Life Sentence Defeated in Federal Court

The Firm is happy to announce that today we defeated a life sentence in federal court.

Eleven years ago, while represented by different counsel, D.E. was sentenced to life imprisonment for a non-violent drug offense. Because he had at least two prior drug convictions, he received a mandatory life sentence, without the possibility of parole. It appeared as if he would die in a federal penitentiary.

This morning, with his family watching from the gallery, a federal judge reduced his sentence to 19 years and 364 days. With credit for time served, he should be home in about seven years.

D.E. had raised several issues of ineffective assistance of counsel before the U.S. District Court of Maryland. Among other issues, he alleged that his trial lawyer had failed to show him all of his discovery, and that he had received bad plea advice. He did much of the early legal work himself, spending countless hours at the prison’s legal library.

After years of litigation, and after Brown & Nieto was appointed by the court to represent D.E., the parties were able to come to the negotiating table and reach a settlement that both sides could live with.

While we certainly would have preferred for D.E. to be released immediately, the compromise was a fair one, and it was a shining example of a federal prosecutor doing the right thing.

Good luck moving forward, D.E.!