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Court Confirms Pennsylvania Prisoner’s Sentence in Tobacco Contraband Case

by David M. Reutter

Tobacco is a valuable commodity in jails and prisons because it is considered contraband. Maurice Dewayne Wakefield, II, went to great lengths with a group of prisoners to get another prisoner’s stash of tobacco. The price was a 9 to 18 year sentence.

When prisoner C.S. was transferred from F Block to E Block at Pennsylvania’s Blair County Prison on March 16, 2017, he had hidden loose amounts of tobacco and cigarettes in his shoes and rectum. Throughout the day, he sold the tobacco in his shoes to other prisoners for commissary items. “He also told others he had more but that he had to get it out of his rear,” the Pennsylvania Superior Court wrote in an opinion affirming Wakefield’s judgment of sentence.

Around 8:30 p.m., prisoners Allen Granger, Curtis Ramsey, and Zachery Moore attacked prisoner F.D.F. as he came out of the shower. They thought he was holding down C.S.’s stash of tobacco. He did not have it and got away from the group.

Later that night, Wakefield, Charles Frank, Granger, and Moore formed a semicircle around C.S. after he was lured into a cell. Ramsey blocked the door. They demanded the tobacco and said the removal could be done “the easy way” or “the hard way.”

C.S. made an unsuccessful effort to remove the two 4-ounce packets of tobacco, which were wrapped in a gallon-size zip lock baggie, from his rectum.

When that did not work, C.S. was removed from the toilet by Granger and Moore, and Frank used a gloved hand to try to remove the tobacco from C.S.’s rectum. Failing in that effort, hard objects were used in an attempt to remove the tobacco. That effort also failed, and the group punched C.S. several times.

He was then ordered to go to his cell and remove the tobacco from his rectum. He did so but despite threats of harm if he snitched, C.S. told police about the assault after he sought medical attention for injuries he incurred from the incident.

Wakefield and the others were charged with multiple offenses. A jury on April 5, 2018, found Wakefield guilty of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse (IDSI), criminal conspiracy to commit IDSI, assault by a prisoner, terroristic threats, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, simple assault, and reckless endangerment of another person. The trial court entered an aggregate sentence of 9 to 18 years in prison. Wakefield appealed.

On appeal, the Superior Court found that Wakefield failed to raise objections in the trial court as to the jury not being informed they could use their notebooks during co-defendant Frank’s direct testimony or concerning the introduction of video evidence of the attack on F.D.F. Finding those issues were waived for failure to object, the judgment of sentence was affirmed on November 8. See: Commonwealth v. Wakefield, 2019 Pa. Super Unpub. LEXIS 4210 (Pa. 2019). 

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Related legal case

Commonwealth v. Wakefield