The street value of drugs aka “cop math”

Jay Leiderman
By: Jay Leiderman
July 03 2016

Cop math

Dennis Roberts, via email, 9 June 2016

Ahhh, cop math.  Today I read a new story about drug trafficking; a huge marijuana raid involving several grow houses in Oakland and the Sinaloa cartel. 15 were arrested. In one paragraph the police say the marijuana was worth almost $4 million dollars. A couple of paragraphs later they say they cannot estimate the value of the marijuana. How is this possible?  Simple. The cops found a note which said “this marijuana is worth almost 4 million dollars” but it was not notarized so they couldn’t be sure. It’s simple to figure it out just like the cops do. It’s cop math.  Just take the poundage and make an assumption. Each pound yields X joints. Ascribe a value to a joint and multiply. Cop math.  No officer you cannot use your calculator. You’ve done hundreds maybe thousands of search and seizures. And yet you need a calculator. What about a pencil and paper?

Cop math
The police tend to be less than reliable in their math when it comes to the street value of drugs. You never do know when an ounce of marijuana purchased for $120.00 is worth $570.00 because it is valued at $20 per gram x 28.5 grams per ounce = $570.00. Doesn’t matter what you paid.  Doesn’t matter what it truly sells for.  Cop math.


A number of years ago I had a heroin case in Hayward. They had a warrant where the snitch, known, in polite terms, as a “confidential informant” with the obligatory history of reliability in past snitchings and who was a good citizen and such said there were two packages of heroin in a cereal box in my client’s kitchen. One weighed one pound and the other a half pound. Cops came in with a warrant and sure enough easily found the heroin and that’s what the packages weighed.

Me: So officer did you wait until you got to the station to do the weighing or did you use the scale that was there and which is now in evidence.

Cop: I used the scale there

Me:  but that’s an Ohaus scale isn’t it

Cop: yes

Me: and it is graded in grams isn’t it

Cop: yes

Me: so you did the math in your head right

Cop: yes

Me: so how many grams are in a half pound

Cop: [absolute silence]

me:  let me help you out here. Let’s say there are about 28 grams in an ounce. So how many grams in a half pound

Cop:  [silence continues]

Me:  ok. Let’s make it easier. Let’s say there are 16 ounces in a pound. So how many grams in a half pound [more silence – but now the jury is laughing]

Me:  ok let me help you out a little more here. If a pound has 16 ounces how many ounces are in a half pound [more silence – juror yells out “8”. Jury laughs].

cop math
How the value of one pound of a controlled substance becomes two and then three

Me:  look if there are 28 grams in an ounce and juror number 3 helped you out by telling you there were 8 ounces in a half pound, how many grams were in what you tell us was a half pound. Now I walk up to the bench and snatch a yellow pad and pencil. “May I, your honor.” Here officer. Here is a pad and pencil. Now write down 28. Remember that’s one gram. Now you learned from juror number 3 that there are 8 oz in a half pound so you simply take 28 and multiply by 8. OK, what’s the number. [very long painful silence]. DA, who is now a judge and was an especially vicious DA, asks for a recess. He comes over to me but trips over his big box of files [now jury is in hysterics].

By the way, my guy is on trial with his much younger cousin. Cousin is about to go to trial on a dead bang 4+ pound cocaine case. The DA says if they both take a year in county jail he’ll dump the cocaine case. I tell him “why should my guy do that. When the jury stops laughing this trial is over.”  “But – but – but – his cousin is going to prison on the cocaine case.” “And?”  “Mr Roberts you have an obligation to ask your client”. So I do. I explain the deal and tell him if he agrees to a year in county jail (at that time on a County year an inmate would do 8 months) and cuz’ does the same they will drop cousin’s state prison cocaine case. Remember I am talking to a supposedly scum bag cold-hearted heroin dealer.  My defendant looks at me (I was expecting an “are you nuts?”) and says “sure, I can do a year in county standing on my head” and we take the deal. Now let’s hear how all heroin dealers are blood sucking monsters who would run over mom if it helped them. How about this: Many are people with an addiction they can’t kick and this is the only way they can survive.

Another example of what my friend William Panzer calls “cop math.”

cop math
Dennis Roberts at a press conference with Dennis Banks. After a 13 year fight, Banks was vindicated.

A brief biography of Dennis Roberts

For a more detailed biography click here.  For his law practice, see:

I spent the summer of ’63 as a law student, then 1964-1966 as a young attorney working with C. B. King in [Albany] All-Benny, Georgia. I returned after I graduated law school at U. C. Berkeley where my then wife started the Albany Georgia Nursery School with C. B.’s wife, Carol King. It was enormously successful as it provided Head Start with living proof that you could run an interracial school in the deep South.

We then moved to NY where I was the first staff employee of the Center for Constitutional Rights (Arthur Kinoy, Bill Kunstler, Morty Stavis) I was there for three years and we returned to Berkeley where I did all the pre-trial work with Michael Tigar in the Chicago 8 and Angela Davis cases.

Among many, many others, I also represented Dennis Banks and we fought Dennis’ case for 13 years to a very successful conclusion. 


31 thoughts on “The street value of drugs aka “cop math”

  1. When you said, “my guy”, is where I stopped reading, Jay. Mow a connection’s the OC having no armed security for marijuana shops. Well, Stephen had a gun pulled on him in such a shop, and Stephen has the racism and the bigotry. It’s in the air, it’s in my blood. Don’t need no reason. Your guys are shooting the poor marijuana patients. Mine is a fair deal in Orange County. Just one of these let’s keep dance.
    in the 4,000 kg I mentioned (hold down), this is the amount of precursors. The yield is 85 % for the hydriodic/red phosphorous, so, one mole at 220 gms of ephedrine, break it down, this is 0.85(171/221) moles cancel, you like meth. Guys, I just want to sleep and say, your eyes burn around the rims without the sleep.
    Slippery slope, and when it comes fallin’, the size of the apparatus determined the ball park figures. 12 L produced 3,000 gms meth, but, another cook said he tippled in the starting material to 7 or 8 pounds per gallon. So, you guys try to. I learned. I’ll be checking.
    Thinking proper then. I should get things tidy. They want to be up. Ss3s ya got me goin’.

  2. Hi. There’s a link that’s so important;
    Snitch Alert: Brandon Darby Will Be at RNC Filming Protesters with Former FTP Protester Cassandra Fairbanks.

    So, Sabu as a weapon of FBI is a real mold, in the sense that FBI is recruiting an operative like Fairbanks to crush the left.

    They made a monkey out of me before.

    Come on, don’t leave people to be arrested for protesting (a legal right). Now there’s death.

    Ginch is Hispanic. I already have a previous case of being robbed by my Hispanic landlady. Very distressing. I love catching the group HIGINIO. I like Hig’s action.

    Plug her in that we are dominoes. Don’t knock them over.

    “You HAD 3”, base my captha. On your own, see why she REALLY does not contact Jeremy Hammond. It’s because he knows all about this snitch Darby.

  3. Oh, my-my, goddammit. Here, the one I’m holding,
    Although a security guard was standing nearby, he wasn’t armed. If he was, the victim says, the shooting would have never happened. “My guy would have plugged him,” he argued.

    Santa Ana Police Offer $100,000 Reward For Identity of Marijuana Dispensary Shooter

    Santa Ana Police Offer $100,000 Reward For Identity of Marijuana Dispensary Shooter

    As is well-known from video they got caught by failing to notice, SAPD is on the wrong side of the law. I did meth with a retired detective, Daniel Beaumarchaise, and his friend Dennis Chambers, VHS class president, as we won a football game that we should not have.

    That was not the attorney (I did not realize it was not jay Leiderman browbeating the witness. That’s a maneuver of Dennis Roberts).
    uh, so it’s more his style. Hey, but the trunk for the experience has me a-focused on the envy I had for Jay. I always slip back into it. And then we’re cone.

    That was only the victim’s vulgar statement. When marijuana shops open with guns, I’ll come down and bone ya. Do-do gigi get those chi-chis?

    I hate victims. Shut up.

  4. So no matter what you actually pay the cops will put a price per gram and say that is the value of the product? That does not make sense.

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  7. here was a recent documentary on the History Channel about DB Cooper and they said Robert Rackstraw was DB Cooper. Dennis Roberts was in the articles as his lawyer. Here are some links:
    These days, Rackstraw lives a quiet life aboard the 45-foot cruiser “Poverty Sucks” in a yacht harbor in San Diego Bay. In the History Channel program, Rackstraw denies being D.B. Cooper.

    “He’s not D.B. Cooper,” said Rackstraw’s 78-year-old Oakland attorney, Dennis Roberts, on Monday. “Everything I’ve heard is that D.B. Cooper died, and he (Rackstraw) is alive.”

    Roberts said that Rackstraw might have casually boasted that he was Cooper over the years because of his military career. Yet Roberts said that Rackstraw did not have the skills to parachute into an icy storm and survive.

    Roberts said he’s considering filing a civil suit against the History Channel and the book’s authors, although he said he has not yet seen the programs nor read the book.


    The FBI declined to comment about Rackstraw on Tuesday. Rackstraw’s former lawyer, Dennis Roberts, of Oakland, said the documentary’s allegations about his client were false.

    “He’s not D.B. Cooper, but nobody wants to listen,” Roberts said. “It’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

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  10. Stalker gets arrested for stalking! Rot in Hell, JoJo. You lost at life. Fucker! Fuck you, Sue Basko, too. You’re next. Crooked psycho narcissist co-conspirator. You gonna hide without your sociopath to protect you?;jsessionid=0F1D910D58621C27ED3D6379FC3304B0

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  11. Susan Marie Basko Witchcraft, occult, psycho, crazy, harassment Chicago Illinois

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