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May 2012 Archives

Ted Stevens Prosecutors Suspended for Failing to Disclose Evidence

From USA Today:May 24, 2012

Prosecutors in botched case against Sen. Stevens suspended

By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY #post-date-updated {border-top: solid 1px #E5E5E5;}
Updated 23m ago
Two Justice Department trial lawyers involved in the botched corruption prosecution of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens have been suspended without pay for "reckless professional misconduct'' in failing to disclose critical information to the senator's defense team.
By Gerald Herbert, AP

STORIES: Justice in the balance
Joseph Bottini, an assistant U.S. attorney in Alaska, was suspended for 40 days and James Goeke, an assistant U.S. attorney in Washington state, was suspended for 15 days, according to a summary of the findings released today by the Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibility.
The full 672-page report of the Justice Department's internal investigation was submitted to the Senate and House Judiciary committees.
The findings come two months after a special investigator appointed by federal Judge Emmet Sullivan found that the Stevens prosecution was "permeated by the systematic concealment'' of evidence favorable to the defense.
A jury convicted Stevens, a Republican, in 2008 on seven counts of lying on Senate financial disclosure statements. Days later, Stevens lost his re-election bid. In 2009, Sullivan threw out the conviction. Stevens died in a plane crash in August 2010.

Tim Zerillo and Amy Robidas Get Variant Sentence Departure in Federal Reverse Sting Drug Case

In Federal Drug cases sentences are based, in part, on the amount of drugs trafficked.  But what if the drugs are sold to the Defendant by a Government Agent?  And what if the price of the drugs is deflated below their ordinary market value so the Defendant can buy more?When the Government sells the Defendant drugs, it is called a "reverse sting."  Comment Note 14 to United States Sentencing Guideline Section 2D1.1 states:
If, in a reverse sting (an operation in which a government agent sells or negotiates to sell a controlled substance to a defendant) the court finds that the government agent set a price for the controlled substance that was substantially below the market value of the controlled substance, thereby leading to the defendant's purchase of a significantly greater quantity of the controlled substance than his available resources would have allowed him to purchase except for the artificially low price set by the government agent, a downward deviation may be warranted. U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1, comment (n. 14).

In our case, our Client bought a 1,000 Oxycontin 80 milligram pills.  We argued that the price set by the DEA Agent was to low, and the 1,000 pills did not reflect the Client's true purchasing power.  We established in Court that the price for this area should have been between $65 and $80 a pill for Oxycontin 80 milligram pills, and calculated that the Client's purchasing power would be 2 levels lower than his actual Guideline range suggested.Judge D. Brock Hornby heard the sentencing, and gave our Client a departure from the Guideline range in accepting this argument.  Our Client's sentence ended up at 57 months, where his Guideline range was between 70 and 87 months.