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Law Enforcement Officers Engaged in Sentence Manipulation

Posted by John Rutkowski | Aug 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

After a jury found the defendant guilty of four counts of sale of cocaine and two counts of sale of marijuana the trial court imposed a downward departure sentences, that all ran at the same time, of ten months' jail on each count.

The court based the departure on its finding that law enforcement officers engaged in sentence manipulation by making multiple purchases over the course of their sting operation for no reason other than to increase the defendant's potential sentence. The State appealed.

The appeals court stated that the departure basis was supported by the evidence; however, they concluded that the trial court erred in sentencing the defendant below 31.2 months which is what is lowest permissible sentence would have been.

The case was sent to the trial court who was permitted to impose a departure sentence based upon its finding of sentence manipulation by law-enforcement. However, the trial court could not depart below what the defendant would have received if law- enforcement did not engage in sentence manipulation.

About the Author

John Rutkowski

Mr. Rutkowski has been practicing law for the past twenty years. Prior to practicing law Mr. Rutkowski served twelve years as a deputy sheriff, retiring to attend law school. Starting his law-enforcement career as a patrol deputy which included two years on the DUI squad; Mr. Rutkowski moved up the ranks becoming a corporal in the field training program which give him the responsibility for training new recruits.

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John P. Rutkowski, criminal defense attorney, is focused on all aspects, Criminal Defense, Criminal Appeals, Driving Under the Influence and Traffic law. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

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