37-year-old Rep. Henry Radel pleaded guilty in open court to a misdemeanor charge of possession of cocaine this morning. Telling the judge that “he needed help” he was sentenced to a year of probation. His criminal defense attorney refused to comment when questioned by reporters.
The former radio host was elected to represent Florida’s 19th Congressional District (along the Gulf Coast). Elected in 2012, he is thought to be the first sitting member of Congress charged with drug possession since Frederick Richmond in 1982.
Per a DEA spokesperson, Radel bought the cocaine in a D.C. neighborhood on October 29 from a confidential informant. The “CI”, who was working for the feds after being arrested for his own drug possession charge, identified Radel. The night of the buy, federal agents went to his apartment to inform him that he would be facing criminal charges.
For his part, Henry Radel told the judge that he would be seeking drug counseling as well as treatment for his alcoholism. He expressed regret for letting down his family and his constituents. Will he be forgiven? That will be up to the voters and remains to be seen…
The cocaine possession charge in Washington D.C. is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail or 12 month’s probation. One (the only?) bright spot in his arrest? At least he isn’t a hypocrite! Among the bills he sponsored was legislation to amend America’s minimum mandatory drug laws.
If he had been arrested for cocaine possession in Florida, he would not have been so lucky. Possession of a controlled susbtance is found under Florida Statute 893.13. It is a third degree felony and punishable by up to five years in prison and a two year driver’s license suspension!
Finally, this question has come up: Is Henry Radel getting special treatment because he is a politician? Surprisingly he may not be. In Florida a typical sentence for this charge depends on many things including the facts of the case and the defendant’s prior record. This is Rep. Radel’s first offense. In Pinellas county, most likely he would be given either probation, a chance to have his case dismissed through the Pre-Trial Intervention “PTI” program or even moving his case to Pinellas County Drug Court where he would undergo treatment and work towards having his case dismissed.
Have you or a loved one been arrested for drug possession or a violation of probation? Then call the Saint Petersburg drug defense lawyers of Blake & Dorsten, P.A. today! These former prosecutors are experienced trial attorneys and handle all criminal and car accident cases throughout the Gulf Coast of Florida including Saint Petersburg, Clearwater, Seminole, Largo, Pinellas Park, Dade City, Tampa, New Port Richey, Tarpon Springs, Gulfport, Kenneth City and Feathersound.