In 1974, at the age of 19, Doris Drugdealer was arrested for selling $200 worth of heroin to an undercover
police officer in Michigan. She received a 10-20 year prison sentence for this crime. After serving about
8 months of her sentence, she decided that she could not tolerate prison and with the help of her
grandfather, plotted an escape. She used a work pass to walk away from prison. In May, 2008, after 34
years, Doris was captured again by detectives who matched fingerprints from her driver’s license to her
Doris said that in 1974 she was a “stupid little …hippie-ish girl…a pothead.” During the 34 years that Doris
evaded prison, she worried everyday that she would be caught. While looking at a sunset, she would
marvel at her freedom and wonder if the past would catch up with her. She was very careful to lead the
life of a model citizen and even volunteered for Common Cause, an organization that promotes
government ethics and accountability. She married an executive and had three children and lived a
comfortable life in an upper middle class neighborhood in California. She never told her family about her
past. Her husband of 23 years stated that he loved his wife as much as the day they were married and that
she was a “person of the highest integrity and compassion” and had dedicated her life to raising her
children. She taught her children to be responsible citizens and to avoid drugs. Her husband said that the
arrest “was the next worst thing to having a death in the family.” Doris worried about the effect of her
arrest on her son who had just graduated from high school and her older daughters. A neighbor
commented that it would not be useful to society to send Doris back to prison.
Undercover drug officers believed that Doris had connections to “higher ups” in the drug world and was a
teenage leader in a 1070’s drug ring. They found $600 in her apartment, paraphernalia for cutting heroin
and pictures of her with other drug dealers. Doris described herself as a recent high school graduate
who was strapped for cash, working at a minimum wage job and driving a $400 car. She said that every
day of her life she regretted getting herself into this situation. She was extradited back to Michigan to
serve her original prison term. Her family and friends submitted a plea for clemency to the governor of
Michigan. Should the governor grant her clemency?
Use your critical thinking to analyze this situation. Your professor may use this exercise as a group
discussion. Use the Critical Thinking Worksheet that follows for your analysis.
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