The ringleader of a huge, Southern California medical marijuana distribution network has won a whopping 94-month reduction in his punishment, according to federal court records reviewed by OC Weekly.
In July 2013, U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna sentenced John Melvin Walker to a term of 262 months in prison, but this week amended the punishment to a term of 168 months for the conspiracy and efforts to evade federal tax obligations.
Selna's dramatic move, done after a secret, April 8 filing by Walker-defense attorney Kate Corrigan, came without public explanation.
Asked why the change, Corrigan initially gave a one-word answer: "Justice."
Later, she explained the reduction was the result of "months of work and effort" to get the court to "revisit" the sentence and arrive at a "just result."
"Mr. Walker is relieved that his sentence has been reduced by almost 100 months," Corrigan said. "He looks forward to reuniting with his family. In the event that the sentencing guidelines are further revisited, I intend to seek further relief for him."
Assistant United States Attorney Christine S. Bautista, the lead prosecutor on the case, did not respond to a request for comment.
Walker, 57, is presently housed at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles.
Both of Selna's sentencing orders require Walker to pay the government restitution of nearly $4.3 million.
Prison officials apparently remain unaware of the punishment reduction because they continue to list the inmate's release date as April 2032.