Federal Drug Case- 10 Year Minimum Mandatory-Client gets time served (14 days)
This case was a multi-defendant drug conspiracy in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Client was charged with distributing more than 500 grams of meth with approximately 25 other defendants. That charge carries with it a minimum mandatory sentence of 10-life. The other problem was, when the search warrant for the residence the client was staying at (his mom's), there was a firearm located in the bedroom where he was sleeping. Drugs and guns in federal court are a problem.
The client was represented by another lawyer initially but a conflict led to the lawyer referring the client to our office.
While the drug case was strong for the government, including recorded phone calls where the defendants are discussing drug transactions, the thing we needed to do was get the government to get rid of the the gun.
If the government was willing to admit that the firearm was not involved in the case, the defendant could qualify for a "safety valve" exception. That would allow the defendant to be sentenced below the minimum mandatory required by the statute.
After literally years of providing the government with proof that the firearm didn't belong to the client, and proof that he had just recently flown into town and wouldn't have had the firearm, the government gave in and agreed the gun could not be tied to the defendant.
That opened the flood gates for the client. He had done a great job since the charge of finding stable employment, finding a residence and really turning his life around.
At the time of sentencing, the government made a recommendation for 3 1/2- 4 years in federal prison. We recommended the time that he had already served (14 days) along with supervised release. The judge followed our recommendation and did not send the client to prison. It likely saved his future. Job saved, residence saved and chance to move forward in his life.
In this case winning the case didn't mean beating the charges for the client, it meant finding the way to get him to the "safety valve" exception which made the time served sentence possible.