After only 90 minutes of deliberation, a jury in the Waco-based 19th State District Court passed down a 65-year sentence on a man for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. This incident marks the sixth time the man has been convicted of a felony.
Upon the reading of the sentence, the defendant was asked if he had any reason why the sentence should not be imposed. The defendant asked the court for leniency, arguing that the punishment was too harsh and violated the principle of double jeopardy.
The claim of double jeopardy relates to identical federal charges the defendant plead guilty to three years earlier. In that case, the defendant was sentenced to 13 years. Prosecutors asked the judge to 'stack" the sentences, meaning the 65-year state sentence wouldn't begin until after the 13-year federal sentence was completed. The judge denied the request, which means the two sentences will run concurrently.
This is not the defendant's first run-in with the law. He has previous convictions for attempted murder, tampering with evidence and delivery of a controlled substance. In addition, he has been convicted twice for possession of a controlled substance. Due to his criminal record, the defendant must serve at least 25 percent of the entire sentence before being eligible for parole. In this case, that means more than 16 years must be served before there is a possibility of parole.
The consequences of a criminal conviction can be substantial. Because of the high stakes, it may be in the best interest of an accused person to discuss their case with an attorney. An attorney experienced in criminal defense law may be able to use their experience to suppress evidence against the accused and potentially have the case thrown out.