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August 18, 2010

"Dothan drug suspect asks for more prison time"

The title of this post is the headline of this intriguing local article reporting on an Alabama state case which highlights that defendants are not always eager for the shortest possible prison term.  Here are the details:

A convicted felon turned down a three-year prison term Tuesday, asking a judge for a longer sentence. The Houston County District Attorney’s Office offered Gary Allen Walker three years in prison if he’d plead guilty to a felony cocaine possession charge. But he turned it down, and asked the court for a longer sentence, specifically a five-year prison sentence.

Walker, 39, of Dothan, said he wanted more time in prison to complete a job skills program inside the state Department of Corrections. Houston County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Walker in March and charged him with felony unlawful possession of a controlled substance. “I don’t have any skills, and I lost everything in this arrest,” Walker said at the hearing.

Circuit Court Judge Larry Anderson told Walker if he refused the prosecution’s offer, and entered a blind plea, the sentence range for the charge would be enhanced because he has one prior felony drug conviction. Anderson told Walker he’d face two to 20 years in prison. Walker told the court he was aware of the offer, and turned it down anyway.

“That’s a first for me,” Anderson said. “I’m not going to give you more than five years. I didn’t order a fine because he got extra time.”

Walker told the court he has a 12th grade education, and four years of college, but had not graduated college. “I don’t have a place to stay right now,” Walker said. “I lost my apartment when I got arrested.”

Assistant Houston County District Attorney David Atwell said the evidence in the case included the discovery of cocaine inside a smoking device found during a traffic stop by sheriff’s deputies in May 2009. “Apparently he wanted to go finish a program that would teach him a trade, which is admirable. He’s gone through rehab, and now he’s trying to get a trade to move on with his life,” Atwell said. “I’ve never seen it happen exactly like this, to ask for more (prison) time.”...

Attorney Eric Davis said his client made the request for more prison against his advice. Davis said his client has already applied for the job skill program within the state Department of Corrections, but he didn’t have enough time left to complete it. “It’s the first time in 20 years I’ve ever heard anything like that from anybody,” Davis said. “He’s just trying to set himself up to succeed, not fail.”

August 18, 2010 at 10:56 AM | Permalink


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good one. but

"Assistant Houston County District Attorney David Atwell said the evidence in the case included the discovery of cocaine inside a smoking device found during a traffic stop by sheriff’s deputies in May 2009. “

Can you say illegal search!

Posted by: rodsmith | Aug 18, 2010 11:03:52 AM

Well, in Houston County, that just goes without saying!

Posted by: Ala JD | Aug 18, 2010 12:29:10 PM

This is sad. He had no confidence in his attorney.

Posted by: Ronald Richards | Aug 18, 2010 5:34:23 PM

Interesting that no one seems to take the fellow at his word:
He had no where to go. - This would not be improved by three years incarceration.
No job skills and thus no job prospects - this would not be improved by only three years.
Spotted a program offered by the corrections facility that would help him with his situation.
Opted for the path of advancement by asking for more time - this may/will improve his situation.
Seems a reasonable and mature decision structure may have been utilized by him.
Personally, I wish him success in his educational and vocational plans. Much to be preferred, imho, to the "no-win-for all" of the lesser sentence.
In my opinion we can expect to see more of this and more of "seniors" opting for incarceration for the medical, housing and being fed benefits of prison as times worsen.
I realize this sounds odd. However, having seen it with my own eyes (while incarcerated) I have no doubt that , if times worsen, it will increase.

Posted by: Throsso | Aug 19, 2010 11:08:23 AM

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