Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Drug dealer targetted in undercover sting gets three years -- unbelievable!


A Winnipeg man has been sentenced to three years in prison after allegedly being recruited by his older brother to sell drugs for the Hells Angels.

George Adrian Ducharme, 25, pleaded guilty Tuesday to his role in an extensive criminal network that was taken down last winter by an undercover police sting operation.
Ducharme admitting delivering two ounces of cocaine to a long-time biker associate who was working as a secret agent for the police. The March 2009 deal went down in the parking lot of the Boston Pizza restaurant in St. James and was caught on video camera.
Defence lawyer Randy Janis said his client has no gang ties but was talked into doing a "favour" by his brother, who is an associate of the Hells Angels.
"This is big time crime," Queen's Bench Justice Doug Abra told Ducharme. "I recognize it's hard to say no to a brother, but sometimes you have to."
Ducharme was given 30 months behind bars, in addition to six months of time already spent in custody under a joint-recommendation from Crown and defence lawyers. He was one of 31 people arrested last December as part of "Project Divide" and is the eighth to plead guilty. His brother remains before the courts.
Michael Satsatin was the treasurer of the Zig Zag Crew when he agreed to become a secret agent and capture the inner-workings of the criminal organization in exchange for $450,000 and witness protection. Investigators seized 165 ounces of cocaine, 12 ounces of methamphetamine, 12,000 ecstasy tablets, one ounce of heroin and seven pounds of marijuana during their 13-month investigation.

This article is biased towards the Crown and barely lists any arguments made by the defence or anything regarding the background life of this accused. 

I completely disagree with undercover stings and that this man received 3 years! I believe that only the most dangerous criminals who pose a threat to society should be imprisoned. This man had no gang ties and was not dangerous. Selling drugs is not dangerous as it is consenting activity and does not physically harm anybody. Drug offenders should not be in prison, in my opinion. This judge is over-relying on prison. There is no reason this man should be in prison besides revenge. He does not need to be incapacitated and prison sentences do not accomplish deterrence, as most criminals are not rational actors but impulsive and do not weigh the costs and benefits of their actions. In my opinion, this man should have received a conditional sentence. Prisons are the schools of crime. They are negative environments with negative infuences and often minor and non violent offenders such as this man, become more hardened criminals due to the influence of drugs and gangs in prisons. He will likely become more involved in criminal activity as prisons are filled with pro-criminal attitudes and behaviours. Prison for this man, will not accomplish anything. It will not deter others, it will not prevent future crime or reduce crime, it will not rehabilitate, incapacitate, etc. There is no reason to sentence this man to prison. Longer prison sentences actually increase the rate of re-offending and it makes it harder for successful reintegration to happen. Inmates are released with little assistance and become institutionalized where they have no stress management skills, no decision making skills, life skills, no rehabilitation, substance abuse issues, mental health issues, no housing, no employment, no independence as prison only teaches dependence and not responsibility, and they will likely resort back to crime.
Also undercover stings should be banned. They are a form of entrapment and can lead to false confessions, blackmailing, and wrongful convictions.

3 comments:

  1. "Selling drugs is not dangerous as it is consenting activity and does not physically harm anybody."

    This comment interests me. You state in the majority of your blog comments that you believe the core economic and social issues that drive criminal behaviour should be addressed instead of relying on prison sentences. Drug trafficking and addiction is quite possibly the greatest soci and economic contributor to crime in our country.

    I won't get into the crimes that are committed by individuals who need to obtain funds to feed their addictions.
    I also won't comment on the wide variety of programs that are actually available within the prison system and the support system available upon release.

    But I will present some published facts.

    "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 123,235 adults living with AIDS in the United States in 2003 contracted the disease from injection drug use, and the survival rate for those persons is less than that for persons who contract AIDS from any other mode of transmission. CDC further reports that more than 25,000 people died in 2003 from drug-induced effects. "

    "National-level studies have shown that parents who abuse drugs often put their need to obtain and abuse drugs before the health and welfare of their children. NSDUH data collected during 2002 and 2003 indicate that 4.3 percent of pregnant women aged 15 to 44 report having used illicit drugs in the past month. Moreover, that same data show that 8.5 percent of new mothers report having used illicit drugs in the past month. "

    "NCLSS data show that U.S. law enforcement agencies report having seized 9,895 illicit methamphetamine laboratories in 2004. These agencies report that 2,474 children were affected by these laboratories (i.e., they were exposed to chemicals, they resided at laboratory sites, or they were displaced from their homes), while 12 children were injured and 3 children were killed."

    It is reasonable to assume that while the exact statistics listed above may not be known to the average person, the general effects of drug use on individuals and society as a whole is general knowledge.

    "Criminal Negligence - Every one is criminally negligent who in doing anything, or in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do, shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons."

    "The Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the acused's conduct showed a marked departure from the conduct of a reasonable person in the circumstances; and that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would have foreseen that this conduct posed a risk of bodily harm.

    "Bodily harm" is any hurt or injury that interferes with a person's health or comfort and is more than brief or minor. In deciding what a reasonable person would have done or foreseen, you must not take into account (the accused's) individual characteristics or experiences."

    That being said, I agree that selling drugs should not be charged with a drug related offence. They should in fact be charged with a reasonable number of counts, in direct relation with the amount of drugs they were selling, of criminal negligence. Then sentenced to appropriate consecutive prison terms.

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  2. "Also undercover stings should be banned. They are a form of entrapment and can lead to false confessions, blackmailing, and wrongful convictions."

    The term sting operation is used loosely in this case as the "police agent" would qualify more as a police informant.
    There are measures in which to determine if an individual was a victim of entrapment. As the investigation was targeted at a criminal organization and the victim was not in contact with the police agent until the actual crime was committed, there is no factors here that would remotely indicate entrapment.
    I would also assert that "false confessions, blackmail, and wrongful convictions" occur at a higher rate with standard investigative procedures then undercover operations.

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  3. I believe that drug offenders will only be negatively influenced by the prison environment and subculture, as gangs and drugs are prevalent, along with pro criminal attitudes and behaviours. They should not receive prison sentences, but instead, rehabilitation or community sanctions. The only individuals who should receive prison sentences, should be those who need to be incapacitated because they are too dangerous to be in society.

    I just think that undercover stings are very wrong and should be prohibited in Canadian criminal law.

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