Home   Federal Cases   State Cases   News   Search   Cart   Log In 
 
Search 591,343 Cases and Articles on TJV!
 
Federal Case Categories







Meth Conviction and Sentence Appealed

U.S. v. Hodge, Case No. 09-1602 (C.A. 8, Feb. 9, 2010)

Bradley Hodge was convicted of three criminal counts related to a conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. The district court sentenced him to three terms of 240 months’ imprisonment, to run concurrently. Hodge appeals, arguing that the district court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal and in determining his relevant conduct for the purposes of sentencing. We affirm.

In mid-2008, detectives from St. Louis County, Missouri investigated pharmacy log books of pseudoephedrine purchases in the St. Louis area. The log books and the ensuing investigation revealed that Hodge and a number of associates were purchasing large quantities of pseudoephedrine for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine. Hodge was arrested on August 1, 2008, and charged with (1) conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine, knowing and having reason to believe it would be used to manufacture methamphetamine; (2) possession of pseudoephedrine, knowing and having reason to believe it would be used to manufacture methamphetamine; and (3) conspiracy to manufacture and distribute more than fifty grams of methamphetamine.

At trial, the government presented the testimony of Detective Joseph Smith, Sergeant Jason Grellner, and Detective James Vargas. Smith testified about the investigation of Hodge and his associates, the purchases of pseudoephedrine by this group of individuals, and the discovery of a methamphetamine production site. Grellner testified about the process of manufacturing methamphetamine, typical usage of methamphetamine, the effect of methamphetamine on the body, and the pharmacy log books that showed the pseudoephedrine purchases by Hodge and his associates. Vargas testified about the discovery of methamphetamine production sites based upon information provided by Hodge’s associates. During Smith’s and Grellner’s testimony, the government introduced certified copies of pharmacy log books that showed Hodge and his associates had purchased 489.36 grams of pseudoephedrine between May 2006 and March 2007. Hodge was in the custody of the Missouri Department of Corrections from April 20, 2007, to March 27, 2008. During this time, his associates purchased 685.8 grams of pseudoephedrine. After Hodge was released from jail, he purchased 47.52 grams of pseudoephedrine, and his co-conspirator, Christina Dittmaier, purchased 31.68 grams.

Dittmaier, Kim Mercer, and Scott Skaggs, all co-conspirators, testified that Hodge cooked methamphetamine for himself and others at multiple locations using pseudoephedrine pills provided by various individuals between 2006 and 2008.
 

 

Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
Circuit Court Judge(s)
Michael Melloy
William Riley
Roger Wollman

 
Trial Court Judge(s)
Richard Webber

 
Appellant Lawyer(s) Appellant Law Firm(s)
Eric W. Butts
Bradley Hodge Pro Se

 
Appellee Lawyer(s) Appellee Law Firm(s)
Jeannette Suzanne Graviss US Attorney's Office

 

CUSTOM EMAIL ALERTS!

With your FREE registration, you can select an unlimited number of Alert categories for daily, weekly or monthly deliveries of the Federal and State Cases most relevant
to you!

Click Here to sign up.

 



Click the maroon box above for a formatted PDF of the decision.
review warranted. united states v. nolen, 536 f.3d 834, 844 (8th cir. 2008); united acquittal. united states v. tyndall, 521 f.3d 877, 881 (8th cir. 2008), cert. denied, and it would have been a significant downward departure in the latter. hodge cannot vargastestifiedaboutthediscoveryofmethamphetamineproductionsitesbasedupon and that hodge knew of this agreement or understanding. united states v. davis, 471 prerogative to credit or discount the government's witnesses based upon this ___________ covering all my bases and trying to help you out, your credibility will be shot. . . . all bradley hodge, * incarcerated during part of this time and because the government's evidence large quantities of pseudoephedrine for the purpose of manufacturing whether there was an error that the litigant did not affirmatively waive; second, the his claim is usually forfeited. id. there is a narrow exception, however, to this filed: february 9, 2010 puckett v. united states, 129 s. ct. 1423, 1428 (2009). if the litigant does not do so, district court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal and in determining pseudoephedrine pills provided by various individuals between 2006 and 2008. understanding between hodge and his associates to manufacture methamphetamine ______________________________ recommended a two-level enhancement, pursuant to u.s.s.g. 3c1.1, note 4(a), the defendant and the co-conspirators." id. if a conspiracy is effected while the i. hodge argues that the district court erred in denying his motion for judgment for the actions of the conspiracy. he states that the evidence at trial showed that he wehaveconsideredtheargumentsraised inhodge'sprosesupplementalbrief reserved for those cases affecting the fairness, integrity or public reputation of the the government also introduced letters that hodge had written to dittmaier -3- would be used to manufacture methamphetamine; (2) possession of pseudoephedrine, states v. jones, 254 f.3d 692, 695 (8th cir. 2001). the government's witnesses credible, and we find no basis upon which to disturb this had "no drug-related contact with any of his alleged co-conspirators during the time these records showed that in 2003 and 2004 hodge had been convicted of possession the outcome would have been different had the error not occurred; and last, the court 1 their sentences, and (3) they were unreliable because of their prior addiction to methamphetamine that he produced. the government introduced log books showing district of missouri. in a drug conspiracy case, it is the jury's prerogative to evaluate the credibility of iii. the testimony of the other witnesses, and the objective evidence. the witnesses for the eighth circuit hodge's associates supplied him with the ingredients necessary for manufacturing conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine, knowing and having reason to believe it the amount of pseudoephedrine used in the manufacturing process. grellner testified favorably to the government, contains substantial evidence supporting the jury's methamphetamine, and he in turn distributed the finished product to his associates. ___________ incarcerated independent of any agreement or understanding that they had with him. at trial of a conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. multiple witnesses according to hodge, the government's case was insufficient because there was bradley hodge was convicted of three criminal counts related to a conspiracy a. liability, which relied primarily on misleading the police, not cooperating, and going evidence proving that there was an agreement to continue the conspiracy while he was showed hodge and his associates had purchased 489.36 grams of pseudoephedrine of 240 months' imprisonment, to run concurrently. hodge appeals, arguing that the log books that showed the pseudoephedrine purchases by hodge and his associates. hodgesuggeststhathisincarcerationattenuatedoreliminatedhisresponsibility while he was incarcerated. the continued purchase of pseudoephedrine by hodge's ___________ conduct for the purpose of sentencing. he argues that he should not have been held knowing and having reason to believe it would be used to manufacture his base offense level would have been 34, including a two-level enhancement for offense level would have been 36, including a two-level enhancement for obstruction attributing this amount to him was insufficient. v. cohen, 516 f.2d 1358, 1364 (8th cir. 1975). absent an affirmative act of methamphetamine; and (3) conspiracy to manufacture and distribute more than fifty because hodge had intimidated or unlawfully influenced a co-defendant, bringing the * eastern district of missouri. thetestimonyofthewitnessescontainedminorinconsistenciesandomissions. united states v. espino, 317 f.3d 788, 794 (8th cir. 2003). the jury had the hodge cooked methamphetamine for himself and others at multiple locations using foreseeable to a defendant when they fall within the scope of the agreement between sentencing. to preserve an issue for appeal, a litigant must object in a timely manner. as to how much methamphetamine could be produced from this amount of department of corrections from april 20, 2007, to march 27, 2008. during this time, conspiracy, and it was reasonably foreseeable that the conspiracy would continue to manufacture methamphetamine. the district court1 show, therefore, that in either case his sentence would have been different. resolve inconsistent testimony. united states v. cunningham, 83 f.3d 218, 222 (8th general rule: "a plain error that affects substantial rights may be considered even purchased between 2006 and 2008 (approximately 1.189 kilograms) because he was notwithstanding the incentives in play. id. the government's witnesses also testified what hodge faced under the guidelines. the court concluded that a sentence of "30 range under the guidelines was from 360 months to life imprisonment. substantial evidence supporting the jury's verdict. accordingly, the district court did log books of pseudoephedrine purchases in the st. louis area. the log books and the guilt. we review de novo the district court's denial of a motion for a judgment of credibility determinations are internally inconsistent, based upon incoherent or at trial, the government presented the testimony of detective joseph smith, united states v. casares-cardenas, 14 f.3d 1283, 1288 (8th cir. 1994); united states be relevant when the witness's memory or mental abilities are legitimately before the christina dittmaier, purchased 31.68 grams. records of hodge's previous convictions for methamphetamine related offenses. the judgment is affirmed.2 sentenced him to three terms even if hodge could prevail on one of these points, his claim for relief would no direct evidence of an agreement to manufacture methamphetamine. in a drug -2- f.3d 996, 1004 (8th cir. 2008). verdict, which means evidence sufficient to prove the elements of the crime beyond requested a downward departure, arguing that the guidelines range was too severe methamphetamine, and unlawful transportation of anhydrous ammonia, a submitted: december 18, 2009 reasonably foreseeable. caseras-cardenas, 14 f.3d at 1288. "actions are reasonably given his criminal history and the circumstances of his case; he proposed a sentence v. villareal-amarillas, 454 f.3d 925, 930 (8th. cir. 2006). hodge bears the burden [who] cooked methamphetamine at various locations for their own purposes," id., and imprisonment. u.s.s.g. 2d1.11(d). had hodge been held accountable for the methamphetamine. hodge was arrested on august 1, 2008, and charged with (1) witnesses in light of their prior drug abuse or addiction. in this case, the jury found methamphetamine manufacturing agent. withdrawal, a defendant remains liable for the actions of a conspiracy that were ___________ from jail, he purchased 47.52 grams of pseudoephedrine, and his co-conspirator, united states court of appeals -7- been held accountable for only the 132 grams of pseudoephedrine that he purchased, right, baby girl, keep your head up and your mouth closed. i mean that." tr. at 256- banc). of 188 months. in considering the factors set forth in 18 u.s.c. 3553(a), the district before wollman, riley, and melloy, circuit judges. group of individuals, and the discovery of a methamphetamine production site. although incarceration may constitute withdrawal from a conspiracy, it does there was no evidence at trial that hodge affirmatively withdrew from the which was based on the argument that his letters had been misconstrued. hodge whether the error affected the litigant's substantial rights, which usually means that court erred in determining the relevant drug quantities for plain error. united states of acquittal; he asserts that the government's evidence was insufficient to establish his total offense level to 38. with a criminal history category of v, hodge's sentence cohen, 516 f.2d at 1364. united states of america, * on the whole, however, it was entirely consistent with the government's allegations, large quantities of pseudoephedrine in order to manufacture methamphetamine. f.3d 938, 947-48 (8th cir. 2006) (finding a conspiracy to manufacture dittmaier, kim mercer, and scott skaggs, all co-conspirators, testified that even if the district court had computed the amount of drugs differently. had hodge the district court denied hodge's objection to the two-level enhancement, -5- appellant. * methamphetamine. a jury's credibility determinations are well-nigh unreviewable grams of methamphetamine. judicial proceedings. puckett, 129 s. ct. at 1429; united states v. martin, 583 f.3d while in jail. the letters, using drug argot, included discussions of manufacturing and of his incarceration. united states v. rodriguez, 414 f.3d 837, 845 (8th cir. 2005); saying this as a good [s]amaritan. don't testify against me. if you do . . . and i am of justice, resulting in a guidelines range of 292 to 365 months' imprisonment. id. appellee, * accountable for the entire amount of pseudoephedrine that he and his associates using methamphetamine. hodge explained his strategy for minimizing his criminal following a three-day trial, the jury convicted hodge on all three counts. the testified that they were cooperating with the government in hopes of receiving lower associates while he was incarcerated did not exceed the scope of the conspiracy. fail under plain error review because his sentence would likely have been the same ensuinginvestigationrevealedthathodgeandanumberofassociateswerepurchasing grellnertestifiedabouttheprocessofmanufacturingmethamphetamine,typicalusage -8- hodge argues that there was insufficient evidence to establish the amount of between may 2006 and march 2007. hodge was in the custody of the missouri 2 finding was well supported by the evidence and not clearly or obviously wrong. sentences, and this was certainly relevant to the jury's credibility determination. 1068, 1074 (8th cir. 2009). accordingly, we review hodge's claim that the district though it was not brought to the court's attention." fed. r. crim. p. 52(b). under not necessarily terminate an individual's liability for the actions of a conspiracy. of methamphetamine, the effect of methamphetamine on the body, and the pharmacy incarcerated. he depicts the conspiracy as one involving "a large group of people presentenceinvestigationreport(psr)calculatedabaseoffenselevelof36,giventhat (1) they gave inconsistent testimony, (2) they had an incentive to lie in order to reduce methamphetamine based upon the defendant's "voluntary acts"). not err in denying hodge's motion for judgment of acquittal. the amount of pseudoephedrine involved exceeded one kilogram. the psr * attitudes, tone of voice, reactions to questions, and other behavior."). only when decides whether to exercise its discretion in remedying the error, a discretion usually thehonorablee.richardwebber,unitedstatesdistrictjudgefortheeastern his relevant conduct for the purposes of sentencing. we affirm. no. 09-1602 pseudoephedrine. the jury returned a special verdict finding that the amount of 568.56 grams of pseudoephedrine purchased when he was not incarcerated, his base conspiracy case, however, the government is not required to present direct evidence or drug addiction, however, has no automatic effect on the credibility of a witness. methamphetamine involved in the conspiracy exceeded fifty grams. the jury's based upon sufficiency of the evidence, "we will affirm if the record, viewed most cooperation, and the jury choose to believe the government's witnesses, sergeant jason grellner, and detective james vargas. smith testified about the of proof to show that he is entitled to plain error relief. united states v. marston, 517 investigation of hodge and his associates, the purchases of pseudoephedrine by this testimony, the government introduced certified copies of pharmacy log books that court noted that hodge's associates had received much more lenient sentences than a reasonable doubt." united states v. lopez, 443 f.3d 1026, 1030 (8th cir. 2006) (en obstruction of justice, resulting in a guidelines range of 235 to 293 months' tacit agreement or understanding between the co-conspirators. united states v. court determines whether the error was clear and obvious; third, the court adjudges * -6- -4- frankly about their addictions and abuse of methamphetamine. prior drug abuse may coleman, 584 f.3d 1121, 1125 (8th cir. 2009). there was overwhelming evidence his associates purchased 685.8 grams of pseudoephedrine. after hodge was released -9- inmid-2008,detectivesfromst.louiscounty,missouriinvestigatedpharmacy ii. of his incarceration," appellant's br. 18, and he claims that there was insufficient hodge also assails the credibility of the government's witnesses, arguing that and recently filed motion and find them to be without merit. cir. 1996); united states v. anderson, 78 f.3d 420, 423 (8th cir. 1996) ("as trier of b. years [was] too severe" and sentenced hodge to the concurrent 240 month sentences hodge argues that the district court erred when determining his relevant the record, viewed in the light most favorable to the government, contains v. * district court for the * appeal from the united states 129 s. ct. 997 (2009). when considering a challenge to a conspiracy conviction because the jury is in the best position to assess the credibility of witnesses and the iteration of this scheme was sufficient to establish that there was an agreement or erroneous. of an explicit agreement; juries may rely upon circumstantial evidence to discern a finding. ___________ defendant is incarcerated and he has not withdrawn from the conspiracy, his court. united states v. cameron, 814 f.2d 403, 405 (7th cir. 1987). prior drug abuse information provided by hodge's associates. during smith's and grellner's hodge did not object to the amount of pseudoephedrine attributed to him at of methamphetamine, possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture pursuant to federal rule of evidence 404(b), the government introduced a sentence of 240 months was within the guidelines range in the former calculation, to trial. hodge encouraged dittmaier not to assist the government, writing, "i'm wollman, circuit judge. mentioned above. this group of people continued to accumulate pseudoephedrine while he was review for plain error, the court conducts a four-fold inquiry: first, the court considers implausible testimony, or directly at odds with objective evidence is a more searching corroborated what the pharmacy logs suggested: hodge and his associates purchased 57. responsibility is curtailed only if those actswerenotreasonablyforeseeableatthetime fact, the jury ha[s] the best opportunity to observe the witnesses' facial expressions, thus, attributing the entire amount of pseudoephedrine to hodge was not clearly


All Content © 2007-2012 The Judicial View, L.L.C. All Right Reserved.
About The Judicial View ®  | Privacy Policy   |  Terms of Use   |  Contact Us  |  Advertise