In 2000 the Nagatinski district court of Moscow sentenced citized S. to 7 years of imprisonment for illegal acquisition and storage of drugs in extra large quantities – 18 grams of heroine.

S.’s wife asked me to help.

After studying the current criminal case materials I came to the conclusion that the court’s sentence was illegal. I filed a cassation appeal to the Moscow City court. In my cassation I pointed out some very important circumstances overlooked by the court: S. was a narcotic dependant personality, and he acquired heroine for himself and never intended to sell it. Besides, the case lacked any heroine buyers, and the defendant pleaded not guilty. The Moscow City court criminal cases panel of judges quashed the initial sentence and returned the case for a new legal investigation in a changed court composition, making clear that in the definition that the judicial investigation was not completely and totally done. A number of circumstances remained unascertained and making them clear could be fairly significant.

The Criminal Code article, incriminated to S., contemplates punishment for narcotics storage without aim of selling them up to 3 years of imprisonment, and with the aim of selling them in extra-large amounts from seven to fifteen years of imprisonment. In my opinion, S.’s actions should have been qualified as narcotics storage without the aim of selling them.

S.’s told me that he was suffering from narcotics dependence and being in prison he had a narcotics attack and corporal disturbances because of this.

Then I made an attorney’s request to Prison 48/1 about confirming S.’s asking the prison administration for medical treatment in the prison isolator. The reply said that arrested person S. received medical treatment because of attack. It supported the version that S. was narcotics dependent and needed heroine. An additional expertise had been performed; its results testified that S. administrated narcotics.

The strategy peculiarity in this certain case featured proving that the defendant was a narcotic addict, exactly this made the version about acquiring narcotics with the aim of using it, but not selling, convincing.

The repeated hearing on this case led to re-qualifying S.’s actions from the initial prosecution to a softer one – narcotics storage without the aim of selling them. The court sentenced S. to one year of imprisonment. By that time the defendant had been in custody for one year and, correspondingly, was set free in the court hall.

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