United States v. Burgess, No. 20-2940 (7th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Burgess left the apartment he shared with Howard, texting threats to kill her and burn down the apartment. That night, Burgess set a fire that destroyed the building and all of Howard’s and her children’s belongings. Burgess fled and eluded law enforcement for four months, during which Burgess walked into a Metro store, displayed a semi-automatic handgun, and told the clerk he was not “playing.” The clerk opened the register and Burgess stole $650. Metro had a security camera; a citizen identified Burgess and told Milwaukee Police. Burgess was arrested at his sister’s house; police recovered a handgun and the clothing Burgess wore during the Metro robbery.
The government presented evidence Burgess had contacted Howard extensively while in custody, discouraging her from cooperating and encouraging her to change her story. A magistrate entered a no-contact order. Burgess nonetheless consistently and repeatedly contacted Howard. Burgess unsuccessfully moved to suppress evidence obtained during his arrest, arguing MPD lacked probable cause to believe he was inside his sister’s house, then pled guilty The Seventh Circuit affirmed his 174-month sentence and the application a 2-level adjustment for obstruction of justice based on Burgess’s perjurious testimony at his suppression hearing and on his violations of a no-contact order. The factual findings upon which the district court relied established by a preponderance of the evidence that Burgess’s violations of the no-contact order amounted to obstruction.