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A Year of Freedom, But Not Eight, for Snitching

HONOLULU (CN) - A federal judge shaved one year off the sentence of a convicted drug dealer, rejecting claims that the inmate deserved an eight-year reduction for ratting on the prison guard with whom he was sexually involved.

William Clifford pleaded guilty in March 2011 to attempt to possess and distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

In February 2011, a mere two months into Clifford's 20-year sentence at the federal Leavenworth penitentiary, however, the government requested a decrease in Clifford's sentence.

Clifford told the U.S. Attorney's Office that, while incarcerated, he had become sexually involved with a federal detention corrections officer and that the officer had given him contraband in the form of two mobile phones.

The guard's name and Clifford's testimony were sealed by the court.

Clifford claimed the guard "pursued him romantically and was the aggressor in the situation," according to the court's summary. Though the guard characterized the matter differently, the government said Clifford's assistance led to the successful prosecution of the officer.

U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor ordered a one-year reduction Friday "on the ground that the defendant has provided substantial assistance in the investigation and prosecution of another person."

Clifford had asked for an eight-year reduction, arguing that the smaller figure does not adequately reflect the value of his assistance. He claimed that ever since he ratted out the guard, he "has received the 'cold shoulder' from both guards and inmates," according to the court's summary.

Gillmor was unsympathetic.

"The defendant's unclean hands in accepting unauthorized gifts of contraband as well as engaging in a romantic and sexual relationship over a period of time is considered by the court and militates against a greater sentence reduction," she wrote.

All other aspects of Clifford's sentence remain unchanged. The inmate had also been sentenced to participate in an Oklahoma Welding Program, 500 hours of drug treatment and 10 years of supervised release.

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