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7th Circuit again reverses drug sentence for minor role reduction

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A man convicted of a federal charge that he transported drug money will be sentenced a third time after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in a nonprecedential opinion that a resentencing the court ordered in 2010 did not sufficiently consider his minor role compared with conspirators.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana sentenced Cruz Saenz to 252 months in prison on remand from the 7th Circuit, which in 2010 vacated his sentence of 293 months and remanded  because there was no evidence to support denial of a minor role reduction under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Section 3B1.2

The panel ruled in U.S. v. Cruz Saenz, 07-CR-125,  that Saenz was entitled to another resentencing. “The district court did not compare Saenz’s culpability to that of the average member of the conspiracy, which was error,” the court ruled.

“Because of the error, and because it is not clear that Saenz would have received the same 252-month sentence had the minor role reduction been applied, we vacate his sentence and remand.”

Saenz was involved with other co-defendants in a cocaine smuggling network based in Mexico, whose Texas operators arranged to ship the drugs to Indianapolis. Saenz was arrested after he transported $500,000 in drug money to Texas, and a jury convicted him of conspiring to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine.

In his second sentence appeal, the 7th Circuit emphasized that there was no evidence Saenz touched drugs or participated in deals, and that it was incumbent on the District Court in sentencing to measure his culpability against others who, with one exception, received far lesser sentences. Saenz, however, is required to have a minimum sentence of 240 months in prison due to a prior felony drug offense.

“However the district court wishes to determine whether the minor role reduction applies, it must make some explicit or implicit finding concerning the culpability of the average member of the conspiracy,” the court ruled. “Next the district court should determine what might represent the culpability of the average member of the conspiracy and then compare it to Saenz’s culpability.”

 

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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