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A St. Mary’s prosecutor’s quest to have a convicted drug offender sentenced to 10 years in prison without parole fell short last week when a judge ruled that a prior conviction in another state was not a felony in Maryland, and she imposed a sentence that will allow for his release in two years.

Jurors convicted William Scott Jordan, 41, of Lexington Park in January of the possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute the drug in February of last year in Lexington Park. St. Mary’s narcotics detectives reported that cocaine valued at $800 and almost $6,700 in cash were seized during a raid.

Jordan said during a bond hearing after his arrest that the seized money was from his wife’s income tax refund and was stored under a bed, according to a transcript, and that the drugs were found outside a car that does not belong to him. Jordan was released on $50,000 bond.

At Thursday’s sentencing hearing, St. Mary’s State’s Attorney Richard Fritz (R) sought a 10-year prison sentence for Jordan without the possibility of parole as a subsequent offender, on grounds that Jordan has a 1995 conviction in Minnesota for the attempted first-degree sale of cocaine.

Public Defender Gerald Riviello countered that the “attempt” nature of that conviction would make it just a common-law misdemeanor offense in Maryland, regardless of the facts of that case or that it is a felony conviction in Minnesota.

“It does not fit under that [Maryland felony] statute,” St. Mary’s Circuit Judge Karen H. Abrams concurred, and she later sentenced Jordan to 14 years in prison, suspended to a seven-year term.

“If my calculations are correct, you’ll be out in less than two,” the judge said, and Jordan will then be placed on supervised probation.

Jordan said during the hearing that he has been coaching youth sports for about five years, and was taking medication after suffering health problems including a stroke.

“I got addicted to the drugs I was taking,” he said, “and I started using other drugs.”

jwharton@somdnews.com