Texas DA to Plead Guilty to Gun Charges, Drug Charges Dropped

Texas panhandle prosecutor Rick Roach was in a heap of trouble last month when he was indicted for drug and gun offenses, including possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine.

He was arrested while at the courthouse. His secretary provided a sworn affidavit saying he shot meth twice at an apartment and was about to at the office when she walked out of the room.

Today, Roach pleaded guilty to being an addict in possession of a firearm in federal court in Amarillo. As part of the deal, the drug counts were dismissed.

According to court documents, Roach admitted he was addicted to methamphetamine and that he started using it regularly several months before his arrest. He told a government witness that he first tried the drug after finding it in a seized vehicle, the court papers said.

Roach will go to jail, but a federal prison camp is a lot nicer place than a Texas state penitentiary. And he won't have to do as much time on the gun count as he would have on the drug counts.

He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The drug charges could have brought an additional 41 years and $2.25 million in fines. No sentencing date was set. Roach is free until sentencing.

Roach's attorney, Bill Kelly, said it was a good deal. "I can't say we're satisfied, but it's certainly acceptable," he said.

When Roach first ran for office, he ran on a "tough on drugs" campaign. Now he's just another casualty of the drug war. What a shame. There is no pleasure to be taken from his downfall. Instead, we should learn from it. Drug addiction is an illness and should be treated as one.

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  • Re: Texas DA to Plead Guilty to Gun Charges, Drug (none / 0) (#1)
    by wishful on Tue Feb 08, 2005 at 05:15:28 PM EST
    Wow, I bet Mr. Roach is glad about the Blakely decision. Otherwise the judge could find at sentencing that he had the drugs, even though he didn't plead guilty to that. He officially made all of those drug admissions that Pre-Blakely would have cost the prison system tons of money locking him up for years. I am glad about the Blakely decision for precisely the reason that people shouldn't get time for crimes they weren't charged with, found guilty of beyond a reasonable doubt or pled guilty to. Unfortunately, it seems that Blakely isn't retroactive, so many in Roach's situation pre-Blakely will still be there well after the day Roach walks out.

    Re: Texas DA to Plead Guilty to Gun Charges, Drug (none / 0) (#2)
    by roy on Tue Feb 08, 2005 at 08:15:34 PM EST
    Minor correction: It's Rick, not Rich Roach.

    Drug addict Roach is lucky that District Attorney Roach is not prosecuting him, because if he were, Drug Addict Roach would be doing hard time hoeing cotton for thirty years on the prison farm in Rosharon.