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Sentencing — drug quantity

United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit


Sentencing — drug quantity

Where the drug quantity calculation was based on speculation, the sentence must be vacated.

“The government responds that Love robbed and beat Cowart to avenge the robbery of Love’s crack house. ‘The fact that Love wanted to recover $1,450,’ the government reasons, ‘supports an inference that he had at least that much value taken from the crack house when it was robbed and that he intended to place the stolen money from Cowart back into the drug business.’ (Appellee’s Br. at 30.) But drug quantity findings ‘must ultimately be based on reliable information’; “unsupported conjecture” is not enough. United States v. Henderson, 58 F.3d 1145, 1152 (7th Cir. 1995). Here, we know that whoever robbed the crack house apparently stole both cocaine and money. (Trial Tr. at 243.) But nothing in the record suggests how much cocaine was taken—much less that it was at least $1,450 worth, as the government would have us infer. Nor is there any evidence that Love intended to reinvest the stolen money back into his drug business; the government’s ‘inference’ in that regard is nothing more than speculation. We do not think that such speculation justifies increasing Love’s sentence.”

Affirmed in part, and Vacated in part.

11-2547 U.S. v. Love

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Van Bokkelen, J., Kanne, J.

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