Legal drugs kill more than illegal drugs

June 17, 2008

All the stereotypes about the cocaine trade in Florida do not get past the evidence. The Florida Medical Examiners Florida have determined from autopsies done in the year 2007 that legal prescription drugs kill three times the number of people as all illicit drugs combined.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement has done studies which found about seven million Americans are abusing prescription drugs. That figure is not certain. But that figure would be an increase of 80 % over the last six years, and it is more than the total of those abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, Ecstasy and inhalants.

The Florida report analyzed 168,900 deaths in Florida. Cocaine, heroin and all methamphetamines caused 989 deaths, while legal opioids (strong pain killers found in brand name drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin) caused 2,328 deaths. Drugs with benzodiazepine, mainly depressants like Valium and Xanax, led to 743 deaths. Alcohol was the most common, found in 4,179 of the bodies autopsied and ruled the cause of death in 466 of those autopsied. These alcohol deaths were fewer than cocaine (843), but more than methamphetamines (25) and marijuana (0).

The study also found that while the number of people who died with heroin in their bodies increased 14 percent to the total number of 110, deaths related to the opioid oxycodone increased 36 percent, to 1,253.
Because the State of Florida monitors drug-related deaths more closely than other states, it is difficult to compare these results with other states. Yet Florida has not kept pace with other states in the enforcement of illegal use of prescription medicines. Thirty-eight states have enacted laws that track prescription drugs with monitoring programs that track sales. The Florida legislature has repeatedly decided not to do this, apparently on the grounds of privacy of the patient.

Apparently the legislators of the State of Florida have observed that, even though government can always do a better job of saving us from ourselves, government should not intrude into this area. At least not yet.

There is no doubt that, if allowed to control our lives more extensively, the government could make us live longer. It would require us to eat more vegetables and less fat. Government would require us to take more exercise. The list could go on, government helping our lives by making out daily decisions. Yet a lot of people insist on making their own decisions. The Bill of Rights tended to say they should be allowed to do that, even if the government has studies that show it is bad for them.

There is something to be said for this. Can you imagine being arrested by police for using cold medicine without a doctors approval? Our justice system should not only protect us from harm but should also protect our rights. That’s one of the key purposes for lawyers….to be your advocate and your legal representation to make sure your rights and freedom are protected. Certainly anyone facing charges relating to illegal or prescription drugs should seek out the best legal help they can find, which is why I’ve included information on finding a criminal lawyer at my website at Please go there and learn how to be a well informed client who will be equipped at making wise decisions.

Lawyer Client Relationship Remains Confidential Even After Death

June 4, 2008

Twenty-two years ago, a client named Jerry Cushwell told his lawyer that Cushwell had acted alone in committing a double murder. Cushwell pleaded guilty to the murders, but prosecutors also convicted another man, Lee Wayne Hunt, of participating in the murder, and he was serving a life sentence for that murder.

Jerry Cushwell committed suicide in 2002, but he had told the truth to his lawyer about having acted alone in committing the double murder. Still Lee Wayne Hunt continued to serve his life sentence. Finally, Jerry Cushwell’s lawyer, Staple Hughes of North Carolina decided he should speak out to save Hunt from the wrongful sentence. The problem was that a lawyer cannot reveal the secrets told him by a client.

Isn’t the lawyer, Staple Hughes, released from the confidentiality of Jerry Cushwell’s secret in order to save an innocent man? Ordinarily not. Not even if Cushwell died six years ago and the secret is that of a dead man? No.

Cushwell’s lawyer was threatened with discipline from the North Carolina Bar Association when he tried to testify to Cushwell’s secret. The obligation to keep a client’s secrets is so important that it survives death and may not be violated even to cure a grave injustice. Experts believe a lawyer’s duty to keep clients’ confidences is the rock upon which the justice system is built, and making exceptions erodes the trust between lawyers and clients.

Legal ethics rules vary from state to state, but many states permit disclosure of a confidence to prevent certain death or substantial bodily harm. But stopping an execution is not the same as freeing an innocent prisoner. Only Massachusetts allows lawyers to reveal secrets “to prevent the wrongful execution or incarceration of another.” And most courts say the obligation for confidentiality continues even beyond the death of the client.

That was Staple Hughes’ problem in North Carolina. This situation was unlike the Illinois case that freed Alton Logan after serving 26 years of a life sentence for murder. In that case, the lawyers who spoke up said their client had given them permission to speak out after the client died. They did speak out, and Alton Logan has been released on bond and given a new trial.

The North Carolina Bar Association dismissed the complaint against Staple Hughes for his violating the confidence of Jerry Cushwell. However, his testimony went nowhere. The testimony of Staple Hughes to save Lee Wayne Hunt from prison was excluded as hearsay evidence. Mr. Hunt’s life sentence remains in place. The North Carolina Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the matter.

Meanwhile the rule protecting the confidentiality of a client’s confidences remains strong. This example certainly reveals how important the court system believes trust is between a client and his attorney. Because this attorney client relationship is so protected it’s always best to be truthful with your lawyer so he’ll be prepared for what the other side will throw at you and he’ll be able to give you the best defense.

Finding the right attorney you trust and are comfortable with is critical,  as you will be sharing extremely personal and sensitive information. That’s why you will want to go to my website at where I share with you how to find the right lawyer for your Oklahoma criminal charge.