In June, Noah Kleinman, a 39-year-old salesman from Studio City, was convicted of six felony counts related to marijuana distribution.
Recent Sentencing for Drug Crime
At his recent sentencing he had the opportunity to speak to his case in front of U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright, a judge known to reduce sentences in those cases where defendants seemed sincere in wanting to right their wrongs.
“I’d like to thank you for hosting me in your courtroom,” he started as he took the stand in a rare opportunity to be forthright with the judge before him.
Loophole in Mandatory-Sentencing Law
That morning he had arrived with hope that he’d qualify for a loophole in the mandatory-sentencing law due to the fact he had no criminal record. He contended he was not a ringleader in the operation to distribute bulk marijuana and make hundreds of thousands of dollars.
His attorneys were hopeful they could get their client just 15 months in prison, or even just probation, instead of the prosecutors’ recommended of 17 1/2 years in federal prison.
War on Drugs
Federal agents have slowly eased off on the war against weed in light of the fact that 23 states have passed laws that allow medical marijuana sales. Public opinion nationwide has swung towards favoring legalization. Yet agents still seek harsh penalities for those distributors they deem are working outside the system.
Though the times are changing, Kleinman’s hopes for a lesser prison term were dashed when Wright said, “I can’t make rulings against a political backdrop.”
Wright sentenced Kleinman to 17 years and 7 months in federal prison. At the earliest, he could be released in 15 years with good behavior.
Source: Los Angeles Times, For drug crime defendants, sentencing can be a crapshoot, December 20, 2014
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