By District Attorney Ryan Sayers
2023 Vol. 43
In continuing with the discussion as to larger drug operations in Clearfield County, another question that I have been regularly asked over the last few years is: “why are the feds handling that case instead of your office?”
The short answer is that the feds can drop a bigger hammer on some of these drug dealers and traffickers in regards to sentences.
The longer answer requires us to go back to the Q&A articles from the beginning of the year when I explained the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines.
In Pennsylvania, if a person is caught dealing or trafficking between five and forty-nine (5-49) grams of methamphetamine and has a zero prior record score, then that person is looking at 6-16 months incarceration as a standard sentencing range.
If that person had a prior record score of five (5), then that person would be looking at 24-33 months as a minimum period of incarceration.
On the other hand, in the federal system, if a person is charged with dealing or trafficking five to forty nine (5-49) grams of pure methamphetamine, then they could be facing a mandatory minimum of five (5) years in federal prison.
The same thing applies for over fifty grams of methamphetamine. Based on the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines, if a person is dealing or trafficking 50-100 grams of methamphetamine, then that person is looking at a range of 22-36 months for a prior record score of zero (0) and 60-72 months for a prior record score of five (5).
On the other hand, the federal sentencing guidelines have a mandatory minimum period of incarceration of ten (10) years for a person that deals or traffics in excess of fifty (50) grams of pure methamphetamine.
This logic of referring cases to the U.S. Attorney’s Office based on the sentencing guidelines holds true until a person is charged with trafficking over 1 kilogram of methamphetamine and has a prior record score greater than five (5).
In other words, it makes sense to refer some of these drug trafficking cases to the U.S. Attorney’s Office because they have the ability to take these people off the streets for a much longer period of time based on the sentencing guidelines.
This is one of the many reasons that such a positive and strong relationship between the DA’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office is incredibly important to the people of Clearfield County.
As District Attorney, I genuinely thank and appreciate the hard work and cooperation that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and other federal agencies have provided to Clearfield County over the last four (4) years to help fight back against the drugs that are plaguing this county and our communities.
Next week, we will move on to another topic as we approach the end of 2023. As always, if you have any questions that you would like answered in this weekly article, please feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com.
Ryan Sayers is the elected District Attorney of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.
The information contained in this article is provided for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.
You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this article without seeking legal or other professional advice.
The contents of these articles contain general information and may not reflect current legal developments or address your situation.