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Drug Case with Significant Complications

Attorney Amy Robidas suggested I post the story of our recently complicated drug case, so I decided to take her suggestion.

I was hired by the client to handle a felony drug possession out of York County from 2007.  He had a prior Aggravated Trafficking conviction he served time on (I didn't represent him) and other drug convictions out of Massachusetts.  He had a prior attorney that got him an offer of 3 years straight time in custody in 2007.  He no showed his Court date in 2007, and hired me when he got picked up on a warrant in 2010.

Long story short, we had a very difficult time convincing the Assistant Attorney General into giving him more reasonable time to serve then the 3 years she offered.  I went to York County for a docket call earlier in the month, and the Assistant Attorney General agreed to offer him a straight setence of 1 year with no probation.  My client was thrilled.  We decided to wait to enter the plea for a few weeks so he could make arrangements back home.

On my way back to my office in Portland, I got a call from my office manager that the federal drug enforcement agency had my client arrested in the parking lot.  I turned the car around, violating several traffic laws in the process, and headed back to York County Superior Court, where I found my client arrested for a sealed 2007 federal warrant, on different charges involving crack cocaine.

At this point, I was extremely happy we hadn't entered the plea minutes earlier in York County.  As many of you know, you can get life sentences handed out in federal court with the appropriate prior predicate offenses.  I spoke to my client, told him not to speak to law enforcement, and he was charged in federal court.

So, this poor guy goes from thinking he is doing 1 year and putting his past behind him, and within minutes he's facing a minum of 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison.

There is a happy ending to this story.  We find out a week or two later that the feds lost the evidence in their case.  They classified it incorrectly internally.  Credit to the U.S. Attorney's office: they didn't fool around, they simply dismissed the case when they found out.  Our client walked right out of there.

Miracles do happen...Tim

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