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7th Circuit affirms Outlaws members’ convictions, remands over suspicionless search condition

April 1, 2015

Three members of the Indianapolis Chapter of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club lost their appeals before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday, however, the judges did decide that one man’s probation condition needs further consideration.

Christian Miller, Frank Jordan and Joshua Bowser were indicted along with nearly two dozen other members of the club. Bowser pleaded guilty to 10 crimes, including wire fraud and conspiracy to distribute cocaine, but pleaded nolo contendere to the charge of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute. Jordan was convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and unlawful use of a communication facility. Miller was convicted of racketeering based in part on a robbery that occurred involving a fellow Outlaws member.

In United States of America v. Christian J. Miller, Frank Jordan, and Joshua N. Bowser, 14-1237, 14-1585, and 14-1592, Jordan insisted that the government failed to meet its burden to convict him of conspiracy to distribute cocaine because it did not show that his dealings with Hector Nava-Arredondo, who provided Jordan with the cocaine, went beyond the relationship of a buyer and seller. But Nava testified that he understood based on telephone conversations with Jordan that he had a relationship with Jordan that went beyond that of buyer and seller and included an agreement for Jordan to further distribute the drugs Nava provided.

In regard to his sentence, Jordan argued that the government failed to prove that he was convicted of a prior drug felony for purposes of the 10-year mandatory minimum under §841(b)(1)(B.) He brought up discrepancies in the evidence presented by the government regarding his birth date. Jordan believed that the court here should have required the government to produce photographs or fingerprint analysis establishing that he was the same Frank Jordan that committed the prior felony.

“Jordan had the presentence report listing his social security number in advance of sentencing and never objected to it as incorrect. We thus see no need for the government to have produced photographs or fingerprints related to the seven-year-old prior conviction, especially since Jordan proffered nothing to refute the government’s evidence,” Judge John Tinder wrote.

The judges affirmed that the government proved the incident where Miller and others expelled a fellow member from the club amounted to robbery, as Miller admitted there was an overlap between the force used on the member and the taking of his property.

Finally, the judges affirmed Bowser’s sentence, finding the federal court did not err by relying on the nature of his plea of nolo contendere to the RICO charge to deny him a sentencing reduction for acceptance of responsibility. But the District Court did err in imposing a condition of supervised release authorizing suspicionless searches of Bowser’s home, person and effects because it imposed the condition based on the nature of the offense without elaborating. This issue is remanded for further consideration.

 

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