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United States v. Oldham

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

May 18, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHNATHAN OLDHAM, D-4, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER OVERRULING DEFENDANT'S OBJECTIONS TO PRESENTENCE INVESTIGATION REPORT

MARK A. GOLDSMITH, District Judge.

A jury returned a verdict against Defendant Johnathan Oldham on July 22, 2014, finding him guilty of the following crimes: (i) Racketeering (RICO) Conspiracy (Count One); (ii) Murder of Malachi Wilson in Aid of Racketeering (Count Ten); (iii) Use and Discharge of a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence (Count Eleven); (iv) Distribution of Cocaine Base (Counts Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Nineteen, Twenty-One, and Twenty-Two); (v) Possession of a Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number (Count Twenty-Six); (vi) Possession of an Unregistered Firearm (Count Twenty-Seven); (vii) Dealing in Firearms Without a License (Count Thirty-Three); (viii) Attempted Murder of EA (Efrem Anderson) in Aid of Racketeering (Count Thirty-Nine); and (ix) Use and Discharge of a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence (Count Forty).

The Probation Department prepared a Presentence Investigation Report ("PSIR") for sentencing, to which Oldham prepared objections. The Probation Department and the Government responded to Oldham's objections, see Gov't Resp. (Dkt. 765), [1] and Oldham filed a reply (Dkt. 768). The Court now addresses and overrules Oldham's unresolved objections.

A. OBJECTION 1

Oldham first objects to the alias dates of birth listed in the identifying data portion of the PSIR. Oldham argues that if those dates appear in documents, they may be typographical errors.

The Court agrees with the Probation Department that even if Oldham has not used these alternative dates of birth himself, they are associated with him. These dates of birth are in documents in Oldham's juvenile records at the Genesee County Family Court. Oldham cites no authority suggesting that only those dates of birth that the defendant has claimed himself may be included in the PSIR, to the exclusion of other dates of birth that have been associated with the defendant by others, due to typographical errors or otherwise. Accordingly, the Court overrules this objection.

B. Objection 3[2]

Oldham next objects to Paragraph 8 of the PSIR. Oldham denies that the "Howard Boys" - and other names by which certain individuals in the neighborhood were known - constituted a "gang." Oldham claims that the various names by which some people were identified over the years referred to them being from the same neighborhood, as opposed to an organization that "could qualify as a racket.'" Oldham Reply at 1. Oldham also highlights that the "gang" alleged by the Government had no rules, meetings, dues, hierarchy, or any other "earmark[] of an organized gang." Id.

To the extent Oldham is disputing the PSIR's use of the word "gang, " witnesses expressly identified the group as such, see X. Turner Vol. II at 82; T. Milhouse, 6/30/2014 (Rough Tr.) at 89-92, 99-102, 104, and the evidence of hand signs, tattoos, graffiti, drug sales, nicknames, and efforts to violently protect an exclusive territory support such a conclusion. Therefore, the use of the term "gang" in the PSIR was not improper.

To the extent Oldham is arguing that the Howard Boys were not an enterprise for purposes of RICO, but rather an unorganized group of individuals from the same neighborhood committing various, unrelated crimes, this argument is undermined by both the jury's verdict and the extensive testimony and evidence at trial. Indeed, the Court has repeatedly addressed this argument, including in its Memorandum Opinion Granting the Government's Motion for the Admission of Coconspirator Statements (Dkt. 784) and in its Opinion and Order Denying Defendants' Motions for Judgments of Acquittal (Dkt. 785).

Accordingly, the Court overrules this objection.

C. OBJECTION 4

Oldham next objects to the statement in Paragraph 9 of the PSIR that "status was based on [the] commission of violent acts and drug sales." In his reply in support of his objections, Oldham clarifies that the terms "respect, " "status, " and "reputation" are not interchangeable. Oldham Reply at 1-2. Oldham argues, without citation to any authority, that the word "status" refers to rank in a group, whereas "respect" refers to an individual attribute. Id. Oldham also reasserts his argument that there was no group, and he suggests that there could be no status in light of the lack of hierarchy, rules, meetings or dues. Id. at 2.

The Court concludes that the term "status" used in Paragraph 9 of the PSIR refers to the regard or prestige with which Howard Boys members viewed each other, and does not, by definition, necessarily involve a hierarchy of leadership. Oldham cites no authority in support of his implied argument that "status" cannot mean "reputation" because "status" requires some formalized hierarchy. To the contrary, as explained in the Court's ...


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