overdosed person does not ask for help because they are scared they will be arrested, and so the overdosed person gets no medical help and perhaps will die

A lady overdosed, a friend called and got her medical help before she died, was arrested and was sentenced and was doing six months in jail when a defense attorney filed a petition to get her illegal conviction overturned because of this statute.

The article quoted the prosecutor who said he did not really want to honor and obey the statute because he was, paraphrasing the article, "I didn't fight it, (the petition to overturn the illegal conviction) very hard, but I was very torn on that, (on overturning her illegal conviction), because Ms. Shopteau, (the "drug" person who had been illegally convicted), is somebody that seemed to really need the extra push to work on her addiction."

The prosecutor is saying he wants to have his own way rather than the way of the law.

Aren't attorneys and judges supposed to effectuate the will of the law, not their own will?

Second, the article quoted the defense attorney as saying "prosecutors remain the gatekeepers," meaning that whether or not a person is to be convicted in this type of situation is the prosecutor's job to decide. Certainly, the prosecutor is to follow the law, but as in this case, the woman was convicted anyway. Isn't the defense attorney also supposed to be the "watchdog" for the defendant. Is the defense attorney supposed to rely on the prosecutor to defend her client?

Reuben Larson, Bismarck

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