Carrying Viagra Can Land You in Jail

Louis Murphy, who used to play football at the University of Florida and who now plays professionally for the Oakland Raiders, found out the hard way that a person can be arrested, thrown in jail, and formally charged with criminal offenses, for doing nothing more than toting some prescription pills in the wrong container.

It isn’t as if the pills Murphy was carrying were mind-altering, controlled substances such as methamphetamine.  All the poor guy had was some Viagra pills. He was initially stopped for having his car stereo too loud; and a subsequent search of his car yielded the dreaded, non-prescription-labeled blue pills.

The circumstances under which such action can be taken against an otherwise law-abiding citizen based on an unnecessary law such as this one in Florida (and which is on the books in Georgia, as well), go well beyond the situation in which Murphy found himself.  In fact, anyone who might consider placing prescription pills in one of those plastic containers with seven compartments, each labeled with a day of the week, may want to pay attention to what is happening to Louis Murphy.

If law enforcement is looking for a reason to arrest someone or to charge them with additional charges after an arrest, and the person happens to have a prescription sleeping pill or pain medication given to them by a relative for whom it had been prescribed – Bingo!  He or she can be charged with having prescription drugs in an improper container.

Or, how about this – your doctor prescribes a new medication for you, and gives you a plastic bottle with a couple of pills in it as a free sample.  Technically, this appears to be a violation of the law.  Most prosecutors probably would not prosecute such a case; but as a citizen of the United States, should you even have to run that risk?

This is a perfect example of how our society, at both the federal and the state levels, has gone criminal law-crazy.  This level of over-criminalization has to stop.  The Georgia and Florida legislatures could lead the way by repealing their existing laws making potential criminals out of anyone who carries a prescribed pill in a container other than the original container.

-by Bob Barr, The Barr Code

38 comments Add your comment

Amy Barnes

April 15th, 2011
6:23 am

Oh, yeah – and someone I know almost went to jail over a $15 seat belt ticket – he didn’t want to sign the ticket and was threatened with arrest and jail time if he did not sign the ticket.

But wait – there’s MORE – the seat belt ticket was written FOR wearing the seat belt!

The officer had decided that the seat belt didn’t look like it was “worn correctly.” Needless to say, the persecutor – er – “prosecutor” refused to dismiss the case. We took the ticket to a jury trial.

Yes – we went for a jury trial on a seat belt ticket that was issued FOR wearing a seat belt. The judge wisely dismissed the case, but only AFTER we showed up to plead at formal arraignment and selection proceedings. But did anything happen to the officer? NOPE!

Just my 2 cents :D

Just my Opine

April 15th, 2011
7:01 am

I know exactly what Bob Barr is saying this day. If the motorist had viagra on him while he was driving, then the odds he was sexting while driving are astronomical, give or take a googleplex or two. Now, if a motorist is sexting, he should only do so from the back seat where it belongs, dammit. Now I’m mad. And just what is supposed to happen if the motorist is caught with unlabeled condoms, Japanese anal beads, and anatomically-exaggerated blow-up dolls? I think justice was served in this case, and it should serve as a fine warning to all the players out there that you can’t have your edible panties and eat them too.

Joel Edge

April 15th, 2011
7:25 am

It’s getting to be a crazy place, if you tick off the wrong people. Which for some reason I keep trying to do.

Ron B.

April 15th, 2011
7:45 am

This is why the war on drugs is such a farce. As a country, our priorities got mixed up. First of all, I did not know that getting a ticket for loud music led to probable cause to have the car searched. Secondly, could this police officers time be better used catching criminals.

We need to stop this war on drugs, and worry about other things in this country. It is costing us revenue and diverting monies away from where it is needed. It is also giving the government to much “freedom” into our lives….

Lee

April 15th, 2011
8:00 am

As the comic strip character Pogo used to say, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Probably be easier to tell us what we CAN do without getting in trouble.

BTW, the all-time greatest marketing slogan? “If you have an erection lasting more than four hours, call your doctor.”

Every guy in America heard that and thought, “a four hour woody! Where can I get me some of that there Viagra?”

Just my Opine

April 15th, 2011
8:05 am

Hell, an unprowessed old fool who would take Viagra can get into so much trouble with women that he would be lucky to end up in jail where he is safe from the fury of the furry woman he scorned.

Just my Opine

April 15th, 2011
8:10 am

“anyone who carries a prescribed pill in a container other than the original container”

This brings up the question, why doesn’t the penis come with it’s own holster? Just what are we manly men supposed to do with it? I mean, where are we supposed to put it?

I’ve always wondered, and have just now dug up the courage to ask.

Aquagirl

April 15th, 2011
8:33 am

Bob conveniently left out the fact Mr. Murphy refused to identify himself, and then resisted arrest. Nobody was searching his car because his stereo was too loud.

carlosgvv

April 15th, 2011
8:47 am

It is much easier and safer to arrest people for carrying prescription pills in the wrong container than to go after the rapists, robbers and killers in our society. The Police are no different from anyone else. If allowed, they will take the easy way out every time.

BULLSEYE

April 15th, 2011
10:38 am

He is supposed to call his Doctor if it lasts for more than 4 hours.

the watch dog

April 15th, 2011
10:59 am

No question about it, it is “nanny statism” run amok. Nanny Statism has reached the “tipping point” where is just keeps escalating like global warming.
I just read the latest “nanny statism” {Code enforcement busyboddies fine Georgia man $5,200 for growing too many vegetables in his back yard}

Physicians Committee for responsible medicine wants to outlaw hamburgers.

This is way to much. I admit I have traveled in my car with prescription medicine in non prescription container. To think I could have violated the drug laws, and maybe had my car taken as forfiture. It goes beyond the pale, although I would like something fancier, maybe, in the $90,000 range.

ND

April 15th, 2011
11:37 am

Beyond ridiculous that someone could get arrested for this in a free society, but the laws tend to apply differently to rich black men, and I say this as a middle class non-black man.

OakhurstDawg

April 15th, 2011
11:38 am

Hi Bob,

Here’s the rest of the story for all of ya’ll who are curled up in the fetal position with aluminum on your heads.

From USA Today: “Police attempted to pull Murphy’s SUV over after they said he was spotted blaring music from it. Police said Murphy wouldn’t pull over when flagged by police and that he resisted arrest when they tried to detain him. They said it took three officers to corral the 6-2, 200-pound Murphy into custody.”

And here’s a link to the City of Gainesville noise ordinance: https://gainesvillepd.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=80&Itemid=92

The upshot here is that the college towns, rightly so, have fairly strict noise ordinances. Call it a nanny state, but if you’ve ever lived in one, you know why.

Mr. Murphy was arrested for being a jerk, not for having Viagra.

Bob…see if you can put together some statistics about arrests for unlabeled prescription meds in this country – don’t limit it to just Viagra either. Heck…just for Atlanta. There’s about 4 million of us here. If there were a tenth of a percent annual arrest rate for this, that would mean 4,000 arrests annually in the Atlanta metro region. Let’s hear about some of those stories Bob.

Swede Atlanta

April 15th, 2011
12:10 pm

Thanks Aquagirl…… I was pretty sure this case was about much more than a loud stereo that resulted in finding unmarked viagara pills.

If the police had sufficient cause to stop him which could have been anything from violating a noise ordinance with the loud music to driving erratically, etc. and he refused to identify himself and resisting the officer in their lawful investingation, he deserved to be arrested.

Many celebrities from Hollywood moviestars to sports figures think they are above the law.

Hillbilly Deluxe

April 15th, 2011
12:40 pm

Many celebrities from Hollywood moviestars to sports figures think they are above the law.

And often times they are, though it isn’t supposed to be that way.

Original Thought not Necessary

April 15th, 2011
12:45 pm

I realize that everyone is on here for their own reasons and rarely do we all see eye to eye on much of anything. But something I just read in the AJC has moved me not only nearly to tears but moved me to make this post on all of the blogs here.

Regardless of our respective political positions I think we can all agree that the freedoms we enjoy are provided and protected by the brave men and women of the military. I hope and pray that we can all also agree that when a person gives their life to the service of this amazing country until they retire deserves not only our respect but also our support as much as the soldiers that currently put themselves in harm’s way.

That being said, please read this article…
http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-hs-senior-in-911162.html
Here is an example of a woman who willingly served and protected us all as a combat medic reduced to living in a supply closet at a hotel in order to be near her son. I am calling on all of us to put aside our partisan bickering for a few moments and give something, anything to show our love and appreciation to this American hero.

We are America. We can’t sit by and let this happen.

Please go to any Bank of America branch and give to something, anything to The Miguel Windley Special Needs Trust.

dcb

April 15th, 2011
12:46 pm

Come on ND – whether you’re white or black, does the racist thing have to enter intro every situation where a black man is involved? And while I’m at it, help me out understand why a black man is offended with the n word, or a Jew with being called a Jew, or a homosexual when being called gay, etc. As a white I guess I’m not supposed to feel offended when called a honkie. At least you never hear anything big being made over that – and I don’t. I played a lot of ball when in my teens up through my thirties most often with teams with over half the members non-whites. Honkie was one of the kinder of the names we were called then. None of us gave it a thought. I remember Red Fox on television referring to “whities” when he said “you can’t tell one of them from another” as a play on words for what the whites would say about blacks. So what?

Tigers Woody

April 15th, 2011
4:04 pm

What was the guy doing with Viagra in the first place?? I say book ‘em Dan-o

[...] Carrying Viagra Can Land You in JailAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)He was initially stopped for having his car stereo too loud; and a subsequent search of his car yielded the dreaded, non-prescription-labeled blue pills. The circumstances under which such action can be taken against an otherwise law-abiding citizen …and more » [...]

TruthBe

April 15th, 2011
4:06 pm

Thanks to the political correctness idiots in state and federal government they have made America into a police state with very little freedoms anymore. Too many laws on the books and too many lawyers. Democrats and Republicans are both at fault.

Ga Republicon

April 15th, 2011
4:19 pm

@dcb.
As a Black man (and most reasonably intelligent would tell you), yes you SHOULD feel offended by being called a “H%”, “C%”, or any other deogatory term applied to you because of your race. Now maybe that will help you to understand why we are offended by the N word, especially when having it applied to us by other races knowing full well the intent it is spoken in. And of course you HAVE TO KNOW that writers like NORMAN LEAR got rich off of exploiting the derogatory names and stereotypes of races, in all directions. It is pretty obvious your are referring to the 70s with shows like Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, All In Family, The White Shadow (imagine that), etc.. To answer your question, I’m guessing race doesn’t have to enter into your equation because you typically don’t have to deal with the burden of bearing brown skin in society from a law enforcement/”justice” perspective. So frankly, you cannot relate..

Eric

April 15th, 2011
5:05 pm

Guess Walgreens and others need to ban the plastic 7-day/week pill container, if I understand the issue correctly. I’m sure thousands of people, mostly senior citizens, transfer their pills from the original bottle into the weekly/daily dispenser. It helps them to monitor their dosage, so how can this be illegal?

[...] Carrying Viagra Can Land You in JailAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)All the poor guy had was some Viagra pills. He was initially stopped for having his car stereo too loud; and a subsequent search of his car yielded the dreaded, non-prescription-labeled blue pills. The circumstances under which such action can be taken …Louis Murphy Arrest Highlights Epidemic Levels of Secret Viagra UsePR-USA.net (press release) [...]

old shoes

April 15th, 2011
9:10 pm

Looks like the police had a hard-on for the arrest.

[...] continue reading… [...]

Just my Opine

April 16th, 2011
7:56 am

Bob Barr is……WRONG!! What if the motorist had an improperly labeled atomic bomb in the car? Then what? Bob Barr nevers sees the big picture. He only looks back in time to 1984, he only eats these funny little green wafer thingies, and he only hears the plaintiff cries from you. know. who.

BTW: the green wafers are made from PEOPLE!!!!!! (aurghh)

carlosgvv

April 16th, 2011
8:52 am

Ga Republican

If you are so offended by the N word, then why do you frequently hear blacks calling other blacks by that word? Sometimes, even black children call other black children N. Using that word freely and easily among yourselves and then getting greviously offended when a white uses it is the height of hypocrisy and shows you are nothing more than professional victims.

[...] Carrying Viagra Can Land You in JailAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Louis Murphy, who used to play football at the University of Florida and who now plays professionally for the Oakland Raiders, found out the hard way that a person can be arrested, thrown in jail, and formally charged with criminal offenses, …and more » [...]

Skeeter

April 16th, 2011
2:03 pm

That’s because Georgians never saw a law they didn’t like. What concerns me is why is a professional athlete needing to take Viagra? Why should a young “virile” man have penile disfunction? Is he taking steroids? Well, I guess he’ll turn his d$#@ music down now!

Hmmmmmmmm

April 16th, 2011
3:02 pm

Last 4 hours………. Really?

Tallulah

April 16th, 2011
5:39 pm

To DCB: I have tried to find a word to insult white people but I cannot because white people are so proud of their whiteness that if the word in any way means “white” then they will not be offended. There are a handful of them that will be offended if you call them “rascist” but many are not even offended by that. You cannot offend a white person unless you insult their looks or their intelligence. They are very touchy about that.

carlosgvv

April 17th, 2011
8:13 am

Tallulah

So white people cannot be insulted because they are “so proud of their whiteness”. By that logic, since blacks are so easily insulted by almost any word that means “black” , they must be ashamed of their blackness.

Mason Barge

April 17th, 2011
1:15 pm

“Oh, yeah – and someone I know almost went to jail over a $15 seat belt ticket – he didn’t want to sign the ticket and was threatened with arrest and jail time if he did not sign the ticket.”

Well, duh. Signing a ticket is a convenience in lieu of arrest. You’ll always be arrested if you don’t sign it.

[...] Carrying Viagra Can Land You in JailAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)All the poor guy had was some Viagra pills. He was initially stopped for having his car stereo too loud; and a subsequent search of his car yielded the dreaded, non-prescription-labeled blue pills. The circumstances under which such action can be taken …and more » [...]

carole

April 17th, 2011
10:19 pm

Those that are worried about “nanny statism”, a charge usually leveled at Democrats, should be aware that it is the Republicans that pass these laws. This year the Republicans are hard at work creating a law requiring an electronic database to track all Scheduled II, III, IV, and V controlled substances. A perfect example of the “freedom from government” crowd hard at work.

http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/displaybill.aspx?BillType=SB&billNum=36

Patriot

April 18th, 2011
3:31 pm

Just another reason to end the FAILED WAR ON DRUGS!

One should not need anyone else’s permission to possess or administer any medication to oneself.

Thomas Crawshaw

April 19th, 2011
12:47 am

Engaging and well written article! This tops anything I have read lately on the subject at hand. I wonder if this’ll be posted on Twenty-First Tycoon. Although the site has awesome political, business, technology and real estate news, they could use more stuff like this. http://www.21Tycoon.com

[...] Read the rest here. [...]