7th Circuit affirms sentences for bank robbing couple

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the convictions and sentences of a boyfriend and girlfriend on bank robbery convictions, finding the boyfriend waived his appeal of his sentence and the jury instructions were correct in the girlfriend’s trial.

Jorge Quintero and Claudia Martinez were indicted on charges of bank robbery by force, violence or intimidation, discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, and knowing possession of a firearm and ammunition as an illegal alien. Quintero was also charged with unlawful entering and Martinez was charged with remaining in the U.S.

Martinez drove Quintero to the bank and parked her van in an adjacent parking lot. She claimed to not know he was going to rob the bank, but after Martinez jumped in the van after robbing the bank, he had a gun, mask, and money and she led police on a chase before crashing. Next to her in the front seat was a ski mask, wig in a purse, and a gun.

Quintero pleaded guilty to all charges and was supposed to receive a three-point deduction in his sentence for accepting responsibility, but the probation office revised his pre-sentence investigation report and removed the reduction after he perjured himself at Martinez’s trial. It also included a two-point enhancement for obstruction of justice.

In United States of America v. Jorge Quintero, a/k/a Samuel Munoz and Claudia Andrade Martinez, Nos. 09-2715, 09-2788, Quintero argued the government breached the terms of the plea agreement. The 7th Circuit judges found Quintero waived his right to appeal. Even if he hadn’t agreed to a waiver of appeal in his guilty plea, it was Quintero who first broke the terms of the agreement when he perjured himself at Martinez’s trial and obstructed justice.

“Quintero made his own bed by choosing to commit perjury, no matter his alleged intentions, and now he must lie in it,” wrote Judge Michael Kanne.

Martinez challenged her convictions and sentence, claiming the District Court erred by providing instruction No. 20 on the issue of accomplice liability to the jury over her objection. She argued instruction No. 19 conflicted with No. 20, misstated the law, misled the jury, and prejudiced her.

Instruction No. 19 was a typical aiding and abetting jury instruction; No. 20 said if a person knowingly assists in the escape phase of a bank robbery, she is guilty of aiding and abetting bank robbery, even if she is unaware of the bank robbery until she begins assisting in the escape phase of the bank robbery. Driving a getaway car is participating in the escape phase of a bank robbery.

She believed the instructions conflicted because No. 19 exculpates a person that provides assistance but has no knowledge of the crime. But the judges agreed with the government that the jury instructions were correct statements of the law.

“Because Martinez knowingly and willfully participated in the escape phase of the bank robbery by driving the car in an obvious ‘getaway’ fashion, and thereby becoming, if she was not already, a principal in the crime, the district court did not err by giving instruction twenty to the jury,” wrote Judge Kanne.

The judges also upheld her sentence that was enhanced for discharge of a firearm, even though she wasn’t convicted on that count.

“Taking all of the evidence of events leading up to the robbery, the robbery itself, the escape phase, and the materials later found in the van—including a second loaded handgun—the district court was reasonable in concluding that Quintero’s firing of the gun could be attributed to Martinez as an aider and abettor,” wrote the judge.


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.