Recently, former child actress Amanda Bynes vigorously denied drug charges filed against her by the New York Police Department, and denied reports that she had thrown a bong out of her luxury apartment building in New York City. Bynes was charged with drug possession, tampering with evidence and reckless endangerment. The police had been called to her apartment after she had been observed by a building employee allegedly rolling, lighting and smoking a marijuana joint in the building’s lobby. Police observed heavy smoke and a bong allegedly sitting in a window, which police say Bynes tossed out in front of them.

Bynes has vehemently denounced the charges as “lies” on Twitter, and has accused a police officer of sexually harassing her. The NYPD has ordered an internal investigation into her accusation. Bynes has stated that the “bong” in question was a vase, and no bong was recovered from the sidewalk.

Bynes has a history of trouble with the law. In addition to the recent drug charges, she was placed on three-years’ probation for driving with a suspended license, and she faces DUI charges from an April 2012 traffic incident.

Illegal drug usage by public figures is an endemic problem in our society, due to the high profile that these people have. The problem is especially severe considering that drug usage by celebrities and public figures may influence others to take illegal drugs, thereby making the drug problem in society worse. The media contributes to this problem by over-publicizing these incidents, making them seem more significant.

Anyone accused of a drug offense is constitutionally entitled to a vigorous criminal defense and a presumption of innocence until guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. They have the ability to question witnesses, dispute the admissibility of evidence and exclude the contraband from evidence, if it found to be obtained through a constitutionally invalid search or seizure. Anyone accused of a drug-related offenses is entitled to defend their liberty.

Source: New York Daily News, “Bynes: Drug charges are ‘lies’, Cop ‘sexually harassed me’,” May 25, 2013.