Mandatory Prison Sentences Aren't Necessary in Pa.

April 21, 2017 | Angus Love, Esq. | The Legal Intelligencer

On the evening of Jan. 22, 2012, John Morales tried to sell a bag of weed to Donald Clark in the parking lot of Rutter’s gas station in Waynesboro. Little did John know that Clark was a confidential ­informant working for the local police. Donald insisted that they do the transaction in the parking lot of a local church, claiming he didn’t know where the gas station was. In the church was a nursery. At the subsequent trial after John was busted, the district attorney demanded a mandatory two-year sentence under the Drug Free School Zone Act because of the nursery which triggered the enhancements. This law applies regardless of whether there was any notice that the nursery was considered to be a school and within a school zone, regardless of whether schools were in ­session. The law also includes transactions within 1,000 feet of bus routes regardless of whether the buses are running or if school is in session.

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