County Judge, ex-DPS Sgt, consents to search revealing pot

Guadalupe County Judge Mark Wiggins (that’s “county judge” as in chairman of the commissioners court, not a workaday jurist) was arrested in College Station for possessing less than 2 ounces of marijuana, discovered after he consented to a search of his bag by law enforcement during a “protective sweep” of his hotel room. Wiggins, who is ironically a former DPS sergeant, told the Seguin Gazette, “There’s nothing I can deny. It is what it is.”

Somebody notify the folks from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, I think we’ve got another potential candidate for them.

Here’s a coupla questions for the Peanut Gallery: What do you think would have happened if Judge Wiggins had refused to cooperate and declined consent to search his duffel bag? From the media description, does it sound like the officer had probable cause, or could Wiggins have successfully asserted his Fourth Amendment rights against an unreasonable search of his effects?

In the same vein, following the search, “According to the officer, Wiggins confirmed it was marijuana and admitted it was his.” As a former DPS Sgt., we’re talking about a man who understood his “right to remain silent.” If Judge Wiggins had exercised it, would his glum mug shot still be plastered across the front page of the Seguin Gazette this morning?

Wiggins’ term isn’t up till 2014 and to my knowledge a Class B misdemeanor won’t automatically disqualify him from office (any more than public officials must step down when they get a Class B DWI), so it will be interesting to watch how this plays out, how locals respond, and for that matter how well (or poorly) the media handle the whole episode. “It is what it is,” Wiggins told the paper, but in this day and age, what is it? Support for marijuana legalization in America stands at record highs. Is this a big deal? A little deal? No deal? Will voters view Wiggins as hypocrite or hero? Must he grovel and apologize, or is “it is what it is” enough? Bottom line: Is this a career killer for a workaday 21st century politico, or something voters can forgive? What do you think?

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