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United States v. Braddy

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

April 14, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
REGINALD BRADDY, and FONTAINE HORTON, Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          MALACHY E. MANNION United States District Judge

         Before the court are defendants Reginald Braddy's and Fontaine Horton's Objections to their Presentence Reports (“PSR”) regarding drug quantities. (Doc. 574, Doc. 594).[1] Braddy “objects to the controlled substance calculations in the pre-sentence report on the grounds that the calculations are not supported by the evidence and do not accurately reflect his involvement.” Horton specifically claims that the drug quantities he was found responsible for distributing in the PSR are solely based on the testimonies of the co-conspirators involved in the drug trafficking organization, namely, Witness #1 (W-1), Witness #2 (W-2) and Witness #3 (W-3), and that the PSR does not list the correct amounts in light of their testimonies. He also argues that some of the drug amounts in the PSR which he has been found responsible for distributing should be attributable to his co-defendant, Braddy, who was the leader of the drug organization. Horton contends that the scope of Braddy's involvement in the drug conspiracy, as the leader of it, was greater than his and, that he should only be held responsible for the times he was directly paid for drugs and not the transactions between Braddy and the co-conspirators. Horton contends that if he is sentenced based on the correct drug quantities, his sentence will be below the minimum guideline range recommended in his PSR of 188-months imprisonment. Horton sets forth his own calculation of the amounts of each type of drug he believes he can be held responsible for distributing based on the evidence presented at trial. (Doc. 594).

         For the reasons set forth below, the court will OVERRULE Braddy's and Horton's objections to their PSR.

         I. BACKGROUND

         By way of relevant background, on April 15, 2014, defendants Braddy and Horton were charged in the original indictment along with five others for conspiracy to distribute or possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. (Doc. 57). In the original indictment, Horton was also charged with two counts of distribution or possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Id. On June 9, 2015, defendants Braddy and Horton were both charged in a Superseding Indictment, (Doc. 389), with conspiracy to distribute or possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin. Additionally, defendant Horton was charged with two counts of distribution or possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

         Both defendants Braddy and Horton pled not guilty to all counts of the Superseding Indictment. (Docs. 402, 404). Only these defendants opted for a jury trial with respect to the charges against them. The trial was conducted May 23 through May 26, 2016, and the jury found defendants Braddy and Horton guilty on all counts. (Doc. 535).

         The government has filed responses to the objections of both defendants. (Doc. 595, Doc. 608). Following consideration of Post-Trial motions, Braddy's sentence was scheduled for April 17, 2017. Horton's sentence will be scheduled shortly.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Defendants Braddy's and Horton's arguments are based primarily upon the specific quantities of illicit drugs they were found responsible for distributing in the PSR. The U.S. Probation Officer calculated the sentencing guidelines for both defendants based upon “information provided by the government that included testimony from co-conspirators who were directly involved with the drug trafficking conspiracy.” (Doc. 574). In Braddy's PSR, (Doc. 573, ¶ 53), his base offense level is calculated as follows:

The guideline for a violation of 21 U.S.C. §846 is USSG §2D1.1. The instant offense also involved methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin; and therefore, the drugs must be converted to marijuana by using the drug equivalency table which appears in the commentary to USSG §2D1.1. The offense involves at least nine kilograms of methamphetamine [at least 18, 000 kilograms of marijuana equivalent], at least 920.19 grams of cocaine [at least 184.03 kilograms of marijuana equivalent], and at least 80.87 grams of heroin [at least 80.87 kilograms of marijuana equivalent]. Because the offense involved at least 18, 264.91 kilograms of marijuana, the base offense level is 34. USSG §2D1.1(a)(5).

         In Horton's PSR, (Doc. 579, ¶ 55), his base offense level is calculated as follows:

Base Offense Level: The guideline for violations of 21 U.S.C. §§846 and 841 is USSG §2D1.1. The instant offense also involved methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin; and therefore, the drugs must be converted to marijuana by using the drug equivalency table which appears in the commentary to USSG §2D1.1. The base offense level is 34. USSG §2D1.1(a)(5).

         With a two level adjustment for obstruction of justice, the PSR recommends for Horton an adjusted offense level of 36 and a criminal history category of I, resulting in a guidelines range of 188 to 235 months of imprisonment. For Braddy, a two level adjustment is made for his role in the offense as an organizer and leader and a two level adjustment is made for obstruction of justice. Thus, the PSR recommends for Braddy an adjusted offense level of 38 and a criminal history category of I, resulting in a guidelines range of 235 to 240 months of imprisonment.

         In his Objections, (Doc. 594, at 5), Horton argues that the evidence presented at trial showed that he should only be responsible for the following amounts of drugs:

Drug Name

Drug Quantity

Marijuana Equivalency

Methamphetamine

2354.30 gms

4708.00 kgs

Cocaine

408.6 gms

81.69 kgs

Heroin

46.71 gms

46.71 kgs

Total

4, 836.40 kgs

         As such, Horton states that if the correct total of marijuana equivalency is utilized, his base offense level should be 32. Horton basically argues that he should only be held accountable for the quantity of drugs which the evidence directly linked him as distributing, and not for the quantity of drugs attributable to his co-conspirators. ...


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