U.S. v. Logan, Nos. 94-2372

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore MCMILLIAN, Circuit Judge, HEANEY, Senior Circuit Judge, and MORRIS SHEPPARD ARNOLD; HEANEY
Citation54 F.3d 452
Docket NumberNos. 94-2372,94-2374
Decision Date28 April 1995
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Elizabeth LOGAN, also known as Honey, Appellant. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Louise Cain HOUSE, Appellant.

Page 452

54 F.3d 452
UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,
v.
Elizabeth LOGAN, also known as Honey, Appellant.
UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,
v.
Louise Cain HOUSE, Appellant.
Nos. 94-2372, 94-2374.
United States Court of Appeals,
Eighth Circuit.
Submitted Feb. 14, 1995.
Decided April 28, 1995.

Page 453

Robert J. Thomas, Jr., St. Louis, MO, argued, for appellant Logan.

N. Scott Rosenblum, St. Louis, MO, argued, for appellant House. (Case No. 93-2374 was not argued.)

Patricia McGarry, Asst. U.S. Atty., St. Louis, MO, argued, for appellee.

Before MCMILLIAN, Circuit Judge, HEANEY, Senior Circuit Judge, and MORRIS SHEPPARD ARNOLD, Circuit Judge.

HEANEY, Senior Circuit Judge.

Louise Cain House appeals her sentence and Elizabeth Logan appeals her conviction and sentence for trafficking in heroin. We affirm House's sentence and Logan's conviction, but vacate the sentence imposed upon Logan and remand for resentencing.

I. Louise Cain House

Louise Cain House pleaded guilty to engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise to distribute heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. Sec. 841. In exchange for her cooperation, the government dismissed seven other counts against her. House faced a statutory mandatory minimum of twenty years on this count.

Page 454

21 U.S.C. Sec. 848. At sentencing the district court calculated House's range of imprisonment at 240 to 262 months, based on criminal history category III, offense level 35, and the applicable statutory mandatory minimum. The court sentenced House to 180 months (fifteen years), however, pursuant to the government's "substantial assistance" motion. 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3553(e); U.S.S.G. Sec. 5K1.1.

House's sole argument on appeal is that the district court erred as a matter of law in not granting a greater downward departure from the otherwise applicable sentencing range. House asks us to reconsider this circuit's caselaw holding that the extent of a district court's downward departure is not reviewable. See United States v. Womack, 985 F.2d 395, 401 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 114 S.Ct. 276, 126 L.Ed.2d 227 (1993). We are bound by that precedent, however, id. at 399, and therefore affirm House's sentence.

II. Elizabeth Logan

A jury convicted Elizabeth "Honey" Logan of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute heroin. 21 U.S.C. Secs. 841(a)(1), 846. The district court calculated her sentence based on an offense level of 36 and criminal history category I, resulting in an imprisonment range of 188 to 235 months. The court sentenced her to 235 months (nineteen years, seven months).

Logan raises three challenges to her conviction and sentence: (1) firearms taken from her residence were improperly admitted into evidence, (2) the quantity of heroin attributed to her for sentencing purposes was not supported by the evidence, and (3) there was insufficient evidence to support a four-level enhancement for being a leader or organizer of the conspiracy.

A. Admissibility of the Firearms

The district court admitted into evidence a rifle and a semiautomatic handgun. At trial the government presented evidence that the guns were found, loaded, in Logan's bedroom by police officers who were executing a search warrant. Several thousand dollars also were found in the bedroom, and Louise House testified that she paid Logan $39,500 for heroin in that bedroom. A law enforcement officer testifying as an expert witness stated that these types of weapons are often used by drug traffickers.

A district court possesses broad discretion in making evidentiary rulings, and those rulings will not be disturbed on appeal absent an abuse of discretion. United States v. Searing, 984 F.2d 960, 965 (8th Cir.1993). The court's discretion is particularly broad in the context of a conspiracy trial. Id. Logan concedes the relevance of the firearms but argues that the district court nonetheless should have ruled them inadmissible on the ground that their probative value was substantially outweighed by the risk of unfair prejudice. See Fed.R.Evid. 403. Logan claims that there was already ample evidence to show that she was engaged in heroin trafficking, such as the testimony of co-conspirators, the currency found at her house, and taped telephone conversations, so that the admission of the firearms to prove the conspiracy was "prejudicial." We disagree. The presence of the loaded firearms in the house where the drug transactions occurred is evidence that the weapons were used to facilitate the drug trafficking. See United States v. Watson, 953 F.2d 406, 409 (8th Cir.1992). The availability of the guns helps establish the conspiracy of which Logan was charged. The district court did not abuse its discretion in finding no undue prejudice in admitting the firearms into evidence.

B. Quantity of Heroin

Logan argues that the district court erred in calculating the amount of heroin attributable to her for...

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    ...in order to maintain his employment, rendering Respondent's registration contrary to the public interest. See Alra Laboratories, 54 F.3d at 452. There are additional areas in which Respondent could have accepted responsibility for his misconduct, but didn't. For instance, rather than admit ......
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  • U.S. v. Carpenter, No. 03-1982.
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    ...did not directly control the other conspirators may still receive an enhancement for being a leader or organizer. United States v. Logan, 54 F.3d 452, 456 (8th Cir.1995). Here, the district court applied the enhancement based on all the evidence, including the number of people involved in t......
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    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
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    ...Hooten, 942 F.2d 878, 881-82 (5th Cir.1991); United States v. Aguilera-Zapata, 901 F.2d 1209, 1215 (5th Cir.1990); United States v. Logan, 54 F.3d 452, 455 (8th Cir.1995); United States v. Rivera, 6 F.3d 431, 444 (7th...
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23 cases
  • Holiday CVS, L.L.C. v. Holder, Civil Action No. 12–191 (RBW).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • March 16, 2012
    ...suspend was an on-going examination of the continued violations prior to and during the decision making process.”); cf. Alra Labs. Inc., 54 F.3d at 452 (“An agency rationally may conclude that past performance is the best predictor of future performance.”). 12 Second, the plaintiffs maintai......
  • U.S. v. Carpenter, No. 03-1982.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • September 6, 2005
    ...did not directly control the other conspirators may still receive an enhancement for being a leader or organizer. United States v. Logan, 54 F.3d 452, 456 (8th Cir.1995). Here, the district court applied the enhancement based on all the evidence, including the number of people involved in t......
  • U.S. v. Reyna, No. 96-41212
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • November 25, 1997
    ...Hooten, 942 F.2d 878, 881-82 (5th Cir.1991); United States v. Aguilera-Zapata, 901 F.2d 1209, 1215 (5th Cir.1990); United States v. Logan, 54 F.3d 452, 455 (8th Cir.1995); United States v. Rivera, 6 F.3d 431, 444 (7th...
  • Holiday CVS, LLC v. Holder, Civil Action No. 12-191 (RBW)
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    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • March 16, 2012
    ...suspend was an on-going examination of the continued violations prior to and during the decision making process."); cf. Alra Labs. Inc., 54 F.3d at 452 ("An agency rationally may conclude that past performance is the best predictor of future performance."). 12 Second, the plaintiffs maintai......
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