The story: When U.S. Border Patrol agents stopped Willie Nelson's tour bus in rural west Texas last November, they found several ounces of marijuana onboard. Although Hudspeth County Attorney Kit Bramblett could have made an example out of Nelson — recommending the maximum 180 days in jail and $2,000 fine allowed under Texas law — he suggested a plea deal of $100 instead... plus a courtroom performance by Nelson of his 1975 hit "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain." "You can bet your ass I'm not going to be mean to Willie Nelson," Bramblett said. Nelson, 77, and Judge Becky Dean-Walker both have to sign off on the deal, which is no sure thing. "My court is not a jester court," Dean-Walker told CNN on Monday.
The reaction: Look, "I love 'Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain' as much as anybody," says James Hart in the Kansas City Star, "but how is this remotely legal?" Well, Bramblett is just treating pot possession with the slap-on-the-wrist most people think it deserves, says Benjy Eisen in Spinner. I'd bet Nelson's lawyer is "tuning up the guitar" as we speak — "let freedom sing!" If I were Willie, I'd just say no to this abuse of power, says Joe Klare in the 420 Times. He isn't some "barking circus dog," and "being a public official doesn't entitle you to a free mini-concert from Willie Nelson."
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