United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Sentencing — marijuana conspiracy
Where the district court found that the defendant had conspired to sell more than 10,000 kilograms of marijuana, a 360-month sentence was not unreasonable.
“Given the district court’s findings, backed up by objective evidence in the record, we are not left with the definite and firm conviction that the court made a mistake in finding Harmon responsible for more than 10,000 kilograms of marijuana. And any error in finding that the conspiracy began with the 1999 Florida home purchase was harmless. The conspiracy did not have to start in 1999 for Harmon to be held responsible for more than 10,000 kilograms. Although the finding as to the start of the conspiracy affected Harmon’s criminal history—his 1991 marijuana conviction counted for two points and placed him in criminal history category II rather than I, see U.S.S.G. §§ 4A1.1(b), 4A1.2(e)(2)—it did not affect his guidelines range. Given Harmon’s total offense level of 42, his guidelines range was the same—360 months to life—whether he was in criminal history category I or II. Because the district court expressly stated that ‘the minimum sentence under the guidelines . . . is appropriate,’ we can be assured that any error from the finding as to the start of the conspiracy was harmless. See, e.g., United States v. Favara, 615 F.3d 824, 828 (7th Cir. 2010) (‘We have no reason to believe that an error that did not affect the Guideline range affected the district court’s sentencing decision as the district court stated its intention to impose a sentence within the applicable Guideline range. Any error was harmless.’).”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Magnus-Stinson, J., Tinder, J.