Convicted cocaine offender Rose Ann Storm has been ordered released from jail because the federal court in Utah recently declared national sentencing guidelines to be unconstitutional.
A second drug defendant in the same case, Eli Orlando Herrera, also has applied for a reduced sentence, citing the same reasons.On Feb. 3, the federal grand jury in Salt Lake City filed an indictment against Storm, Herrera, Georgia Gayle Amen and Dennis H. Miera, with all counts involving offenses that happened in January.
Amen was charged with three counts of distributing cocaine, Herrera with possessing cocaine with the intention of distributing it and with carrying a handgun in relation to a drug offense. Amen, Storm and Miera were charged with aiding and abetting Herrera in the possession count.
All either pleaded guilty or were convicted before U.S. District Judge David K. Winder.
Miera was placed on probation for three years and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. Herrera was sentenced to five years in prison on one count, plus 10 months on the other.
Amen was sentenced to a year in prison, plus three years on parole, with a requirement that she participate in a drug therapy program.
Storm was sentenced on June 6, under guidelines established by the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, and Winder corrected a technical error in the sentence on July 5. She was to spend eight months incarcerated - four months in a jail-type facility, four in a community treatment center.
She was also ordered to serve three years on probation.
But on July 18, the federal court in Utah declared the Sentencing Reform Act to be unconstitutional, along with the guidelines. The action came in a challenge by the Singer and Swapp families of siege and shootout notoriety.
Storm's lawyer, Keith Jorgensen, filed a motion asking Winder to reduce her sentence because the guidelines were thrown out.
"The court has now reconsidered this matter and is of the opinion that the sentence imposed pursuant to the guidelines was too harsh considering all of the circumstances of the defendant's case, including the relatively minor nature of her involvement in the crime in question, and also considering the fact that she fully cooperated with the government in this case," Winder wrote.
The revised sentence is probation for three years, including participation in a drug therapy program. That means Storm is to be released immediately.
Her co-defendant, Herrera, has also requested that his sentence be vacated because of the unconstitutionality of the guidelines. Winder is considering the request.