A street-level dealer of crack in Downingtown told a federal judge at his sentencing yesterday that he was "sorry" for his crimes, adding, " I need one more chance."

Paul Hardy, 26, of Coatesville, Chester County, got 10 years behind bars. He could have received more than 15 years in federal prison under sentencing guidelines.

But a series of rulings by U.S. District Judge John R. Padova prior to sentencing, including granting a government motion for leniency based on Hardy's cooperation and defense motions for leniency based on Hardy's diminished mental capacity and his disadvantaged childhood, dropped the guideline range to nine to 11 years.

Psychologists said Hardy had an inability to control impulsive behavior he knew was wrong, according to court papers.

Padova said that even though Hardy had received extensive mental-health treatment while previously incarcerated on state charges and when he was on parole, it didn't deter his criminal ways.

"This presents a serious problem in protecting the public," Padova said before sentencing.

Both federal prosecutor Ewald Zittlau and defense attorney Christian Hoey said the sentence was fair.

Hardy was arrested on federal drug and gun charges in November 2006 while on parole for two felony drug convictions in state court in 2002.

He pleaded guilty in June and cooperated with the feds, fingering a Philadelphia dealer as one of his main suppliers. That person is still on the lam, Zittlau said.