Byline: Derek Hawkins
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Case Name: United States of America v. Maurice Collins
Case No.: 18-2149
Officials: WOOD, Chief Judge, and RIPPLE and BARRETT, Circuit Judges.
Focus: Sentencing Guidelines
Maurice Collins pleaded guilty to distributing cocaine and crack cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1). Because of a prior felony drug conviction, he faced a statutory minimum of ten years in prison, unless he qualified for the "safety valve" in 18 U.S.C. 3553(f)(5). The district court initially denied Mr. Collins the benefit of the safety valve on a ground that we later determined to be erroneous. Consequently, we vacated his sentence and remanded for further proceedings. See United States v. Collins, 877 F.3d 362, 36869 (7th Cir. 2017).
On remand, the district court again determined that Mr. Collins did not qualify for the safety valve. The court focused on a statement in his proffer interview about what he intended to do with the significant amount of cash found in his car at the time of his arrest. Doubting the veracity of his claims about the cash, the court concluded that Mr. Collins had not established that he had "truthfully provided to the Government all information and evidence the defendant has concerning the offense or offenses that were part of the same course of conduct or of a common scheme or plan." 18 U.S.C. 3553(f)(5)...