7th Circuit finds meth dealer was acting like a merchant, not a manager

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Although an Indiana man determined how much and how often his buyers received methamphetamine as well as pressured them to sell, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded his sentence should not have been enhanced because his actions were not coercive.

Jeffrey Weaver pled guilty to conspiring with two buyers to possess and distribute methamphetamine. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana found that the way Weaver fronted his drugs merited him receiving a 3-level manager/supervisor enhancement on his sentence. Weaver was then sentenced to 235 months imprisonment, the bottom of the range calculated by the court.

In USA v. Jeffrey Weaver, 12-3324, Weaver appealed, arguing there was no evidence that he managed or supervised his buyers. The Circuit Court agreed, vacating the sentence and remanding for resentencing.

The 7th Circuit found that the U.S.S.G. 3B1.1 enhancement requires an exercise of control and authority. A key indicator of control that is suggestive of managerial responsibility is the ability to coerce the underlings.

Describing Weaver as providing insufficient ongoing supervision and coercive authority, the court said he simply fronted methamphetamine to his buyers. In fact, the court found Weaver was like any other business that extends credit to customers. He encouraged behavior that would protect his investment and insure payment of the debt owed to him.

The Circuit Court noted Weaver did not tell his buyers what price they had to charge, impose territorial limits on their sales or set distribution quotas. Moreover, if the buyers did not sell the drugs, they remained indebted to Weaver at $1,700 per ounce.

Weaver pushed his wares aggressively and demanded prompt payment, the court said, but his interest in a quick turnaround does not make his buyers his underlings.

“Weaver simply ‘instructed them to promptly sell’ the methamphetamine ‘so he could distribute more to them,’” Judge Joel Flaum wrote for the court. “Trying to sell more while getting paid is what merchants – not necessarily managers and supervisors – do.”



Post a comment to this story

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
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Freedom From Religion Foundation: If you really want to be free from religion, don't go to the Christmas Play or the Christmas Pageant or the Christmas Parade. Anything with "Christ" or Saint...fill in the blank...would be off limits to you. Then leave the rest of us ALONE!

  2. So the prosecutor made an error and the defendants get a full remedy. Just one short paragraph to undo the harm of the erroneous prosecution. Wow. Just wow.

  3. Wake up!!!! Lawyers are useless!! it makes no difference in any way to speak about what is important!! Just dont tell your plans to the "SELFRIGHTEOUS ARROGANT JERKS!! WHO THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN ANOTHER MAN/WOMAN!!!!!!

  4. Looks like you dont understand Democracy, Civilized Society does not cut a thiefs hands off, becouse now he cant steal or write or feed himself or learn !!! You deserve to be over punished, Many men are mistreated hurt in many ways before a breaking point happens! grow up !!!

  5. It was all that kept us from tyranny. So sad that so few among the elite cared enough to guard the sacred trust. Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law. Sophocles No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor. Theodore Roosevelt That was the ideal ... here is the Hoosier reality: The King can do no wrong. Legal maxim From the Latin 'Rex non potest peccare'. When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal. Richard Nixon