Sentence For Possession With Intent To Distribute Should Fit The Offender At The Time Of Sentencing
- March 30, 2015
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Joseph Jafee pled guilty, in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Morris County, to third-degree conspiracy to possess a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) with intent to distribute (N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2 and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1)) for which the judge imposed a three-year sentence in spite of marked changes in Jaffee’s lifestyle in the year between his guilty plea and sentencing. Jaffee became engaged and acted as a father to his fiancee’s son, remained sober, routinely attended substance abuse meetings and became a counselor to at-risk youth. Additionally, as part of the plea agreement, Jaffee cooperated in the prosecution of his co-defendants. Judge Manahan followed the sentencing guidelines but refused to consider the changes Jaffee had made in the prior year. The NJ Appellate Division affirmed the sentence and Jaffee appealed. In State v. Jaffe, the NJ Supreme Court considered the opinions of State v. Bridges, 131 N.J. 402 (1993) and State v. Hodge, 95 N.J. 369 (1984) with regard to its analysis of uniform sentencing consideration. In addition, the NJ Supreme Court pointed to the fact that the NJ Code of Criminal Justice does allow for consideration of the defendant’s individual situation. Ultimately, the NJ Supreme Court held that, in light of State v. Randolph, 210 N.J. 330 (2012), the Law Division should have assess the defendant “as he stands before the court on the day of sentencing” in addition to simply weighing the aggravating and mitigating factors. After making the determination that Jaffe’s circumstances at the time of sentencing should be considered, the NJ Supreme Court remanded for resentencing in light of the fact that the sentencing judge specifically declined consideration thereof. If you have been charged with possession or possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), it is critical that you obtain experienced criminal defense counsel immediately in order that all exculpatory evidence may be obtained, favorable witnesses may be located, and all appropriate procedures are followed by the police and the prosecution. There are frequently problems with consent to search, warrants, Miranda warnings, inappropriate denial of suppression motions and improper trial procedure which may make a substantial difference in the outcome of your matter. For more information about possession, intent to distribute, CDS, conspiracy and other drug charges in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.