United States v. Newhouse

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
Citation919 F.Supp.2d 955
Docket NumberNo. CR11–3030–MWB.,CR11–3030–MWB.
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, v. Lori NEWHOUSE, Defendant.
Decision Date30 January 2013

919 F.Supp.2d 955

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Lori NEWHOUSE, Defendant.

No. CR11–3030–MWB.

United States District Court,
N.D. Iowa,
Central Division.

Jan. 30, 2013.


[919 F.Supp.2d 956]


Shawn Stephen Wehde, U.S. Attorney's Office, Sioux City, IA, for Plaintiff.

Mary C. Gryva, Frank & Gryva, PC, Omaha, NE, James F. Whalen, Federal Public Defender, Des Moines, IA, Max Samuel Wolson, Federal Public Defenders Office, Robert A. Wichser, Federal Public Defender, Sioux City, IA, for Defendant.


SENTENCING OPINION AND STATEMENT OF REASONS PURSUANT TO 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c)

MARK W. BENNETT, District Judge.
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                ¦TABLE OF CONTENTS¦
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                ¦I. ¦INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND ¦959 ¦
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                ¦ ¦A. ¦Indictment, Guilty Plea, And Sentencing Hearing ¦959 ¦
                +----+----+----------------------------------------------------------+-------¦
                ¦ ¦B. ¦Arguments Of The Parties ¦960 ¦
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                ¦ ¦ ¦1. ¦Amicus curiaes arguments ¦960 ¦
                +----+----+----+------------------------------------------------------+------¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦2. ¦Newhouses arguments ¦960 ¦
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                ¦ ¦ ¦3. ¦The prosecutions arguments ¦960 ¦
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                ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
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                ¦II. ¦LEGAL ANALYSIS ¦960 ¦
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                ¦ ¦A. ¦Sentencing Methodology: Computing The Guideline Range,  Departures, And Variances ¦960 ¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
                +---+----+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+------¦
                ¦ ¦B. ¦Step 1—Determination Of The Guideline Range ¦962 ¦
                +---+----+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+------¦
                ¦ ¦C. ¦Step 2—Determination Of Whether To Depart ¦964 ¦
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                ¦ ¦D. ¦Troublesome Aspects Of The Career Offender Guideline-Potential For A Policy Disagreement ¦965 ¦
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                ¦ ¦ ¦1. ¦Background on policy disagreement based variances ¦965 ¦
                +----+----+----+------------------------------------------------------+------¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦2. ¦Flaws in the Career Offender Guideline ¦968 ¦
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                ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦a. ¦A flawed creation ¦968 ¦
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                ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦i. ¦The Sentencing Commissions institutional role ¦968 ¦
                +--+--+-+-+-----+------------------------------------------------------------------+-----¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ii. ¦Flawed origins and expansions of the Career  Offender guideline ¦969 ¦
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                ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦b. ¦Failing to promote the goals of of sentencing ¦974 ¦
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                ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦i. ¦Just punishment in light of the seriousness of the offense ¦974 ¦
                +--+--+-+-+------+----------------------------------------------------------------------+-----¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ii. ¦Protecting the public against nst further crimes of the defendant ¦975 ¦
                +--+--+-+-+------+----------------------------------------------------------------------+-----¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦iii. ¦Deterrence ¦976 ¦
                +--+--+-+-+------+----------------------------------------------------------------------+-----¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦iv. ¦Rehabilitation in the most effective manner ¦976 ¦
                +--+--+-+-+------+----------------------------------------------------------------------+-----¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦v. ¦Unwarranted sentencing disparities—unwarranted uniformity ¦977 ¦
                +--+--+-+-+------+----------------------------------------------------------------------+-----¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦vi. ¦Unwarranted sentencing disparities—similarly  situated defendants ¦979 ¦
                +--+--+-+-+------+----------------------------------------------------------------------+-----¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦vii. ¦Promoting respect for the law ¦980 ¦
                +---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
                
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                ¦ ¦E. ¦Step 3—Application Of The 3553(a) Factors ¦981 ¦
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                ¦ ¦ ¦1. ¦Overview of 3553(a) ¦981 ¦
                +----+----+----+------------------------------------------------------+------¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦2. ¦The nature and circumstances of the offense ¦981 ¦
                +----+----+----+------------------------------------------------------+------¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦3. ¦Newhouses history and characteristics ¦982 ¦
                +----+----+----+------------------------------------------------------+------¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦4. ¦The need for the sentence imposed ¦983 ¦
                +----+----+----+------------------------------------------------------+------¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦5. ¦The kinds of sentences available ¦987 ¦
                +----+----+----+------------------------------------------------------+------¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦6. ¦Any pertinent policy statement ¦988 ¦
                +----+----+----+------------------------------------------------------+------¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦7. ¦The need to avoid unwarranted sentencing disparities ¦988 ¦
                +----+----+----+------------------------------------------------------+------¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦8. ¦The need to provide restitution ¦990 ¦
                +----+----+----+------------------------------------------------------+------¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦9. ¦Consideration of downward variance and sentence ¦990 ¦
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                ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦i. ¦Quasi-categorical policy disagreement ¦990 ¦
                +----+----+---+---+-----+--------------------------------------------+-------¦
                ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ii. ¦Variance and sentence ¦991 ¦
                +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
                
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                ¦ ¦F. ¦The Prosecutions Substantial Assistance Motions ¦991 ¦
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                ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
                +------+-------------------------------------------------------------+-------¦
                ¦III. ¦CONCLUSION ¦992 ¦
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[919 F.Supp.2d 957]

Does the grid and bear it scheme of the U.S. Sentencing Guideline Career Offender recidivist enhancement, § 4B1.1, raise a specter of aperiodic, irrational, and arbitrary sentencing guideline ranges in some cases? 1 This issue is squarely raised by Lori Ann Newhouse, a low-level pill smurfer, “[a] person who busily goes from store to store acquiring pseudoephedrine pills for a meth cook, usually in exchange for finished product.” 2 Not only is Newhouse a mere pill smurfer, she is truly a “one day” Career Offender because her two prior drug predicate offenses arose out of a single police raid of a Motel 6 room over a decade ago, on February 26, 2002, in Altoona, Iowa, when Newhouse was just 22 years old. The police found Newhouse and three others in the motel room. Newhouse was charged in state court and pled guilty to possession with intent to deliver 3.29 grams of methamphetamine and 14.72 grams of psilocybin mushrooms. She was sentenced to probation on both charges, but on different days, by Chief Judge Arthur Gamble of the Fifth Judicial District

[919 F.Supp.2d 958]

of Iowa. For reasons unknown, but likely random, the local prosecutor filed the two charges on separate days. Ironically, if the two charges had been filed in the same charging document or the defense lawyer, the prosecutor, the judge or the court administer had scheduled the two sentencings for the same day—Newhouse would not be a Career Offender.

Because of Newhouse's Career Offender status, her U.S. Sentencing Guideline range was enhanced from 70–87 months to a staggering and mind-numbing 262 to 327 months. This breathes real life into the observation of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, a year before Newhouse pled to the state court drug charges, that: “The consequences of being deemed a career offender for purposes of section 4B1.1 of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines are grave.” United States v. Hoults, 240 F.3d 647, 648 (7th Cir.2001). Newhouse is just one of thousands of “low hanging fruit”—non-violent drug addicts captured by the War on Drugs and filling federal prisons far beyond their capacity. 3See

[919 F.Supp.2d 959]

United States v. Vasquez, No. 09–CR–259 (JG), 2010 WL 1257359, at *3 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 30, 2010) (observing that in “the war on drugs” “prosecutors can decide that street-level defendants like Vasquez—the low-hanging fruit for law enforcement—must receive the harsh sentences that Congress...

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    ...range “because of the inequities of the career offender provisions.” Valdez Memo. ¶ 6, at 3 (citing United States v. Newhouse, 919 F.Supp.2d 955 (N.D.Iowa 2013) (Bennett, J.)(attached as Doc. 72–1)). Last, Valdez “asserts that a sixty-month sentence, the statutory minimum, would suffice to ......
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