U.S. v. Soto-Solivan
When ruling whether a defendant's sentence should be enhanced, pursuant to United States Sentencing Guideline §3B1.1, because the defendant served as the organizer or leader of a criminal activity that involved five or more participants, a court may consider the defendant's decision-making authority, participation in planning, degree of authority exerted and share of fruits of the crime. In 2007, the defendant, Domingo Guzman, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, five or more kilograms of cocaine. The District Court sentenced Guzman to 220 months in prison. Guzman appealed. In 2011, the District Court re-sentenced Guzman to 196 months in prison. Guzman filed another appeal and argued that the District Court wrongly concluded that he was an organizer or leader of a criminal activity that involved five or more participants. The District Court found that Guzman enlisted the help of two individuals to receive packages of cocaine, one individual to manage the "stash house," his wife to collect drug proceeds and other individuals to transport items to a supplier. The 2nd Circuit found that a four-level enhancement for leadership was merited, because "Guzman organized and led a narcotics-trafficking conspiracy that involved more than five participants." Guzman also objected that the sentence of 196 months was substantively unreasonable. The 2nd Circuit found that although Guzman faced a sentence of 235 to 292 months, he received a lenient sentence, because the District Court considered his conduct in prison. The 2nd Circuit affirmed the judgment of the District Court, Dorsey, J.