Circuit Court affirms judgments against 2 ex-IMPD narcotics officers

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has found nothing wrong with the convictions or sentence of two former Indianapolis narcotics detectives brought down by their involvement in an illegal drug scheme to supplement their income as police officers.

Former Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers Robert Long and Jason Edwards were convicted during a jury trial in June 2009 and found guilty of drug possession and conspiracy to distribute, and they received 25 years and 17 years respectively. A third officer, James Davis, was also sentenced for his role in the scheme, which the FBI began investigating in early 2008.

U.S. Judge Larry McKinney presided over the trial, which was one of his final official actions on the bench before he took senior status that year. On appeal, Edwards attacked his conviction and claimed the District Court erred when it denied his motion to dismiss evidence related to a phone wiretap while Long raised multiple complaints about his sentence.

In a 15-page decision issued today in the combined case of United States of America v. Robert B. Long and Jason P. Edwards, Nos. 09-3493 and 09-3636, the 7th Circuit found those contentions were without merit and affirmed the District Court.

On the wiretap issue relating to Edwards’ conviction, the 7th Circuit determined the affidavit was more than adequate to establish necessity under the court’s deferential standard of review. It laid out in detail the efforts used to investigate both Long and Edwards at that point, and the government’s fear that the techniques already used had missed some co-conspirators. Even if the investigation had uncovered enough evidence to arrest Edwards prior to the wiretap application, that doesn’t preclude finding it necessary, the court wrote.

Noting that Long’s brief challenging his sentence is “less than clear,” the 7th Circuit also dismissed his claims that the District Court failed to follow proper procedure in calculating the guideline range for his sentence, didn’t enter necessary findings of fact to support the drug quantity enhancement, misapplied a firearm possession enhancement, and neglected to reduce Long’s sentence to account for the government’s alleged misconduct during the investigation.

Even if Judge McKinney did what Long claimed on any of the points, the appellate panel noted that Long still didn’t show plain error or that any errors impacted his sentence. On the sentencing manipulation point, Long urged the 7th Circuit not to apply precedent from U.S. v. Garcia, 79 F. 3d 74, 76 (7th Cir. 1996), because of a factual distinction and how other Circuits allow for the defense of sentencing manipulation to be used. But the 7th Circuit rejected that argument because of the larger amount of drugs in this case that was used to draw out additional co-conspirators.

This ends the litigation, unless one or both parties decide to request a rehearing or ask the Supreme Court of the United States to consider the issues.


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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.