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Man’s 10-year cocaine sentence upheld by 7th Circuit

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s argument that the drugs seized at his home with a warrant following his arrest should have been excluded from determining his sentence after the District judge ruled the warrant was invalid.

Tyler Sanders pleaded guilty to possessing more than 50 grams of cocaine base with the intent to distribute. At sentencing, the District judge found he possessed more than 500 grams of cocaine or cocaine base and sentenced him to 120 months. Most of that cocaine considered in sentencing was based on drugs seized from his house. There was a warrant, but the judge invalidated it and ruled the evidence seized from the house could not be used against him at trial because some information was recklessly omitted.

Sanders argued in United States of America v. Tyler Sanders, 13-1301, that the judge should have prohibited use of that evidence at sentencing, too. But the 7th Circuit disagreed, pointing to its decision in United States v. Brimah, 214 F.3d 854 (7th Circ. 2000), in which the court held the exclusionary rule does not apply at criminal sentencing.

Sanders keyed in on a footnote in that ruling that remarked the appeal did not present the question whether an “egregious” violation of the Fourth Amendment might justify suppressing at sentencing. Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote that for Sanders to succeed on appeal, he must persuade the court to create an “egregious violation” exception to the doctrine that the exclusionary rule does not apply to sentencing.

Easterbrook then laid out the reasons why that won’t work, including that the Supreme Court has held that the exclusionary rule does not apply to evidence obtained by officers who reasonably rely on a warrant or make certain kinds of negligent errors, Easterbrook wrote.

He also pointed out that an “egregious violation” exception is not necessary to deter officers from violating the Fourth Amendment – and deterrence is the goal of the exclusionary rule.

“The district judge did not err in following §3661 and considering the evidence found during the search of Sanders’s home,” he wrote.
 

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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