Legislators, like law enforcement officers, are inherently held to a higher standard when it comes to adhering to the laws that we all live by. When a congressman is charged with a crime, it is not only a political scandal, it probably reduces peoples’ confidence in congressional leadership.
The political fallout remains to be seen, but questions abound regarding the recent drug possession charges levied against Florida congressman Trey Radel. The freshman Republican is accused of purchasing a small amount of cocaine from an undercover federal agent. According to an ABC News.com report, Radel was part of a sting operation conducted by FBI and DEA agents. He reportedly purchased the drug in Washington D.C. at DuPont Circle, but he was not arrested when the purchase took place.
Instead, federal agents went to Radel’s home later that day and informed him that he had bought drugs from an undercover agent. Instead of being apprehended, Radel was reportedly allowed to contact his attorney who quickly began negotiations with federal prosecutors.
We find this story important because it is a helpful example of how seasoned criminal defense attorneys can assist people charged with drug crimes, especially those in high profile positions that require criminal matters to be handled promptly and discreetly. It also exemplifies the jobs criminal lawyers do in investigating criminal charges and searching for viable defenses. Drug charges are taken very seriously in New Jersey, so in order to avoid jail time, a lawyer is tasked with making compelling arguments about diversionary programs that allow for rehabilitation instead of confinement.
In the meantime, it remains to be seen how the criminal charges against Congressman Radel will be resolved.
Source: ABC News.com, “Florida Rep. Trey Radel expected to appear in court today on cocaine charges,” John Parkinson and Stven Portnoy, November 20, 2013