April 16, 2003 - Liberterian Party: Costa Rica RPCV James Gray known as Anti-Drug War superior court judge becomes Libertarian Party member

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: April 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: April 16, 2003 - Liberterian Party: Costa Rica RPCV James Gray known as Anti-Drug War superior court judge becomes Libertarian Party member

By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, April 17, 2003 - 12:14 pm: Edit Post

Costa Rica RPCV James Gray known as Anti-Drug War superior court judge becomes Libertarian Party member

Read and comment on this story from the Liberterian Party that Costa Rica RPCV James Gray known as an Anti-Drug War superior court judge has become a Libertarian Party member at:

Anti-Drug War superior court judge becomes Libertarian Party member*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Anti-Drug War superior court judge becomes Libertarian Party member

A Superior Court judge who is one of the nation's highest-profile critics of the War on Drugs has joined the Libertarian Party.

James Gray, 57, who presides over the Orange County, California Superior Court, became an LP member in mid February.

In a phone conversation with LP Political Director Ron Crickenberger, Gray said he joined because of the Libertarian Party's Drug War Focus Strategy, which seeks to end the War on Drugs at the federal level by 2010.

"Drug Prohibition is the most critical issue facing the world today, and the LP is the only party addressing it," said Gray. "I felt compelled to join."

Crickenberger said Gray's decision to join the LP is "exciting" news.

"Judge Gray isn't just a high-ranking and respected public official, he is one of the country's most articulate critics of Drug Prohibition," he said. "As a judge, he brings credibility, dignity, and insight to the drug law reform movement. It's wonderful and exciting news that he is now a Libertarian Party member."

In joining the LP, Gray "has become one of the party's highest-ranking elected officeholders," with about 2.9 million constituents in Orange County, said Crickenberger.

After joining the party, Gray spoke at the California LP state convention on February 16, and at an LP State Chair's conference in Houston, Texas on February 22-23.

In his speech to the California Libertarians -- and in conversation with Crickenberger -- Gray also said he is considering seeking the LP's 2004 presidential nomination.

"I want to do everything I can do to stop the needless tragedy resulting from our misplaced drug policies," he said.

Gray is the author of Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs. Published in April 2001 by Temple University Press, the book expounds on Gray's premise that "drug policy reform [is] the most important issue facing this great country, and our so-called War on Drugs [is] our biggest failure."

In the book, Gray argues that the War on Drugs has not reduced the amount of illegal drugs available in the country; that it has eroded Americans' civil liberties; and that it makes drugs more dangerous.

As a solution, he advocates "realistic" education about the dangers of drugs, mandatory drug treatment, needle exchange programs, drug decriminalization, and the regulated sale of drugs.

Publishers Weekly said the book is "a scathing jeremiad against the war on drugs," and "provocative and topical."

The book's quality "and the sensible passion of Gray's conclusions will make this a crucial reference for politicians, voters, activists, and law enforcement agencies seeking to reform established policy," said the review.

Gray said he wrote Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It -- and is willing to publicly speak out against the War on Drugs -- because of the grave threat posed by the nation's drug policies.

"Drug Prohibition has failed from every standpoint imaginable: unnecessary prison growth, increased taxes, increased crime and corruption here and abroad, loss of civil liberties, decreased health, [and] diversion of resources," he said.

"I could go on and on. Much of what I see as a judge brings a tear to my eye. The drug war is destroying the fabric of society."

Gray acknowledged that drugs are dangerous, but said, "Many things in our society are dangerous, but making them illegal is not the answer. Does anyone really believe that making tobacco illegal would reduce the harm it causes? What about glue, gasoline, chain saws, and high-cholesterol foods?"

In fact, Gray said he took his anti-drug war position not because he advocates using drugs -- but because he is so opposed to them.

"I hate drugs so much that I want to change our policy so that we can reduce drug usage and the other harms these dangerous drugs are causing," he said. "These drugs could not be made more available than they are under our present system. We can't even keep them out of our prisons, much less off our streets."

Gray was appointed to the Orange County Superior Court by Governor George Deukmejian in 1983, and was re-elected in 1990, 1996, and 2002. Previously, he had served as a judge on the Santa Ana Municipal Court.

He was the winner of the "Judge of the Year" award in 1992 from the Business Litigation Section of the Orange County Bar Association.

In 1998, Gray was a candidate for U.S. House in the Republican primary, losing to former Congressman Robert Dornan.

Outside of court, Gray has worked with the "Stay In School" program; is a co-founder of BLAST (Bert Bylevens Leagues, After School Time) which offers after-school athletic programs for children; and is a co-founder of the Association of Former U.S. Attorneys.

A U.S. Navy veteran, Gray also served in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica for two years and worked as an adjunct professor at Chapman University. He received an undergraduate degree from UCLA in 1966 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Southern California in 1971.

Gray is married and has three children. He a resident of Newport Beach, California.

Click on a link below for more stories on PCOL

Main Sections
PCOL Magazine
Breaking News
One World
Peace Corps Library

Directory Sign Up

Volunteer Directory
Directory by COS
RPCVs by Interest
Recent Headlines
US has obligations in Iraq says RPCV 15 Apr
PCVs hope to return to China 15 Apr
How the DFI should wire West Africa 14 Apr
PCVs end Standfast in Senegal 10 Apr
Mismanagement at Americorps 10 Apr
Dodd PC Amendment approved in Committee 9 Apr
Peace Corps plans 20% Annual Growth 7 Apr
Special: Hear Jack Vaughn on May 4 7 Apr
PC suspends China Program over SARS 5 Apr
Volunteers leaving Morocco 3 Apr
RPCV works with Operation MOM 2 Apr
more breaking news...
Special Sections
Bulletin Board
Lost RPCVs
Master Index
Return to COS
Safety of PCVs
Speaking Out
The Third Goal
US Peace Corps
USA Freedom Corps
PCOL Magazine - April 2003 Issue
Special Report: Where does Peace Corps stand on pending PC legislation?
PCVs safe during conflict with Iraq
Situation could deteriorate quickly says RPCV
Support US soldiers going into action says RPCV
RPCVs support Turkey's right to democratic decision
NPCA Board passes Resolution on Iraq
Refugee relief for Iraq planned by RPCVs
RPCV Tom Petri works for asylum for Muslim leader
more feature stories...

Special Reports
Exclusive: How RPCVs organized anti-war Ad
Improvements needed in Volunteer Support
From Russia with Love
GAO Reports on PCV Safety and Security
The Controversy over Lariam
Senior Staff Appointments at PC HQ
PC Expansion: The Numbers Game?
Why the Peace Corps needs Shriver's 4th Goal
When should PC return to Afghanistan?
RPCV Spy dies in Moscow
The Case for Peace Corps Independence
USA Freedom Corps paved with good intentions
more special reports ...

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Costa Rica; Law; Politics; Drugs



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.