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Thursday, July 29, 2010

ind. Courts - Two opinions on Indiana cases today from 7th Circuit; also a comment on a "fast track" districts defense

In US v. Diaz-Gaudarama (SD Ind., Hamilton), a 9-page opinion, Judge Flaum writes:

Defendant-appellant David Diaz- Gaudarama appeals from the sentence he received after pleading guilty to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana. After about a year of delay due to what the district court ultimately concluded to be malingering, Diaz-Gaudarama went to trial. Diaz- Gaudarama attempted to plead guilty on the morning of trial but the district court rejected the plea because of concern about Diaz-Gaudarama’s remarks that he sought to plead guilty in order to receive medical care. After the government rested its case, Diaz-Gaudarama again expressed a desire to plead guilty, this time stating that he was aware of what he had done. The district court accepted the plea. At sentencing, the district court refused to credit Diaz-Gaudarama with the two-point reduction for acceptance of responsibility. Diaz-Gaudarama appeals, and we affirm.

In Louis and Karen Metro Family, LLC v. Lawrenceburg Conservancy District (SD Ind., Mag. Judge Husssman), a 16-page opinion, Judge Wood writes:

Louis and Karen Metro would like very much to acquire some land that they believe the City of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and the Lawrenceburg Conservancy District promised to convey to them. The option contract their company held, however, was premised on the construction of a flood control project that the City and the District had planned. When that project was abandoned, the District told the Metros that their option could no longer be exercised. This lawsuit, brought under the diversity jurisdiction, asserts that the City and the District breached their contract with the Metros’ business. The district court found for the plaintiffs and ordered reformation of the option contract to extend the date by which the option could be exercised, but it rejected the Metros’ request for money damages on the ground that their proof of injury was too speculative. We agree with the district court that the contract was breached. The remedy that the court ordered, however, needs some additional attention, and so we remand for that limited purpose. * * *

The judgment of the district court is vacated and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. Costs are to be assessed against the District and the City.

In US v. Olmeda-Garcia, a 9-page decision in a case out of Wisconsin, Judge Flaum writes:

Defendant-appellant argues that the district court committed a procedural error by disregarding his comment that a comparison of his case to those in so-called “fast track” districts might reveal an unwarranted sentencing disparity. The argument was not adequately developed and thus falls below the threshold of relevance. We find no error in the district court’s decision not to address the point directly and affirm the judgment below. * * *

We note here that even if Olmeda-Garcia adequately substantiated his position that the existence of fasttrack programs in other districts generates a sentencing disparity, he would run into precedent that forbids district courts in this Circuit from deeming any such sentencing disparity “unwarranted” because it is a product of express legislative choice. See United States v. Galicia-Cardenas, 443 F.3d 553 (7th Cir. 2006); United States v. Martinez-Martinez, 442 F.3d 539 (7th Cir. 2006). Olmeda-Garcia argues that the Supreme Court’s holding in Kimbrough v. United States, 552 U.S. 85, 110 (2007), which clarified that district court judges may consider the disparity created by the crack cocaine guidelines during sentencing even in routine cases, requires us to revisit the aforementioned precedent. Given the narrow posture of this appeal, however, we need not reach this contention today.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 29, 2010 11:55 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions