Marijuana and Cannabis News

Texas Judge Wants Harsher Pot Punishment For Willie Nelson
By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in Culture, News
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 1:20 pm
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Photo: Hudspeth County, Texas
Vengeful Judge Becky Dean-Walker, who evidently gets her hair done at Trailer Park Skanks R Us: "If Willie Nelson gets off with nothing, I'm not going to be part of it."
A proposed plea deal in music legend Willie Nelson's marijuana possession case has been rejected by a vengeful Texas judge who said she wants harsher punishment for the 77-year-old singer.

Nelson was arrested last November by the U.S. Border Patrol when they found several ounces of weed on his tour bus, reports Justin Harp at Digital Spy.

The bust went down at the Sierra Blanca, Texas checkpoint after Nelson's tour bus pulled in and a Border Patrol officer smelled marijuana through the vehicle's open door.

Willie had reportedly agreed to plead "no contest" to a charge of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, as well as pay a $500 fine and $280 in court costs, with the presiding Hudspeth County Judge Becky Dean-Walker initially indicating her agreement.

The country icon had faced up to two years in prison for the marijuana charges.

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Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald
Willie Nelson needs harsher punishment, according to a Texas judge.
​But the judge has now reversed her decision and will deny the plea agreement, citing a desire to avoid any accusations of favoritism due to Nelson's star status.

The judge claimed she had "accidentally" signed off on the paperwork approving the plea deal for Nelson, then crossed out her signature, reports Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times.

"I did sign it before I realized," Dean-Walker said. "I flipped it over and I said, 'Oh, no.' "

"I'm not going to be guilty of signing something because someone is a celebrity," Judge Dean-Walker said. "Everybody should be treated the same in my court."

Nelson's case was handed back to County Attorney C.R. Bramblett, who has been tasked with deciding on a harsher punishment for Willie.

"He's supposed to file the charge he feels is appropriate," Judge Dean-Walker told The New York Times in a telephone interview. "Not what he feels he should do for his favorite singer. It is up to the judge to agree or not."

The judge said on Tuesday that Bramblett previously asked to have Nelson's charge reduced to a Class C misdemeanor and that she had refused. She attitudinally added that Bramblett "has made a habit of speaking with the press before anything has been resolved."

Bramblett hasn't yet commented on whether he will pursue the matter, or simply drop the case entirely.

Bramblett had previously suggested the marijuana possession charge against Nelson could be dismissed if the singer would agree to perform his 1975 hit "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain" before the court. But Judge Dean-Walker quickly slapped down that idea, saying there would be no singing in her courtroom. Bramblett later tried to claim he had just been kidding.

Nelson has long advocated the legalization of marijuana, even co-chairing the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

Judge Dean-Walker said she was "not concerned" that the disagreement over Nelson's plea was denying the singer his due process.

"At no point do I have to let him off," the judge said, clearly relishing her power, along with the media spotlight. "If Willie Nelson gets off with nothing, I'm not going to be part of it."


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