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Reefer Madness and the Square Grouper

Reefer Madness and the Square Grouper

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Published by davidwalters
A great number of people treat themselves with cannabis if not prescription drugs for relief of
anxiety, all of which have side effects and might even aggravate the symptoms....
A great number of people treat themselves with cannabis if not prescription drugs for relief of
anxiety, all of which have side effects and might even aggravate the symptoms....

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Published by: davidwalters on Apr 25, 2014
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06/13/2014

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MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
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FROM ‘THE MALICIOUS PROSECUTION OF DAVID JOHNSON’  by David Arthur Walters
REEFER MADNESS & THE SQUARE GROUPER
Scene from ‘Reefer Madness’
 Allen H. Libow, Esq. was obviously mad at David Johnson for filing a complaint against him with the Florida Bar claiming that he had tried to extort $100,000 from him over a $1,621 legal fee claim, but was he more than mad—was he a madman? The adversarial legal profession is, after all, well known for a high incidence of mental illness within its ranks. Mr. Johnson’s bar aggravating complaint referred to Mr. Libow as a “psychotic misfit” with a “psychotic agenda,” and a “creative, twisted, lying son of a bitch.” After Mr. Libow filed his retaliatory complaint against Mr. Johnson and his wife, who was not even a party to the bar complaint, for defamation, the circuit court would hold the particular references to the lawyer’s mental state are matters of subjective opinion and not statements of objective fact, hence not actionable in a defamation case, but the court declared certain other statements as actionable. Eventually the court dismissed every count against Mr. Johnson, and the appeals of Mr. Libow and his affluent attorney and father-and-law Arthur W. Tifford would force the
 
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appellate court to affirm. All told, Mr. Johnson had to shell out around a quarter of a million dollars to defend his family against the licensed predators while the Florida Bar sat on its hands. If Mr. Libow were mad, was there a method to his madness? Perhaps he was mad about money and thought he could pick up a quick hundred grand. The profession certainly has a problem with  bad-mannered attorneys who behave rudely if not crazily to get their way. Mr. Johnson did a little research of the court records and discovered that Mr. Libow had sued scores of his own clients. He figured most of them had settled rather than hire another attorney to defend them. It also appeared to him that Mr. Libow had brought in his big gun, Mr. Tifford, to put the squeeze on the recalcitrant ones where the money involved made it worthwhile. Given the circumstances, an innocent bystander might assume they were running some sort of racket—perhaps Rico, the legendary gangster after whom the RICO Act was named, was afoot. An examination of the public record in the court and bar cases gives us a definite impression that Mr. Libow panicked easily and was unduly paranoid – lawyers have good reason to be paranoid when everyone is out to get them in the adversarial war of all against all. Many of Mr. Libow’s  partners were apparently out to get him; he had a habit of suing or threatening to sue many of them, so he should have not been surprised when he was told they did not like him. His behavior suggests that he may have been suffering from anxiety associated with the bipolar or borderline  psychological disorders. A great number of people treat themselves with cannabis if not prescription drugs for relief of anxiety, all of which have side effects and might even aggravate the symptoms. Rumors were  bandied about the law firm that Mr. Libow had inhaled. Marijuana is an intoxicating narcotic that hundreds of thousands of Floridians including lawyers happen to regularly enjoy and would like to legalize. For example, Scott Rothstein, at one time the mostly highly respected and powerful attorney in Florida, personal friend of the governor and responsible for recommending judicial appointments, had what he called his rock star life come to an abrupt end when he was caught running a massive Ponzi scheme; testifying recently in an attempt to get his 50-year sentence reduced by ratting out his fellow attorneys, he said that so much pot was being dealt and smoked around the law firm across the street from a whorehouse he had established for them that he was more worried about being busted for that than for his fraud operation. The drug apparently enhances malignant narcissism, delusions of grandeur and persecution, and is not conducive to the operation of machinery or the practice of law; indeed, the Florida Bar should mandate drug screening for all licensed attorneys. The deleterious effects of cannabis were exploited early on in the movie
 Reefer Madness.
Smoking pot is not as harmless as its  proponents think it to be nowadays, nor is it as harmful as portrayed in
 Reefer Madness
. Still, scientific studies provide ample evidence that marijuana use unleashes paranoia and induces anxiety and panic attacks. For example, nearly half of the healthy subjects tested at Yale University experienced psychotic symptoms under the influence of the drug’s active ingredient. If Mr. Libow was using pot, his attorney and father-and-law should have stopped him. Arthur W. Tifford, a member of the Florida Bar since 1967, could certainly attest to the awful truth about the drug’s side effects depicted in
 Reefer Madness
 given his experience as a judge advocate in Vietnam, where he handled a number of petty marijuana possession cases as a special-court martial military judge, and his experience defending infamous pot smugglers in Florida from the
 
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late 70s through the early 90s—he returned to Florida from Vietnam after a stint at the Naval Justice School in Rhode Island, and served in Miami as an Assistant U.S. Attorney specializing in fraud and racketeering cases before he became a criminal defense lawyer specializing in drug cases, and turned to white collar criminal defense when the drug money dried up. Capt. Tifford graduated from Brooklyn Law School, who became a member of the Florida Bar in 1967, was attached to the 1
st
 Marine Division. On Aug. 1, 1969, the day the Military Justice Act, designed to replace the old disciplinary system with a more judicial process, was signed by President Johnson, Capt. Tifford and other lawyers at the Da Nang Headquarters were sworn in as military judges. The new military judges would have authority similar to federal district court  judges. They were usually captains, on their first tour of duty, who were given 10-days military- judge training in the Philippines. There was a rush to appoint the new judges due to a major  break down in discipline, general disrespect for authority, and increase in crimes including serious crimes such as armed racial conflicts and fraggings. Marijuana offenses were so  prevalent that the general-court martial system was overloaded and seldom resulted in even special court-martials. Colonel Robert D. Heinl had summed up the situation with, “By every conceivable indicator, our army that now remains in Vietnam is in a state of approaching collapse…. Murdering their officers and noncommissioned officers, drug-ridden and dispirited…buffeted from without and within by social turbulence…race war…and common crime…. Often reviled by the public, the uniformed services today are places of agony for the loyal, silent professionals who doggedly hang on and try to keep the ship afloat.” Special court-martial Judge Advocate Tifford and his colleagues were therefore responsible for nipping pot use in the bud, hopefully before general court-martial behavior ensued from its  psychotropic affects. Roughly half of the cases tried by Capt. Tifford and the other special-court martial judges rushed into Vietnam were marijuana cases. A breakdown in authority had been correctly attributed to the widespread use of the drug. Marijuana was available from unsavory characters on every corner, costing only ten cents for the leaves wrapped around a stick. In a dangerous environment, such as in war where the prohibition against murder has been suspended, smoking marijuana might induce a state of paranoia that could result in violent reactions against perceived enemies. Although pot could be purchased easily and cheaply on leave, its distribution was controlled on bases by dealers, some of whom would not hesitate to grenade informants. Colonel Robert D. Heinl summed up the situation at the time: “By every conceivable indicator, our army that now remains in Vietnam is in a state of approaching collapse…. Murdering their officers and noncommissioned officers, drug-ridden and dispirited…buffeted from without and within by social turbulence…race war…and common crime…. Often reviled by the public, the uniformed services today are places of agony for the loyal, silent professionals who doggedly hang on and try to keep the ship afloat.” Army General William C. Westmoreland said he was aghast when he heard that soldiers were smoking pot in their bunkers and consequently killing other soldiers. He said it did not happen or rarely happened. But judge advocates knew such offenses were unexceptional. A crackdown on marijuana usage was deemed necessary – fragmentation grenades should be accounted for and kept out of the hands of soldiers when not in the field.

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