United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
October 21, 2005.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Plaintiff,
DAMON W. SKAGGS, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. GILBERT, District Judge
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter comes before the Court on a limited remand from the
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit pursuant
to United States v. Paladino, 401 F.3d 471 (7th Cir. 2005).
Paladino set forth a procedure to address criminal cases on
appeal where the district court imposed a sentence prior to the
Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Booker,
125 S. Ct. 738 (2005). In Booker, the Supreme Court found the application
of mandatory federal sentencing guidelines as written
unconstitutional. Id. at 746, 749-50. However, the Supreme
Court held that the proper remedial measure to save the
guidelines was to strike the portions of the Sentencing Reform
Act of 1984 that make application of the guidelines mandatory as
opposed to advisory: 18 U.S.C. §§ 3553(b)(1) and 3742(e). Id.
at 764-67. Those provisions having been stricken from the
Sentencing Reform Act, judges, "while not bound to apply the
Guidelines, must consult those Guidelines and take them into
account when sentencing." Id. at 767; see
18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(4) & (5). Paladino asks sentencing courts to determine
whether particular sentences would be any different under
advisory sentencing guidelines. Paladino, 401 F.3d at 484.
On December 2, 2003, the defendant was charged by superseding
indictment with conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess
with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or
substance containing methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and § 841(b)(1)(A); all in violation of Title
21 U.S.C. § 846. The charge carried a mandatory minimum penalty of ten
years to life, five years supervised release and a fine of up to
$4,000,000. On May 17, 2004, Skaggs pled guilty to the charge
pursuant to a plea agreement. A stipulation of facts was also
entered into between the parties. The stipulation provided that
the relevant conduct attributable to the defendant was between
1.5 and 5 kilograms of a mixture or substance containing
At the sentencing hearing on October 15, 2004, the Court found
that Skaggs' relevant conduct was between 1.5 and 5 kilograms of
methamphetamine and went on to adopt the findings in the
presentence report and found that Skaggs' guideline range was 188
to 235 months. Skaggs had filed objections to the presentence
report, but withdrew said objections on the date of the
sentencing hearing. The Court sentenced Skaggs to serve 188
months imprisonment, five years supervised release, a fine of
$200, and a special assessment of $100. The defendant filed a
timely notice of appeal on October 29, 2004.
On June 29, 2005, the Court of Appeals ordered a limited remand
of this case for the Court to determine whether, if it was
required to re-sentence Skaggs after Booker and under advisory
sentencing guidelines, it would reimpose the original sentence.
See Paladino, 401 F.3d at 484. The Court solicited the views of
counsel and each side has made written submission. The government
argues that Skaggs' sentence is reasonable under
18 U.S.C. § 3553. On the other side, the defendant argues that this Court
should sentence the defendant to a lesser sentence for two
reasons: (1) the offense statutory mandatory minimum of 120
months is sufficient and (2) the defendant's age and history of
substance abuse as well as other history and characteristics of
the defendant calls for a lesser sentence than the one this Court
The Court has reviewed the memoranda and has determined that if
it was required to re-sentence Skaggs after Booker and under
advisory sentencing guidelines, it would impose the same sentence. The Court has considered all the
factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) and believes that the
188-month sentence, which was at the bottom end of the advisory
guidelines, is sufficient but not greater than necessary to
effect the purposes of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984.
The Court DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to send a copy of this
order to the Court of Appeals.
IT IS SO ORDERED:
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