Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mandatory Minimum Sentence, Conviction Reversed

U.S. v. Biglow, 2014 WL 308963 (1/29/14) (Kan.) (unpub'd) - A defense victory with respect to one conviction and the sentence. There was insufficient evidence to sustain Mr. Biglow's conviction for unlawful use of a communication facility because the jury instructions required the jury to find he helped to distribute a controlled substance. He only attempted to get cocaine, but was turned down. The instructions said nothing about attempt. The district court committed reversible plain error when it sentenced Mr. Biglow based on the mandatory minimum for a conspiracy involving 500 grams or more of cocaine when the record indicated his personal culpability was for less than that.