533 F.3d 574 (7th Cir. 2008), 07-1656, United States v. Diaz

Docket Nº:07-1656.
Citation:533 F.3d 574
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Ralph DIAZ, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:July 11, 2008
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
 
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Page 574

533 F.3d 574 (7th Cir. 2008)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Ralph DIAZ, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 07-1656.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

July 11, 2008

Argued May 8, 2008.

Page 575

Maribel Fernandez-Harvath, Maureen Merin (argued), Office of the United States Attorney, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Terence F. MacCarthy, Helen J. Kim (argued), Office of the Federal Defender Program, Chicago, IL, for Defendant-Appellant.

Before COFFEY, RIPPLE and SYKES, Circuit Judges.

RIPPLE, Circuit Judge.

Ralph Diaz pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute cocaine, see 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1), and the district court sentenced him to 46 months' imprisonment. On appeal, Mr. Diaz contends that his sentence is invalid because the district court mistakenly applied a presumption in favor of a within-guidelines sentence. He also argues, albeit only in his reply brief, that the district court did not explain sufficiently why it rejected his arguments for a lower sentence. A review of the sentencing transcript, read as a whole, refutes both arguments, and, therefore, we affirm the judgment of the district court.

I

BACKGROUND

In the summer of 2006, an informant, working with the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA" ) and Evanston, Illinois police, arranged to buy three kilograms of cocaine from Mr. Diaz. On the day of the sale, Mr. Diaz met the informant at a residence in Evanston. While there, Mr. Diaz telephoned an associate, who arrived by car moments later. Mr. Diaz removed a guitar case from his associate's car and opened it. When the informant saw that the case contained plastic bags holding a substance that appeared to be cocaine, he gave the prearranged arrest signal. DEA agents and local police appeared; Mr. Diaz fled, but he was apprehended two blocks away.

Mr. Diaz pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. See 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1). At sentencing,

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the district court computed the guidelines range from facts admitted in the plea agreement. The quantity of cocaine-three kilograms-triggered a base offense level of 28. See U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(c)(6). The district court reduced this level by two under the “safety valve" provision. See id. § 2D1.1(b)(11). It then applied another three-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility. See id. § 3E1.1. Combined with his criminal history category of I, Mr. Diaz's total offense level...

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