United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
REBECCA R. PALLMEYER United States District Judge.
Andre Seymour was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute
and possess with the intent to distribute controlled
substances, including crack cocaine. He now seeks a reduction
in his 324-month sentence pursuant to Amendment 782. In
affirming his conviction and sentence, the Seventh Circuit
described Mr. Seymour's involvement in drug trafficking
Andre Seymour worked as a shift supervisor for the [drug
trafficking] Organization for approximately two years at the
Claude Court drug sales location. During his tenure, he
received drugs and handled drug proceeds, bagged crack at the
stash houses, participated in Organizational beating to
enforce discipline, attended Organization meetings, and
obtained a gun for the Organization.
United States v. Seymour, 519 F.3d 700, 707-08 (7th
Cir. 2008). As described in the Seventh Circuit's
opinion, the conspiracy in which Mr. Seymour was involved
sold an enormous amount of crack cocaine. The jury found the
amount of controlled substances involved more than 50 grams
of cocaine base and more than 500 grams of cocaine, but less
than five kilograms. Then-Judge Wayne Andersen of this court
found Mr. Seymour himself responsible for 1.5 kilograms of
crack cocaine, the amount then necessary to trigger a base
offense level of 38. With enhancements for the location of
the sales, and the use of weapons, Judge Andersen calculated
Seymour's sentencing guideline range at 360 months to
life. He imposed a below- guidelines sentence of 324 months.
Seymour has moved for a reduction in his sentence on two
previous occasions. His first motion, filed on November 13,
2008 [1272, 1283] invoked Guideline Amendment 704, which
raised the drug quantity thresholds for base offense levels
in crack cocaine cases. Judge Andersen, who presided over the
trial, denied that motion, observing that there is
"overwhelming evidence in this record that the amount of
crack cocaine reasonably foreseeable" to Mr. Seymour
exceeded 4.5 kilograms, meaning that the base offense level
of 38 still applies .
Guideline Amendment, Amendment 750, prompted Mr.
Seymour's second motion for a sentence reduction .
That amendment, too, raised the drug quantity thresholds in
crack cocaine cases. This court denied that motion,
essentially concluding that the evidence before Judge
Andersen, and referred to by the Court of Appeals, supported
the conclusion that he was responsible not just for 4.5
kilograms, but for at least 8.4 kilograms of crack
cocaine-meaning that the base offense level of 38 still
third motion rests on yet another Guideline Amendment.
Amendment 782 again raises the drug quantity thresholds. The
government urges that the court should again deny any
sentencing adjustment because the evidence is sufficient to
establish Mr. Seymour's responsibility for the much
higher quantity of crack cocaine that now triggers a base
offense level of 38: 25.2 kilograms or more , And if
the court were to stand by its 2011 determination that the
evidence is sufficient to support a drug quantity of 8.4
kilograms, the base offense level would be 36. The adjusted
offense level (40) would still generate a guideline range of
360 months to life, and because the 324-month sentence Mr.
Seymour is serving falls below that range, he is not eligible
government is correct that a drug quantity finding of 8.4
kilograms would require that this motion be denied. In more
recent circumstances, however, this court has been reluctant
to make findings that depart significantly from those made by
the original sentencing judge, even where such findings
appear amply supported by the evidence. In 2007 and 2008,
when greater specificity about amounts made no difference to
the ultimate sentence, defendant and defense counsel would
have had no real incentive to litigate the issue, or
challenge the government's assertions. To make new
findings now, without a hearing, could present due process
concerns. The court thus concludes that the appropriate
course in most circumstances is to adopt the findings made by
the judge who heard the evidence-in this case, Judge
Andersen, who ultimately tagged Mr. Seymour for 4.5
kilograms, but not as much as 8.2.
base offense level applicable to Mr. Seymour is 34. With
enhancements, the adjusted offense level is 38, and his
criminal history category is III, generating a guideline
range of 292 to 365 months. Counsel reports that Mr. Seymour
has demonstrated good conduct in prison, has earned his GED,
has taken numerous courses, and receives outstanding work
evaluations. He has had no disciplinary incidents in 14 years
of incarceration. Family members stand by him and have
written heartfelt letters to the court on his behalf. The
court concludes that a sentence of 292 months is sufficient,
but not greater than necessary.
motion for sentence reduction  is granted, as is
counsel's motion to supplement his memorandum . Mr.