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Interview with Wyatt and Erica

JM: Tell us about the pre-sentencing process:
Wyatt: I had not been formally arrested before pre- sentencing. I received a packet of papers in the mail telling me of my charges and to report to court to be fingerprinted and to have my preliminary hearing. During the pre-sentencing process I was harrassed by detectives who were intent on having me rat out drug dealers and addicts in the neighborhood. Because I had several plants, they were convinced that I was a drug lord and had connections to others that I could rat out. They were only interested in getting a bigger bust. I tried to explain that I had just started growing the plants for the first time and that I was in no way connected to the drug game. I only grew them for personal use. My case was waived to the big courts in Butler.
Erica: it was a super long process spand about a year and a half with a lot of hearings and attorneys. I paid out a lot of money to get rid of some of the charges which didn't turn out the way I imaginged. it was really confusing and hard to follow.

JM: Did you have police stop by your house for questioning? If not please give us details on how you came to be arrested.
Wyatt: The police showed up at my door in the middle of the afternoon, right after I got home from work. They knocked and asked for me, but did not state that they had a warrant. I was only 18 and didn't know any laws or rules concerning warrants, so I opened the door. They asked me about a quad I had sitting in my garage. They informed me that the qiad had been reported stolen a few weeks prior. Another officer then came around to the front of the house and asked me why I had marijuana plants growing in the woods behind my house. I admitted to them being mine, and the officers then left without arresting me. A few hours later the undercover squad showed up and confiscated the plants. An officer informed me that I would receive paperwork concerning the case. I was not arrested or read my rights at that point.
Erica: the police did not come to my house they called me in for questioning and had proof I committed the crime, so I had to answer questions and get a lawyer and prepare myself to face charged when I had committed the crime two years prior I was not prepared to deal with this.

JM: What was court like? Please give as many details as you recall.
Wyatt: My case was postponed several times because of problems on both sides of the case and took over 2 years until I was finally sentenced. The District Attorney postponed several times in order to further investigate what charges he could make against me. Even though I was a first time offender, the DA was determined to make an example out of me. They were trying to get me on distribution charges even though the 40 plants I had were only a few inches high, and were not harvestable. They were also charging me with receiving stolen property because of the quad I had let me friend store in my garage. I had no idea it was stolen, but they charged me anyway. My attorney also had the case postponed a few times because he was ill prepared. I sold my house and my land and all my assests to pay him, and my mother ended up doing all the work.
Erica: long and confusing. I had many court hearings and a lot of different opportunities I could have gotten a lesser sentence if I hadn't gotten high so the charges ended up getting put on my adult record instead of my juvenile which I wasn't happy about vecuase I committed the crime when I was 16.

JM: What were your original charges? What did you end up being convicted of?
Wyatt: Felong Manufacturing with intent to deliver, and Felony Receiving stolen property. I was told that the Receiving stolen property charge would only be a misdemeanor and that I would receive probation which would run with the same time as my prison sentence. I did not know until after I signed the deal, that the property charge was also a felony.
Erica: burglary, criminal trespass, theft by unlawful taking, conspiracy to commit burglary I was convicted of criminal tresspass

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