Cameron Douglas Sentenced to Five Years in Meth Case

Cameron Douglas, son of actor Michael Douglas, was sentenced to five years for selling methamphetamine today.

He was facing a ten year mandatory minimum, but with a motion from the prosecutors to depart due to cooperation in the investigation or prosecution of others, the judge was able to go below it. (The motion is not public, nor are the details of his cooperation. All references to cooperation have been blacked out from the pleadings and letters, with the Court's approval.)

Once the Government files that motion, the court is free to depart as much or as little as it wants, and to take into consideration other factors, such as his addiction, his commitment to changing his life, the pleas of family members, etc.

Without that motion, absent a safety valve, the court's hands would have been tied. Ten years would have been the minimum, even, for example, had there been evidence Cameron Douglas marched into a burning building and rescued a dozen children from perishing.

Mandatory minimum sentencing laws need to be repealed. At a minimum, they should be amended so that judges are free to depart on their own motion, not just on the Government's motion or in the limited circumstances where the safety valve applies. Snitching should not be a prerequisite.

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    No minimums period. (none / 0) (#1)
    by Yes2Truth on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 04:18:17 PM EST

    "Mandatory minimum sentencing laws need to be repealed."

    More and more people are saying "Stop arresting
    people for drugs."

    Wars on drug users have no place in a free society.
    These wars and laws have done immeasurable damage
    to millions of people and it's time to put an end to the carnage.

    But (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 04:19:13 PM EST
    Wasn't that an argument for federal senetencing guidelines - that a defendant in jurisdiction A was being handed one sentence, and a defendant on jurisdiction B was being sentences to a completely different sentence for the exact same crime because the judges had this discretion?

    Sure, but not all cases are alike. (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by MKS on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 04:24:49 PM EST
    And five years for drugs--such a waste....

    With all the legal drugs out there, it would seem the whole system of putting people in jail for only certain drugs will fall apart....


    I'm not arguing (none / 0) (#6)
    by jbindc on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 04:36:24 PM EST
    The legality of drugs - just wondering what happens if they give judges full discretion.  Even at the state level - do we have criminal defense attorneys screaming bloody murder if Joe is busted with 2 vials of crack in Sacremento, and he gets say, 5 years in prison.  Then we have Bill in La Jolla who gets busted with the same thing and he gets probation. (Assuming no other crimes by either or guns present)?

    Judges here face re-election (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by MKS on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 05:13:46 PM EST
    The one thing that can trip them up is being too easy on sentencing....Not that I like that, either.

    I don't think there will be too many judges going too easy on criminals....The problem is rather the other way around....


    same thing happens now only (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 05:02:29 PM EST
    the discretion was handed to prosecutors. Much worse.

    Yep, (none / 0) (#5)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 04:31:47 PM EST
    I demand to have my cake and eat it too.

    Shame on Cameron... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 04:30:17 PM EST
    for cooperating for a lesser sentence...that's the only crime I see here, and the prosecution itself of course.

    Cooperating (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:18:15 PM EST
    is not always wrong- its often a useful tool which helps safe-guard neighborhoods.

    Not always... (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 21, 2010 at 08:47:01 AM EST
    no, but cooperating to save your own sorry hide, throwing friends or cohorts under the bus...that sh*t is wrong.

    His father and step-mother (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 04:36:43 PM EST
    are highly visible public figures.  For example, Ms. Zeta-Jones iscurrently performing in "A Little Night Music" in Manhattan.  Probably frightening to be assoc. with a snitch.

    Wouldn't know... (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 04:39:39 PM EST
    not the kind of character I look for in friends, and my family knows better:)

    IN what category of federal facility (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 04:43:29 PM EST
    is Douglas eligible for housing?

    Most offenders with five year (none / 0) (#12)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 05:05:21 PM EST
    sentences (and he's been in 8 months so it's less than that)are eligible for a federal prison camp.

    WAR (none / 0) (#11)
    by robert234 on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 05:03:49 PM EST
    WAR is the health of the STATE, and the STATE is the genesis of evil.Therefore, the WAR on DRUGS is an evil war on human beings.

    Good, am glad to see atleast 5 years (none / 0) (#14)
    by BTAL on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 05:16:38 PM EST
    Meth is destructive to any individual and community.

    Let him sit in the cage, no sympathy here.

    As if all the fathers and mothers... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 05:37:17 PM EST
    locked in the pen does wonders for the community.

    Addiction is nasty, it can destroy a family like a prison sentence...I see no need to add one on top of the other.  

    Black market trade and the associated violence is no prize for the community either...the way I look at it we turned one negative into three with this bullsh&t war.


    he won't be in a cage (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 07:16:42 PM EST
    thankfully, he'll be in a federal prison camp or minimum security facility and they don't have cells or bars.

    5 or 10 years is unnecessary but what's particularly galling is that people think he's getting a light sentence because of his family when only cooperating with the feds and putting someone else at risk of arrest and imprisonment is what allowed the judge the depart.


    Exactly. (none / 0) (#17)
    by Yes2Truth on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 07:32:33 PM EST

    One more reason why I cannot understand how any
    informed person with a modicum of ability to THINK
    rationally can possibly justify the War on (some)
    Drug users.  


    Let's remember (none / 0) (#22)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 11:06:18 PM EST
    the sentence was for selling, not just using.

    Jeralyn,To what degree (none / 0) (#18)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:17:22 PM EST
    is snitching a universal wrong- I mean I would assume that you're against the "Stop Snitching" campaign which has terrorized some inner-cities but obviously, its different in cases with simple drug possesion and no violence. Is it the usage of violence or the threat of violence which makes informing acceptable?

    different things entirely (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:41:43 PM EST
    We're not talking about people who report crimes they have no involvement in. We're talking about people who commit crimes who give information about their confederates to get a sentencing break in their own crimes. The government is purchasing testimony with promises of leniency, and leniency is a far more precious commodity than money.

    Of course (none / 0) (#21)
    by nyjets on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:46:59 PM EST
    Of course this is sometimes the only way to punish everyone who commited a crime. When used correctly and with safeguards, this is a valid tool by the prosecution.

    Of course when it is used incorrectly, you run into problems.


    Snitching and whistle-blowing (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Palli on Wed Apr 21, 2010 at 06:18:31 PM EST
    ...the difference?

    Does he get treatment of some kind? (none / 0) (#23)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 11:11:29 PM EST
    Presumably, he's now off the drugs, but he's obviously a deeply troubled soul.