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BOSTON �— A spat between U.S. District Attorney Michael J. Sullivan and a Massachusetts state court judge over a vacated state court conviction that reduced the sentencing range for a convicted drug dealer ended with the state judge reversing her decision and a federal judge slapping the convicted drug dealer with 15 years. In March, a federal jury found Matthew West guilty of two counts of possession of cocaine with attempt to distribute. USA v. West, No. 06-10281 (D. Mass.) On October 10, a federal judge sentenced West to 15 years of prison plus 10 years of supervised release for cocaine distribution. “The 15 year sentence imposed in this case reflects the defendant’s long criminal history including three prior attacks on police officers and two prior convictions for dealing cocaine,” said Sullivan in a statement. West’s stiff sentence was possible because Massachusetts District Court Justice Diane Moriarty reversed her order vacating West’s six-year-old assault and battery conviction on Oct 9. A state court spokeswoman released a statement noting that Moriarty experienced “significant chest pain, nausea,” and lethargy on September 24, the day she issued the order about West. Moriarty admitted to the emergency room of a local hospital that afternoon. In her new order, Moriarty noted that she made the decision after reviewing the transcript in an improved physical condition. West’s attorney, Timothy R. Flaherty of the Boston-based Flaherty Law Offices, said the sentence was not fair. “It’s important to understand that this 2001 shoving incident changed Matt West’s sentence from 12 to 18 months to 15 years,” Flaherty said. West was caught selling cocaine at an unlicensed Boston strip club that he operated, and Flaherty said the government wanted to punish him for not cooperating with its investigation of Boston police who attended West’s unlicensed parties. “It’s about punishing someone who refused to cooperate and become a police informant,” Flaherty said.

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