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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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