|Graphic: The Pencil Method|
A Montana man will spend two years in prison for the offense of sharing three grams of his medical marijuana with friends last November.
District Judge Dusty Deschamps called it a “Mickey Mouse” offense, but in sentencing Matthew Otto, 27, on Tuesday, the judge said he took into account Otto’s “extensive criminal history” as supposed justification for the harsh sentence, reports Jenna Cederberg of The Missoulian.
Deschamps sentenced Otto to 20 years in prison after a jury convicted him in March on one count of “criminal distribution of dangerous drugs” (they’ve got to be kidding). Two years will be served at the Montana State Prison and will run concurrently with a previous sentence. The judge suspended the other 18 years of the sentence, which will be served on parole under Department of Corrections supervision.
Among other conditions, Otto cannot use medical marijuana (since when is medical treatment based on criminal record?), and must earn his GED within a year (damn, I thought Deschamps was his judge, not his daddy).
|Photo: Cory Morse/Muskegon Chronicle|
Otto had three grams of medical marijuana when he was arrested in November. He also had a medical marijuana card, but was found guilty because he passed a pipe filled with pot to two passengers while driving down Reserve Street. An off-duty Missoula County sheriff’s detective — miserable bastard that he is — saw and reported the “incident.” (Dude should maybe get a life if the best thing he has to do is report a medical marijuana patient for passing a pipe.)
The maximum penalty for criminal distribution is life in prison and a $50,000 fine. However, the Montana Supreme Court ruled in 1983, in State v. Arbgast, that state law allows for deferred or suspended sentences in cases involving marijuana sales.
Otto’s “extensive criminal history” was the focus of discussion at Tuesday’s sentencing.
Deputy County Attorney Andrew Paul, calling Otto a “persistent felony offender,” recommended five years in prison.
Paul noted that Otto had nearly 30 juvenile convictions before he racked up multiple theft and parole violation convictions as an adult. Otto “has zero interest in changing his life,” an obnoxiously self-righteous Paul told the judge.
Otto told the judge that he was in the middle of rethinking what he called his “big giant piece of crap” life, adding that he may need medication for mental health issues and wanted just one more chance to “get it right.”
Deschamps then reduced the sentence recommendation from five years in prison to two years, but as he did so, he cautioned Otto: “If you come in here again, you’re looking at 20 years in the state prison.”