New York residents may recall the media furor surrounding the 2013 arrest of a Westchester mother for allegedly running a large-scale marijuana growing and distribution operation out of a warehouse in Queens County. The woman was dubbed the 'Pot Mom" by tabloid writers, and her exploits were compared in to those of the character played by Mary Louise Parker in the hit Showtime series 'Weeds." Observers have speculated for some time that the woman has been assisting federal agents with other marijuana cases, and these suspicions were confirmed on April 19 when she received a sentence of time served in return for her cooperation.
The sentence was handed down in a federal court in Brooklyn, and observers say that the 48-year-old suburban mother had changed her appearance and seemed to genuinely appreciate being given a second chance. Her attorney indicated to reporters that his client had begun to provide information to law enforcement shortly after being sentenced to three years in prison for her role in the pot growing enterprise. The leader of the ring was also sentenced to three years after entering a plea of guilty partly due to evidence provided by the woman.
An assistant U.S. attorney told the court that the woman's cooperation had shut down at least one other pot-growing operation, and its operators have since pleaded guilty to a number of marijuana drug charges. The sentence also included 100 hours of community service.
Criminal defense attorneys understand that most of their arguments will be made to prosecutors rather than juries. The vast majority of criminal cases end with a negotiated plea agreement, and defense attorneys may be in a position of great strength when their clients cooperate with authorities.