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Defendants' drug sentences ineligible for reduction

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the sentences of six members of a Gary street gang for various crack cocaine and other offenses, finding none of the men are eligible to have their sentences reduced based on the retroactive crack cocaine amendments to the sentencing guidelines.

The appeals by Bobby Suggs, Aaron Davis, Sentai Suggs, Terraun Price, Terence Dilworth and William Davison were consolidated before the 7th Circuit. All appealed the denial of their motions to have their sentences reduced. Bobby and Sentai Suggs and Terraun Price were sentenced to life imprisonment; Davis received 405 months in prison; and Dilworth and Davison received 360-month sentences. At their sentencing hearings, the District Court concluded that each was responsible for distributing in excess of 1.5 kilograms of crack cocaine, but larger amounts attributable to each defendant were mentioned at their hearings.

After the United States Sentencing Commission adopted Amendment 706 in 2007, which lowered the base offense level for crack cocaine offenses by two levels, the men requested sentence reductions. When they were sentenced, 1.5 kilograms or more of crack cocaine was assigned the highest possible base offense level of 38, after the amendment, only offenses of 4.5 kilograms or more would receive that level. Offenses between 1.5 kilograms and 4.5 kilograms received a base level offense of 36.

The District Court upheld each man’s sentence, finding it did not have statutory authority and jurisdiction to reduce Bobby Suggs’ sentence because his guideline range hadn’t been lowered by the amendment. With regards to the other men, the District Court found more than 4.5 kilograms of crack cocaine could be attributed to them, so their guideline range wasn’t impacted by the amendment.

The 7th Circuit agreed in United States of America v. Aaron M. Davis, Bobby Suggs, et al., 11-1313, 11-1323, et al., noting that at the men’s original sentencing hearings, the presentence investigation reports and judge had discussed higher amounts each man could be responsible for, including more than 17 kilos to Bobby Suggs.  

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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