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7th Circuit rules on drug sentences

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In a consolidated appeal, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld one man’s sentence following a guilty plea to drug offenses, but sent the other man’s case back to the District Court to reconsider his sentence in light of United States v. Corner.

In United States of America v. Michael Redmond and Charles Avery Jr., Nos. 10-1947, 10-3914, Michael Redmond and Charles Avery Jr. challenged their sentences following guilty pleas to crack cocaine distribution conspiracy and crack cocaine distribution, respectively.

Avery attempted to have his guilty plea withdrawn after learning the prosecution was going to attribute a higher crack cocaine quantity to him. He pleaded guilty without a plea agreement.

The 7th Circuit pointed out that by pleading guilty without the benefit of the plea agreement, he had no guarantees from the government regarding any of this points of contention.

“Even if Avery was under a reasonable misapprehension of what quantity would be attributable to him based on his reliance on the government’s representations, Avery’s status as a career offender, which raised his offense level to 34, made the relevant conduct drug weight irrelevant in determining his Guidelines sentencing range,” wrote Judge Joel Flaum.

The judges affirmed his sentence, finding the government set forth facts to establish the amount of cocaine attributable to Avery and the District Court reasonably concluded that the readily provable quantity of crack cocaine attributable to him for purposes of determining his advisory sentencing guideline range was 51.5 grams.

Regarding Redmond, the 7th Circuit remanded his case to the District Court for the limited purpose of allowing the court to consider his sentence in light of Corner, 598 F.3d 411 (7th Cir. 2010), which was decided after Redmond was sentenced.

Redmond was classified as a career offender under 18 U.S.C. Section 4B1.1, with a criminal history category of VI. The advisory guidelines sentencing range was to be 262 to 327 months. While the District Court agreed that Redmond’s career criminal status “may have overstated the seriousness of his arrest history” and that it would “deviate down from the guidelines,” the court still sentenced Redmond to a longer sentence than he expected – 240 months. Redmond wanted a sentence of 15 or 16 years.

In Corner, the 7th Circuit held that a District Court can vary categorically from every guideline, including the career offender guidelines.

“Though the court certainly could have varied its sentence further, Redmond presents little to show that the district court was constrained in its decision making process. Moreover, that the court sentenced Redmond below the advisory career offender range, suggests that it was not constrained by the guideline calculation. Even so, the district court did suggest that Redmond’s status as a career offender was a significant factor in its sentence, and it is not clear that the court recognized its complete discretion to deviate from the Guidelines career-offender calculation,” wrote the judge.

 

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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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