Drug dealer freed early praises jailing

April 26, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

An Anne Arundel Circuit judge yesterday released a 39-year-old Annapolis man who said the five years he spent behind bars for drug dealing were good for him.

Samuel John Hastey, a former Annapolis summer basketball league coach, was released from the House of Correction in Jessup yesterday by Judge Bruce C. Williams. A former Annapolis mayor, a lawyer, a sheriff's deputy and three of the inmate's brothers spoke on his behalf.

"I really think he's paid his price," said Roger W. Moyer, a former mayor and council member in the 1960s and 1970s, and long-time friend of Mr. Hastey's family.

Mr. Moyer, who is deputy director of the Annapolis Housing Authority, said Mr. Hastey has a job waiting as a Housing Authority maintenance worker.

He also said he would have Mr. Hastey counsel youths on the dangers of dealing drugs.

Judge Williams sentenced Mr. Hastey to 10 years in prison in May 1989, after he pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and three counts of cocaine distribution.

Mr. Hastey's lawyer, William H. Murphy Jr., said his client would have been released in about a year because of good-time credits and his record as a model prisoner. He added that Mr. Hastey's change from drug dealer to counselor justified an early release.

"We like to think we put people in prison for a reason -- that they will learn something. Sammy has learned," said Mr. Murphy. "The key to Sammy is that he understands the hypocrite that he once was."

Keith Gross, an assistant public defender in Anne Arundel County, and Derrick Matthews, a Prince George's County sheriff's deputy, also appeared in support of Mr. Hastey.

Mr. Hastey said his time in prison gave him a chance to see what's important in life.

"I think that the court did me a favor when it took Sam Hastey off the streets," he said. "God has touched my life tremendously."

Deputy State's Attorney Gerald K. Anders opposed the release, arguing that in making the request Mr. Hastey was trying to manipulate the legal system the way he manipulated people before his arrest.

"He can talk the talk, but he's demonstrated repeatedly that he can't walk the walk," Mr. Anders said.

He said Mr. Hastey's offense -- selling drugs -- caused considerable harm in the community. He also said Mr. Hastey wasn't a drug addict but sold cocaine for profit.

"Mr. Hastey is the most dangerous kind of drug dealer that there is," he said. "He was respected in the community. He was a role model. And what does he do? He sells cocaine."

Sidney Hastey, the defendant's twin brother, said he spent four years in prison for marijuana distribution after being convicted in 1973. He is now a barber at the Naval Academy and said he has managed to stay off drugs for the past five years.

He said his brother will be able to do the same.

"I know my brother can do it," he said. "I know if I can do it, he can do it."

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