United States v. Miranda

The Facts

Defendant sold oxycodone as part of the conspiracy to illegally obtain prescription drugs and unlawfully distribute them. There were also multiple counts of distribution of cocaine attributable to him.

Procedural History

The appellate court affirmed the initial judgment.


A “minimal participant” is one who on base of factual evidence stands to be the least culpable of delinquents involved in organized crime. An accomplice can be viewed as a “minor participant” if he/she is less culpable than most other participants, even though whose role could not be regarded as minimal [U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 3B1.2, cmt., application nn. 4-5].

The Issue

Whether initial trial court’s denial of defendant’s request for adjustment of his mitigating or minor role in conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone and distribution of cocaine was justified.

The Holding/Reasoning

The US Court of Appeals upheld district court’s denial judgment of downward adjustment  to any defendant who regularly sells drugs. The appellate court determined that the district court verdict was well grounded because the defendant was neither a minor participant nor a minimal one, he played a larger role in the conspiracy than selling drugs. Moreover, records did indicate that he sold a significant portion of the drugs routinely out of a house over a period of approximately four months.

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