United States v. Harrington, No. 15-3486 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
A year after Harrington, a drug dealer, was sentenced, by Judge St. Eve, to 264 months in prison (subsequently reduced to 212 months by a change in the sentencing guidelines) the government asked for his cooperation in its investigation of his attorney Brindley. Brindley was accused of encouraging his clients to lie on the witness stand. Despite Brindley’s acquittal after a bench trial (Judge Leinenweber presiding) the government moved under FRCP 35(b)(2)(C) asking Judge St. Eve to reduce Harrington’s sentence by 25 percent for his substantial assistance. The judge granted only a 14 percent reduction, reasoning that Harrington’s testimony did not convict Brindley; that Harrington “lied to this Court during his trial,” in addition to the underlying drug crime: and that Harrington got the benefit of the doubt during his original sentencing and did not receive enhancements requested by the prosecution. The Seventh Circuit vacated. There is no indication that Harrington lied at Brindley’s trial or had any incentive to see Brindley acquitted and cannot be blamed for Brindley’s acquittal. His previous lies could be the basis of a prosecution for perjury, but there was no such prosecution. The lack of clarity in explaining the ruling requires reconsideration.