The Tale of Two MA Teenagers: Probation for Coach Belichick

Press Release October 30, 2006
Media Contact

Tony Newman at (646) 335-5384

The son of New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick was placed on probation for six months after being arrested on Saturday on one account of marijuana possession. Charges against Stephen Belichick will be dropped after six months if he stays out of trouble.

The Drug Policy Alliance, a national organization working end the war on drugs, applauded the appropriate sentence given to Stephen Belichick, while highlighting an injustice that has befallen another teenager from Massachusetts: Mitchell Lawrence, an 18-year-old now spending two years in jail for selling one joint’s worth of marijuana to an undercover police officer in Great Barrington, MA.

Mitchell Lawrence received the two-year jail sentence because he was within 1,000 feet of a school and because the fanatical district attorney of Berkshire County, David Capeless, decided to press school zone charges, which trigger a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison.

“Sending an 18-year-old to jail for two years for a small amount of marijuana is inhumane,” said Tony Papa, communications specialist at the Drug Policy Alliance. “Fortunately, the district attorney working on the Belichick case used common sense and compassion when pushing for probation instead of a jail cell.”

Lawrence’s case was depicted in a recent flash movie. The two-minute movie introduces people to Lawrence and the details of his case. The flash asks and then explains how an 18-year-old (he was 17 when arrested) who has never been in trouble before could be sentenced to two years in jail for selling such a minuscule amount of marijuana.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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