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United States v. Gill

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

May 3, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Ladonta Gill, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued February 16, 2018

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 10 CR 673 - Matthew F. Kennelly, Judge.

          Before Wood, Chief Judge, and Kanne and Rovner, Circuit Judges.

          Kanne, Circuit Judge.

          This is Gill's third time appealing his sentence after he pled guilty in 2011 to one count of conspiracy to possess heroin with intent to distribute. Twice before, we have remanded his case for resentencing.

         In this appeal, Gill argues he is entitled to yet another re-sentencing for two reasons. First, he contends that the district court should have reduced his sentencing guidelines offense level because he accepted responsibility. But the district court did not clearly err when it denied Gill the reduction. Second, Gill insists that the district court created unwarranted sentence disparities between himself and his codefendants. But the district court sufficiently addressed the sentence disparities and explained why Gill was receiving a higher sentence than most of his codefendants. Accordingly, we affirm.

         I. Background

         The facts relevant to Gill's current conviction are detailed in our two prior opinions, United States v. Adams, 746 F.3d 734 (7th Cir. 2014), and United States v. Gill, 824 F.3d 653 (7th Cir. 2016). We briefly summarize them here.

         Gill was a high-level member of a large heroin distribution operation that was led by Dana Bostic. After Bostic was shot and Bostic's brother was murdered, Gill participated in a retaliatory shooting. In November 2008, in Illinois state court, Gill pled guilty to a charge of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in connection with that shooting. He was sentenced to three years' imprisonment.

         In the fall of 2009, the Chicago Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration launched an investigation into Bostic's organization that led to a federal indictment against Gill and a number of the organization's other members. After that indictment, on December 21, 2011, Gill pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess heroin with intent to distribute.

         At Gill's initial sentencing, the district court calculated Gill's offense level to be 40 and assigned him a criminal history score of III. It sentenced him to a below-guidelines term of 329 months' imprisonment and ten years' supervised release. Gill appealed, challenging only the district court's application to his offense level of a 2-level enhancement for maintaining a drug premises. We agreed that the enhancement was improper in light of intervening authority and remanded the case. See Adams, 746 F.3d at 743-45.

         On remand, the district court recalculated Gill's guidelines offense level, removing the 2-level drug premises enhancement and proactively removing another 2-level enhancement in anticipation of a retroactive amendment to the Guidelines. His new offense level was 36. The district court concluded that Gill's criminal history score should remain the same as it was in his first sentencing-III-and Gill did not object. The score was based in part on Gill's prior state conviction for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. The district court imposed a within-guidelines sentence of 280 months' imprisonment and 10 years' supervised release.

         Gill then appealed his second sentence, challenging the district court's use of his prior state conviction to calculate his criminal history score and the district court's failure to make adequate findings when imposing supervised release conditions. We accepted both of his arguments and issued a full remand for resentencing. See Gill, 824 F.3d at 659-63.

         On the second remand, the district court reduced Gill's criminal history score by removing his prior state conviction for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Gill also asked the court to further reduce his offense level because he had accepted responsibility, but the district court denied the reduction because Gill did not turn himself in for ten months after his arrest warrant issued. (Gill had asked for the reduction in his first sentencing hearing, and the district court ...


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