Sentencing Guidelines.


Byline: Derek Hawkins

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. Juan Carlos Perez

Case No.: 18-3156

Officials: KANNE, HAMILTON, and BARRETT, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Sentencing Guidelines

In December 2016, law enforcement officers facilitated a controlled buy of heroin from Juan Perez- someone the officers suspected was a high-level drug dealer in the Beloit, Wisconsin area. The controlled buy was recorded: Perez sold 98 grams of heroin to a police informant. Based on that transaction alone, Perez was charged with, and pled guilty to, distributing heroin. At Perez's sentencing hearing, the district judge expressed concern that the guidelines range of 3341 months' imprisonment presented in Perez's presentence investigation report ("PSR") did not reflect the full scope of his involvement in drug trafficking. This concern stemmed from the PSR's description of Perez's conduct suggesting that he was responsible for distributing large quantities of heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine.

Unsatisfied with the disparity between Perez's guidelines range and his conduct described in the PSR, the judge continued the sentencing hearing and directed the government to file a sentencing memorandum. The memorandum was to detail which offense conduct the government could support by a preponderance of the evidence and which...

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