I'm trying to writ a federal application for writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a guy who got 292 months in prison for carrying money ONE TIME from one person to another in a methamphetamine conspiracy. WOW! It was a huge conspiracy but the problem with the way the system works is that the first to the table (meaning the first snitch in the group that gets to the US Attorney with his/her information) gets the deal of the century. What does this really mean to the general public?
Well John Q., it means that the "big dogs" are getting much shorter sentences many times than say, a one-time mule. One of the reasons is that the one-time mule doesn't have anything to exchange for a lower sentence. (The mules are kept in the dark about Mr. Big & the other higher conspirators. The purpose of having the mules is to help insulate them from knowledge of the lessers like the mules who are more likely to be caught.) The one time mule is held just as responsible as, say the 20 time (5 years worth) mule. (There are some ways to raise sentences but I'm not addressing that.)
So, John Q., you've lost your job & been trying in vain to get a job to support your wife & 5 kids but this economy sucks eggs so it has been hard. You can't work a minimum wage job - that is a joke for a family person. Someone you know just slightly - maybe met him through a couple of buddies you used to play cards with, or a buddy of a former work buddy - sees you around. You get to talking about life & need for work, etc., & he tells you that he has this deal where he just picks up money from one guy and brings it to another guy, and that he thinks he can hook you up. Now, you suspect that this is not good - I mean, who would pay money for such. But, times being what they are, you decide that you will do it.
So, you carry money once & then decide that it just isn't worth it, and you won't do it again. Three years from now, the feds come beating at your door & you find that you are tied into a conspiracy because they had surveillance of you going to the house to get the money, as well as calls from you to the money guy getting directions. That's it. No more.
The Government is looking for someone they want you to tell on. To your knowledge, the person is deceased. They don't believe you so that means trial time. 292 months.
John Q. - do you feel safer now that all your tax dollars are spent locking this guy up for this long? And let me absolutely assure you that the Government acknowledged they had nothing else on this conspiracy but what I've listed. (They have him talking about drugs with other non-co-conspirators but nothing of any big issue.)
Believe me, I understand that you have to get as many as you can - to do something in this "war on drugs" - but seriously - at any cost? 292 months. Wow. I feel much safer - NOT. (Quit wasting my money on such crap is actually how I feel. But hey, when you've got a power hunger, mean spirited person in charge, this is the kind of "justice" you can expect.)