A Maryland man was recently sentenced to nine years in prison — to be followed by five years of supervised release — on charges of cocaine distribution. The 43-year-old apparently conspired with other people to distribute five kilograms of cocaine. According to some of the evidence against the man, conversations about cocaine distribution were “overheard” by police. It is unclear if this was done through wiretapping or surveillance.
There weren’t many other details provided about the drug case or the charges against the men involved in the case. But what is very clear is that these people are being severely punished for their offenses, which is the norm in drug cases.
In many respects, the harsh punishment associated with drug crimes (especially crimes that involve high profile substances, such as cocaine) is a double-edged sword. On one side, you can understand why the punishment is so high — or at least you can understand the intent of it. The harsh punishment acts as a deterrent to people who would consider committing the offense.
But on the other hand, such harsh punishment makes hardened criminals out of people who don’t deserve such a label. We’re talking about a non-violent crime, and for such an offense, people are losing a significant chunk of their lives to prison. It’s not like this is a rare occurrence: this happens time and again, and it has for many decades. People receive excessively harsh punishments under the guise that the punishment deters drug crime.
Clearly since we’re talking about this right now, that line of thinking hasn’t worked. Harsh punishment is still the norm, and those who are accused of drug crimes need to defend their case — regardless of the specific circumstances involved in their case — to limit the damage or, maybe, just maybe, to beat the case.
Source: delmarvanow.com, “Nanticoke man sentenced to 9 years on drug charge,” Nov. 14, 2014