The Agreement Was a 10-Year Sentence if He Fails Out of Drug Court
Video Transcribed: Four years after 780 and 1269, the Oklahoma court of criminal appeals affirms a 10-year sentence for possession of CDS. I’m an attorney in Tulsa, OK James Wirth and we’re talking about another new decision from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. It is an F2019880.
It is not out for publication and involves a gentleman who was charged with possession of CDS within 1000 feet of a school. At the time he was charged that was a felony, I believe it had up to 12 years in prison or something along those lines, but ultimately he entered a plea deal to take it into drug court.
And in the drug court program, it’s a very onerous program, a lot of hoops, you got to jump through over generally a three-year period where you try to graduate that program and if you graduate, usually get a sweetheart deal, maybe a deferred sentence, or maybe dismissal at that point but if you fail out, then you get a bad plea deal and that’s entered at the time that you plead into drug court.
In this case, the agreement was a 10-year sentence if he fails out of drug court. However, while he was in drug court and going through this process, there were some changes under the law, state question 780 was passed by the people that made the crime that he was originally charged with go from a felony to a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence up to one year.
Then the legislature passed 1269, which said that for crimes that were previously felony that is now misdemeanors if there’s an application to revoke on probation for a suspension or application to accelerate for a deferred sentence, that the maximum sentence is going to be the new maximum sentence of one year.
So the court here has to decide how is that applicable to somebody in drug court? Because ultimately the state alleged that he did not complete drug court after more than three years, and they filed a termination from drug court and now they’re looking to give him that bad sense of the 10 years for a crime that now has a maximum of one year.
In many circumstances, the court has looked at a drug court sentence, as a deferred sentence, because ultimately you enter a plea deal, but you’re not sentenced until after it’s decided whether you complete a drug court or not so it’s very much like a deferred and a lot of the arguments and how we look at different procedures for drug court go along the deferred.
One would argue it should be treated like a deferred and in the circumstances where 1269 makes it clear, he cannot be given more than one year sentence, or if it were suspended, could not be given more than a one year sentence.
However, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals here decided to find that it is different, that is different than a deferred, apparently, it’s different than a suspended, it’s its own beast and it was left out of 1269, therefore, we’re going to go ahead and give him the full 10 years.
He ended up getting 10 years in this case for what now has a maximum of one year under 780 and what it’s clear that the intent would be under 1269 passed by the legislature that he should only have one year and it should have been treated as a deferred, but they made it a separate beast so they gave him the full 10 years. That’s another example of maybe why we have the highest incarceration rate or second-highest incarceration rate in the nation and the world.
If you’ve got questions about your case, family, friends, case, you’re going to want more than this general information or if you want to read the entire case we discussed, click here. You’re going to want specific information confidentially from an attorney in Oklahoma.