Last April, Aberdeen police found more than $14,000 worth of drugs and seventeen firearms on the premises of the Schriver Funeral Home, a few blocks from my house. In July, co-owner George Schriver pled out of two felony drug charges by copping to misdemeanor DUI and marijuana ingestion. George received a fine a $998, suspended jail sentences, loss of driving privileges for 45 days, and DUI counseling. Co-owner James Schriver pled guilty to felony possession of meth and marijuana. Yesterday, James received five years probation, a bill for $2,742 in fines and court fees, and 60 days in jail. The court gave James suspended imposition, meaning that if he makes it through probation without making trouble, we wipe these charges from his record.
Evidently figuring in this relatively easy felony sentence were folks vouching for James’s character:
In a character reference letter submitted to Judge Jon Flemmer by Stephanie Jacobson, James Schriver’s friend, he is described as a man who would give the shirt off his back to someone in need and someone who provides financial, spiritual and emotional support to friends.
Jacobson’s letter also noted that there has been dysfunction within the Schriver family [Elisa Sand, “James Schriver Gets Suspended Prison Term on Drug Charges,” Aberdeen American News, 2016.09.07].
James and George Schriver also had a successful family business and the concomitant wealth to buy new shirts for their backs and community respect to help them deal with dysfunction. They had advantages and options that low-income drug users and dealers do not. Using and dealing (the amounts of drugs found at the mortuary look more like dealer quantities than a personal stash) illegal drugs are never acceptable options, but such actions are even more offensive when committed by individuals who have accumulated power in the community. Wiping these crimes from this criminal’s record seems like an unwise favor to one who deserves no favor.