A Baltimore judge has ruled that a double jeopardy defense does not apply to a man facing multiple drug charges. The defendant faces many charges; however, he reportedly pleaded guilty to only one charge in an effort to use double jeopardy as a defense against being tried and potentially convicted of the remaining drug crimes.
The attorney general argued that double jeopardy does not apply and accused the defense of attempting to fabricate a double jeopardy situation by having the defendant plead guilty to one charge. The judge stated that when he met with the defense and the prosecution prior to the plea, his impression was that the defendant would plead guilty to all charges. However, when the parties entered the court room, a different scenario took place.
The possession with intent to distribute charge arose from an incident in which police stopped a woman who was traveling from Baltimore with 1,000 grams of cocaine, which allegedly came from the defendant. However, the defense argued that by entering the guilty plea for possession with intent to distribute, the defendant, who was allegedly part of a local drug ring, could not be tried for the other charges.
After taking an extra day to review the law, the judge issued the ruling and stated that he believed the plea was only entered as a strategy to prevent the defendant from being tried for the other charges. Despite describing the defendant’s lawyer as disingenuous, the judge maintained that he will remain impartial and hold no ill will toward the defendant.
Facing drug charges in court can be extremely complex. The process can be overwhelming as a defendant can be charged with many offenses that arise from a single event. Consulting a criminal lawyer can help a defendant navigate the highly involved, potentially cumbersome world of legal defenses.
Source: The Altoona Mirror, “Drug trial to start Monday”, Phil Ray, May 04, 2013