United States v. Nalley, No. 10-CR-224 (JBW), 2010 WL 3909468 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 29, 2010)
Nalley pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, for which he faced an advisory Guidelines range of imprisonment of between 70 and 87 months. He did, however, qualify for the safety valve, and was sentenced to five years probation. Why (other than the safety valve)?
The offense of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute is serious. The defendant's character nevertheless appears to be good, and he has demonstrated a concerted effort to reform. Since the defendant's last illegal conduct in September 2008, he has made great strides to better himself and provide for his family. The defendant is employed in a union job, which allows him to earn a good living. He is leading a useful life, providing for his two-month old son and paying child support for his eleven year old daughter who lives with her mother in a different home. Probation allows him to continue to rehabilitate himself and support two families.
This isn't just about post-offense rehabilitation. Rather, this is also about a court's unwillingness to disrupt a life that is on the road to full rehabilitation, notwithstanding the defendant's past offenses.