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Marion Shepilov Barry, an America politician of the Democratic Party was born in 1936 and is currently part of the Council of the District of Columbia as the representative of DC’s Ward 8. He served as a mayor of the District of Columbia from 1979 to 1991 and again from 1995 to 1999. In the 60s, Barry was known for his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement but his prominence catapulted when he became the mayor of the national capital. His celebrity status was on the right track until in January 1990 when he was caught on camera smoking crack cocaine. For his many admirers and constituents, this was a major disappointment form a person they highly regarded and had trust in.
The trust the public had in him was flushed down the toilet when he was arrested and convicted for possession of drugs after which he served six months in federal prison. His political career was now severely tainted. The breach of trust from the mayor was apparently due to the fact that he was addicted to drugs and whether he was caught or not, he could not contain it. It goes further when the female friends he had and were indulging with in abusing these drugs also set him up thus another dimension on trust. He was known to be a man of the people, or a street person therefore he was always out there and hence vulnerable to the lures.
The rumors had been doing round in the state that Barry was a drug addict but no one had the evidence, at least as far as security is concerned. After weeks of undercover investigations by FBI and D.C. police on the mayor, he was arrested at the Vista International Hotel. He was found smoking crack in the hotel room and the female friend whom he was with agreed to divulge information pointing towards the same. The woman he was with did not smoke neither did she engage in any sexual activity with the mayor, the whole encounter that took around an hour could have been prearranged as it was video and audio-taped. The United States law has it that any use of drugs that have been classified as illegal, is indeed illegal and anybody, regardless of their status is punishable. Punishments though vary and in this case, Barry who was caught smoking crack cocaine was bound to be punished despite his status as a mayor. Actually the penalties vary especially between, the users, sellers and possessors.
Being a very delicate issue that breached the law, the federal court had to take charge of the matter where jury had to be called to determine the case. In a very tight discussion, the jury finally found Barry guilty and sentenced to six months in federal prison. Though according to the law, he could still hold the office even if he was arrested. The sentence was punishment enough for the Mayor who after losing his reelection, he was able to recover the seat in 1994. This was the best possible solution to the problem in that law had to be adhered to despite the status of the defendant. This way the public trust in the administrative agency was left intact. The challenges that were encountered here especially the politically instigated came when the republican wing of the country took advantage and made a meal out of it. Barry being a democrat, he endured ridicules and outrage from the republicans who were influencing the public views over the issue. Legally, a lot of contest ensured as the jury was divided over the issue. Edward P. Eagles who was elected the foreman voted to acquit Barry of any wrong doing. Eagles trusted that the jury should reach verdicts only in good conscience since he was for his innocence. As some jurors who were for his conviction saw obstruction from their opponents, Eagles realized that people with perspectives that had to be respected.
Individual ethics itself do not permit that kind of behavior fundamentally because smoking crack is not good for his health and dignity not to mention the office ethics that dictate that all public officials must be of good behavior. This case has reshaped the landscape of public administration in that many public officials will be more careful in the behaviors and indulgences because whenever the a scandal occurs, it’s not only their dignity which is at stake but also the credibility of the administrative agency. The challenges met while determining this case brought to the attention the fact that some loose aspects exist in the laws and statutes governing the administrative agencies therefore there has to be stricter laws to ensure problems don’t occur when solving administrative issues. The local law and the federal administrations laws need to be synchronized to prevent the conflict that might happen whenever solving an issue.