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Willie Nelson Not Off The Hook For 2010 Pot Bust After All

Whether or not you believe Willie Nelson mailed in his most recent Houston-area performance at Verizon in April, one thing is sure: The singer and Texas icon won't be mailing in the fine and court costs stemming from his November 2010 pot bust in West Texas, where six ounces of marijuana was found on his tour bus.

Earlier this year, Nelson had agreed to a plea-bargain that reduced the charge from a felony with mandatory jail time if convicted to a misdemeanor, and to pay the $500 fine and $280 in associated court costs.

Today, though, presiding Hudspeth County judge Becky Dean-Walter has overruled the plea bargain, telling The New York Times she believes prosecutor Kit Bramblett's fondness for Nelson's music influenced his willingness to lighten Nelson's possible punishment.

"He's supposed to file the charge he feels is appropriate," she told the Times, as reported by Rolling Stone this afternoon. "Not what he feels he should do for his favorite singer. It is up to the judge to agree or not."

The case drew additional scrutiny after Bramblett, who later said he was joking, said he would be willing to drop the charges if Nelson appeared in court and sing "Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain." Now it looks like the singer and famous pot advocate could be facing a trial, at the very least. Judge Walker did not say specifically what would happen to the case now, but did tell the Times "if Willie Nelson gets off with nothing, I'm not going to be part of it."

"Texas is more stringent than California so he could face time. One of the issues that the court and prosecutors will look at is his prior record and given the fact that he has several arrests, even recent ones, for pot related crimes," former California prosecutor Robin Sax told Fox News shortly after Nelson's arrest, which made international headlines.

"I would not be surprised if Texas decided to stick it to him."

Also after his arrest, Nelson founded the pro-legalization Teapot Party, which currently has more than 70,000 fans on Facebook.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray