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.