United States v. Thompson

This appeal arose from a law enforcement investigation into a drug trafficking operation in Kansas. Agents gathered evidence by making controlled buys of crack cocaine through a confidential informant; monitoring telephones used by certain of the co-conspirators; and conducting searches of several residences. Anthony Carlyle Thompson was arrested and charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute more than 280 grams of cocaine base and multiple counts of distribution of cocaine base. Before trial, Thompson moved to dismiss the indictment for Speedy Trial Act violations. The district court overruled the motion, finding the court had properly granted an ends-of-justice continuance that tolled the speedy-trial clock. Also before trial, the district court admitted cell-service location information (CSLI) the government obtained without a warrant as part of the process for determining whether certain intercepted phone calls were admissible at trial. The court denied Thompson’s motion to suppress evidence obtained from a search of his residence, finding the search warrant was supported by probable cause. Thompson was tried along with several co-defendants; the co-defendants were convicted on all counts. Using an extrapolation method of calculation, the presentence investigation report (PSR) attributed 8.477 kilograms of cocaine base to Thompson. The PSR then imposed a four-level leadership sentencing enhancement, which yielded a total offense level of 40, a criminal history category of IV, and a corresponding guidelines range of 360 months to life in prison. Thompson objected to both the drug-quantity calculation and the imposition of the leadership enhancement. At sentencing, the court rejected Thompson’s objections, finding he was responsible for 8.477 kilograms of cocaine base and applying the four-level leadership enhancement. The court then sentenced Thompson to 360 months’ imprisonment. Thompson appealed, contending the district court erred in: (1) denying his motion to dismiss for Speedy Trial Act violations; (2) admitting CSLI obtained without a warrant; (3) denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained from the search of his residence; and (4) delivering a constitutionally deficient reasonable doubt instruction to the jury. Thompson also appeals his sentence, arguing the district court erred in: (1) relying on an extrapolation method to calculate the drug quantity attributable to him as relevant conduct; and (2) imposing the four-level leader-organizer enhancement, because the evidence did not establish he served as a leader or organizer in the conspiracy. Finding no error in the court’s various rulings or in the sentence it imposed, the Tenth Circuit affirmed. View "United States v. Thompson" on Justia Law