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Marijuana: "Substantial" Settlement in Lawsuit in Case of DC Quadriplegic Who Died in Jail While Serving 10-Day Sentence for a Joint

The mother of a quadriplegic inmate who died after suffering breathing problems in the District of Columbia Jail has reached a settlement with the DC government and care providers. While Jonathan Magbie's mother declined to reveal a dollar figure, the ACLU National Prison Project, which helped litigate the case, called the sum "substantial."
Jonathan Magbie
Magbie, 27, a resident of nearby Maryland, was paralyzed from the neck down and used a mouth-operated wheelchair to get around. He was arrested in April 2003 when DC police found a gun and a small amount of marijuana in his pocket after they pulled over a vehicle driven by his cousin. In September 2004, DC Superior Court Judge Judith Retchin sentenced him to 10 days in jail after he pleaded guilty to marijuana possession. Although it was Magbie's first offense, Retchin later told a judicial review committee she sentenced him to jail because he said he would continue to smoke marijuana to relieve his pain.

Magbie died before making it halfway through his sentence. He needed a ventilator to breathe at night, but the DC jail infirmary didn't have one. Investigations after his death determined that he was taken to a hospital for "respiratory distress," but later returned to the infirmary. Jail doctors did not perform a follow-up exam, nor did they regularly conduct rounds to check on patients, including Magbie.

"DC's jail system had a duty to care for Jonathan Magbie's serious medical needs," said Elizabeth Alexander, director of the ACLU National Prison Project. "The jail and the Greater Southeast Community Hospital failed to live up to that obligation and it resulted in an agonizing and unnecessary death."

As part of the settlement, correctional officials have agreed to modify a number of policies in order to protect prisoners with severe medical problems and physical disabilities, including modifying the medical screening forms for incoming prisoners and spelling out medical conditions too severe to be treated at the jail's infirmary. Also, prisoners with medical needs that can't be met by correctional staff must be transferred to a facility that can provide an appropriate level of medical care.

"The family's concern was to make certain that, to the extent anyone can prevent it, that this terrible type of event never happens again," said Alexander. "A series of people dealt with this young man, and every single place where something could go wrong, it did go wrong."

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

And the bitch judge... when does her prison sentence begin?

This judge, and everything christian she represents, disgusts me to no end!

Is that bitch agonizing over Jonathans slow agonizing death... by strangulation? Highly doubtful... she's probably aching to kill all pot smoking scumbags like you and me!

The bitch sounds like a real murderous cunt... and still free... to fuck you and me!

I remember reading something about the judicial review... giving the judge a pass on her crime because, contrary to the prosecutors testimony, she claimed she'd never seen the victim and didn't know his condition?

Which is a lie according to the prosecutors statement... the judge had seen the victim and had even threatened him because he was late for her court once!

Image being late to court because you have no arms and legs!

Fuck that judge and all like her...

recall her

start a recall effort in the community. go to the elections office and find out the procedure and amount of signatures needed to hold a recall election. if you need a compelling reason, this case is perfect for it.


you can sign my name jonas pelters from chicago illinois

NOT Elected

She wasn't elected, she was appointed by,......G.W.Bush.  Good luck getting this murdering criminal out of office.

Justice is dead

In all fairness she should be executed for the crimes of kidnapping, civil rights abuse, torture & premeditated murder. This bitch is a PROVEN murderer, & it is because of criminals like her that I could never serve on a jury.  I simply don't know &/or understand what the law is.  Murder is illegal, allegedly, but this judge,...this despicable & disgusting piece of human filth, get's away with her crimes, clear & clear!!!  If we are all equal under the law, (again, allegedly) how can I be expected to pass judgment on an "accused" criminal/murder, when there are dangerous animals like this judge walking around free & when there is absolutely no question as to her guilt & role in the murder of Jonathan Magbie? I'd like to add that the judges who cleared her should be imprisoned on charges of corruption & accessory after the fact.

The above comment is correct!

Although it is a harsh comment and shows anger, the author is correct. Marijuana is one of the safest substances on this planet. Nobody, I repeat, nobody should be arrested or go to jail for cannabis.

This Judge and the involved police and prosecutors murdered that poor soul. Nothing will happen to them. Nothing ever does.

Norman Lepoff, M.D.

are you taking new patients?

i want you for my doctor.

my dentist supports legalization. he rocks.

you're probably too far away from me anyway. but good on ya!

we need more medical professionals like you.

She is but a true representation...

She is but a true representation of what 'elite' America has become and is becoming. I'm convinced in the eyes of all good conservatives everywhere that this 'judge' is viewed as a conquering hero. I'm sure she is very proud that she has rid the world of one more person who would dare stand-up to her and defy all her judgely commandments.

She is but a true representation...

""She is but a true representation of what 'elite' America has become and is becoming""

I agree if you are using the term "elite" to mean "Money grubbing Shiteheads" next commenter was spot on, its all about C$orruption. The sad thing is we are now doing this in a severely large way with the taxpayer bailouts, all this money is good after bad just to go into some asshats pocket. It's basically the same situ as all these "Bogus wars", Drugs, crime, poverty, terrorism etc, Shams in place to keep the money where it has always been. When the crapstorm really starts to break down the irony will be in seeing the powers that be turn these prohibited laws into a so called above-board legal avenue of revenue to help save the global economy.
The drug war will move toward a fight between the "law and order" corruptists and the "Keep the keys of the kingdom" corruptists instead of the current battle between The "Law and order" corruptists & PEOPLE WITH COMMMON SENSE!

ah, justice

American justice system: corruption from bottom to top. I'll wager this judge, and all others like her, make serious bank from dupont, anheiser-busch, eli lilly, etc., etc., etc. Can there be ANY other explanation for this insanity? The lunatics are running the asylum, and they all drive shiny new cars. If he'd had his prozac and a bottle of Jack on him, there would have been no problem.


But for who and why was he holding the gun...makes drug addicts look bad.

Gun response

That is a good question. If he had no motor function other than his mouth, how was he going to operate a gun? Now while I fully understand the need to carry a gun in DC (have you been there lately?), if you're not able to use it, what's the point?

How can a Quadriplegic use a gun?

Most quadriplegics don't have much use of their arms or legs
Its was more likely to do him harm than offer protection!
What kind of lawyer didn't this guy have.
The poor fuck could not even light his own pipe...
Breathing at night was to hard for him.
That is how bad he had it.
At least he helped out his Mom in the end.

Change, b!tch. It's coming.

And DO know this is being passed as far along as can be to those in ANY position to reform drug laws.

You should do the same.. this is atrocious.


OMG people a little pot never hurt anyone now did it!


Medical Marijuana; the right for sick people to possess MMJ

the point is:

a poor soul such as this should be "allowed to possess and carry up to 150 grams of medical marijuna

maybe the reason he had a "gun was he and his cuz had to protect themselves from other people "grabbing his pot ?

How could a quadrapalegic protect himself from being robbed of his "weed ?

He couldn't; so therefore; this person in particualar should have the right to carry hiw medical medicine

Notice how they dismissed the "gun charge; why ? to make an example out of this poor fellow who possessed Pot MMJ

Instead; this good fellow is making an example out of "them !

Medical Marijuana; the right for sick people to possess MMJ

the point is:

a poor soul such as this should be "allowed to possess and carry up to 150 grams of medical marijuna

maybe the reason he had a "gun was he and his cuz had to protect themselves from other people "grabbing his pot ?

How could a quadrapalegic protect himself from being robbed of his "weed ?

He couldn't; so therefore; this person in particualar should have the right to carry hiw medical medicine

Notice how they dismissed the "gun charge; why ? to make an example out of this poor fellow who possessed Pot MMJ

Instead; this good fellow is making an example out of "them !

PS sorry about the extra copies; anna usa

pps the new attorney general was quoted as saying;

"he doesn't think many people are arrested in the usa for minor offesnses of possession of marijuana?

I understand 800 poor souls a day are arrested daily in usa

re: simple pot possession

what people have to understand is this:

The war on marijuna is a war by the gov. to protect Tobacco

Pot arrests

Nooooo, it is not 800 per day but 2,200 people PER DAY that are arrested for pot, MOSTLY for possession. Almost 900,000 Americans per year get nailed in the "war on drugs." It is not a war on drugs but a war on American people who choose and VOTE to do what they want in a supposidly free and democratic society. Where is the democracy when your vote dose not really count but only what the federal dictatorship says counts. These otherwise law abiding, tax paying, hard working, church going family raising American Citizens are haveing their lives turned upside down because of a beneficial herb! Pot is NOT a drug, drugs are man made and usually have toxic side effects. Pot is an herb, a plant that grows naturally, it is not man made. Even to much aspirin can kill. NO ONE has ever died from smoking pot and you CANNOT overdose on it. Try that with a bottle of whiskey and see what happens to you. Gary )^_^)

strange world we live in --

The gun probably belonged to his cousin, the driver of the vehicle which was "pulled over" by DC police.

I wonder why the police stopped them in the first place? Oh, I get they're profiling quadriplegics... Or is it just black quadriplegics? Why stop there? Why not profile all those cancer patients too -- they're probably packing pot, with all that nausea from the chemo. And they'd be real easy to spot coming out of those cancer treatment centers.

I'm glad I live in Canada

I live in Canada and have a card for medical marijuana for pain and cancer. I've had the card for two years and no one has ever bothered me about how much weed I have on me or in my home.


this scumbag retchin deserves the slowest and most painful death possible, and i do hope it happens to her. in my opinion, she does not deserve to walk this earth, nor does she deserve to breathe the air you and i do. call me a bad person for saying that, i don't care. i hope this man haunts her dreams at night. what is worse is that i am sure this bitch is a hypocrite. i would like to look in her medicine cabinet and see what chemicals she dumps down her throat each day that allows her to drag her old ass up on the bench each day. i hope this murder by a public official drives the residents of DC to take some action, though i am not sure what that would be. at the very least, if you are not pissed about this state sanctioned murder, you should be pissed that millions of your tax dollars went to whatever settlement magbie's mother received, and that the state would gladly dish out that kind of cash again, rather than taking care of the root of the problem. like a previous commenter said, this piece of trash is a hero to drug warriors across the country, and that is very very sad. how many more events such as this one need to occur before the sheeple in this nation WAKE UP and see what the drug war is doing to our country. in the end god will judge this sad excuse for a human. and magbie will be sitting there laughing his ass off.

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