Joseph Wolcott – 23 years for pot is NOW FREE! Compassionate release due to First Step Act thanks to Brandon Sample!
We are elated that Joe walked out of prison after Brandon Sample of Prisology wrote a motion for his compassionate release. Congrats to the Wolcott family and Brando for such a spectacular job!
Name: Joseph Wolcott #18911-075
DOB: March 15, 1954
Marital status: Married 42 years
Age: 65 Years old
Children: 1 son 4 grandchildren
Upbringing: Born in New York lived in Tennessee 50 years
Case: Middle District of Tennessee
Will live: Crossville, TN
Trial or plea: Went to Trial got 23 Years
Charges: Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana 21 U.S.C. 846 & 841 – 20 Years; Travel In interstate commerce to distribute proceeds of unlawful activity- 3 years; Conducting illegal Gambling Business – 3 years; Conspiracy money Laundering – 3 years
Sentence: 23 years
Served: 10 years
Release date: 6-27- 2029
Priors: Marijuana Charge in 1985 that he served 30 days in jail for. This was used to enhance his 10 year mandatory minimum to 20 Years – SOMETHING THE FIRST STEP ACT now makes impossible….
Forfeitures: Family Farm but was able to buy it back from the Government
Prison conduct: No incidents in Prison
Clemency Status: Pending. Case #C281148
Supporters: CAN-DO Foundation, family and friends –
Institution: FMC LEXINGTON
Accomplishments: A few because his health. Horticulture Apprenticeship, Green House, Managing debt, Preemploy skills, Wellness Nutrition, Criminal Thinking, Drug Education Class, Horticulture.
Health Issues: Diagnosed in May 2015 with Dementia (Alzheimers) by FMC Lexington Doctors; Severe Diabetes the worst diabetes there is, hypertension, and angina.
According to Joseph:
Christmas 2008 was a Christmas that Joseph Wolcott would never forget. That was because it was the first time he was separated from his wife Deana of 42 years on Christmas. It was also the first Christmas of many that he would not be celebrating with his son and family. That is because Joe was arrested for his involvement in a non-violent marijuana conspiracy. Once in jail the government made a plea offer that would have came with an 8 year sentence. Joe an old farmer had no idea that he was in that much trouble as he was unfamiliar with the law. He had no idea what an 851 enhancement was or that his mandatory minimum was 10 years if he pursued trial. Even more alarming he did not know that the 10 year mandatory minimum could be enhanced to 20 years based on a prior conviction for a small amount of marijuana in 1985 to which Joe served 30 days in jail.
When the government made their offer, Joe made a counter offer through his attorney for 6 years as long as he did not have to cooperate against others. He felt horrible about not being with his family and did not want to be a part of others not being able to spend Christmas’ with their families. While in jail a jail house lawyer told Joe that his prior conviction could be used to enhance his federal mandatory minimum to 20 years imprisonment. Once learning this information Joe reached out to his attorney and instructed his attorney to accept the offer of 8 years. The government changed their minds and sought the 851 enhancement penalty and now the offer went from 8 years to 20 years. Joe proceeded to trial and was given what is commonly referred to as the “trial penalty.” Most people who exercise their right to trial are penalized for exercising that right to trial. Joe and his family were devastated when he was sentenced to 23 years in prison at the age of 57 for them it was death sentence by incarceration. One has to wonder if 8 years was sufficient for Joe’s non-violent marijuana charges how could 23 years be okay for going to trial.
Joe went off to prison and in May 2015 he was diagnosed with severe dementia, Alzheimer’s disease. Joe’s health is deteriorating fast. His only hope of ever being reunited with his family is if President Trump uses his enormous power to grant him clemency. Joe is a non-violent drug offender who if arrested today would not be subject to such a draconian sentence.
On December 21, 2018 President Trump signed the FIRST STEP ACT into law. Under that law Joe’s old marijuana conviction for selling a half ounce of marijuana could not be used to enhance his sentence. This conviction does not meet the criteria, nor the definition of a serious drug offense. In order for the old charge to be used Joe would have had to serve one year in jail, he only served 30 days. That charge also would have had to have been within 15 years of his current federal charge. At the time of Joes arrest it had been 23 years old. And when applying a 851 enhancement the new sentence would be 15 years and not 20 years.
Joseph Wolcott should not be left to die in prison. A place where he can not take care of himself. He needs to be with his family. Joe understands that there must be consequences for ones actions, and when one breaks the law. However, 23 years for a non-violent drug offender is more than is needed to achieve the goals of sentencing as described by 18 U.S.C. 3553 (a) that calls for a sentences to be sufficient but not greater than necessary to achieve the goals of sentencing.
President Trump previously asked that NFL players send him names of those who were worthy of a second chance to reclaim their lives. Joseph Wolcott’s son Kevin supports his dad’s release from prison. Kevin was a wide receiver and all American college football player that also made it on the Tennessee Titans football team. He is asking President Trump to give his father that second chance to spend time with his fathers grandchildren, and wife before the lord calls him home. Absent the President’s mercy Joe will die in prison.