This is an interesting one.
He's 71 years old and was stopped in Bridgeport for an alleged traffic violation. He had about 25 grams of meth on him which is a pretty good bunch -- even for Wise County. He admitted it was his -- guilt was not an issue -- which is one of the reasons the jury took a whole six minutes to convict him. (I think the defense lawyer was alleging there wasn't a traffic violation and wanted that issue submitted to the jury. If there wasn't, they could find him not guilty due to an illegal traffic stop.)
I think he has about six prior drug charges and has been to the pen at least two times before. I'm not sure, but I know his history "ain't good." Because of this, he could receive any where from 25 years to life in prison for his new conviction. (Early parole laws apply. However, no one can accurately predict when he would get out regardless of the sentence.)
I know the plea bargain offer before trial was 60 years in prison, so it's not a case the defendant wanted to try. But what did he really have to lose by turning down that offer?
Someone said to me yesterday that the defendant, if convicted, would have more security than most Americans when is all said and done. For the rest of his life he'll have free food. free housing, and free health care. Heck, we may all be wanting to walk around with a bag of dope in front of the cops when we're 71.
There has to be a better way.
(Technically, when the hearing occurs before the judge to assess punishment, the State could "waive" the two enhancement paragraphs alleging prior prison trips and that would knock the punishment range down to 2 to 20 years. I don't need six minutes to make a guess as to whether that will happen, however.)
Edit: One of the commentors says I'm wrong about his history in that he had six prior trips to the pen. I wasn't wrong. I said he had "at least two" (that's why the minimum sentence is 25) and that his history "ain't good." That same person said I'm wrong on the plea bargain offer. Ok, I'll admit I'm wrong if both the prosecutor and the defense lawyer lied to me.
at 3:56 PM