United States v. Collins, No. 15-1998 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Collins pled guilty to distributing cocaine and at least 28 grams of crack cocaine, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1). He was sentenced to 120 months in prison—the statutory minimum in light of a prior felony drug conviction. The district court added two offense levels under U.S.S.G. 3B1.1(c) for his supervisory role in the offenses. The Seventh Circuit vacated and remanded the sentence. While the guidelines have been advisory since 2005, the enhancement decision disqualified Collins from safety‐valve relief from the statutory minimum sentence, 18 U.S.C. 3553(f)(4). This is an atypical drug case in which the judge based the role enhancement for Collins on a legal error. Without any criminal organization or hierarchy, Collins’s isolated, one‐time request to another independent dealer to cover for him on a sale did not make him a supervisor or manager within the meaning of the guideline.