United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
L. MILLER, JR. JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
Haught conspired with family members and others to
fraudulently obtain powerful firearms from federally licensed
firearms dealers and deliver them to McAllen, Texas,
obliterate the serial numbers, and transfer them to people
who would convey them to cartel members in Mexico. Mr. Haught
has pleaded guilty to one count (Count 1) of conspiracy to
provide false information during firearms purchases, 18
U.S.C. § 371, and one count (Count 4) of aiding and
abetting the making of a false statement to a licensed
firearms dealer. The government had no objection to the
presentence report. Mr. Haught objected to ¶ 33 of the
report (which recommends an enhancement for Mr. Haught's
role in the offense). He originally objected to ¶ 47
(which reports an arrest not resulting in a conviction), but
withdrew that objection at the sentencing hearing. The court
adopts as its own findings ¶¶ 1-32, 34-80, and
83-94 of the presentence report, specifically including
¶¶ 51-68 concerning Mr. Haught's financial
condition and earning ability.
Haught and the government both told the court they had no
objections to the conditions of supervision proposed in Part
D of the presentence report.
sentencing court must first compute the guidelines sentence
correctly, then decide whether the guidelines sentence is the
correct sentence for that defendant. United States v.
Garcia, 754 F.3d 460, 483 (7th Cir. 2014). The court
applies the 2016 version of the sentencing guidelines.
1 and 4 are grouped together and treated as a single count
for purposes of the guidelines calculations. U.S.S.G. §
3D1.2(d). The base offense level for illegal possession of a
firearm is 14. U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(a)(6)(C). Mr.
Haught's offense level is increased by six levels because
his crime involved 25 to 99 firearms, U.S.S.G. §
2K2.1(b)(1)(C), by four more levels because he obliterated
serial numbers as part of the crime, U.S.S.G. §
2K2.1(b)(4)(B), by four more levels because he engaged in
trafficking firearms, U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(b)(5), and by
four more levels because he transferred the firearms knowing
they would be transferred outside the United States, U.S.S.G.
sentencing guidelines require a three-level enhancement if
the defendant was a manager or supervisor in criminal
activity that involved five or more participants. U.S.S.G.
§ 3B1.1(b). The presentence report recommends that
enhancement; Mr. Haught objects, with the government's
concurrence. Mr. Haught says he was only associated with his
wife Brianna and her brother Tyler Scales, and that the
record doesn't support a finding - by a preponderance of
the evidence - that he managed or supervised either of them.
He also notes that the body of the presentence report only
mentions four participants: Mr. Haught, his wife Brianna, her
brother Tyler Scales, and Mr. Haught's brother Richard.
presentence report has strong legal and factual support for
the enhancement, but Robert's brother, Richard, already
has been sentenced without a role-in-the-offense enhancement.
It was Richard who enlisted Robert into the conspiracy and
(until Richard was jailed following a drug-related arrest)
directed Robert's activities. Neither the government nor
the presentence report recommended a role-in-the-offense
enhancement at the time of Richard's sentencing. There
might have been good reason not to enhance Richard's
offense level, or he might have deserved such an enhancement;
in either event, his sentencing range was calculated without
the enhancement, and to enhance Robert's offense level
when Richard's wasn't enhanced would introduce an
unwarranted sentencing disparity. Accordingly, the court
sustains Mr. Haught's objection to ¶ 33 of the
Haught's offense level is decreased by three levels to
reflect his clear and timely acceptance of responsibility,
U.S.S.G. § 3E1.1, and further proceedings at the the
sentencing hearing bring his final adjusted offense level to
25. Mr. Haught has no previous criminal convictions for which
the sentencing guidelines assess criminal history points, so
he is assigned to criminal history category I, and the
guidelines recommend a sentencing range of 57 to 71
months' imprisonment. U.S.S.G. § 5A.
court decides the sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3553,
United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005).
Accordingly, the court turns to the statutory factors,
seeking a reasonable sentence: one sufficient, but not
greater than necessary, to satisfy the purposes of the
sentencing statute. 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).
guideline range is the starting point and the initial
benchmark, but the court doesn't presume that the
recommended range is reasonable. Gall v. United
States, 552 U.S. 38, 50 (2007). As just calculated, the
sentencing guidelines, which ordinarily pose the best hope,
on a national basis, for avoiding unwarranted sentence
disparities among defendants with similar records who have
been found guilty of similar conduct, 18 U.S.C. §
3553(a)(6); United States v. Boscarino, 437 F.3d
634, 638 (7th Cir. 2006), recommend a sentencing range of 57
to 71 months. The government recommends a sentence within
that range. The defense recommends a sentence without
Haught fraudulently obtained and took to Texas, or caused to
be fraudulently obtained and taken to Texas, 54 semiautomatic
weapons for delivery to cartels in Mexico. These weren't
rifles for weekend hunting or sport; they were, for the most
part, .50 caliber semiautomatic rifles and civilian versions
of belt-fed machine guns - weapons of war. What those weapons
were used for can't be known. Mr. Haught didn't come
up with the scheme on his own: he picked up the fallen baton
when his brother Richard became unable to run the scheme
because he was in jail. Mr. Haught expanded the scheme by
recruiting his wife and brother-in-law into it, and saw to it
that a much larger number of weapons made their way to Mexico
than had when Richard was in charge. Mr. Haught cooperated
with authorities from his first contact with them, and his
guilty plea spared the government the time and expense of
trial and trial preparation.
Haught is 36 years old. He earned his GED after leaving
school in the tenth grade. He is self-employed as a cabinet
maker. Mr. Haught has a history of using controlled
substances, but says he stopped using them six years ago. He
passed all drug tests while on pretrial supervision. His
health is good, for the most part, but within the past year
has been diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes. Mr.
Haught is married for the second time. His first marriage
produced two children, now aged 18 and 16; his second
marriage has produced an eight year old son. Mr. Haught
performed well on supervised release.
on his minimal criminal record, his fairly stable family
life, his GED and earning ability, his recent effort to take
steps to reduce the likelihood of a return to crime, and his
lack of current use of controlled substances, Mr. Haught
appears to pose a lower risk of future criminal activity than
do most federal offenders.
sentencing guidelines ordinarily are the best measurement of
the need to reflect the crime's seriousness, to provide
just punishment for the crime, and to deter others from
committing the same sort of crimes. The guidelines are a bit
low with respect to the seriousness of the crimes because the
guideline recommendation would have been the same if all,
rather than none, of these dozens of powerful firearms had
been recovered. Mr. Haught says the guidelines are high with
respect to the need for punishment in light of his