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Former Wisconsin teacher gets reduced drug crime sentence

Back in February we discussed the arrests of a high school principal and another educator in the small Wisconsin town of Antigo. Both men were arrested on several drug charges after being accused of manufacturing or delivering marijuana. The arrests threw their community into a tailspin, with students, parents and other residents shocked and angry.

One of the men, a 55-year-old special education teacher and football coach, was sentenced last week after being convicted of 12 counts of delivering marijuana and one count of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. He was able to avoid a prison sentence, but will serve six months in jail and four years of probation as a result of his plea agreement. He also must perform 250 hours of community service. If he fails to comply with all of the terms of his probation, he could still be sent to prison.

In exchange for the dismissal of 13 other drug charges, the teacher is required to cooperate with police investigators on cases related to his. The Langlade County district attorney said the man has already worked with police and was willing to resolve his own case. But his is part of a much larger investigation that involves nine current and former Antigo school district employees. Many of those teachers are also facing drug charges, including the principal of two Antigo elementary schools. The special education teacher has already admitted selling marijuana to the principal, with whom he coached the high school football team. The principal has pleaded not guilty to seven felony drug offenses but with the special education teacher's help, his former colleague may end up serving a sentence of his own.

It's not uncommon for defendants to take plea deals that require them to provide information that could incriminate other people. The reward is a lighter sentence, but in cases where friends or family members are involved, giving police and prosecutors the information they need to convict those accomplices can feel like betrayal. This is when having an experienced criminal defense attorney who can offer personal but professional legal advice is crucial. Because the decisions you make in a plea agreement could have a profound effect on the rest of your life, it's important to seek the counsel of an attorney you know you can count on.

Source: PostCrescent.com, "Former Antigo teacher/football coach Scot Peterson pleads guilty to drug charges," Jeff Starck, June 29, 2012

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