Willie Nelson Still Waiting On Pot Punishment

The Texas judge handling Willie Nelson’s case for marijuana possession wants to make it absolutely clear that she’s not playing favorites. The country singer’s plea deal has recently been rejected. 

Nelson was arrested and charged with marijuana possession on Nov. 26 at a Border Patrol checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, Texas. After an officer smelled something suspicious a search found roughly 6 ounces of marijuana on Nelson’s tour bus. The singer was released after providing a $2,500 bond.

The incident received extra attention thanks to Texas prosecutor Kit Bramblett telling the press he wanted the singer to appear in court to play his version of “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”

That wasn’t the only interesting thing the prosecutor had to say. Bramblett told the Washington Post that Nelson was one of his favorite singers, and noted that even Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson used to “smoke a line of hemp” after dinner.

Photo: Jason Moore
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans, La.

In June Bramblett worked out a plea deal with Nelson in which the signer would plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession and pay a $500 fine in addition to $287 in court costs. Bramblett told the Associated Press that the singer could pay by mail.

Now Judge Becky Dean-Walker says she won’t accept the plea deal. Reuters reports that she initially signed it and then scratched her name out because she realized the punishment didn’t fit the crime. The plea deal would have reduced the charge to the same level as a speeding ticket. The judge said other people would have faced a tougher penalty.

“I’m not going to be guilty of signing something because someone is a celebrity,” Dean-Walker told Reuters on Friday. She added that, “Everyone should be treated the same in my court.”

On Tuesday Dean-Walker told the New York Times that she wouldn’t approve of Nelson mailing in his plea agreement. She also told the paper she thinks Bramblett is going easy on Nelson because he’s a celebrity.

“He’s supposed to file the charge he feels is appropriate,” Dean-Walker told the Times. “Not what he feels he should do for his favorite singer. It is up to the judge to agree or not.”

In March Bramblett told BigBendNow.com that Dean-Walker reportedly wanted Nelson to appear in court. The site, which is the online home of The Big Bend Sentinel and Presidio International, noted that most people who don’t live in the vicinity are allowed to clear up misdemeanor cases through the mail.

Click here for the Reuters story.

Click here for the New York Times story.