United States v. Gates, 010417 FED7, 16-2193

Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Judge Panel:Before Posner, Kanne, and Sykes, Circuit Judges.
Opinion Judge:POSNER, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Christopher R. Gates, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:January 04, 2017
Docket Nº:16-2193

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Christopher R. Gates, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 16-2193

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

January 4, 2017

          Argued December 13, 2016

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, Madison Division. No. 3:15-cr-00126-JDP-l - James D. Peterson, Judge.

          Before Posner, Kanne, and Sykes, Circuit Judges.

          POSNER, Circuit Judge.

         The defendant pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, namely a Glock 22 .40 caliber pistol with a capacity of more than 15 rounds; such possession is a felony, see 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), punishable by a fine and also by imprisonment for a maximum of 10 years (there is no minimum term of imprisonment). 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(2). The judge increased the defendant's guidelines range by four levels, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(b)(6)(B), for possessing the firearm in connection with another felony offense, namely the distribution of an illegal drug. The result was a guideline range of 57 to 71 months. But the judge sentenced the defendant to only 36 months, which was within the guideline range only if the four-level enhancement and the gun's high-capacity magazine were ignored; the judge thought the shorter sentence appropriate.

         We don't think the judge was correct to rule that the defendant had possessed the gun in connection with two other alleged felony offenses, both being drug transactions. The first transaction involved a person who, being short of cash to pay for the synthetic marijuana that he'd just bought from the defendant, pawned his Glock (the Glock we mentioned earlier) to the defendant pending payment for the marijuana. It's not known when Gates expected to be paid. What we do know is that a few days after the transaction he sold the gun, to someone who happened to be a confidential informant, for $300, allegedly with his marijuana customer's consent to that method of clearing the customer's debt; the $300 adequately compensated Gates for the marijuana that he had sold the customer.

         Gates had sequestered the Glock in his garage during the brief interim before he sold it; he had not used the gun or even ...

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