65 F.3d 698 (8th Cir. 1995), 94-1332, United States v. Lambros

Docket Nº:94-1332.
Citation:65 F.3d 698
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. John Gregory LAMBROS, Appellant.
Case Date:September 08, 1995
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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Page 698

65 F.3d 698 (8th Cir. 1995)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,

v.

John Gregory LAMBROS, Appellant.

No. 94-1332.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

September 8, 1995

Submitted May 18, 1995.

Page 699

Colia Ceisel, St. Paul, MN, argued, for appellant.

Douglas Ray Peterson, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Minneapolis, MN, argued, for appellee.

Before WOLLMAN, Circuit Judge, ROSS, Senior Circuit Judge, and MORRIS SHEPPARD ARNOLD, Circuit Judge.

WOLLMAN, Circuit Judge.

John Gregory Lambros, who was extradited from Brazil, appeals his conviction of four cocaine charges on various grounds. Because the district court erred in applying a mandatory life sentence on one count, we remand.

I

Lambros was indicted in May 1989 of multiple counts stemming from a cocaine importing conspiracy. Count I, the overarching conspiracy-to-distribute count under 21 U.S.C. Secs. 841(a)(1), 846 charged a conspiracy end date of February 27, 1988. The other three counts of possession-with-intent-to-distribute charge conduct in July, October and December of 1987.

Lambros fled the country, and was arrested in Brazil in May 1991. After contesting extradition, he was remanded to United States custody in June 1992, and convicted of all four counts in January 1993. Lambros

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received concurrent sentences of life on Count I, ten years each on Counts II and III, and 30 years on Count IV.

II

The district court sentenced Lambros to life on the Count I conspiracy charge because it believed a life sentence was mandated by 21 U.S.C. Sec. 841(b)(1)(A)(ii) (hereafter section 841). The government does not dispute Lambros's argument that the required life sentence of section 841 did not take effect until November 1988, well after the February 1988 conspiracy end date charged in the Count I indictment. Under well-known principles of ex post facto law, because the mandatory life sentence was not in place at the time of the crime charged, the district court erred in applying it. (Lambros concedes that the version of Sec. 841 in place at the time of his conspiracy, though not requiring a life sentence for his crimes, does allow it.) Accordingly, Lambros must be resentenced on Count I.

Lambros's further argument that he may be eligible for parole because parole was originally available under the version of section 841 in force at the time of his crime is unavailing. Though Lambros's conspiracy started before the Sentencing Guidelines abolished parole in November 1987, we have held that any conspiracy completed after the Guidelines took force is governed by them. United States v. Tharp, 892 F.2d 691, 695 (8th Cir.1989).

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