Life Sentences for Former Gallatin County Sheriff Will Stand Says Federal Court of Appeals
In an Order released yesterday, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the federal life sentences for former Gallatin County Sheriff Raymond M. Martin, Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced.
Martin, 52, was convicted in September 2010, following an eight day jury trial, of all 15 counts brought against him by a Federal Grand Jury stemming from his distribution of marijuana in office, carrying of a firearm during his drug trafficking offenses, and trying to have 2 witnesses against him in the drug case killed after he was arrested and was being held without bond in the Jackson County Jail. Martin, who remained sheriff while being held in federal custody because he refused to resign, was removed from office by the Gallatin County Board immediately following his convictions.
“Obviously, Martin failed to learn the most basic lesson of those holding office – that public service is a public trust.” said United States Attorney Wigginton. “The people of Gallatin County deserved better, and Martin, for all his corruption, deserves what he must face.”
Martin was originally sentenced in January 2011 to two consecutive life terms plus 10 years. He appealed the conviction and sentence. In August 2012, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction but vacated his sentence after it determined that an error in calculating his advisory sentencing range under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines had been committed. The appellate court remanded the case to the district court for resentencing.
At resentencing, the Court adopted and reiterated its statements and findings from the original sentencing hearing and also considered new information regarding the then-recent discovery that Martin had illegally obtained and smuggled prescription medication into the Williamson County Jail where he had been returned to await his resentencing. The Court again imposed the same two life sentences plus 10 years that it had previously given. The life sentences were imposed consecutively to each other and to the 10 year sentence.
In addition to the sentences of imprisonment, Martin was again ordered to forfeit his Junction, Illinois, residence (valued at over $200,000) and $76,090 in cash to the United States. He was also again ordered to pay the United States fines and special assessments totaling $51,500.
In their Order, the Seventh Circuit rejected any argument that the life sentences were unreasonable, noting that the district court offered an “exhaustive explanation for the . . . need to impose harsh punishment.” The Court further noted that the district court found in reimposing the life sentences that “Martin’s case was one of the ‘most severe’ it had ever seen and explained that, as a sheriff, Martin’s ‘betrayal of the public trust and the people that [he] was elected to serve . . . was unforgivable.” The Court also found significant that Martin’s “lack of remorse and refusal to accept responsibility for his crimes, as evidenced by his plotting to have witnesses murdered,” extended even to his post-sentencing efforts to smuggle illegal drugs into the Williamson County Jail. In light of all of this, the Court found that any argument that the sentences were unjustified would be “frivolous.”
Investigation into the drug aspect of the case was led by the Carmi office of the Illinois State Police/Southern Illinois Drug Task Force and the United States Attorney's Office with the assistance of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the Criminal Investigations Division of the Internal Revenue Service, the Mt. Vernon, Illinois Police Department, and the White County State's Attorney's Office.
Investigation into the witness tampering and financial structuring aspects of the case was led by the Jackson County Sheriff's Department and the United States Attorney's Office with the assistance of the Illinois State Police/Southern Illinois Drug Task Force, the IRS/CID, DEA, the Jackson County State's Attorney's Office, and the White County State's Attorney's Office.
Investigation into Martin's smuggling of prescription medication into the Williamson County Jail was conducted by the United States Marshals Service, the Illinois State Police, and the Williamson County Sheriff's Department.
The case was originally prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys James M. Cutchin and Michael C. Carr, who has since retired and is now the Jackson County States' Attorney. AUSA Cutchin handled the resentencing and Martin’s appeals.