USA v. Quinonez-Soto et al

Middle District of Florida, flmd-8:2017-cr-00355-339530


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PageID 447 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA TAMPA DIVISION UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vs. CASE NO: 8:17-Cr-355-T-35TGW BRIAN QUINONEZ-SOTO ________________________________/ DEFENDANT'S SENTENCING MEMORANDUM COMES NOW, the Defendant, Brian Quinonez-Soto, by and through the undersigned attorney and files this Sentencing Memorandum in the above-referenced matter, for this Honorable Court's consideration. Procedural History On July 18, 2017, a Federal Grand Jury in Tampa returned a five (5) count Indictment against Mr. Quinonez-Soto. (Dkt. 1). Mr. Quinonez-Soto entered a plea to Count One of the Indictment which charged him with Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute fifty (50) grams or more of methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 846 and 841(b)(1)(A). Count One of the Indictment alleges a conspiracy that began in October 2016 and continued through May 2017. Because of a California drug charge which PageID 448 occurred on October 24, 2016, which Mr. Quinonez-Soto pled to on February 22, 2017, he is subject to an increased statutory sentence of twenty (20) years to life. Background of Brian Quinonez-Soto Like many individuals that find themselves before this Honorable Court for sentencing, Mr. Quinonez-Soto was not a stranger to the criminal justice system during his life. Unfortunately, Mr. Quinonez-Soto was first introduced to the criminal justice system as a child. His early understanding, or at least his early experience with the criminal justice system was that of a "revolving door," as his father was in and out of prison while he was growing up. When his father was at home, Mr. Quinonez-Soto was subjected to physical abuse at the hands of his father. Mr. Quinonez-Soto was the oldest of three biological siblings; however, Mr. Quinonez-Soto's father had forty-nine (49) other children (for a total of 52 children). Of those paternal siblings, Mr. Quinonez-Soto had contact with only four (4) of them, including an older half-brother who was only nine (9) years older than himself. As a thirteen-year-old, Mr. Quinonez-Soto had to experience what it was like growing up without parents and being raised by an older sibling, when both of his parents were arrested and incarcerated for drug charges. As a thirteen-year old, he found himself being raised by his twenty-two (22) year old half-brother. This living arrangement was not a beneficial experience for him, and at this young age, he received his first introduction to gang members and United States v. QUINONEZ-SOTO CASE NO: 8:17-Cr-355-T-35TGW Defendant's Sentencing Memorandum Page 2 of 6 PageID 449 drug dealers as a result. This experience also introduced him to a lifestyle that he was unable to escape from, and a lifestyle that has brought Mr. Quinonez-Soto before this Honorable Court to be sentenced in this matter; a matter which carries a severe criminal sanction, the type of sanction that Mr. Quinonez-Soto has never experienced. Despite his upbringing, Mr. Quinonez-Soto tried his best and made great efforts to grow up and establish himself as a productive member of society. Throughout his life he made efforts to maintain legitimate employment. He overcame the obstacles he faced growing up, but the one struggle he could not separate himself from was drugs. As a young child he was repeatedly exposed to gang life and drugs and unfortunately, as he grew up drugs maintained their place in his life. As an adult he continued to use drugs, however, he was still able to maintain employment and he tried his best to provide for his family. When Mr. Quinonez-Soto had children he vowed that he would try and be a better father and provide a better life for his children; something he did not receive as a child. Of course, he quickly learned that taking care of children was in and of itself a full-time job. The cost of living in California, coupled with his struggle to support his children, quickly placed a strain on Mr. Quinonez-Soto. To make ends meet he turned to the one vice that he knew, drugs. He got involved with selling drugs not to live a lavish lifestyle, but rather to try and provide for his children. United States v. QUINONEZ-SOTO CASE NO: 8:17-Cr-355-T-35TGW Defendant's Sentencing Memorandum Page 3 of 6 PageID 450 While his motivations do not justify his wrongdoings, it does shed light on why Mr. Quinonez-Soto chose to engage in illegal conduct. Many people, including white-collar criminals, engage in illegal conduct out of greed and the desire to live a materialistic lifestyle. Mr. Quinonez-Soto, unfortunately, found himself on a path of selling drugs to support and provide for his family. In light of his lapse in judgement in his attempt to support his family, Mr. Quinonez-Soto was able to serve as a positive role model to his children and successfully raised his children to succeed both academically and in athletics. When determining the appropriate sentence, this Court should not only look to the offense conduct, but also to the characteristics of the individual currently before the Court. Despite the offense for which Mr. Quinonez-Soto is set to be sentenced for, he has accomplished good things throughout his life; specifically, the positive impact he has had on his children's lives. Obviously being a successfully parent does not negate the crimes he has pled guilty to, but it is a characteristic this Court should consider. Mr. Quinonez-Soto has included character letters for this Court's consideration. (See attached). Guidelines Mr. Quinonez-Soto stands before his Court facing a guidelines range of three- hundred sixty (360) months to life in prison. Additionally, he faces a twenty (20) year minimum-mandatory sentence. The guidelines range in this case, in part, is United States v. QUINONEZ-SOTO CASE NO: 8:17-Cr-355-T-35TGW Defendant's Sentencing Memorandum Page 4 of 6 PageID 451 driven by his prior criminal history. He is currently scored at twelve (12) criminal history points which equates to a Level V criminal history category. Notably, however, four (4) of the twelve (12) points arise from a prior California drug conviction, which has a date of offense which falls within the time period of the conspiracy charged in the present case. Additionally, Mr. Quinonez-Soto pled to the California charge and was sentenced to probation, five (5) months prior to being indicted in the present case. Removing those four (4) points (2 points for the prior offense and 2 points for being on probation during the instant offense) would reduce the number of criminal history points to eight (8). Eight (8) criminal history points would drop Mr. Quinonez-Soto from a Level V to a Level IV. When looking further at his criminal history points, three (3) of the eight (8) points are attributable to prior offenses of driving with a suspended license. The remaining five (5) points arise from a prior theft charge, a prior marijuana charge, and a prior firearm charge. Based on the nature of his prior offenses and his personal characteristics, a guidelines sentence of thirty (30) years to life for Mr. Quinonez-Soto is unreasonable. This Court should consider all the circumstances of this case and this offender when fashioning a sentence that is sufficient, but not greater than necessary to achieve the goals of criminal sentencing. United States v. QUINONEZ-SOTO CASE NO: 8:17-Cr-355-T-35TGW Defendant's Sentencing Memorandum Page 5 of 6 PageID 452 Motion for Downward Variance Based on the foregoing, at the time of sentencing in this matter, the undersigned will be moving this Honorable Court for a downward variance and the imposition of a reasonable sentence that is sufficient but not greater than necessary. CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE I HEREBY CERTIFY that the original of the foregoing has been furnished by Electronic Filing to Elizabeth M. Warren, Clerk of the Court, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, located at U.S. Courthouse, 801 N. Florida Ave., #223, Tampa, FL 33602-3800, and that e-mail notification of this filing will be sent to all interested persons on this 26th day of November, 2018. _____/s/ David E. Little___________ DAVID E. LITTLE, ESQUIRE Brown & Doherty, P.A. 450 Carillon Parkway, Suite 120 St. Petersburg, FL 33716 (727) 299-0099, Fax (727) 299-0044 FBN 0089124 United States v. QUINONEZ-SOTO CASE NO: 8:17-Cr-355-T-35TGW Defendant's Sentencing Memorandum Page 6 of 6