It should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention to the US War on Drugs that a lot of relatively innocent people get caught up in some rather sticky situation and then end up being punished – rather harshly – for crimes that don’t seem all that serious in retrospect.
Unfortunately, for one reason or another (usually political reasons at that), a lot of these individuals find themselves behind bars because of overly zealous Federal Judges looking to make a name for themselves and looking to bring the hammer of justice down on people that just made a wrong decision or two.
Thankfully though, every now and again we get to hear stories about Federal Judges that obviously show that they have common sense than a lot of their contemporaries. This is definitely the case when it comes to Federal Judge Christopher Boyko and the decision that he made to alleviate the otherwise incredibly harsh punishment recommended by prosecutors in Ohio against two men that got caught up in an illicit steroid distribution ring.
Over a 3 ½ year prosecutorial case, Michael Cleeland and Christopher Stanec were hounded by agents of the Ohio State police and the court system in Ohio in an effort to build as significant a drug trafficking case against these two individuals as humanly possible – all for purchasing anabolic steroid powder from the Chinese provider online once.
Both men, aged 50 and 40, had made a decision to purchase a bit of steroid powder directly from a Chinese supplier over the internet in an effort to improve their testosterone levels that had dropped off according to their doctors. Lifelong friends, these two men were regular members of a local fitness center where they heard about the Chinese powder that had been used by other senior fitness enthusiasts who told them about the transformative results that this powder made possible.
Both men were gainfully employed, had led otherwise law-abiding and upstanding lines, and both had young children that they were responsible for. The DEA, Homeland Security, and the USPS Investigation Service all tried to paint an ugly picture of these two men after uncovering about 300g of raw anabolic steroid powder purchased from China that was addressed to both of these individuals.
The Federal Judge that was given the case recognized almost immediately just how absurd the punishment recommended by law enforcement was, and continued to almost badger the district attorneys that were responsible for bringing this punishment to his court. It was obvious right from the start to anyone with even just a little bit of common sense and that this wasn’t as serious an offense as the DEA and other investigatory agencies were trying to make it out to be, and it was also obvious right from the start that both of these men had incredible remorse for the decision that they had made and both agreed to never make this decision again in the future.
It only took a short while for Federal Judge Boyko to do the right thing and grant both of these men three years of probation as opposed to the 18 months in prison that the law enforcement agencies were recommending. While Judge Boyko certainly made it clear to both of these men that he recognized their situation and hoped they would make smarter decisions in the future, he also made sure they were aware that he wouldn’t be as lenient in the future should they stray from the law or violate they are probation.