Drug Conspiracy Sentencing Issues, and other Criminal Matters
In US v. Robinson, No. 09-1925, the court of appeals vacated defendant's sentence for possession of a firearm as a previously convicted felon, holding that the district court clearly erred in finding that defendant had stipulated to the requisite knowledge, or reasonable cause to believe, that the person knocking on his door was an officer.
In US v. Adamson, No. 09-2185, the court affirmed defendants' convictions and sentences for conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and five kilograms or more of cocaine, holding that 1) the district court properly considered the relevant conduct for which defendant was responsible in comparison to other members of the organization and did not commit clear error in its factual determination that defendant's role was not minor; 2) defendants were active, necessary, and well-compensated members of the conspiracy, and their roles as couriers did not necessarily entitle them to the minor role adjustment; 3) the presence of firearms in the garage where defendant received drugs and dispatched large sums of money to the west coast made the fact of his involvement in the drug conspiracy more probable and evidence of this was thus properly admitted; and 4) the district court did not clearly err in imposing a three-level enhancement for his role in the offense.
In US v. Shafer, No. 09-2309, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's drug conspiracy conviction, on the grounds that 1) a typical person would have understood the exchange between defendant and an officer to allow the officer to seize defendant's briefcase and its contents; 2) the denial of defendant's motion for a continuance did not prejudice him; and 3) a reasonable jury could conclude that defendant's Mercedes was purchased with the proceeds from his drug distribution.