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United States v. Baldwin

United States District Court, D. Maine

October 17, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
SYRIANE BALDWIN

          ORDER ON MOTION TO EXCLUDE PORTIONS OF THE PRESENTENCE INVESTIGATION REPORT

          JOHN A. WOODCOCK, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The Court declines to rule on the accuracy of the contents of a presentence investigation report that will not factor into the Defendant's sentence.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On September 16, 2015, a federal grand jury charged Syriane Baldwin with two counts of distribution of cocaine base on September 3 and September 5, 2014, both violations of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). Indictment (ECF No. 19). On May 18, 2016, Mr. Baldwin pleaded guilty only to count two of the indictment, the September 5, 2014 incident, and the Government agreed to dismiss count one, the September 3, 2014 incident. Agreement to Plead Guilty at 1 (ECF No. 90); Min. Entry (ECF No. 91).

         The United States Probation Office (PO) prepared a Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) that was finally revised on August 10, 2016. Presentence Investigation Report at 1-18 (PSR). The PSR described the offense conduct of September 5, 2014. Id. ¶ 6. The PSR also included as relevant conduct Mr. Baldwin's sale of crack cocaine on September 3, 2014. Id. ¶ 5. The number of grams of cocaine base from the two sales was only 3.15 grams or 54.92 kilograms of marijuana equivalent. See Id. ¶¶ 5, 6. However, as further relevant conduct, the PO described in paragraph seven Mr. Baldwin's involvement in a much broader drug-dealing conspiracy, involving the distribution of cocaine base, heroin, and oxycodone, beginning the summer of 2012 and continuing until September 2014; the PO attributed an additional 4, 610.05 kilograms of marijuana equivalent to this broader conspiracy. Id. ¶ 7. Mr. Baldwin objected to the contents of the broader conspiracy and, when pressed, the Government conceded that it “is not prepared to prove the relevant conduct drug quantities attributed to the defendant in paragraph 7.” Id. addendum at 1.

         Mr. Baldwin is scheduled to be sentenced on October 26, 2016. Notice of Rescheduled Hr'g (ECF No. 106). On October 6, 2016, Mr. Baldwin moved to exclude the information in paragraph seven from the PSR. Def.'s Mot. to Exclude Info. From the Am. Presentence Investigation Report (ECF No. 110) (Def.'s Mot.). The Government filed its opposition on October 7, 2016. Gov't's Resp. to the Def.'s Mot. to Exclude Info. From the Am. Presentence Investigation Report (ECF No. 111) (Gov't's Opp'n).

         II. THE PARTIES' POSITIONS

         A. Syriane Baldwin's Motion

         In his motion, Mr. Baldwin asserts that during plea negotiations in his case, the Government “has made it clear to both current and prior counsel . . . that they intended to pursue drug conspiracy charges against him in addition to the current Indictment.” Def.'s Mot. ¶ 2. He says that after he pleaded guilty, the Government provided the PO with reports evidencing his “relevant conduct.” Id. However, not all of these reports have been provided to Mr. Baldwin. Id. As a consequence, he complains, the PSR contains “a relevant conduct claim involving the alleged drug quantities from the undisclosed conspiracy investigation materials.” Id.

         As Mr. Baldwin sees it, the Government has responded that it does not intend to present any evidence at sentencing to support the relevant conduct in the PSR and it would specifically not share any investigative material about the other drug conspiracy with him. Id. ¶ 3. Even though Mr. Baldwin objected to the inclusion of these materials in his PSR, the PO refused to remove the objected-to material. Id. Mr. Baldwin agrees that the United States Sentencing Guidelines allow a court to calculate the guideline range based “not only on the crime of conviction, but on separate crimes, comprised of their own elements, of which the defendant was acquitted, with which the defendant was never charged, or which were dismissed.” Id. ¶ 4 (citing U.S.S.G. § 1B1.3(a)(1), (a)(2), and cmt. n.3).

         Mr. Baldwin claims that the information in the instant case fits into a new category not recognized by the Guidelines: crimes with which the defendant will be charged. Id. ¶ 5. For these crimes, Mr. Baldwin argues that the Government has the right to protect its ongoing criminal investigation from early disclosure, but he also says that a defendant has certain constitutional rights. Id. He maintains that the inclusion of this relevant conduct invites him “to surrender these fundamental rights.” Id.

         Even if the Court were not to consider the information in paragraph seven to determine his sentence, Mr. Baldwin still objects to its inclusion in the PSR. Id. ¶ 6. He complains that the inclusion of information that he has had no opportunity to see and challenge would be fundamentally unfair. Id. Next, he objects to the “inclusion of conspiracy materials and the [PO's] relevant conduct calculations and conclusions because the PSR will follow with the defendant and affect his rights and status after sentencing.” Id.

         B. The Government's Response

         In its response, the Government confirms that it “does not intend to prove the drug quantity attributed to the defendant in PSR paragraph 7” and it “will not be asking the Court to sentence the defendant based on the quantities reported in that paragraph.” Gov't's Opp'n at 1. Accordingly, the Court, in the Government's view, “may conclude that it will not consider the contents of paragraph 7 in sentencing the defendant and its sentence will not be affected by the contents of paragraph 7.” Id. In fact, the Government states that it suggested to the PO that the PSR “be revised to remove reference to the matters contained in paragraph 7, ” but the PO “elected to keep the matters in the report.” Id. at 1 n.1. Referring to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32 and 18 ...


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