In this cocaine related case, defendant appeals from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Suffolk County, convicting her of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence of two concurrent indeterminate terms of imprisonment of 19 years to life.
A Suffolk County Cocaine lawyer said that the defendant offered to sell a kilogram of cocaine to a police informant who arranged for its sale to an undercover Long Island Drug Enforcement Task Force agent. The informant traveled with the defendant and her boyfriend to the place where they picked up the cocaine and then placed it in the trunk of the car in which it was discovered by police after they were arrested. DWI was not charged. Neither petit larceny nor grand larceny were involved.
The defendant’s main contentions concern statements made by the prosecutor during summation and the court’s charge to the jury. The record clearly indicates that the prosecutor stayed within the four corners of the evidence in his summation, and that the jury, after hearing the entire charge, could gather from its language the correct rules to be applied in arriving at its decision.
The defendant’s contention that her entrapment defense (Penal Law § 40.05) was proven by a preponderance of the evidence is without merit, as the issue of whether that defense was established was within the province of the jury. Bearing in mind that credibility is a matter to be determined by the trier of the facts, when viewed in the light most favorable to the People, the evidence adduced at trial was sufficient to establish the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Finally, the Court noted that the imposed sentence of two concurrent indeterminate terms of imprisonment of 19 years to life was an appropriate one within the limits of the sentencing statute. Therefore, modification is not.
In another criminal case, the defendant appealed from a judgment of the County Court, Suffolk County, convicting him of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree, upon his plea of guilty and imposing sentence.
A Suffolk County Criminal attorney said that the defendant was indicted for criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, class A-I felonies. The charges arose out of a sale of nearly nine ounces of cocaine to an undercover police officer. The defendant was permitted to plead guilty to criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree, a class A-II felony. He was promised a term of incarceration of five years to life. The promised sentence was imposed.
The defendant raised two constitutional challenges to the sentence statute which mandates a maximum sentence of life incarceration for persons convicted of class A felony drug offenses. We find that the challenges to the statute are meritless. The mandatory maximum of life imprisonment for this crime does “not rise to the gross disproportionality violative of constitutional limitations. Thus, the defendant’s claim that the sentencing statute violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment must fail.
Similarly, the defendant’s claim that the mandatory maximum sentence constitutes an illegal deprivation of judicial discretion is contrary to established authority. It is well settled that, within the constraints of due process, the Legislature has broad power to prescribe minimum and maximum sentences. The statute at issue in this case mandates a maximum sentence of life while permitting a minimum sentence of three to eight and one-third years (Penal Law § 70.00[a], [a][ii] ). These limitations on judicial discretion in sentencing do not violate due process.
Furthermore, the statute does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment as applied to the defendant; although the defendant had no prior criminal record, the amount of cocaine sold in this case was substantial. Moreover, the defendant was actively involved in the transaction and was motivated by greed. The defendant has not shown that his sentence was disproportionate to the sentences imposed upon other similarly situated defendants. Under the circumstances, the sentence was not disproportionate to the crime.
Finally, the facts of this case do not warrant reduction of the sentence in the interest of justice. The defendant, who pleaded guilty with the understanding that he would receive the sentence which was actually imposed, has no basis to now complain that his sentence was excessive.
While it is true that selling drugs is prohibited by law, the arrest of the offenders must be done in accordance with law. Here in Stephen Bilkis and Associates, we, through our Suffolk County Criminal Attorneys defend our clients against illegal arrests on drug related cases. Particularly, we have our Suffolk County Cocaine lawyers who will help you know your rights if you are caught possessing such kind of drug.