The twelve-year prison sentence for a Wisconsin man convicted in marijuana trafficking conspiracy was upheld today when an appellate court ruled a local prosecutor’s verbal promise to not charge the man in exchange for cooperating with an investigation was irrelevant.
Jacob Stadfeld was involved in an operation that transported 100 lbs of marijuana per month from Canada and the East Coast into the Madison, Wisconsin area. One of the co-conspirators, Amos Mortier, disappeared and was believed to be murdered over a marijuana debt, with Stadfeld emerging as a likely suspect. The local prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Corey Stephan agreed not to prosecute Stadfeld if he cooperated with the investigation. Stadfeld’s attorney advised him the promise of immunity protected him from any further prosecutions.
However, federal officials then used Stadfeld’s informal statements to the Dane County authorities as the basis for a federal indictment in the marijuana trafficking conspiracy for which Stadfeld was convicted in 2011. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Diane Sykes struck down Stadfeld’s appeal to suppress any statements he made under the promise of immunity, writing, “An obvious flaw in Stadfeld’s argument is that it rests on the mistaken advice of his lawyers, not coercive conduct by law enforcement officers.”