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Judge Hopes New Trick Makes Message Stick

June 8, 1988

HOUSTON (AP) _ Those convicted of first-time drug possession in Judge Ted Poe’s court will get probation with a twist: their cars must bear a bumper sticker reading ″Texas - Don’t Mess With Drugs.″

″It’s not going to move mountains, but it’s just another way of communicating that drugs are harmful,″ the state judge said Monday.

Before instituting the policy, Poe’s probation requirements usually included regular urinalysis and drug treatment.

The decals are a toned-down version of those many people convicted of drunken driving must have on their cars warning motorists that the driver is a felon and advising them to report erratic driving to police.

So far, the judge has given the stickers to six offenders. He offers probation to first-time, non-violent offenders only, and not to drug dealers.

″The only place (a dealer) is going to be able to put a bumper sticker is on his tractor up at the penitentiary,″ Poe said.

Poe is known for his creative probation requirements. Some people placed on probation in his court worked on the restoration of the battleship Texas, and a drunken driver had to erect a cross where he killed the victim.

″The old paths are not the proven paths,″ Poe said of his unorthodox ways.

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