Should An Orange County Drug Dealer Get Punishment Break Because of Lousy Childhood?

Categories: Court, Crime-iny
joseph matthew dattilio meth dealer.jpg
life wrecker
In May 2011, La Habra police officers attempted to stop a Brea man driving a Toyota Solaro, but the suspect led cops on a wild chase, running lights and speeding while dumping the white, powdery contents of two bags. 

Officers eventually managed to detain Joseph Matthew Dattilio and, despite him destroying a large quantity of potential evidence, still found him in possession of 358 grams of methamphetamine as well as a bundle of cash.

Amanda N. Liskamm, a federal prosecutor inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, eventually won a guilty plea from Dattilio for illegal narcotics sales. 

A federal public defender noted that the drug dealer deserves sympathy following a troubled childhood when he became addicted to drugs--and, because he is "a low risk for recidivist activity," should get a break in punishment.

Dattilio's worried brother even offered to save taxpayers money by taking full responsibility to rehabilitate him at own expense and at his own home outside of California.

But Liskamm requested that Dattilio, 42, be sent to prison for a whopping 262 months because of the seriousness of distributing "one of the most dangerous and destructive street drugs."

She also noted that Dattilio, who has been a member of the La Mirada Punks street gang, returned to drug dealing after already serving nearly 10 years in prison; in the past 20 years he's been arrested 16 times resulting in 12 convictions; he's accumulated 18 parole and probation violations; and was on parole in four separate cases on the day of the car chase.

"A sentence of 262 months would adequately promote defendant's respect for the law," wrote Liskamm in her sentencing brief. "Further, a sentence of 262 months would provide just punishment and adequate deterrence for future criminal conduct of defendant. Such a sentence is necessary to address defendant's criminal conduct and would impress upon him respect for the law--something he has demonstrated he is lacking."

Dattilio's defense lawyer portrayed the government's sentencing wish as excessive.

"If he receives a 20-year sentence, his anticipated release date, with good time credit, is Thursday, May 11, 2028," the public defender wrote to U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney. "He will be 57 years old . . . He accepts responsibility for his actions and is seeking treatment for his addictions."

This week, Carney handed Dattilio a 240-month punishment followed by 10 years of supervised probation upon his return to society.

He is presently being housed in the Santa Ana Jail and awaiting a bus trip to a federal prison.

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