Today, we welcome home Germaine G., 30, (hereinafter, the “Defendant”). The Commonwealth has just welcomed him back by awarding him seven and a half years of free room and board. He had actually earned the award when he was convicted four years ago for violating Massachusetts’ drug trafficking and firearm laws. He was not there for the verdict, though. Apparently demonstrating his faith in how things went, he left his attorney behind and skipped out during jury deliberations. The former resident of north of Boston’s city of Lynn is now back in the Commonwealth’s warm embrace and it appears he will be for awhile.
The Defendant had been found guilty of trafficking over 28 grams of cocaine, trafficking cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school zone, distribution of cocaine as well as possession of a firearm and ammunition without a license.
Jurors had deliberated for five and a half hours over a two-day span, but reported their verdict to an empty chair on Nov. 30, 2004 after the Defendant, who had been free on $5,000 cash bail, failed to appear for the conclusion of his trial.
A Massachusetts warrant had been issued for his arrest.
He was intercepted in October on the warrant after trying to enter Toronto, Canada from Barbados.
Tuesday afternoon in Woburn Superior Court, Judge Elizabeth M. Fahey welcomed the Defendant back by ordering that he serve five years in state prison for the cocaine trafficking charge and also imposed another mandatory 30-month jail sentence for trafficking cocaine within a school zone, which will commence when he completes his state prison term.
The Court also imposed another two-year sentence on the gun charge, but that will be served together with the five-year prison term.
The grand total for the Defendant to serve seven and a half years behind bars. However, because he has a 30-month jail sentence instead of a prison term, he could be paroled after serving just half of that punishment.
The prosecutor had argued for a longer punishment, suggesting up to 10 years in state prison for the felonies. She described the Defendant as a “drug dealer who used guns for his trade.” She emphasized that her recommendation was based on the fact he defaulted during the trial and that prior to his arrest, authorities had information that Gentle was dealing drugs.
The Defendant’s troubles began in this case when he was arrested on March 10, 2003 at about 6 p.m., after police say they observed him selling cocaine from his white Hyundai Santa Fe in a parking lot of the 7-Eleven convenience store on Lynnfield Street near Wyoma Square.
Police followed and stopped the buyer, a 23-year-old Billerica man, who told police he and two friends paid $100 for the cocaine.
Lynn police then went to the Defendant’s apartment on Broadway and saw the Hyundai the Defendant was driving parked outside his apartment.
As police entered his home to arrest him, they saw the Defendant toss a bag out a bedroom window. Police retrieved the bag containing 50 grams of cocaine along with a magazine with 9mm ammunition and 23 rounds of 9mm ammunition.
Police also found a 9mm Highpoint semi-automatic pistol in his bedroom under a mattress at the apartment and $9,290 in cash, believed to be proceeds from drug sales.
The gun was tested for fingerprints and the Defendant’s prints were found on the gun, police said.
The apartment was within yards of the Pickering Junior High School, which was the basis of the School Zone count.
His 6-year-old daughter was also in the apartment during the raid. Her diaper was also full of marijuana, police said.
The Defendant ‘s position was that the drugs in his apartment were not his nor was he selling them to kids.
Frankly, it sounds to me like the 6-year-old was the actual drug dealer. Daddy was probably just there for security.
Attorney Sam’s Take:
Believe it or not, the Defendant turns out to be a bit lucky. While the time he was sentenced to might seem like a long time, it is actually a combination of mandatory minimum sentences. He could have gotten a longer sentence. There seem also to be troubling aspects to the case that were not argued…such as keeping a stash of drugs in his kid’s diaper.
Of course, I might be jumping to conclusions. Maybe she had just eated a lot of the marihuana and it was simply the aftermath in her diaper. By the way, while the marihuana laws have changed, it is still illegal for a 6-year-old to ingest any amount of it.
It certainly seems like the case against the Defendant was a strong one. In such a case, it is often worth investigating a potential plea bargain. I know it is nothing that people want to consider, but it is better sometimes to cut your losses. Leaving during the trial does not generally please the court or the prosecutor.
I have often written about the wisdom, or lack of it, of defaulting on your criminal case. It is not a good idea. Sooner or later, the warrant will catch up with you. The Commonwealth does not forget. Upon being brought back to court involuntarily almost guarantees jail time.
If you have an outstanding warrant, the best thing you can do is contact an experienced defense attorney to contact the Commonwealth and try to “ease” your return to the system. Doing so voluntarily often prevents being locked up on high bail as a flight risk.
The full article of this story can be found at http://www.thedailyitemoflynn.com/articles/2009/02/25/news/news15.txt