Oklahomans Give Middle Finger to Criminal Justice System, Send Patricia Spottedcrow Home to Her Kids

Patricia Spottedcrow (left) with her daughter, Ja’zalynn, 3 in 2012. (tulsaworld.com)

Storytime, kids. When I was but a wee lad of five or six, my parents were separated, and I would visit my dad on the weekends. Then all of a sudden, I stopped visiting him…for about three years. As it turns out, my dad had a lot in common with Patricia Spottedcrow: Imprisoned for an herb-yielding seed — children left to grow up without a parent, wondering what the hell happened.

Via Tulsa World:

“Patricia Spottedcrow was 25 when a Kingfisher County judge sentenced her for a first offense of distribution of a controlled substance — cannabis — to a police informant in December 2009 and January 2010. Spottedcrow had four young children at the time and did not have any criminal convictions when she pleaded guilty without a sentencing recommendation from a prosecutor.”

For the years he was in prison, the only communication I had with my father were the letters he sent me. That’s a steep price to pay for selling a plant. Twenty years later, I’m a college grad in a stupid amount of debt, ignoring my degree in favor of desperately seeking the approval of strangers every night trying to make it as a stand-up comedian. I guess it’s a helpful substitute for the therapy sessions I was supposed to start at the beginning of the year.

Unfortunately, even the glorious days of legal medical cannabis in Oklahoma can’t quell the lingering tendrils of a misguided prohibition that somehow still manage to destroy lives. Which brings us to the latest chapter in the Patricia Spottedcrow saga.

Here We Go Again

This week, ten years after the young mother with no previous convictions was sent to prison for a $31 marijuana buy, Patricia Spottedcrow was back behind bars for unpaid court costs associated with her earlier case.

A woman who at one point had a 12-year prison sentence for selling $31 worth of cannabis is back in jail after police in Oklahoma City arrested her on a bench warrant seeking more than $1,100 in unpaid costs in the nearly decade-old case.

Twitter weighed in:

Then Something Awesome Happened

The notoriety her case has garnered — and the explosion of outrage and public discourse that followed — resulted in good people coming out of the woodwork to get Patricia Spottedcrow released from jail and home with her children. This is The Oklahoma Standard we like to see!

As relieved as they must be to have their mom home today, Patricia Spottedcrow’s children were traumatized all over again this week, when a broken system of justice took their mother away. Again.

The law may be more lenient now when it comes to cannabis, but the casualties of prohibition continue to stack up. In this case, the list of casualties is long. Not only did a young mother lose her freedom (again) but Patricia Spottedcrow’s children will spend a lifetime trying to undo the trauma of having a parent forcibly removed and redefined as a literal pariah to society.

Just like I did, or am trying too.


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