Tuesday, November 27, 2018
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated the sentence drawn by a drug dealer which was three-and-a-third years lower than the mandatory minimum.
A memorandum opinion, filed Friday, countermands a sentencing determination by District Court Judge Manuel L. Real (now a senior judge) of the Central District of California.
Defendant Frederick Lima (identified in the case caption as “AKA Negro”) pled guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Both offenses carry a minimum term of five years in prison and, under a relevant code provision, “no term of imprisonment imposed on a person under this subsection shall run concurrently with any other term of imprisonment imposed on the person.”
The government sought a sentence of seven and two-thirds years on one count and a consecutive sentence of five years on the other, for a total of 12²/³ years. Lima urged imposition of the minimum sentence of 10 years.
Instead, Real (imposed a sentence of six and two-thirds years on one count and five years on the other, to run concurrently, thus totaling six and two-thirds years. The government did not object at the time sentence was imposed.
“We need not decide whether the government forfeited or preserved its claim of error,” the memorandum opinion says, declaring:
“[T]he below-minimum sentence must be vacated.”
The case is United States v. Lima, 17-50179.
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