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Man loses appeal after receiving life sentence for drug crimes

A man who received a life sentence after he was convicted in a North Dakota drug case has lost his appeal. The man reportedly argued to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the jury who convicted him had been prejudiced by the judge's instructions. The jury was given the instructions after listening to the closing arguments from the defendant's lawyer.

Last year, the man was charged with conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with intent to distribute as well as aiding and abetting. Authorities claimed the man was a drug dealer in Minnesota and accused him of dealing drugs in and around Moorhead and Fargo. He was found guilty of both drug crimes and sentenced to life in prison.

According to the accused man, the judge's instructions to the jury concerning the charge for aiding and abetting were in error. The appeals court disagreed on the basis that the jury had time to deliberate after the judge's instructions were given.

A person accused of a similar drug crime might want to consult a criminal law attorney before the case goes to trial. In some cases, an attorney may be able to help a defendant receive a shorter prison sentence by working out a plea deal with the prosecution. A plea deal can sometimes involve the defendant agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more serious charge against them being dropped. A defendant may also be required to participate in a drug treatment program, commit to more community service hours and spend a longer period of time on probation.

Source: Crookston Times, "Appeals court upholds life sentence in N.D. drug case ", July 14, 2014

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