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Brian Nichols


I am 22 years old and was indicted on a conspiracy to distribute LSD. At the time I was on a 2 year probation for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. (I had been arrested with 3 ounces of marijuana and a scale.) I was getting a ride home one night when the driver stopped to make a drug sale. He got out of the car, took the money from his customer, returned to the car and took a magazine to them. Next thing I knew, I was on the ground in handcuffs. His customers were agents. I was "snitched out" - the driver telling the agents that I was his supplier.

For the next two months the police called my home about 8 times telling me that if I didn't snitch, they would indict me. I was finally arrested and put in jail. The driver of the car became a federal witness against me and received only 3 months in county jail and 4 years probation. I was offered 30-37 months based on doses of LSD in accordance with Amendment 488.

My lawyer kept telling me to take the plea because I would not win at trial. I plead guilty.

Two weeks before my sentencing, I was told that they had "apprised me of the wrong statutory penalties". My sentence soared to 60 months. After my sentencing to 5 years in Federal prison, the driver told his probation officer that I had nothing to do with the drug sale. I am the only person serving time - there were no other arrests.

My family lives a long way from where I am imprisoned and I see them only twice a year.

Amendment 488 was enacted for a reason - but the judiciary is not using it. Why don't they use it?

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