United States v. Barnes, No. 17-7016 (10th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
This is the second appeal arising from crimes committed by two corrections officers, Raymond Barnes and Christopher Brown, while employed at the Muskogee County Jail. Barnes and Brown both held administrative roles at the jail: Barnes served as the Jail Superintendent and Brown worked alongside him as the Assistant Jail Superintendent. Both defendants physically abused prisoners in a variety of ways, engaged in excessive force against inmates, and intimidated other jail employees to conceal their illicit activities. Authorities charged Barnes and Brown with three counts of assaulting or conspiring to assault prisoners at the jail. In 2014, a jury convicted both of various charges. The jury convicted Barnes of one count of conspiracy to violate constitutional rights and two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law. The jury found Brown, on the other hand, guilty of one count of conspiracy to violate constitutional rights, one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, and one count of making a false statement to a federal agent. The district court sentenced Barnes to twelve months’ imprisonment followed by twenty-four months of supervised release. Brown received a sentence of six months’ imprisonment followed by thirty-six months of supervised release. Both appealed their sentences. The government argued the sentences the district court imposed after the Tenth Circuit remanded for resentencing were substantively unreasonable. Because the Tenth Circuit found the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting a downward variance from the United States Sentencing Guidelines, it affirmed.