Guilty or Not Guilty

In early January 2010, a young woman named Misty Janette Cummings-Croslin was arrested in Florida. She, along with three other co-defendants, were charged with drug trafficking. In the State of Florida, there exist strict mandatory sentences with regard to illegal drug trafficking. Unfortunately, as a result, Cummings-Croslin is now facing a mandatory sentence if convicted of no less than twenty-five years. At her arraignment, the defendant stated that she had her own attorney and did not wish to have court appointed counsel (Putnam County Sheriffs, 2010).

This paper will focus on a possible defense to be presented for this client in the Circuit Court in Putnam County, Florida (Gaines & Miller, 2008). Misty Janette Cummings-Croslin is a white, female, who is merely eighteen years of age. She was briefly married to one of her co-defendants, but was divorced after two short months. As a result of her continued contact with her ex-husband, she is now facing five felony drug trafficking counts. The criminal charges breakdown as follows (Putnam County Sheriffs, 2010):

Any possibility of bond is almost impossible given the nature of the charges, therefore, it is necessary to begin meeting with the client in order to devise a possible defense in order to get the charges reduced and possibly convince the Prosecution of considering a plea bargain. The fact that Cummings-Croslin was in the company of three other co-defendants may provide an opportunity for her to testify against her co-defendants in exchange for her pleading LAW 3

guilty to a lesser offense or offenses. Her co-defendants were older than she, and it could also be suggested that Cummings-Croslin was either doing as she was told or acting under a delusion created by her co-defendants. No evidence has been submitted or offered as to whether or not any of the illegal prescription drugs were found in Cummings-Croslin’s system at the time of her arrest (Gaines & Miller, 2008). It has been offered in a sworn affidavit that she did in fact purchase some of the illegal narcotics from an undercover officer.

It has also been asserted that the undercover investigation had been ongoing since December 2009 (Putnam County Sheriffs, 2010). In this particular instance, it would be the most viable option to seek conference with the defendant and advise her of the stringency of the mandatory sentencing guidelines set forth by the State of Florida. The client should also be advised of the probability of a possible plea bargain attempt with the Prosecution in exchange for her truthful testimony against her co-defendants (Healey, 1994).

In exchange for her testimony, the best possible defense for this client would be to pursue simple possession charges with a possible jail sentence of no less than three years with two years suspended. It should also be offered that the client be mandated to complete a drug and alcohol awareness rehabilitation program while incarcerated and post-release. Supervised probation will most likely be a condition of a suspended sentence as well as community service and monetary restitution. It would be advised that the client also be discouraged from keeping any contact with the co-defendants from this point forward (Healey, 1994).

Everyone makes a mistake at some point in their life, but some mandatory sentences are simply cruel and unusual and are often not consistent with the crime or crimes committed. LAW 4 Defense attorneys do not possess a magic wand that can make the charges go away, but in many cases, the defense attorney can ensure that the sentences imposed against their client are fair and just.

This case is still in litigation, so it will be interesting to see the final disposition. References Gaines, L. , & Miller, R. (2008). Criminal justice in action (4th ed. ). Belmont, CA: Thomson- Wadsworth. Healey, K. (1994). Prosecutorial response to heavy drug caseloads: comprehensive problem- reduction strategies. Washington, DC: United States Department of Justice. Putnam County Sheriffs. (2010). Felony Warrant. Retrieved from http://\2. cdn. turner. com/ cnn/2010/images/01/27/felony. arrest. warrants. pdf