My husband was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. He was sentenced in October 2011. His charge was conspiracy to posses, with intent to distribute, 330.7 kil. of cocaine. The title & section 21 841. He has a prior conviction of marijana. He recieved an enhacement title 21 us code 851. Which he recieved a mandatory minimum of 20 years. The attorney my husband had, had very little experience in federal cases. I think it was his first case. He never went over all details, my husband was told that if he took case to trail he can get more. So my husband plead guilty. He had no time to really think about his plea, cause since my husband was in jail the attorney went twice to visit him. It was during the court when he advised him it would be better for him to plea guilty.
Given what you describe, the only way to reduce his sentence at this point is if he has information that could help the government convict someone else, and the government believes the information is so useful it agrees to make a motion asking for a reduction below the mandatory minimum. This has to be done within a year of sentencing, unless the information was learned by your husband after sentencing. In other words, he has to snitch. As I noted before, the 851 notice had to be filed before he pled guilty. If it wasn't, he might have an issue that could be raised now. By the way, depending on when his marijuana conviction was and what sentence he got and whether he has any other convictions for anything, the attorney was right--he could have gotten more time after trial, as much as 22-30 years. Instead he got the minimum.
This answer is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended as the practice of law in any jurisdiction in which I am not licensed. The answer does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. The answer is based only on the information provided, and may be inaccurate in the context of additional facts that have not been provided. The questioner should be aware that I am only licensed to practice law in the state and federal courts of Minnesota. Accordingly, before taking any action or refraining from taking any action, the questioner should consult with an attorney licensed to practice in his or her jurisdiction.
If the Government properly notified your husband of the 851 enhancement, the only way to have his sentenced reduced below twenty years is his providing substantial cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of other individuals, which may cause the Government to file a Motion for Sentence Reduction pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35.
Joshua Sabert Lowther, Esq.
NATIONAL FEDERAL DEFENSE GROUP
The two previous posters are correct. I only look to add that the attorney may not have very good client skills, he probably was unfortunately correct about the plea vs. trial choice. It is very hard to find a "good" federal case to try. I have one coming up, but the client also is not facing a minimum 20 years. You're only other option is a 2255 motion. These are very long shots, they in essence are a motion saying that the attorney's performance was below a certain standard.
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