Federal authorities caught a man named Robert James Riley mailing LSD to a friend in 1993. The friend who received the LSD testified against Riley and received a minor sentence for the offense. Riley, on the other hand, was sentenced to life in federal prison without parole.
Riley had been a fan of the Grateful Dead during the 1970s and 1980s. In order to follow his favorite band throughout the country, he paid his way by running a small drug sales business in the parking lots of the shows. During his decades-long musical adventure, the man was arrested and convicted on two separate occasions for selling small quantities of amphetamines and weed, leading to two short jail sentences.
When federal authorities caught him mailing weed in 1993, the offense would have normally resulted in a three-year prison sentence. However, after conviction, the judge had to consider his previous drug-related convictions when issuing the sentence. Due to a “three strikes and you’re out” drug sentencing rule, he was sent to jail for life without parole. The judge, however, thought that the sentencing rules were unfair. Later, in support of the man’s petition for commutation, the judge wrote, “It gives me no satisfaction that a gentle person such as Mr. Riley will remain in prison the rest of his life.” But his sentence still was not commuted.
Federal drug crime convictions can lead to harsh and unfair consequences. If you’ve been charged with a federal drug crime, take your criminal defense seriously. It’s vital that you determine the most appropriate defense strategy for your situation.