"Instead of reaching their potential, young people find themselves warehoused and unemployable."
Patrick Nightingale is a former prosecutor and practicing criminal defense attorney in Pittsburgh, PA, and surrounding regions. Patrick spent six years with the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office and was one of the founding members of the Domestic Violence Unit. Patrick's tenure as a trial attorney brought him face to face with the casualties of the "War on Drugs" on a daily basis -- from the destitute addicts remanded to jail for one failed urine screen to the individuals driven to prostitution for the money for one hit of crack or a bag of heroin. And worst of all, he witnessed numerous young men engaged in a daily life-and-death struggle for the control of one city block's illicit drug market -- men who all too often received either a life sentence or a death sentence depending on who was holding the firearm.
As both a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney, Patrick has seen the devastating effect of mandatory minimum sentencing schemes where young people full of potential find themselves saddled with a felony narcotics trafficking conviction and warehoused in jail for selling a couple of grams of drugs, even with no prior criminal record. Patrick has personally witnessed the violent criminal enterprises that have taken hold in Pittsburgh and elsewhere in order to claim their share of the enormous illicit profits generated by prohibition.
In August, 2010, Patrick had the opportunity to meet LEAP co-founder Jack Cole when Jack flew to Pittsburgh to testify on behalf of Pennsylvania's pending medicinal marijuana bill. Jack used the opportunity to share with Patrick hard evidence demonstrating how the War on Drugs has been a complete and utter failure. After hearing Patrick testify before the PA House Committee considering the bill, Jack asked Patrick to add his voice to the more than 100 LEAP speakers in order to help bring the message of the need for complete repeal of prohibition to Western Pennsylvanians. Honored to join the ranks of so many current and retired law enforcement as well as retired judges and fellow former prosecutors, Patrick readily accepted.
Patrick has extensive public speaking experience, both from training police officers in matters of evidence collection while a prosecutor and from speaking out in support of marijuana prohibition repeal as the Executive Director of Pittsburgh NORML. Patrick has been a guest on KDKA Radio, KDKA Television, The DVE Morning Show, WRCT Radio, WKQV Radio and has been quoted often in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
Patrick's law practice includes both state and federal courts, at the trial and appellate levels, and involves everything from simple drug possession to federal RICO prosecution. Patrick is thrilled to add his voice in support of LEAP's mission to end drug prohibition.