Hudspeth Legal Standoff Puts Willie Nelson Drug Case In Limbo
When a musician's tour bus rolls through the sleepy town of Sierra Blanca, it's pretty noticeable.
When country star Willie Nelson's bus came through the Sierra Blanca Customs and Border Protection checkpoint last November, agents said they noticed 6 ounces of marijuana.
Nelson was arrested but never charged with felony drug possession.
Hudspeth County Attorney Kit Bramblett told ABC-7 that because he did not see the marijuana and because he questioned the way evidence was handled, he decided to only charge Nelson with possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.
Bramblett said Nelson was ordered to pay a $500 dollar fine along with $278 in court costs as part of a plea deal.
In Hudspeth County, misdemeanors land in the court of blue-jeaned County Judge Becky Dean-Walker.
Dean-Walker said she believes Nelson received special treatment and is, therefore, refusing to sign off on the deal.
"To me, it's wrong" she told ABC-7. "I think that he should be charged with something that shows drugs were involved."
Brambeltt said he believes Dean-Walker is overstepping her authority in the matter, adding that without the county judge's signature, the entire case is in legal limbo.
Dean-Walker countered, saying she believes Bramblett is behaving like a star-struck fan.
"If it happened to you and nobody knows who you are," she said, "you are going to be seen by the district attorney and the district judge."
Bramblett told ABC-7 that if nothing is resolved, Nelson's case could be dismissed in a few years due to lack of prosecution.
However, he said, that would require the county judge's signature, too.
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