Getting involved in an illegal drug trade is usually not within the job description of a lawyer unless it’s defending an illegal drug trafficker. So how did Louisiana attorney, James Mecca find himself participating in an illegal drug trade? Well, sometimes lawyers have clients who can’t exactly afford to pay with cash, so Mecca was accepting payments from certain clients with weed.
Eventually Mecca was caught, but he didn’t end up losing his law license. At the end of the day, Mecca was doing a huge favor for his clients who needed help and who could help him in a really personal way. It’s a good thing he gets to keep practicing, although he will probably never accept weed as payment ever again
The trading system
Mecca was involved in something like a trade with some clients who could not afford to pay for legal services with money. It seemed to be something that was benefiting both parties, but in 2013 Mecca’s last client reported him to the police. The St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office decided to send him to Mecca again for the exact purpose of stinging him. Mecca had told the client that he would be willing to hemp him out in the future for the ‘same old’ payment method.
The client told James Mecca that he had a “backpack full of marijuana” for payment, which Mecca accepted. He was later flagged down in his car and arrested him. He was arrested in 2013, but the good news is he didn’t have to lose his license to be a lawyer. Although it was suspended for a while, he was able to return to practicing law. He would probably be better of moving to a state that is marijuana friendly, although even in those states it might still be against the ethical code to accept marijuana as payment.
Legal tricks of the trade
Of course, being a lawyer made it a little bit easier for Mecca to know exactly what to do and say. He never denied the accusation that he was trading marijuana for legal services, but denied claims that his intention was to distribute the marijuana he obtained. He said it was all purely for personal use. He also checked himself into a drug and alcohol treatment facility straight after his arrest, which further backed his claim.
So in the end he had his sentence reduced down to 6 months with 1 year probation. He didn’t even end up serving the six months in prison, as it was later suspended. Given the gravity of the situation Mecca found himself in, he got off extremely lightly. He didn’t have to go to prison and somehow managed to keep his license to practice as a lawyer. Fancy a world where you could pay for services with weed. Everyone would be happy – those who have weed and those who don’t!
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