United States v. Vasquez

2010 WL 1257359 (2010)

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United States v. Vasquez

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
2010 WL 1257359 (2010)

KL

Facts

Roberto Vasquez (defendant) grew up as the youngest of 12 children. One of his older brothers sexually abused him, leading to years of depression and mental-health struggles for Vasquez. Vasquez also became addicted to cocaine. Vasquez had three children with a woman named Ingrid Melendez. Vasquez attempted suicide after their relationship ended. After he was released from the hospital, Melendez refused to allow him to see their children. Vasquez threatened Melendez with a knife and was arrested and put on probation. He was later jailed after violating the terms of his probation by further threatening Melendez. Vasquez subsequently met another woman with whom he had a child and also cared for her child from another relationship as his own. They lived together for several years, during which Vasquez remained drug-free and gainfully employed, paying child support to Melendez although she still did not permit him to see their children. Eventually, Vasquez relapsed and began using cocaine again. To support his habit, he contacted an older brother who was an established drug dealer. Vasquez began working for his brother as a low-level dealer. Police were conducting surveillance on Vasquez’s brother and arrested Vasquez alongside his brother and several others. Vasquez tried to cooperate with the United States (plaintiff) by offering information on other individuals in the drug ring, but it could not be corroborated. The United States could have charged Vasquez with a standard drug-trafficking charge but instead decided to charge Vasquez with a more severe conspiracy charge, refusing Vasquez’s offers to plead to a lesser charge. At an initial sentencing hearing, the United States asked for 60 months, the minimum mandatory sentence in light of Vasquez’s heightened charge. The court asked the prosecutor to consider reducing Vasquez’s charge due to the fact that he was a low-level offender and the federal drug-sentencing laws were intended to punish the leaders of drug rings. After taking time to consider it, the United States refused, and a second sentencing hearing was held.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gleeson, J.)

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