11 March 2005

Murder Penalty for Drug Conviction

Plead guilty to federal drug charges and get sentenced for murder.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course, without knowing any more details about the case it's hard to tell whether this sentence is "unreasonable." Nevertheless, it sure violates the spirit of Blakey, doesn't it?

Several months back (post-Blakely, pre-Booker) the Fifth Circuit affirmed a sentence where the defendant had been convicted of being a felon in possession of ammunition, but was sentenced under the murder guideline. Although you couldn't tell it from the recitation of "facts" in the opinion, it was a real farce. The defendant had been charged with capital murder in state court for allegedly murdering a cop. The evidence was so flimsy that the jury (a Texas jury, no less) acquitted the defendant of the capital murder charge. In ride the feds, who charge the defendant with being a felon in possession of ammunition. The factual basis for that prosecution? That the defendant possessed the ammunition that was used to kill the cop. Federal jury convicts (on equally flimsy evidence) and defendant gets sentenced for murder.

I can't remember the caption of the case off the top of my head, but if you find it you can use the defendant's name to find an article from the Dallas Observer (a weekly alternative rag) about the state prosecution. You've got to take everything from that paper with a grain of salt, but given the state jury's verdict of not guilty the article carries more weight than I'd otherwise give it.