Judges to weigh drug convict's plea for a lighter term

Man asks panel to review 25-year sentence, wants to be with family

April 02, 2000|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A three-judge panel in Carroll County promised to decide within 30 days whether to modify a no-parole, 25-year sentence for a Pimlico man who has been convicted on drug charges three times.

Marvin Powell, 35, of the 2400 block of W. Cold Spring Lane pleaded guilty Nov. 3 to selling cocaine to an undercover state trooper in Westminster in May.

He was convicted of heroin distribution charges in 1993 and 1995, completing sentences of 18 months and four years, respectively.

Sentenced in November

In November, Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. ordered Powell to serve the entire 25-year term for the cocaine plea without parole.

Powell returned to court Friday, asking the panel -- Circuit Judges Michael M. Galloway and Raymond E. Beck Sr. and District Judge Marc G. Rasinsky -- to review the latest sentence.

Powell told the panel that his wife has cancer and that he wants a chance to be with her and his 18-month-old daughter.

Powell's attorney, James Rhodes, asked the panel to consider his client's criminal and family background, noting that Powell began using drugs when he was 9.

Rhodes said his client had served prison time for previous drug convictions, but never was offered or given treatment for his addiction.

Powell had never received the mandatory 10-year sentence without parole for having a previous conviction before he received the 25-year term, the attorney said.

State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes argued that Powell's previous convictions on serious drug charges had occurred in Baltimore, where prosecutors apparently chose not to seek a mandatory sentence.

Plea bargain

Barnes reminded the panel that Powell accepted the no-parole sentence after a plea bargain was reached and that the state had agreed not to prosecute him on other charges.

Barnes also noted that a state law was amended last year, which says a judicial panel may not order a decrease in a mandatory minimum sentence unless the panel's decision is unanimous.

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