United States v. Isaac, No. 08-4755 (3d Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Defendant, age 24 at sentencing, co-founded and controlled a drug trafficking organization. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for continuing criminal enterprise (21 U.S.C. 848), 360 months on each of four counts of heroin/ crack distribution (21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); (b)(1)(C)), 120 months on each of four counts of distribution of crack (21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); (b)(1)(B)), 480 months for employment of a minor to distribute drugs (21 U.S.C. 861), 480 months for distributing crack within 1000 feet of a public park (21 U.S.C. 860(a)), 240 months on each of two counts of witness tampering (18 U.S.C. 1512(b)(1) & (2)) and a 10 year mandatory minimum consecutive sentence for possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug distribution (18 U.S.C. 924(c)). All sentences were to run concurrently with life imprisonment, except the sentence for possession of a firearm, which must run consecutively. The Third Circuit affirmed all convictions, but vacated sentences for drug distribution, remanding for imposition of the otherwise applicable maximum sentence of 20 years on each count because the government failed to file notice under 21 U.S.C. 851(a)(1) with respect to enhanced sentencing. Defendant's right to self-representation was not violated when, while proceeding pro se, he was not present at two sidebar conferences during the jury charge. He acquiesced to participation by stand-by counsel. A misstatement in jury instructions did not constitute reversable error.