A Boston federal judge says that British author Andrew M. Sullivan did not deserve preferential treatment from prosecutors who dropped a marijuana possession charge after the journalist was caught smoking a joint on a federally owned beach on Cape Cod, reports the Boston Globe. U.S. Magistrate Robert Collings said the decision by Acting US Attorney Michael K. Loucks to dismiss a federal misdemeanor possession charge against Sullivan flouted a “cardinal principle of our legal system'' – that all persons stand equal before the law.
Three other defendants charged with the same offense appeared before Collings the same day as Sullivan. Sullivan's case was the only one prosecutors did not pursue, out of concern that the $125 fine carried by the relatively minor offense could derail his U.S. immigration application. “It is quite apparent that Mr. Sullivan is being treated differently from others who have been charged with the same crime in similar circumstances,'' Collings wrote. Collings added with obvious irritation that he had no power to order prosecutors to pursue the case, and granted their motion to dismiss it. The fact that he did, however, “does not require the Court to believe that the end result is a just one,'' he wrote.