In the District Court of Wolfratshausen, a 23-year-old from Bad Tölz, Bavaria, Germany, faced a judge for sentencing connected to a recent drug possession and drug trafficking conviction. The prosecution asked for a prison sentence of more than two years. The judge, though, after hearing the defendant’s side of the story, called the sentence proposed by the prosecutor “incomprehensible.”
In court, the 23-year-old told the judge how he had fallen into a life of crime. The story detailed his descent into increasingly illegal activities, several arrests, a self-described “rock bottom,” and then an uphill climb towards recovery. The prosecutor stuck to the request for a prison sentence. But at the end of the defendant’s story, the thought derailing the life of a man who had successfully recovered from drug addiction “would be nonsense,” according to the deense. The man’s lawyer wanted a suspended sentence of less than two years.
The 23-year-old’s first experience with drugs, the court heard, happened a few months before he turned 18. He said that he smoked marijuana with his friends on a class trip to Berlin. He said that he left home at 18 and marijuana became an everyday habit. However, he said, marijuana was not enough. He tested other drugs, the court heard. He moved from being stoned every day to being stoned while tripping on LSD (presumably the daily LSD habit only lasted two days or so). He continued his so-called “tests” with different drugs.
He explained that amphetamine and ecstasy became a regular part of his life. The more drugs he used, he told the judge, the less money he had for other essentials. So he purchased drugs in bulk and resold them to other drug users living throughout the city. He grew less capable of selling drugs off the police’s radar as he increased his own drug consumption. The police arrested him for possession during that particular segment of his life. As a minor, he faced a juvenile court judge and effectively walked away without a penalty.
And then the police arrested him again. He had not stopped selling drugs. In fact, he said, the lack of punishment from the first arrest made him “stupider.” The same fortune from the first case followed him into juvenile court for his second offense. Again, he faced a punishment that had nearly no impact on his daily activities. He continued to buy and sell drugs. He explained that he had been selling drugs from darknet drug vendors and receiving the packages at his home address.
And that he had developed a cocaine habit and found customers interested in purchasing cocaine. The police, in May 2017, had launched an investigation into the now 23-year-old’s activities. A package addressed to the man landed in the mailbox of someone who had not ordered any drugs. The package contained cocaine but lacked the proper postage so the postal service returned the package to the sender’s address. Which, of course, was not the vendor’s address. This happened three more times. The police raided his house, found various illegal substances, and arrested him.
After the arrest, the defendant had hit “rock bottom.” He went to an inpatient rehab and completed a rehabilitation program. He then completed an outpatient program and had remained clean since the arrest. He had certificates and documents that verified his claims.
In sentencing, Judge Helmut Berger said, “everything [in the defendant’s life] is going great. Why should we intervene now? That is incomprehensible.” The judge passed down a sentence of one year and eight months on probation.