Draconian Sentencing in Drug Cases


drug cases

As a result of the crack cocaine epidemic in the 1980’s, Congress imposed draconian maximum sentences on all drug-related statutes. Draconian meaning excessively harsh and severe consequences that can be traced back to Draco the Athenian who gave heavy punishments for small offenses. The Congress also implemented the Federal Sentencing Guideline regimen that also mandated long sentences in such cases. While these mandatory minimum sentencing statutes have recently been tempered somewhat, the sentences in drug cases remain extremely lengthy.


Despite the draconian sentencing environment, Richard S. Berne has achieved remarkably reasonable sentences in drugs cases in both federal and state courts. These results are achieved by obtaining favorable plea agreements and by filing creative, compelling sentencing memoranda on behalf of his clients.


By way of example, his client in a multi-defendant marijuana case in federal court in Maine was sentenced to six months’ incarceration, while his co-defendants were sentenced to ten years or more. He successfully persuaded the prosecutor to drop conspiracy charges against his client, while the other defendants were convicted and sentenced to prison terms. In another multi-defendant federal marijuana case in Vermont, Richard S. Berne convinced the prosecutor to dismiss the case against his client, while the co-defendants received multi-year terms of incarceration.


Through vigorous advocacy and early intervention, Portland Maine criminal defense attorneys have also secured dismissals and misdemeanor dispositions in similar cases involving large quantities of drugs like cocaine and heroin in Maine and other New England states. But for the intervention of experts like the Law Office of Richard S. Berne, many low and mid-level offenders may find themselves convicted and subject to draconian sentences in federal and state prosecutions.