Former Judge Sentenced To 40 Years In Prison As Meth Manufacturer and Dealer

628x471A Little Rock courtroom was the scene of a truly sad fall from grace as former Arkansas Judge Bob Sam Castleman was given 40 years for methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution conspiracy. Some ten years ago, Castleman and his son were sent to jail after they mailed a live poisonous snake to a man with whom they had a dispute. There was a real Breaking Bad quality to the trial that included a demand for life in prison after prosecutors were allowed to argue that Castleman killed a witness in the drug case even though he was never criminally charged in the case. The defense had a compelling argument that it was improper to put the death of the witness, Travis Perkins, (who was also a codefendant) into the trial. Perkins was found shot to death in an apartment in Pocahontas, Arkansas just days before he was set to testify against Castleman.


The trial also included the testimony of the son, Robert Jerrod Castleman, against his father after taking a plea. It is troubling to have a non-charged crime introduced at a trial of this kind, particularly based on the sole testimony of a government witness given a deal. Indeed, other witnesses said that the son was somewhere else during the murder.

Castleman lost his license after his 2004 conviction and served 27 months in federal prison. The earlier case involved the mailing a live copperhead snake to Albert Coy Staton, who had purchased an all-terrain vehicle from Jerrod Castleman and claimed later the vehicle needed to be repaired.

Castleman has never been charged in the 2013 death of Travis Perkins, but U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes still allowed prosecutors to paint them with the crime. The prosecutors said that Castleman, 64, killed the 34-year-old Perkins to prevent his testimony and his son said his father dressed in a trench coat and wig and drove from a West Memphis casino to Pocahontas to kill Perkins. Experts linked bullets found at Perkins’ apartment and in a tree off Castleman’s back porch.

Perkins was scheduled to change his plea to testify against Castleman.

It was the murder that allowed for a huge increase in sentencing even though he was not charged with it. The inclusion of the murder is highly controversial and troubling since it allows prosecutors to get punishment for a crime that they obviously do not believe that they have enough evidence to charge, at least at this time.

Source: News Times

19 thoughts on “Former Judge Sentenced To 40 Years In Prison As Meth Manufacturer and Dealer”

  1. Yeah, the concept of murder should not be considered for sentencing or anything else if no attempt to prove it is made. A swift execution would be preferable to 40 years for an old guy like that. Not that there is such a thing in peace time but perhaps there oughta be.

  2. I just discussed this w/ my bride, a retired Federal Probation Officer who’s specialty was conducting presentence investigations. This witness murder was allowed under the “relevant conduct” guidelines. That allows information allowed in sentencing under the preponderance of evidence burden of proof. That has been a very controversial rule in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. There are many clauses in the guidelines that holds a defendant accountable for anything connected to the instant offense. That gets very complicated when there is a conspiracy w/ many defendants doing various nasty deeds related to the charge[s].

  3. Everyone’s worried about leniency upon a corrupt justice;
    with clear evidence (testimony of his own) that he committed the murder.

    No body gives a dang – that the victim is dead!

    Justice in America; ain’t it grand!

  4. Karen S,

    Yep.

    “Petitioner pleaded guilty to kidnaping his estranged wife. The facts admitted in his plea, standing alone, supported a maximum sentence of 53 months, but the judge imposed a 90-month sentence after finding that petitioner had acted with deliberate cruelty, a statutorily enumerated ground for departing from the standard range. The Washington Court of Appeals affirmed, rejecting petitioner’s argument that the sentencing procedure deprived him of his federal constitutional right to have a jury determine beyond a reasonable doubt all facts legally essential to his sentence.

    Held: Because the facts supporting petitioner’s exceptional sentence were neither admitted by petitioner nor found by a jury, the sentence violated his Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury. Pp. 5—18.”

    (Blakely v Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004)).

  5. It is tragic and a betrayal of the public trust when judges, lawyers, or police to be guilty of a major crime.

    It does sound unfair that he appears to have been sentenced for murder without actually being tried for it. I would rather he was simply tried for murder, because it sounds like there’s a good chance he did it, the savage.

    Mailing a copperhead – what a maniac. Those things are so venomous!

  6. The principles of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), Ring v. Arizona, and Blakely v. Washington come to mind.

    They need to be extended to this type of application because the 40 year max would not have been given absent the mini murder trial.

  7. Defense had the right to call into question, the “non” charging of the issue. Such is evidence, as is a bank robber car chase resulting in an accident resulting in loss of life. The prosecutor doesn’t need to document the loss of life as murder, manslaughter or other such charge; but merely show cause and effect.

    The jury can do with the evidence – as it would – same in a “charged” instance; as a non-charged instance.

    Me thinks ye protest too much against too little;
    and your avoiding the bigger bloody question.

    A witness died!

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