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USA v. Jeanette Grigsby,  No. 11-2473.   

In her sworn statement to the court, however, Grigsby minimized her role in the offense, trying to pin most of the blame on her coconspirators. So at sentencing the district court applied …….. a three-level enhancement to account for her supervisory role in the offense, see id. § 3B1.1(b).  

B. Supervisory-Role Enhancement   

A defendant who is “an organizer or leader” of a criminal scheme involving five or more participants gets a four-level enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 3B1.1(a); “a manager or supervisor” of a scheme involving five or more participants gets a three-level enhancement under § 3B1.1(b); and “an organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor” of a smaller scheme gets a two-level enhancement under § 3B1.1(c).   

The application notes to § 3B1.1 explain that

[i]n distinguishing a leadership and organizational role from one of mere management or supervision, titles such as “kingpin” or “boss” are not controlling. Factors the court should consider include the exercise of decision making authority, the nature of participation in the commission of the offense, the recruitment of accomplices, the claimed right to a larger share of the fruits of the crime, the degree of participation in planning or organizing the offense, the nature and scope of the illegal activity, and the degree of control and authority exercised over others. There can, of course, be more than one person who qualifies as a leader or organizer of a criminal association or conspiracy. This adjustment does not apply to a defendant who merely suggests committing the offense.

U.S.S.G. § 3B1.1 cmt. n.4.       

These factors are sometimes applied to determine whether a defendant was a manager or supervisor for purposes of § 3B1.1(b), but we have recently clarified that these factors are meant to distinguish a leader or organizer from a supervisor or manager. See United States v. Figueroa, 682 F.3d 694, 694-95 (7th Cir. 2012).    

We held in Figueroa that a manager or supervisor should be straightforwardly understood as simply someone who helps manage or supervise a criminal scheme. Id. at 697-98.    

Here, Grigsby initiated the scheme, played a leading role in recruiting the coconspirators, and supervised the execution of the staged robberies from outside the bank. She then took custody of the proceeds and divided the money among the coconspirators. On these facts Grigsby may well have qualified for the “organizer or leader” enhancement, but the district court surely had a sufficient factual basis to apply the lesser “manager or supervisor” enhancement.       

The committee notes to § 3B1.1 make it clear that “[t]here can, of course, be more than one person who qualifies as a leader or organizer of a criminal association or conspiracy.” U.S.S.G. § 3B1.1 cmt. n.4. The same is obviously true of the “manager or supervisor” designation.

Grigsby’s participation in planning the scheme, recruiting the participants, and directing its execution all confirm her role as a supervisor.