The Charge: Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin

The Record: In September 2006, an undercover officer observed Derek Burgess selling drugs. When Burgess was arrested, another officer recovered from him “a large clear bag containing 37 multi-colored ziplocks, each containing a tan rock substance and a large ziplock containing 9.3 grams of a tan rock substance, [a portion of which] later tested positive for heroin.” More drugs and money were later found in the sting.

Convicted: 12/21/07


Lawyer: “There’s no getting around that Mr. Burgess has lived a certain life for a number of years,” says attorney Patricia Newton. “Mr. Burgess had to make the decision that he wanted something better for himself, and part of the process for him was deciding that he deserved something better. There’s no question that he’s had a difficult time with his upbringing, his childhood, the type of things he was living around.…This is not a situation where he’s out there selling drugs to get tennis shoes…he has no, virtually no, possessions.”

Defendant: “I know you gave me the low end [of the sentencing guidelines] last time,” says Burgess. “I need to get myself rehabilitated, so I won’t go back there in society and be around the same people, doing the same things.…I been locked up nine months, and I pretty much know what I need to do.”


The Sentence: “Mr. Burgess, you’ve obviously only made bad choices since you have become an adult. This case involves a very large amount of heroin,” says Judge Robert Richter. Twenty months in jail consecutive to a previous sentence, followed by five years of supervised probation; $100 to Victims of Violent Crime Compensation Fund.