United States v. Barrera, No. 20-1659 (7th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Barrera sold a handgun to a fellow Latin Kings gang member, who was actually a government informant wearing a wire. Barrera, who had prior felonies, was indicted for unlawful possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). An order barred Barrera from disclosing any discovery because of the risks that the video’s dissemination posed to further law-enforcement efforts and the informant’s safety. Barrera, while released on bond, posted the video to Snapchat, naming the informant and sending the posts to fellow Latin Kings. The government moved to revoke Barrera’s pretrial release. The defense argued that Barrera would not receive adequate treatment for his skin and lung cancer and a recent stroke and relayed Barrera’s intent to plead guilty. The court advised Barrera of the potential guideline range, explained that the range was only advisory, accepted his guilty plea, and, given assurances that the corrections facility could care for Barrera’s medical conditions, revoked his release. The court subsequently imposed a 110-month prison term, based on a 110-120 months guideline range.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The court adequately explained the sentence in light of the 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) factors, noting Barrera’s post-arrest conduct; that trafficking guns to gang members often leads to the deaths and injuries of innocents; and Barrera’s history and characteristics, including his medical needs. The judge’s comments were relevant in assessing the nature and circumstances of Barerra’s offense and the need to protect the public and deter unlawful conduct.