Ricky Minor became addicted to cocaine in his early twenties, and struggled with addiction and depression for most of the next two decades. Ricky had a number of runs-ins with the law over the course of the 1990s, often while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and mostly for drug possession or for selling drugs to support his addiction, but he had never served time in prison. Ricky tried to hide his addiction while raising his children and running a carpet installation business for 15 years.
Then in 2000 a confidential informant told police there was methamphetamine residue at Ricky’s house. Officers found 1.2 grams of meth as well as pseudoephedrine and materials that could be used to manufacture meth. Ricky had taught himself to make meth to support his addiction, but there was no “meth lab” at the home.
Ricky was charged with attempting to manufacture meth. Fearing for his wife and children, Ricky pled guilty.
Because of mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, in 2001, at age 38, Ricky was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The trial judge stated at Ricky’s sentencing hearing: “I don’t think you deserve a life sentence. If I had any discretion at all, I would not impose a life sentence, obviously. But as you are aware and your attorney, I’m sure, has explained to you, I really don’t have any discretion in this matter … The sentence … in my opinion, far exceeds whatever punishment would be appropriate…”