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United States of America v. Damien Bannister

April 8, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
DAMIEN BANNISTER, DARRELL BANNISTER, CHRISTOPHER HALL, CYRIL MCCRAY, ERIC MORRIS, ROGER PATRICK, JAMES ROSS, DERRICK TATUM, INDIO TATUM, JAWARA TATUM, AND PEDRO TORRES, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jack B. Weinstein, United States District Judge:

Amended Statement of Reasons Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c)(2)

Introduction ......................................................................................................................................7

I. Facts .........................................................................................................................................9

A. Place .................................................................................................................................... 9

1. Bedford-Stuyvesant ...................................................................................................... 9

2. Louis Armstrong Houses ............................................................................................ 12

a. Physical Environment ..............................................................................................12

b. Residents ..................................................................................................................15

B. Conspiracy ........................................................................................................................ 16

1. Members of Conspiracy.............................................................................................. 17

2. Investigation of Conspiracy ........................................................................................ 19

C. History and Sociology....................................................................................................... 21

1. Roots of African American Segregation and Poverty ................................................ 21

a. Segregation and the Civil Rights Movement ...........................................................21

b. Urbanization and Unemployment ............................................................................23

2. Government Efforts to Alleviate Poverty and Poor Living Conditions ..................... 26

a. Public Housing .........................................................................................................26

b. Welfare Policy .........................................................................................................27

3. Economic and Social Conditions of Those in Defendants' Position .......................... 30

a. Racial Segregation ...................................................................................................31

b. Poverty and Unemployment ....................................................................................31

c. Health Problems .......................................................................................................34

d. Family Structure.......................................................................................................36

e. Undereducation ........................................................................................................38

f. Social Values ...........................................................................................................42

g. Prevalence of Crime .................................................................................................43

4. Victims of Crime ........................................................................................................ 46

D. Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986........................................................................................... 49

1. Historical Drug Sentencing Laws ............................................................................... 49

2. Congressional Awareness of Racial Disparity ........................................................... 50

3. Procedural Irregularities in Legislative History ......................................................... 51

4. Departures from Established Penal Policy ................................................................. 52

5. Racially Disparate Impact .......................................................................................... 53

E. Incarceration Policy .......................................................................................................... 56

1. Mass Incarceration ...................................................................................................... 56

2. Racial Disparity .......................................................................................................... 60

3. Consequences ............................................................................................................. 63

a. Inmates, Families, and Communities .......................................................................63

b. Collateral ..................................................................................................................64

c. Fiscal ........................................................................................................................66

4. Alternatives ................................................................................................................. 67

a. Generally ..................................................................................................................67

b. Non-Incarceratory Sentencing .................................................................................70

5. Effectiveness in Reducing Crime ............................................................................... 72

a. Rehabilitation ...........................................................................................................72

b. Incapacitation ...........................................................................................................76

c. General and Specific Deterrence .............................................................................76

6. Employment and Social Integration of Ex-Prisoners ................................................. 78

II. Law ........................................................................................................................................80

A. Sentencing Rules ............................................................................................................... 80

B. Equal Protection ................................................................................................................ 82

1. Mandatory Minimum Sentences ................................................................................. 82

2. Framework .................................................................................................................. 84

3. Discriminatory Effect ................................................................................................. 85

4. Discriminatory Purpose .............................................................................................. 85

5. Conclusion as to Constitutionality .............................................................................. 88

C. Rationale ........................................................................................................................... 91

1. General Deterrence ..................................................................................................... 91

2. Specific Deterrence and Rehabilitation ...................................................................... 92

3. Incapacitation .............................................................................................................. 92

4. Retribution .................................................................................................................. 93

III. Application of Law to Defendants .........................................................................................95

A. Excessiveness .................................................................................................................... 95

B. Individual Defendants ....................................................................................................... 95

1. Damien Bannister ....................................................................................................... 95

a. Background ..............................................................................................................95

b. Offense .....................................................................................................................98

c. Sentence ...................................................................................................................99

2. Darrell Bannister ....................................................................................................... 100

a. Background ............................................................................................................100

b. Offense ...................................................................................................................101

c. Sentence .................................................................................................................102

3. Christopher Hall ....................................................................................................... 103

a. Background ............................................................................................................103

b. Offense ...................................................................................................................104

c. Sentence .................................................................................................................106

4. Cyril McCray ............................................................................................................ 106

a. Background ............................................................................................................106

b. Offense ...................................................................................................................109

c. Sentence .................................................................................................................110

5. Roger Patrick ............................................................................................................ 111

a. Background ............................................................................................................111

b. Offense ...................................................................................................................113

c. Sentence .................................................................................................................114

6. Derrick Tatum ........................................................................................................... 115

a. Background ............................................................................................................115

b. Offense ...................................................................................................................118

c. Sentence .................................................................................................................119

7. Jawara Tatum ............................................................................................................ 120

a. Background ............................................................................................................120

b. Offense ...................................................................................................................124

c. Sentence .................................................................................................................125

8. Pedro Torres ............................................................................................................. 126

a. Background ............................................................................................................126

b. Offense ...................................................................................................................128

c. Sentence .................................................................................................................128

C. Summary of Sentences Covered in this Memorandum................................................... 130

IV. Conclusion ...........................................................................................................................130

Introduction

Almost filling the jury box were the defendants-Damien Bannister, Darrell Bannister, Christopher Hall, Cyril McCray, Eric Morris, Roger Patrick, James Ross, Derrick Tatum, Indio Tatum, Jawara Tatum, and Pedro Torres-eleven males, ranging in age from twenty-one to forty-nine, ten African American and one Hispanic. Fully occupying the well of the court were counsel for the defendants, assistant United States attorneys, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and a phalanx of United States Marshals. Jammed into the gallery were defendants' anxious mothers, girlfriends, other family members, and friends.

The indictment embraced twenty-three counts connected by a conspiracy to sell, and the selling of, crack cocaine and heroin in the hallways of, and the streets surrounding, a public housing project in Brooklyn between September 2007 and January 2010. Guns were carried. The lives of the residents were made miserable by the attendant depravity and violence. These were serious crimes.

The unspoken questions permeating the courtroom were: How did these eleven come to this pass, and what should be done with them if they were convicted, as all of them eventually were, by guilty pleas? Some of the unsatisfactory answers in such all-too-frequent urban tragedies are discussed in the memorandum that follows.

The issue of what should be done about these defendants, and others like them, is central to the law's rationale for the heavy mandatory minimum incarceratory sentences being imposed in this case. For a number of the defendants, they are much heavier than are appropriate. One of our most thoughtful jurists reminds us, "[o]ur resources are misspent, our punishments too severe, our sentences too long." Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Address at the American Bar Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, Ca. (Aug. 9, 2003), available at http:// meetings.abanet.org/webupload/commupload/CR209800/newsletterpubs/Justice_Kennedy_ ABA_Speech_Final.pdf. See also id. ("I can accept neither the necessity nor the wisdom of federal mandatory minimum sentences. In too many cases, mandatory minimum sentences are unwise and unjust.").

As a group, defendants grew up in dysfunctional homes characterized by a combination of poverty, unemployment, undereducation, crime, addiction to drugs and alcohol, physical and emotional abuse, and the absence of an adult male role model. They attended low-functioning public schools with limited resources to help students with their in- and out-of-school difficulties. Most dropped out of school, habitually abused drugs and alcohol from an early age, and found little lawful employment. They became involved in a gang of illegal narcotics distributors, which turned to guns and violence, contributing to the degradation of their community.

While the defendants are before this court because of choices they themselves have made, the limited options available to them are partly the fixed artifacts of history. Their story begins hundreds of years ago with the enslavement of African Americans. It runs through Reconstruction, Jim Crow, northward migration, de jure and de facto segregation, decades of neglect, and intermittent improvement efforts by government and others.

Protection of the public requires serious terms of incarceration. But enforcement of the harsh mandatory minimum sentences required by Congress imposes longer terms of imprisonment than are necessary. Such long years of incarceration and separation from relatives generally increase the likelihood of further crime by these defendants and their children.

Nevertheless, strong efforts will be made by the Bureau of Prisons to help educate the defendants and provide occupational training. Drug and alcohol treatment will be made available. Upon their release from prison, the court's probation service will provide strict, dayto-day supervision and assist in attempts to obtain essential jobs.

I. Facts

A. Place

1. Bedford-Stuyvesant

The conspirators operated in and around Louis Armstrong Houses, a public housing development in the Bedford-Stuyvesant ("Bed-Stuy") section of Brooklyn. Bed-Stuy is a large neighborhood in northern Brooklyn bound by Flushing Avenue to the North, Broadway and Saratoga Avenue to the East, Atlantic Avenue to the South, and Classon Avenue to the West. Kenneth T. Jackson, Encyclopedia of New York 94 (1995). It is named for two nineteenth-century communities, Bedford and Stuyvesant Heights. The first Europeans to occupy the area were Dutch settlers who bought the land from Native Americans in the seventeenth century and farmed it with the labor of African slaves. It was home to communities of free Blacks as early as the 1830s. From the nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century, Bedford and Stuyvesant were populated by a fluctuating mix of Dutch, Germans, Scots, Irish, Jews, Italians, and African Americans. Id. In the 1940s the area became known as Bedford-Stuyvesant, and subsequently it became home to a majority African American and Afro-Caribbean population. See id. at 94--95.

Most of Bed-Stuy's housing stock consists of brownstone and brick row houses. Id. at 95. Present also are numerous large housing projects, including some high-rise developments.

See, e.g., New York City Hous. Auth., NYCHA Housing Developments: Lafayette Gardens, http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycha/ html/developments/bklynlafayette.shtml (last visited Mar. 14, 2011) (describing a complex of buildings up to twenty stories tall).

Bed-Stuy is the largest African American neighborhood in New York City. Jackson, supra, at 95. It is the northernmost of several predominantly black neighborhoods in Brooklyn lying east of Flatbush Avenue, which roughly bisects the borough. See Mapping America: Every City, Every Block, N.Y. Times, http://projects.nytimes.com/census/2010/explorer (last visited Mar. 11, 2011) ("Mapping America") (interactive map indicating racial distribution from 2005 to 2009). Other neighborhoods in this group are Crown Heights, East New York, Brownsville, East Flatbush, Flatlands, and Canarsie. See id.; New York City Dep't of City Planning, New York: A City of Neighborhoods, http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/neighbor/neigh.shtml (last visited Mar. 20, 2011) (map of New York neighborhoods). Neighborhoods lying west of Flatbush Avenue are primarily White; Hispanics and Asians are distributed throughout the borough. See Mapping America, supra.

As of the 2000 census, the population of Bed-Stuy was 77 percent African American, non-Hispanic; 18 percent Hispanic; and less than 2 percent White, non-Hispanic. New York City Dep't of City Planning, Brooklyn Community District 3 4 (2010), available at http:// www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/lucds/bk3profile.pdf ("District Report"). In recent years, increasing numbers of middle-class residents of various races have moved to Bed-Stuy as pockets have become gentrified. Jeff Coplon, The Tipping of Jefferson Avenue, N.Y. Mag., May 21, 2005, http://nymag.com/print/?/nymetro/realestate/neighborhoods/features/11775/.

In 2000, 63 percent of Bed-Stuy's families with children under the age of eighteen were headed by a female with no husband present. See District Report, supra, at 5 (reporting 13,783 such households led by females, 1,671 by males, and 6,520 by both parents). Thirty-three percent of the residents were dependent on some form of government assistance in 2000; by 2009, the number had had risen to 45 percent. Id. at 1. Employment opportunities in the neighborhood are scarce, due in part to a lack of access to government work force development programs. New York City Dep't of City Planning, Community District Needs for the Borough of Brooklyn: Fiscal Year 2011 92 (2011) ("District Needs").

Health problems such as HIV/AIDS, obesity, and asthma plague the neighborhood. Id. The infant mortality rate in 2007 was 9.7 deaths per 1,000 births, compared to a national average of 6.75. District Report, supra, at 1; Jiaquan Xu, et al., Ctrs. for Disease Control & Prevention, Deaths: Final Data for 2007, Nat'l Vital Stat. Rep., May 20, 2010, at 1, available at http://www.cdc.gov/NCHS/data/ nvsr/nvsr58/nvsr58_19.pdf.

Residents of the seventy-ninth police precinct, in which Louis Armstrong Houses is located, live with a high rate of violent crime. "[Y]oung people and residents are menaced by the rise in gang culture and the proliferation of guns that are readily available in [Bed-Stuy's] public housing complexes." District Needs, supra, at 92. In 2010, there were twelve murders, twenty-nine rapes, 433 robberies, 422 felonious assaults, 408 burglaries, and 119 automobile thefts in the precinct. New York City Police Dep't, CompStat: Report Covering the Week 2/28/2011 Through 3/6/2011, available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloads/ pdf/crime_statistics/cs079pct.pdf. See also Al Baker & Janet Roberts, New York City Crime Dips but Violent Crime Is Up, N.Y. Times, Nov. 25, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/ 11/26/nyregion/26crime.html (reporting that the seventy-ninth was among the three New York City precincts with the highest increases in robbery from 2009 to 2010); Email from Joseph Reek, Inspector, Hous. Bureau, New York City Police Dep't, Mar. 3, 2011 (on file with court) ("Reek Email") (reporting three murders, seven rapes, twenty robberies, and seventy-five felonious assaults in Louis Armstrong Houses from 2006 through 2010). Since many crimes in similar areas are unreported because of victims' fear of reprisal, the actual crime rate in the neighborhood is doubtless even higher. Cf. The Kerner Report: The 1968 Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders 267 (Pantheon 1988) (1968) ("Kerner Report") ("[O]fficial statistics normally greatly understate actual crime rates because the vast majority of crimes are not reported to the police.").

2. Louis Armstrong Houses

a. Physical Environment

Louis Armstrong Houses is a public development of two complexes of sixteen buildings, each three, four, or six stories high, administered by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). New York City Hous. Auth., NYCHA Housing Developments: Armstrong, Louis Houses, http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycha/html/developments/bklynarmstrong.shtml (last visited Mar. 14, 2012) ("Armstrong Home Page"); Email from Anne-Marie Flatley, Dir., Research & Mgmt. Analysis, NYCHA (Feb. 22, 2011) (on file with court) ("Flatley Email 1"). The development is spread over an eleven-block area in central Bed-Stuy bounded by Clifton Place and Herbert Von King Park to the North, Tompkins Avenue to the East, Gates Avenue to the south, and Bedford Avenue to the West. See Armstrong Home Page. The two complexes were built between 1970 and 1974 with funding from the federal government's Model Cities program under the names "Bedford Stuyvesant Model Cities Area Sites 3-69A" and "Bedford Stuyvesant Model Cities Area Sites 11-14." See Flatley Email 1. Their names were changed to Louis Armstrong I and Louis Armstrong II in 1982. Id.

Pictured is a portion of Louis Armstrong Houses along Clifton Place between Nostrand and Marcy Avenues.

Source: New York City Housing Authority.

The neighborhood is of medium density and appears not to be overcrowded. The low-rise buildings of Louis Armstrong Houses are scattered among substantial brownstone homes and apartment buildings, blended into good existing housing. Small trees are planted in front of the buildings. Nearby, the large Herbert Von King Park and a community garden are well kept and provide the neighborhood with breathing room. Situated in the park are a baseball field, a playground, handball courts, an amphitheater, and a recreational center. New York City Dep't of Parks & Recreation, Herbert Von King Park, http://www.nycgovparks.org/ parks/ herbertvonking/highlights/152 (last visited Mar. 14, 2011). The park, established in 1857, is one of the oldest in Brooklyn. It was originally named for Daniel Tompkins, a vice president of the United States and governor of New York. In 1985, it was renamed to honor a Bed-Stuy community leader. Id.

Public transportation and local shopping seem acceptable. Streets are clean. Schools, houses of worship, a hospital, and a large outdoor swimming pool are within walking distance. See Google Maps, www.maps.google.com, enter "11216" (last visited Mar. 21, 2011) (interactive map displaying the area surrounding Louis Armstrong Houses). Some of Manhattan's towers are visible.

The project is generally well maintained, although there is a broken cement stanchion eliminating one basket in the backyard basketball court. The large concrete play area behind the houses on Clifton Place lacks benches or vegetation.

The aesthetics of the buildings bespeak poverty. Corridors and stairwells are narrow, lined with painted cement blocks and cheap metal railings. Entrances to the apartments and the buildings appear much like those for prison cells.

All in all, children in an integrated, well-motivated, and disciplined family could experience a good childhood here, not much different from those of millions of New Yorkers who lead stable, productive lives. These defendants did not, however, grow up in such families. It was the dangers and impoverishment of their families and peers, combined with the bleak economic prospects facing their community, to which their difficulties can be traced.

b. Residents

Housed in Louis Armstrong Houses are 2,150 residents in 617 apartments. Armstrong Home Page, supra. Seventy-six percent are African American, 17 percent are Hispanic, and 5 percent are White. See NYCHA, Armstrong I Data Sheet (Jan. 1, 2010) ("Armstrong I Data"); NYCHA, Armstrong II Data Sheet (Jan. 1, 2010) ("Armstrong II Data"). The average household earns a gross income of $23,251 and pays $419 per month in rent. See id. Half of all families receive income from employment. Email from Anne-Marie Flatley, Director, Research & Mgmt. Analysis, NYCHA (Mar. 1, 2011) (on file with the court) ("Flatley Email 2"). Seventeen percent receive income from welfare, and only 8 percent are listed as receiving "full welfare" benefits. See Armstrong I Data, supra; Armstrong II Data, supra. The rest are supported from Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (disability payments), pensions, or other sources. Flatley Email 2.

Data from the 2000 census indicate a high rate of joblessness and poverty and low rates of education in the Louis Armstrong Houses area. The official unemployment rate for residents aged sixteen and over "in the labor force" was 20 percent. See District Report at 17 (reporting 2000 census data for census tracts 243, 251, 263 and 265); id. at 6 (map of 2000 census tracts in Bed-Stuy). Forty-nine percent of residents sixteen and over were not in the labor force. See id. Their numbers, combined with those of the officially unemployed, amount to a 59 percent jobless rate. See id. Thirty-five percent lived below the poverty line. See id. at 13, 15 (reporting data for relevant census tracts). This line is an inexact measurement of need, especially in areas with high living expenses, such as New York City. See Carmen Denavas-Walt, et al., United States Census Bureau, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States:

2009 20 (2010), available at http://www.census.gov/ prod/ 2010pubs/p60-238.pdf ("The official poverty thresholds developed more than 40 years ago do not take into account rising standards of living . . . or geographic differences in the cost of living."). Forty-one percent of residents at least twenty-five years of age in and around Louis Armstrong Houses have not completed high school. See District Report at 15 (reporting data for relevant census tracts). Nine percent have graduated from college. Id.

Rates of poverty and joblessness are substantially higher, and rates of education lower, in the housing project itself; its residents account for a fraction of the population of the relevant census tracts. See id. at 13 (reporting data for relevant census tracts); Armstrong Home Page, supra. Rates of poverty and joblessness in the area are likely higher than the 2000 census indicated as a result of the current economic crisis. See, e.g, Eckholm, supra (reporting that one in seven United States residents lived in poverty in 2009, the highest rate recorded since 1994).

B. Conspiracy

Defendants were members of a drug distribution organization called the Clifton Place Crew ("the crew"). The crew controlled the heroin and crack cocaine trade in part of Louis Armstrong Houses along Clifton Avenue, near the building pictured above. Daily it sold drugs from residences and public spaces in and around the complex. Presentence Investigation Report of Derrick Tatum ("Derrick Tatum PSR") ¶ 2. The crew membership fluctuated, generally consisting of five to ten men. Id. at ¶ 4.

There are no facts in the record concerning the market for illegal drugs in the neighborhood or the identity of those who bought drugs from the crew. There is no indication that they sold to children. No information has been provided concerning the operations of other drug networks with whom the crew may have competed for market share.

1. Members of Conspiracy

Members of the crew came from similar deprived backgrounds. They lacked appropriate male models in their homes, they had an inadequate education, and they grew up in an environment of personal abuse, illegal drugs, and general poverty. See Part IV.B, infra (detailed histories of defendants in connection with the sentence imposed).

Derrick Tatum established the crew in September 2007. He led it until the arrest of most of its members on January 27, 2010. It was he who selected and supervised conspirators, negotiated major transactions, and determined compensation. Id. at ¶¶ 3--7, 10.

Indio Tatum, Derrick Tatum's nephew, joined the conspiracy in late 2007 and was promoted the following summer to serve as Derrick Tatum's top lieutenant. Presentence Investigation Report of Indio Tatum ("Indio Tatum PSR") ¶ 7. He obtained heroin and cocaine powder from wholesale suppliers, processed or "cooked" powder cocaine into crack, distributed drugs to dealers in street-ready packages, and collected revenues. Id. at ¶ 5. On occasion, Derrick Tatum performed some of these functions himself. Derrick Tatum PSR ¶ 5.

The other nine members of the conspiracy served as street-level dealers, working in shifts. Their dates of involvement in the conspiracy were as follows: Damien Bannister, August 2008-- January 2010, Presentence Investigation Report of Damien Bannister ("Damien Bannister PSR") ¶ 6; Darrell Bannister, July--September 2008, Presentence Investigation Report of Darrell Bannister ("Darrell Bannister PSR") ¶ 6; Christopher Hall, September 2007--January 2010, Presentence Investigation Report of Christopher Hall ("Hall PSR") ¶ 6; Cyril McCray,

September 2007--January 2010, Presentence Investigation Report of Cyril McCray ("McCray PSR") ¶ 8; Eric Morris, late 2007--January 2010, Presentence Investigation Report of Eric Morris ("Morris PSR") ¶ 6; Roger Patrick, August 2008--January 2010, Presentence Investigation Report of Roger Patrick ("Patrick PSR") ¶ 6; James Ross, June 2008--January 2010, Presentence Investigation Report of James Ross ("Ross PSR") ¶ 7; Jawara Tatum, September 2009--January 2010, Presentence Investigation Report of Jawara Tatum ("Jawara Tatum PSR") ¶ 5; and Pedro Torres, August 2008--June 2009, Presentence Investigation Report of Pedro Torres ("Torres PSR") ¶ 5. Many of the dealers used drugs themselves. See generally Part II, infra. At least four of them-Cyril McCray, Roger Patrick, Jawara Tatum, and Pedro Torres-lived on Clifton Place near where the crew sold drugs. See McCray PSR 2; Patrick PSR 2; Jawara Tatum PSR ¶ 43; Torres PSR 2. Three street-level sellers-Hall, Morris, and Ross-were entrusted occasionally by Derrick and Indio Tatum with picking up bulk quantities of drugs and delivering them to the other dealers, but none of the three held supervisory roles. Hall PSR ¶ 8; Morris PSR

¶ 6; Ross PSR ¶ 7.

Most members of the crew carried or maintained access to guns to defend against robbers and protect their territory from rival drug dealers. Derrick Tatum, Indio Tatum, Hall, McCray, Morris, Ross, and Torres personally possessed guns. Derrick Tatum PSR ¶ 7; Indio Tatum PSR ¶ 10; Hall PSR ¶ 6; McCray PSR ¶ 6; Morris PSR ¶ 7; Ross PSR ¶7; Pedro Torres PSR ¶ 5. Damien Bannister, Roger Patrick, and Jawara Tatum did not carry guns but had access to those controlled by the conspiracy. Damien Bannister PSR ¶ 5; Patrick PSR ¶ 6; Jawara Tatum PSR ¶

6. Darrell Bannister neither carried guns nor had access to them. Darrell Bannister PSR ¶ 6. On one occasion, Hall and Torres were involved in a shootout. Hall PSR ¶ 6; Torres PSR ¶ 6.

Members of the crew stored drugs and guns in nearby residences. They moved them frequently to avoid detection and seizure by police. Derrick Tatum PSR ¶ 5.

2. Investigation of Conspiracy

The New York City Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation jointly investigated the crew from late 2007 to January 2010 using a combination of surveillance, search warrants, and videotaped purchases of drugs and guns. Over seventy-five videotaped purchases were executed, resulting in the seizure of over 100 grams of heroin and 100 grams of crack. Seized from residences linked with the organization were fourteen guns, ammunition, a machete, a police radio scanner, about $15,000 in cash, and about fifteen "G-packs" of heroin (approximately 75 grams). Id. at ¶ 3. A G-pack is a bulk quantity of processed drugs worth about $1,000 and packaged into retail quantities. G Pack, Urban Dictionary, http:// www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=g%20pack (last visited February 23, 2011).

It is estimated that more than 4.5 kilograms of crack and three kilograms of heroin were distributed by the crew over the course of the conspiracy. Derrick Tatum PSR ¶ 9.

Following are notable incidents:

September 2007: Derrick Tatum founded the crew. Id.

October 23, 2007: Police recovered two loaded pistols, 249 glassines of heroin, and $1,190 in cash in a vehicle driven by Cyril McCray. McCray PSR ¶ 6. A glassine is a small envelope or bag made of transparent or semitransparent paper. See Webster's Third New International Dictionary 963 (1993).

Summer 2008: Indio Tatum was promoted as Derrick Tatum's top lieutenant.

August 31, 2008: Indio Tatum and Derrick Tatum sold a loaded .32 caliber pistol to a confidential informant in a videotaped transaction. Derrick Tatum PSR ¶ 7; Indio Tatum PSR ¶ 8.

September 2008: Christopher Hall and Pedro Torres were involved in a shootout at a location on Clifton Place where members of the crew regularly sold drugs. Hall fired shots. Torres was shot in the leg, and another individual was shot in the leg and chest. It is not known whether Hall was responsible for any injuries. Hall PSR ¶ 6; Torres PSR ¶ 6.

December 18, 2008: Eric Morris sold a loaded pistol to a confidential informant. Morris PSR ¶ 7.

February 16, 2009: Police recovered a pistol and ammunition from Morris's home. Id.

June 30, 2009: Police recovered a loaded gun and thirty-five bags of heroin, about two grams' worth, from an apartment used by Hall. Hall PSR ¶ 6.

July 9, 2009: Torres was placed in custody after being sentenced for a weapons offense on June 8, 2009. Torres PSR ¶ 22.

August 9, 2009: Damien Bannister was arrested with forty-eight bags of crack cocaine and ninety glassines of heroin. Damien Bannister PSR ¶ 39--40.

October 19, 2009: Police recovered a loaded .380 caliber pistol belonging to Indio Tatum from an abandoned vehicle parked on Clifton Place. Indio Tatum PSR ¶ 8. January 21, 2010: Damien Bannister was sentenced for the August 9, 2009 drug offense described above. Damien Bannister PSR ¶ 39--40.

January 26 and 27, 2010: Investigators arrested nine of the eleven defendants in this case. See, e.g., Derrick Tatum PSR ¶ 1. Torres and Damien Bannister were already in custody. Upon arresting Derrick Tatum, investigators recovered approximately $10,000 in cash. Id. at ¶ 8.

C. History and Sociology

Because the saga of deprivation, isolation, and crime that characterize life in neighborhoods such as Louis Armstrong Houses is relevant to sentences, the history and sociology of such areas are discussed below. See Philip J. Cook & Jens Ludwig, The Economist's Guide to Crime Busting, Wilson Q., Winter 2011, at 62 ("Most of us choose to abstain from crime in part because we have a lot to lose if we get caught. . . . The calculus for an unemployed dropout with readily available criminal options and few licit prospects is likely to be quite different.").

1. Roots of African American Segregation and Poverty

a. Segregation and the Civil Rights Movement

The poverty and de facto racial segregation in which defendants have lived have their immediate roots in the nineteenth century, as the American South coped with the economic and social transformations wrought by the Civil War, the abolition of slavery, and the gains made by African Americans during Reconstruction. Under the protection of the federal government, the condition of newly freed African Americans improved. Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness 29 (2010). Racial oppression returned as the federal government indicated an unwillingness to protect African Americans, troops were withdrawn from southern states, and courts issued decisions validating racial segregation as lawful. Id. at 30--35; Lawrence M. Friedman, A History of American Law 382 (3d ed. 2005) ("History'); Herbert Hill, Black Labor and the American Legal System: Race, Work, and the Law 12--14 (1985 Univ. of. Wisc. Press) (1977).

The Jim Crow system compelled segregation and oppression of African Americans. In the South they were put to work in quasi-servitude under the sharecropping system. Nicholas Lemann, The Promised Land: The Great Migration and How It Changed America 6, 18--20 (1991); Friedman, History, supra, at 321. They were prohibited from holding many jobs, particularly in the skilled trades, or from joining labor unions. Hill, supra, at 12--25. They were forced to live, work, and conduct their daily business under rules of rigid racial separation. Friedman, History, supra, at 383--84. Criminal vagrancy laws were enforced, ensuring that African Americans continued to work for the benefit of White employers. Those who were convicted of crimes were forced to work for little or no pay as prisoners. Douglas A. Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II 7--8 (2008); Alexander, supra, at 31. African Americans were further suppressed through a terrorist campaign of lynchings, bombings, and mob violence. Alexander, supra, at 30; Lawrence M. Friedman, Crime and Punishment in American History 187--91 (1993) ("Crime"). See also Orlando Patterson, Black Americans, in Understanding America: The Anatomy of an Exceptional Nation 385 (Peter H. Schuck & James Q. Wilson, eds., 2008) (describing the Jim Crow period as a "seventy-five year disaster: a vicious system of terror during which some five thousand African Americans were slaughtered, many of them ritually burnt alive").

The Jim Crow system-de facto and de jure racial segregation and political and civic disenfranchisement-remained intact for over half a century, due in large part to the complicity of the federal government. See, e.g., Michael G. Long, Marshalling Justice: The Early Civil Rights Letters of Thurgood Marshall 72--73 (2011) (criticism by Thurgood Marshall, in a 1940 letter to President Franklin Roosevelt, of the Federal Housing Administration's embrace of racially restrictive covenants and its refusal to insure loans to African Americans buying homes in White areas); id. at 74--75 (criticism by Thurgood Marshall, in a 1940 letter to Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox, complaining of segregation in the United States military).

Jim Crow was dismantled from the 1940s through the 1960s, as courts and federal lawmakers began to recognize the necessity of meeting widespread demands of African American citizens for equality. E.g., Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948) (holding that state court enforcement of racially restrictive covenants violated the Equal Protection Clause). Resisted by citizens of all backgrounds were attempts by segregationists, through both legal and extralegal channels, to enforce demeaning control. By the mid-1960s, with some school desegregation following Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), and with the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act having been passed, the movement for equal legal rights and equal opportunities began to achieve substantial success. Alexander, supra, at 35--38; see generally Jack Greenberg, Crusaders in the Courts: Legal Battles of the Civil Rights Movement 2004) (recounting the role of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in civil rights litigation); Jack Greenberg, Brown v. Board of Education: Witness to a Landmark Decision (2004) (chronicling the litigation of Brown).

b. Urbanization and Unemployment

Concurrent with the dismantling of the Jim Crow system was the migration of African Americans from the rural South to urban centers across the United States. Lemann, supra, at 6.

See also Patterson, supra, at 381 ("As late as 1940, over a half of the black population was still rural (52.4 percent); within a decade, 62 percent was urban, and by 1960 nearly three in every four.").

African Americans migrated to northern cities in part to escape racial persecution and in part for jobs. Jackson, supra, at 113. The decline of the sharecropping system and the advent of chemical herbicides and the mechanical cotton picker had reduced the demand for farm labor in the South. Lemann, supra, at 70. Northern cities offered the lure of well-paying industrial jobs. Id.; Patterson, supra, at 381. During the 1940s and 1950s, the result of this migration was a far higher standard of living in urban areas than African Americans had experienced in the rural South. William Julius Wilson, When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor 53-- 54 (1996). See also id. at 26--27 ("The traditional American economy featured rapid growth in productivity and living standards. . . . In this system plenty of blue-collar jobs were available to workers with little formal education.").

Economic gains for African Americans in the industrialized North were, however, limited. "[I]n 1939 half of all Negro wage earners in New York were receiving less than $850 per year." Robert A. Caro, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York 491 (Vintage ed. 1975) (1974). "40 percent of New York City's African American population in 1940 remained on relief or dependent on federal funds for temporary work relief." Jackson, supra, at 114. Despite the need for labor to support the war effort, some factories excluded Black workers entirely. See id.

Subsequently, unemployment worsened. In the 1950s, the unemployment rate for African Americans in New York City was twice that of Whites. Id. In 1965, it was observed that African American unemployment, particularly in northern urban areas, had been at "disaster levels" for thirty-five years, with the exception of the World War II and Korean War years. United States Dep't of Labor Ofc. of Pol'y Planning & Res., The Negro Family: The Case for National Action 20 (photo. reprint 2011) (1965) (emphasis removed). See also id. at 26 ("The most conspicuous failure of the American social system in the past 10 years has been its inadequacy in providing jobs for Negro youth. Thus, in January 1965 the unemployment rate for Negro teenagers stood at 29 percent. This problem will now become steadily more serious."); Kerner Report, supra, at 13 ("Between 2 and 2.5 million Negroes-16 to 20 percent of the total Negro population of all central cities-live in squalor and deprivation in ghetto neighborhoods."); id. ("[D]espite continuing economic growth and declining national unemployment rates, the unemployment rate for Negroes in 1967 was more than double that for whites.").

Unemployment in large cities was cited by the presidentially appointed Kerner Commission as a primary cause of the wave of rioting in African American neighborhoods in the late 1960s. Kerner Report, supra, at 1, 24. Other identified causes of disorder included pervasive discrimination and segregation; the exodus of White residents from inner-city areas and in-migration of African Americans; and the frustration of hopes of advancement that had been raised by the Civil Rights Movement. Id. at 10.

Conditions worsened after the 1960s. Just as the promise of work in the industrial north brought African Americans in large numbers to northern cities in the Great Migration, the closing of factories contributed to the partial unraveling of African American communities. See Lemann, supra, at 201 ("From 1960 to 1994, manufacturing employment increased nationally by 3 per cent but fell in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Detroit, and later the drop in urban unskilled manufacturing jobs became more precipitous."); William Julius Wilson, supra, at 31 ("The number of employed black males ages 20 to 29 working in manufacturing industries fell dramatically between 1973 and 1987 (from three of every eight to one in five).").

Much of the new job growth in recent decades has occurred in high-technology fields that are inaccessible to workers with limited education and training. Id. at 29. Most jobs for workers with limited skills are not in manufacturing but in the service sector, which hires more women than men. Id. at 27. Typically, these jobs are located in suburban or exurban areas far from inner-city neighborhoods, and sometimes inaccessible by public transportation. Id. at 37--41; David Hilfiker, Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen 9 (2002). See also Alfonso Castillo, MTA Plans to Cut Most of LI Bus Routes, Newsday, Mar. 2, 2011, at 2 (reporting service cuts that would leave certain neighborhoods with no access to public transportation).

2. Government Efforts to Alleviate Poverty and Poor Living Conditions

a. Public Housing

NYCHA was organized in the 1930s with the hope of "eliminat[ing] the crime, illness, poverty, and moral decay bred by slums[.]" Jackson, supra, at 954. The earliest NYCHA housing developments were low-rise buildings provided for families with moderate incomes; the destitute were ineligible. Like the neighborhoods in which they were located, these developments were racially segregated. Id.

Building of high-rise housing projects began in 1939. Id. Under a slogan of "slum clearance," blocks of low-income housing in old, poorly maintained tenements were razed and replaced with "superblocks" of high-density buildings with small, cheaply constructed apartments. Nicholas Dagen Bloom, Public Housing that Worked: New York in the Twentieth Century 129--132, 142--43 (2008); Caro, supra, at 611; Jackson, supra, at 954--55. Tenants, particularly African Americans and Puerto Ricans, were evicted with little notice and little hope of finding decent housing elsewhere. Caro, supra, at 968--976, Jackson, supra, at 955. The methods of slum clearance were criticized for uprooting communities and disrupting the fabric of city neighborhoods. E.g., Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities 4, 270--72 (1961).

By the 1960s, after many White, middle-class New Yorkers migrated to suburban areas, housing projects were inhabited mostly by poor African Americans and Hispanics. Jackson, supra, at 915; see also Bloom, supra, at 211 (discussing the increased population of welfare recipients in NYCHA projects during the 1960s); William Julius Wilson, supra, at 48 ("Since smaller suburban communities refused to permit the construction of public housing, the units were overwhelmingly concentrated in the overcrowded and deteriorating inner-city ghettos-the poorest and least socially organized sections of the city and the metropolitan area.").

A significant portion of New York City's population now lives in housing under the management of NYCHA, the largest public housing system in North America. It serves more than 650,000 people-over 8 percent of city residents. New York City Hous. Auth., About NYCHA: Fact Sheet, http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycha/html/about/factsheet.shtml (revised May 20, 2010).

b. Welfare Policy

Noteworthy attempts at improving the lives of those in defendants' position have been made. Foremost among initiatives to aid poor families was Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), a federally-funded and state-run program in which low-income families were given money equivalent to 12 percent to 55 percent of poverty-level income for a family of three. Hilfiker, supra, at 88. From AFDC's inception in the 1930s until the 1960s, only about one in three eligible families received welfare; most were widows with children. An increased number of applications for aid, and the higher rate at which applications were accepted, resulted in a dramatic expansion of AFDC in the 1960s; nine out of every ten eligible families received this aid. Id. at 78.

In the 1960s, as part of a set of initiatives labeled the War on Poverty, a "community action" program was implemented. Social services were to be delivered to inner-city residents through a decentralized network of federally funded offices. Lemann, supra, at 133; Hilfiker, supra, at 77. This system failed to significantly ameliorate poverty conditions. "There is no clear example of a community action agency in a poor neighborhood accomplishing either the original goal of reducing juvenile delinquency or ...


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