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The Charge: Attempted Possession With Intent to Distribute Cocaine

The Record: On Nov. 18, 2005, Ray Azim was arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of marijuana, and possession of PCP. According to legal documents and statements made in the court, Azim has been through drug treatment several times since his 2005 arrest. He also has mental health issues, which seemed apparent when he entered the courtroom and began complaining directly to Judge John Ramsey Johnson that he’d left his glasses in the prisoner holding room. He already has been sentenced once in this case but returned to court after violating his probation.

Convicted: 2/1/2008


Defendant: Azim starts off complaining that he was having trouble getting into the appropriate drug treatment program because he had a Maryland address. “I need a 28-day treatment. They could only give me six days. It’s like they want jail time, and I’m not getting any help…I’m going further and further downhill. I thought I could help myself by going to jail and coming straight out, but that place is dirtier than the streets.”

government: Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Sperber recommends that Azim serve the entire previously suspended sentence: 18 months in jail. “He failed to show up to office visits. At every turn, where help has been offered, he has rejected it. At some point, there must be a limit for CSOSA [Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency].”

Lawyer: “There is a clear need for drug and mental health treatment—mental health first,” says attorney Paul Signet.


The Sentence: 12 months in jail. Five years supervised release with appropriate mental health and drug treatment.