"We are making criminals rich, arresting mostly addicts and mules — and killing freedom in the process."
Robert Guest was starting to get a good view of what was wrong with the "war on drugs" even before he found himself on the front lines. While obtaining his BS degree in Economics from the University of Texas at Arlington, Robert was heavily influenced by an "Economics of Crime" course and the case it made that prohibition must end as a failed policy. A couple of years later in law school at Texas Tech he often found himself debating prohibitionists. "I was outraged at the constant erosion of the 4th Amendment to 'justify' drug searches," he recalls.
Still, wanting a job in criminal law by which he could get trial experience, Robert worked as a prosecutor of misdemeanors — including offenses related to drug possession. He admits that he was perpetuating the "war on drugs," but initially he found himself with a great deal of autonomy — and thus could use his discretion on how to handle drug charges. It was during this time that Texas had the highest incarceration rate in the country and boasted that one in every 20 citizens were incarcerated or on some sort of community control.
After two years as a prosecutor, Robert changed tack, becoming a criminal defense lawyer. However, so great was his desire to oppose the "War on Drugs" that he went further, starting up his own website, www.iwasthestate.com. And now he has joined LEAP in an effort to "give others the courage to challenge this failed policy." As he notes, "the drug war causes corruption, violence, death, disease, and mass incarcerations. It diverts resources from reducing terrorism, murder, and sex offences; it cedes a multibillion-dollar industry to organized crime; and it contributes to a loss of civil liberties."