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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Kerrville ex-con busted for 46th time; where is the three strikes act? Drug dealers as vampires.

Tuesday's Kerrville Daily Times front page has a headline, Local man faces felony for stealing cough syrup. Samuel "Mustard" Stewart, Jr.

Mr. Mustard stole a bottle of cough syrup from Gibson's Discount Store. He got out of jail a day or two later, then got busted for stealing beer and energy drinks from Walmart. This was Kerr County arrest # 46. The Kerr Co. public records website shows that at least 13 of those were felonies, including burglary of a habitation, a second degree felony (penalty range 2-20 yrs).

Further, Texas has its own version of the three strikes law. Three strikes laws are intended to incarcerate repeat offenders for long periods of time. The idea is that felons get three strikes, just like in baseball. On the third strike — or third convicted felony — the prison sentence for the crime becomes severe. In Texas this means 25 years to life in jail.

So, it's fair to ask, why has the legal system been so easy on Mr. Mustard? Why was he still loose on the streets of Kerrville? Is it too busy locking up first time offenders on petty drug offenses, which keeps the machinery running, and the money coming in from probation fees, fines court costs and so on?

Some thoughts on drug offenses and harsh punishments

From an old 5th Circuit opinion calling drug dealers vampires:
In an old opinion the Fifth Circuit had rejected an appeal claiming that his life sentence was unconstitutionally cruel and unusual. Terrebone v. Blackburn, 646 F.2d 997 (5th Cir. 1981).
Except in rare cases, the murder’s red hand falls on one victim only, however grim the blow; but the foul hand of the drug dealer blights life after life and, like the vampire of fable, creates others in its owner’s own image– others who create others still, across our land and down our generations, sparing not even the unborn.”

Even if the underlying alleged facts trigger a mandatory minimum, the prosecutor still has the discretion not to charge the mandatory minimum, particularly in light of Attorney General Holder’s August 2013 “Mandatory Minimum Memo.”
1. The defendant’s conduct did not involve violence, firearms, serious bodily injury, or trafficking drugs to or with minors;
2. The defendant is not an organizer or leader of others in a criminal organization;
3. The defendant does not have significant ties to significant drug trafficking organizations, gangs, or cartels; and
4. The defendant does not have a significant criminal history (typically three or more criminal history points).
The new policy also provides similar criteria regarding when the recidivist enhancement should be charged.

For defendants with only one criminal history point, then safety valve is an option. Safety valve reduces the offense level by two levels and allows the court to impose a sentence below the mandatory minimum. U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(b)(16). To qualify for safety valve, the defendant must meet the following
1. No more than one criminal history point; 2. No violence, firearms, or other dangerous
weapons used in connection with the offense; 3. No resulting death or serious bodily injury; 4. Not organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor
of others; and 5. Provides truthful information to the
Government at or prior to sentencing regarding the offense.

can file an 18 U.S.C. § 3553(e) motion based on “a defendant’s substantial assistance in the investigation or prosecution of another person who has committed an offense.” This motion grants the court the authority to impose a sentence below the statutory minimum, and it must be filed in addition to a motion pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5K1.1 for a below-guideline sentence.
If the Government chooses not to file a § 3553(e) motion prior to sentencing, it can also file a motion under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35(b) after sentencing based on the defendant’s substantial assistance. A court may sentence below the mandatory minimum when acting pursuant to a Rule 35(b) motion.

U.S. Sentencing Commission Promulgated Amendment to Decrease the Drug Offense Level by Two Levels
Absent congressional action rejecting the amendment, it will take effect on November 1, 2014.

In March 2014, Holder instructed prosecutors not to oppose variance requests in light of the proposed amendment.51 Many courts have been granting a two- level downward variance in light of the amendment.52


  1. Mr. Mustard's case and history is part of a larger pattern. Using the online arrest records and the online criminal case files, I have been conducting research and have noticed an abundance of hard core felons that never go to jail, and more importantly their cases (multiple) seem to linger on and on and then... "POOF", the cases are dismissed without any pretrial motions, pretrial hearings and with court appointed lawyers. In my opinion some or all of these guys are CI informants, and are selling drugs and creating havoc in our community while "working" for law enforcement and getting a free pass to do so. While this may cause a lot of arrests and create feed stock for our jail / probation / prosecution / LE industry, it keeps the community reeling with crime and creates the necessary fear to keep pumping more and more tax money into the system. In my opinion, the CI system is being horribly abused to the benefit of LE and to the detriment of the local community. I will be writing more and citing specific cases. The results of my studies are truly blood curdling.

  2. I for One Know Mr. Samuel Stewart very well! I just keep asking myself why does The Kerr county courts allow this to keep happening? Knowing him I can Honestly say he thinks he will never do more then 2yrs and get out and keep offending, Its the Risk he takes! I think They should apply the 3 strikes your out to his case, otherwise he will be back on our streets sooner then later! look how many times he has went before the same judge and got a lesser sentence then deserved, and it keeps repeating its self over and over! I say # 3 strikes your out Samuel Lee Stewart.. But until Someone Questions the Justice System and the Judge in this case I bet his sentence is 2 yrs or less!!

  3. If Kerr County and Texas honored this Steven Shannon Veselka would have been locked up after a few of his dozens of meth arrests when caught selling it . He should have been locked in prison but was always let go . This resulted in him viciously beating and slamming the life out of a 2 year old toddler . Which he was free for 7 years after because police blew the case . Still got a slap on the wrist for that . Police informants as Veselka are obviously valued for than victims and the law . Way to go Kerrville Police Department .