|Photo: Bridgton Maine Police
|Dude definitely knew what he was doing. These are some of the plants found in firefighter Sean Berte’s home in Maine.
A federal judge in Maine sentenced a 32-year-old former Boston firefighter to eight months in prison on a marijuana-growing charge this week, noting that the man had admitted smoking about two ounces of pot a week, reports Martin Finucane of the Boston Globe.
Sean Berte was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge George Z. Singal in Portland, Maine, for his role in cultivating 131 cannabis plants, U.S. Attorney Paula D. Silsby’s office said Friday.
“At the sentencing, the court noted that in addition to pleading guilty to cultivating the marijuana, the defendant admitted smoking approximately two ounces of marijuana [weekly]during the eight years the defendant was employed as a Boston firefighter,” prosecutors said.
”The court noted that the defendant’s drug usage during his employment violated the respect and trust the public has in firefighters.”
The judge, however, didn’t mention how, exactly, Berte violated anyone’s trust by simply smoking marijuana, since he was still perfectly able to do his job for eight full years.
The judge was commenting on a pre-sentencing report prepared by the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services System, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. Perry, who prosecuted the case. Such reports are not public documents.
“There’s no information in the record to suggest that he consumed drugs while on duty,” Perry admitted.
The marijuana plants were found after police and Drug Enforcement Administration agents executed a search warrant at a Bridgton, Maine, home on May 29, 2009. In addition to cannabis plants and harvested marijuana, prosecutors said, the agents also recovered grow lights, timers, an exhaust vent, and “various agricultural products.”
Berte resigned from his job as a firefighter shortly after the search. He pleaded guilty to the charge in February. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release after serving the eight months in prison.
Silby’s office claimed both Berte’s conviction and his sentence were “significant” because they “sent a strong message” that those who grow marijuana in Maine will be prosecuted and face severe punishment.
“He accepted full responsibility, took his punishment like a man, and apologized to his family and to the court for his mistakes,” said Berte’s defense attorney, Philip A. Tracy Jr.
“He hopes to return to be a productive member of society and rebuild his relationship to his family,” Tracy said.
So, if they hadn’t arrested Berte for simply growing an herb, he still WOULD be a “productive member of society,” like he was for EIGHT YEARS before our silly-ass marijuana laws defined his as a menace rather than as a tax-paying citizen.
And Sean Berte will still be with his family, would still be able to support them, and would still be doing the good job he did for eight years — until the pot laws claimed another victim.