Today's Evil Beet Gossip

Judge in Willie Nelson’s Weed Case Wants Harsher Sentence

Oh, Willie Nelson! What have they done to you! mugshot.

Photo via The Smoking Gun

Last November, in one of the lamest events of 2010, Willie Nelson was detained in Sierra Blanca, Texas (population 533, home of America’s Largest Sewage Dump) for having a stinky tour bus. He was subsequently arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor offense that carries no jail time.

This June, it seemed as though Nelson struck a pretty good plea deal: if he coughed up a $500 fine and court expenses, he could go on his merry way, the prosecutor decided. Because what kind of sicko would toss a frail, 78-year-old stoner in the clink?

Why, Hudspeth County Judge Becky Dean-Walker sure would! The plea deal sounded like “special treatment” to her, and she’d rather make an example out of the legendary singer-songwriter.

As Judge Dean-Walker explained to the New York Times, “If Willie Nelson gets off with nothing, I’m not going to be part of it.” She also told Reuters, “I’m not going to be guilty of signing something because someone is a celebrity… Everybody should be treated the same in my court.” She told the local West Texas ABC affiliate, “To me, [the plea deal was] wrong. I think that he should be charged with something that shows drugs were involved.”

That’s why Judge Dean-Walker rejected the plea deal, demanding instead that the prosecutor, County Attorney C.R. Bramblett, seek a harsher punishment—that is, the judge is trying to get Willie Nelson nailed with misdemeanor drug possession, which is punishable with jail time.

Last week Judge Dean-Walker told press she initially signed the plea deal by accident, then scratched her name off the document again. She kind of reminds me of my hometown Angel of Vengeance (I’m secretly from Texas).

If the case goes to trial, Willie Nelson faces up to a year of jail time. The very idea horrifies me. He’s so old! As I see it, Judge Dean-Walker is trying to kill Willie Nelson. That was almost my headline, actually, but I reconsidered.

And now for my favorite hobby, Armchair Lawyering: If I were Prosecutor Bramblett, I’d just trump up a baseless felony charge. That plan probably couldn’t backfire, and at least they’d get a different judge.

I also just discovered that Willie’s Place—the Willie Nelson -themed truck stop, easily the most heavenly place in Texas—shuttered earlier this year. Oh, Willie! Just get out of Texas once and for all; she’s no good to you.

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  • i quite agree. everyone should be treated the same in court and therefore no one should be prosecuted for marijuana possession or use, especially not a 78 year old man. how ridiculous.

  • Surely being charged with possession of drug paraphernalia involves drugs? And surely by insisting that he is prosecuted more heavily she is differing from the norm and treating him differently from some other non-famous nobody who was charged with a misdemeanour offence. I’m not from the US so misdemeanours and felonies etc. are alien to me, but making Willie Nelson a scapegoat doesn’t exactly stink of equality to me.

  • Oh, this stupid, costly war on drugs and self-righteous assholes who support it. What could possible good could come from putting an old man nearing eighty behind bars for participating in act of non-violent behavior that doesn’t negatively impact anyone else.