CHARGED WITH POSSESSION of drug paraphernalia, 15-year-old Joshua Krawiec won a dismissal by proving that the law he was accused of breaking didn't exist.
In October a police dog sniffed out three film canisters in Krawiec's locker at Newport High School in northeastern Washington state. A field test indicated "marijuana residue" in one of the containers. Lab analysis later confirmed the presence of pot, but the residue detected was insufficient to charge Krawiec with drug possession. Undaunted, local prosecutors decided to indict him for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Krawiec, who said he had no knowledge of any contraband that might have been in the canisters, tried unsuccessfully to get the charge dismissed based on a drug test he passed a few days after the search. Then he turned to Citizens Against Corruption, a local grassroots legal organization. With the assistance of CAC founder Leonard Browning, Krawiec used the Internet to research the law he was charged with breaking as well as several relevant court cases.