7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Case Name: United States of America v. Demarrio Barker
Case No.: 22-2131
Officials: Scudder, St. Eve, and Lee, Circuit Judges.
Focus: Sentencing Guidelines
At his Broadway residence, Barker made two drug transactions with a confidential informant, selling 109.8 grams of methamphetamine in the first instance and 106.4 grams a month later. While Barker primarily lived on Havens Street, search warrants were obtained for both of his residences, set to be executed on November 30. However, on the morning of the operation, Barker departed for California. Meanwhile, Barker’s friend Carr and Carr’s children were staying at the Broadway residence.
At 4:03 p.m., officers monitoring Havens Street intercepted Barker’s SUV but found his wife inside instead. She called Barker between 4:11 and 4:14 p.m., during which officers recorded Barker inquiring about a search warrant. Barker then reached out to Carr at 4:15. Simultaneously, officers stationed near the Broadway residence observed Carr leaving the house with a trash bag, taking it to a neighboring property, and returning without the bag. Upon examination, the officers discovered that the trash bag contained three firearms and 464 grams of methamphetamine. Carr claimed that the bag belonged to Barker, who had instructed him to relocate it.
Barker pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine under 21 U.S.C. 841(a). His Presentence Report (PSR) initially indicated a guidelines range of 151-188 months. Subsequently, the government informed the probation office of Carr’s statements, leading to an amended PSR that substantially increased Barker’s drug quantity and recommended sentencing enhancements for firearm possession in connection with drug trafficking, maintaining premises for drug distribution, and obstruction of justice. This resulted in a revised guidelines range of 360 months to life imprisonment.
During sentencing, the district court acknowledged that Carr might not always tell the truth but pointed to several corroborating facts.
In light of the strong corroborating evidence in this case, the Seventh Circuit does not believe that the district court committed clear error in managing the sentencing hearing or in making the factual findings it did. Consequently, the court imposed a sentence of 300 months, which was below the recommended guidelines range.