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United States v. Brown

United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division

January 9, 2015

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Calvin T. Brown, Defendant.

ORDER

HON. JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA

Presently pending before the Court is a Motion to Strike Mandatory Minimum Sentence Enhancements filed by Defendant Calvin Brown. [Filing No. 55.] For the following reasons, the Court DENIES the motion.

I.

Background

On July 8, 2014, the grand jury returned an indictment against Mr. Brown alleging one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and two counts of attempting to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.[1] [Filing No. 1.] The Government filed an Information on July 10, 2014 (the “Section 851 Information”), alleging that Mr. Brown had a prior felony drug conviction. [Filing No. 14.]

The Court held a bench trial on July 21 and July 22, 2014.[2] The Court acquitted Mr. Brown of the conspiracy count, but found him guilty of the two counts of attempting to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. [Filing No. 37.] The Court found that Mr. Brown attempted to and did distribute at least fourteen grams of pure methamphetamine on both February 16, 2013 and March 2, 2013, for a total of twenty-eight grams. [Filing No. 41 at 6.]

If the Government had not filed the Section 851 Information relating to Mr. Brown’s prior drug-related conviction, [Filing No. 14], Mr. Brown’s mandatory minimum sentence on Counts 2 and 3 would have been five years. 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B)(viii). The filing of the Section 851 Information doubled Mr. Brown’s statutory mandatory minimum sentence to ten years. 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B).

Under the sentencing guidelines, Mr. Brown has twelve criminal history points (from previous criminal convictions and for committing the instant offense while on parole). [Filing No. 58 at 12.] Not considering his career offender status, Mr. Brown’s twelve criminal history points alone put him at a criminal history category of V. [Filing No. 58 at 12.] With that criminal history category and an offense level of 26, Mr. Brown’s guideline range would be 110-137 months. U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(c). But with his career offender status, Mr. Brown’s guideline range would be 360 months to life imprisonment. U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(b)(1).

Mr. Brown’s sentencing ranges are set forth in the Presentence Investigation Report. [Filing No. 58.] Mr. Brown objected to the Presentence Investigation Report on only two bases: (1) to his factual innocence; and (2) to his classification as a Career Offender. [Filing No. 58 at 22.]

II.

Discussion

Mr. Brown sets forth several arguments in support of his request that the Court strike the mandatory minimum sentence enhancements provided under 21 U.S.C. § 851. The Court will address each one in turn.

A. Department of Justice Policy

First, Mr. Brown argues that the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has set forth criteria for when an Information under Section 851 should be filed, and that none of those criteria applies to his situation. [Filing No. 56 at 9-10.] Mr. Brown argues that the only criteria potentially applicable to his situation – “the nature of the defendant’s criminal history, including any prior history of violent conduct or recent prior convictions for serious offenses” – does not apply because his only two recent convictions (from 2003 and 2007) should not be considered “serious” since they only involved 1.03 grams of crack cocaine and 2.4 grams of crack cocaine, respectively. [Filing No. 56 at 10.] Mr. Brown also notes that “no drugs were ...


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