April 13 2017
As I predicted a week ago in my blog, the Federal authorities are getting involved in prosecuting people who distribute drugs when the drugs lead to death.
In the Federal Courts dealers are looking at a mandatory 20 year sentence in Federal prison if they sell Fentanyl laced heroin and someone overdoses. You can expect to see more of the same in Sarasota County in the next few months. As a general rule people get longer sentences in Federal Court as a result of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Many years ago, as a Federal prosecutor I handled drug cases where the DEA charged people with running a criminal continuing enterprise. That enabled the DEA to get life sentences on the leaders of the drug rings.
The Feds also go after all of the assets and try and keep people from having the money to hire good lawyers.
Not all lawyers are experienced in handling cases in Federal Courts.
The rules are different.
Some lawyers claim to have extensive federal experience but few really do. Handling a federal case requires a knowledge of the Federal Rules of Evidence as well as the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
Since there is no Federal Court in Bradenton or Sarasota, most of the lawyers here have handled only a handful of federal cases in their life.
I have been defending Federal charges for thirty years in the Middle and Southern District Federal Courts.
In Federal Court, for example, you get a twelve person jury instead of six. Many of the rules are different.
If you or a relative find yourself facing Federal prosecution, you really need a lawyer that knows the ropes in the Federal system. Many years ago, I started as a Federal Agent in Miami as was a Federal prosecutor there. After leaving the Government, I spent the rest of my legal career defending Federal smuggling and drug distribution charges all over Florida as well as Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia and as far north as New York and Ohio. The Federal Courts are the big league.