Christopher A. Wellborn, P.A. South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney | Over 25 Years Experience
Call Today | Free Consultation 803-746-4302

Father faces 25 years in prison for first time offense

Imagine that you suffer a serious injury at some point in your life; something so painful and life-altering that you need painkillers for an unknown amount of time to cope with the situation. When you're feeling better, you stop taking the painkillers; but you don't finish them.

Now, years later, you befriend someone who is in similar pain to you. You're a good person who has never committed a crime, and you just want to help this poor person who is suffering. So you sell the individual some of your leftover pills to ease his pain. Technically, you are doing something illegal. But in the grand scheme of things, should you be treated like a drug kingpin under the law?

That's the question many people are asking after this exact situation played out, involving a 46-year-old father who sold some of his pain medication to a police informant who claimed to be in pain. The father, who lost an eye in 2000, had some leftover pills and, being a good guy with no criminal past, he sold them to him. That 46-year-old is now subject to 25 years in prison -- minimum.

There are a few things to take away from this story. The first is that there could be an entrapment angle to the story -- though without more details it's tough to know. Entrapment occurs when an individual commits a criminal act that he or she normally wouldn't if it were not for the incentive provided by police (an informant, an undercover officer or otherwise).

The second aspect here is the cost to incarcerate a middle-aged father on serious drug charges. The case occurred in Florida, where it costs roughly $19,000 a year to house an inmate in the prison system. In other words, this 46-year-old first-time offender will cost taxpayers nearly $500,000 to keep in jail, let alone the wasted time and resources to hold him there.

Lastly, and the ultimate point here, is the use of minimum sentencing rules. Since they apply universally, you get silly situations like this, where a good guy is treated the same as someone who is a repeat or gross offender. These rules should be reconsidered -- but the reality of such a move is unlikely.

Source: The Atlantic, "A Heartbreaking Drug Sentence of Staggering Idiocy," Conor Friedersdorf, April 3, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
 York County Bar Association South Caroline Bar NACDL South carolina association of criminal defense lawyers United states court of appeals | For the Fourth Circuit
Email Us For a Response

Tell Us About Your Case - Schedule A Free Consultation

To schedule a confidential appointment with an experienced South Carolina criminal defense attorney, please call 803-746-4302 or fill out this form:

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Christopher A. Wellborn, P.A.
142 Oakland Avenue, Suite C
Rock Hill, SC 29730

Toll Free: 866-635-6765
Phone: 803-746-4302
Fax: 803-980-0952
Rock Hill Office Location