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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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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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