ILNews

7th Circuit again reverses drug sentence for minor role reduction

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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he transported drug money will be sentenced a third time after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in a nonprecedential opinion that a resentencing the court ordered in 2010 did not sufficiently consider his minor role compared with conspirators.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

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!!!

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

ADVERTISEMENT