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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. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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