United States v. Adams, No. 03 CR 1368 (ARR), 2006 WL 229904 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 31, 2006)
In Adams, the Government sought a two-level enhancement for abuse of position of trust under U.S.S.G. 3B1.3 for defendants who were employed by various private companies affiliated with JFK Airport, who had security clearances for restricted areas of the airport, and who had participated in various schemes to import narcotics. The court rejected that claimed enhancement.
Adams is not all that factually important for its findings concerning airport security guards. It is, however, important for the court's in-depth analysis of the position being analyzed. It is also worth studying because it does a nice job of setting forth the standard for determining whether or not a position of trust has been abused:
"[T]he court must undertake a two-prong analysis to find that the 'position of trust' enhancement is warranted. First, the court must determine that the defendant occupied a position of trust. Whether the defendant occupied a position of trust must be viewed from the perspective of the victim. The primary inquiry to determine whether a person is in a position of trust is the extent to which the position provides the freedom to commit a difficult-to-detect wrong. The Second Circuit has repeatedly emphasized that this standard requires that the defendant's position must involve discretionary authority . . . [and that] this discretion must have been entrusted to the defendant by the victim. Second, the court must find that the defendant violated that trust in a way that significantly contributed to the crime at issue. The government must meet its burden of proving satisfaction of both prongs by a preponderence of the evidence."