Drug Law

Judge Offers Willie Nelson Plea Deal: Sing for Your Freedom

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Activist and country music legend Willie Nelson is no stranger to trouble with the law. Last year, he was arrested for  marijuana possession as his tour bus was traveling through Texas. The singer, who will turn 78 next month, was accused of possession 6 ounces of marijuana after a routine checkpoint stop in Sierra Blanca, about 85 miles east of El Paso last November.

After the arrest, and the supposed packaging from the marijuana was removed, the weight of the marijuana suspiciously weighed in at just three ounces, barely making it a misdemeanor. Nelson, along with three other people on his tour bus, were arrested at the scene and then released after paying a $2500 bond. Nelson was on his way from California to his Texas ranch at the time.

This is the third marijuana arrest for Nelson since 1995. The judge in Nelson’s current case, Judge Becky Dean-Walker, is a fan of Willie Nelson, along with the prosecutor, County Attorney Kit Bramblett. Bramblett joked to a reporter, “Between me and the sheriff, we threw out enough of it or smoked enough so that there’s only three ounces, which is within my jurisdiction.”

Although misdemeanor marijuana possession charges are usually resolved by mail, Nelson is being offered a proposed plea deal, outlined for the Associated Press. It involves payment of a small fine and a court appearance in which Nelson will sing Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain with his guitar. Bramblet told another news outlet, “Willie Nelson is 77 years old and I’m 78, He’s been my favorite artist all my life. We all knows he smokes a little pot.”

Nelson’s celebrity is helping on this case, while other Texans aren’t so lucky. Just last year Henry Walter Wooten, a 54-year-old Texas man, was caught parked in a drug free school zone with just over four ounces of marijuana.

He had two prior convictions in his life, one for carrying a gun without a permit and another for selling cocaine. The prosecutor sought 99 years, but the jury gave him 35. If he survives, Walter Wooten will be out of a Texas prison in time for his 89th birthday. Nelson, who thankfully won’t see the inside of a prison cell for his latest marijuana bust, has yet to comment on the plea offer.