Joseph Carter

Joseph Carter

KINGMAN — A Superor Court judge sentenced a Mohave Valley man to an additional 33 1/2 years in prison following a contentious hearing last week.

Joseph Carter, 42, was sentenced by Mohave County Superior Court Judge Rick Lambert for drug and weapons charges after a protracted battle between prosecutor Jaimye Ashley and defense attorney Melissa Barry.

“It’s been typical of these cases from the beginning,” said Lambert after Wednesday’s sentencing concluded a series of four jury trials involving Carter. “It’s just been one difficulty after another.”

Wednesday’s sentencing was for drug and weapon convictions associated with a September 2017 search of Carter’s home in the 500 block of King Way. More than 10 ounces of methamphetamine was seized, along with more than seven grams each of heroin and cocaine, as well as two weapons.

The attorneys sparred Wednesday over whether Carter’s prior convictions were introduced and proven in a proper manner and what sentencing category resulted for Carter. Lambert ruled in favor of Barry on that point, saying Carter would have received a 78-year sentence had he sided with Ashley.

While his determination shaved almost 45 years from the prison sentence, Lambert said Carter didn’t deserve much leniency.

“You weren’t just dabbling in drug sales. You were all in. Totally in,” Lambert said.

Lambert figured prominently in Carter’s first trial that started in late March. He did not let the jury deliberate the case as he ordered direct verdicts of acquittal for alleged drug and weapons offenses.

Carter was convicted by juries at subsequent trials for unlawful flight and unlawful use of means of transportation offenses. He received 3 1/2- and 5-year prison sentences in those cases.

The sentences run consecutively, resulting in a cumulative 42-year prison term.

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