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United States v. Patillo
United States District Court for the Central District of California
817 F. Supp. 839 (1993)
In 1992, Johnny Patillo (defendant) pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute about 681 grams of crack cocaine (or cocaine base). Patillo claimed that a neighbor offered him $500 to mail a package. Patillo admitted that he knew the package contained illegal drugs but maintained that he did not know the type or amount of drugs. Patillo suffered extraordinary financial pressures at the time he mailed the package due to debts from student loans, credit cards, phone bills, and unpaid rent. At the time Patillo was sentenced, Patillo was a 27-year-old Black man who had a college degree, a steady job until he was incarcerated, and no criminal record. Based solely on the type and quantity of drugs that Patillo possessed, the United States Sentencing Guidelines (the guidelines) suggested a standard-sentencing range from 12 years and seven months to 15 years, and a federal statute, 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A), imposed a 10-year mandatory-minimum sentence. The district court postponed Patillo’s sentencing hearing several times, seeking any reasoned basis for finding that the court was not required to impose the 10-year mandatory-minimum sentence.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Letts, J.)
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