Criminal Charge: Count 1: Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance, Count 2: Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance.
Case: US v Christopher Alexander [3:14-cr-367-B(35)][NDTX]
Result: Guilty Plea
In this case with almost 70 codefendants, the federal government alleged Mr. Alexander drove a man to a Dallas area motel put him together with a seller of meth. To increase the sentencing ramifications, the government further alleged the meth was from Mexico.
Federal drug prosecutions increase the sentence as the drug amount increases and as the defendant’s criminal history increases. Sadly, this creates an incentive for prosecutors and investigators to inflate both amounts. In this case, the Garland DPS lab conducted the lab tests. In a fascinating development, lab analysts refused to qualify the meth presented to it by law enforcement as “actual” meth rather than a meth mixture, a characterization that vastly increases the sentence. In response, the the U.S. Probation and Parole Office employed an equation to up-convert the quantity reported by the lab to a greater quantity of actual meth. And, then, of course, the USP&P Office reported that greater amount to the Court in its Presentence Report after Mr. Alexander plead guilty.
Haslam challenged this process as a deception on the Court: the proposition that federal probation officers are conducting organic chemical analysis in felony prosecutions is unauthorized, and for good reason. When confronted with this issue by Haslam, the AUSA prosecuting the case agreed to plea Mr. Alexander to the low end-point of his sentencing range under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines to avoid an evidentiary hearing that would reveal this practice to the federal judge.