PEORIA - U.S. District Judge Joe B. McDade dropped below federal sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine offenses to sentence a Galesburg man Friday to 10 years in prison.
Jay Mulvey, 38, earlier had pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. He would have received 18 to 22 years in prison if McDade had followed the guidelines.
McDade said if the offense had involved powdered cocaine, the guidelines would have called for five to 40 years.
"Given the Draconian punishment associated with crack cocaine, to follow the guideline range for this case would go beyond what is needed to serve the purpose of sentencing," McDade said.
"Respect for the law doesn't always mean sending people to prison for as long as you can."
McDade's action follows a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month that federal sentencing guidelines, designed to ensure equivalent sentences across the nation, are discretionary for judges.
Rather than rigidly conforming to the 1987 guidelines as they were required to in the past, federal judges now can use their own discretion when passing sentence.
A judge must consider the guidelines but can deviate from them in a reasonable manner if they choose, the Supreme Court decided.
Testimony from Mulvey's father, wife and others indicated Mulvey went through drug treatment and pulled his life together after his arrest. He was an addict for years, his father, Dale, said.
Mulvey and his wife, who also went through drug treatment, recently have spoken as a couple to youths in trouble about the perils of addiction.
They lost their four children to foster care but have regained them and are functioning as a family, testimony indicated.
"We don't see success rates very often. They overcame a lot," said Knox County child welfare case worker Cynthia Kalin.
Mulvey told the judge, "I truly believe you guys have saved my life. I lived in hell and I don't ever want to go back there again. I never want to go back to using drugs again."
McDade said Mulvey did not have a history of drug dealing. His previous arrests were for "petty offenses," the judge said.
Assistant U.S. attorney Tate Chambers objected to the lower sentence outside the guidelines.
McDade responded "the court finds exceptional reasons exist" for the unusual sentencing.
Mulvey was shot on Dec. 25, 2001, outside Andrew's Lounge in Galesburg where he was trying to buy drugs, according to Journal Star files.