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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Ex-probation officer's sentence reduced

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Nine months were shaved off the sentence of a former state probation officer convicted in the corruption case that rocked the Henry County Sheriff's Office.

U.S. District Judge James Turk on Wednesday reduced the 57-month sentence Carlton Riley received to four years (48 months) for a conviction of possessing cocaine with intent to distribute it.

Riley, who pleaded guilty without a plea agreement to attempting to buy one kilogram of cocaine from Calvin Rayfield Moore, received one of the longest prison terms in the corruption case, although he was sentenced at the lowest end of advisory guidelines that called for between 57 and 71 months.

Riley, who was among the 20 people indicted in a 50-page indictment, had appealed his sentence to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That court ruled that the wrong guidelines were used to determine his sentence.

Before the initial sentence was handed down in September 2007, Turk expressed disbelief that Riley could disregard his duty and be involved in drug distribution after working with probationers, including those who had committed drug crimes.

Riley's involvement would have been more understandable if Riley used drugs, Turk said. However, that was not the case.

Neil Horn, Riley's attorney, said during the original court case that Riley participated in only one drug transaction. Horn voiced a number of objections to Riley's presentencing report, as well as objecting to evidence of Moore's involvement unless Moore was produced to corroborate it.

Moore died in a car accident before that was possible. Turk denied the objections.

Horn asked for a reduction in Riley's base sentencing level because Riley was a minor participant in the criminal activity, and Horn asked for a downward departure from the sentencing guidelines in part because Riley was needed to support his family. Turk denied both requests.


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