United States of America v. Jones


OPINION, Concurring, by judges GC, PWH, FILED.[2120837] [15-1518]

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Case 15-1518, Document 129, 09/11/2017, 2120837, Page1 of 9   1 GUIDO CALABR O RESI, Circuit Judge, with whom Peter W. H w m Hall, Circu Judge, jo uit oins, 2 concurr ring: I believe Judge Walke opinio states th law corr er’s on he rectly, and I concur i d in 3 4 its reaso oning and in its resu I write separately because t ult. y that result, while , 5 mandat by the law, seem to me to be highly unjust, an little sho of absu ted ms nd ort urd. 6 To expl lain why I think so, let me give the facts a proced e and dural histo of this case ory 7 in a way that is slightly diff y ferent from the major opinio m rity on—which however is h, r, 8 also cor rrect, and in which, as noted ab i a bove, I join fully. n, A. Backgroun B nd  9 Corey Jones is a nowC -39-year-old man wi an I.Q. of 69.1 Wh at a ith hile 10 11 residential reentry center (“ y “RRC”), fin nishing a n nearly eigh ht-year sen ntence for 12 felony possession of a firear (he wa five mon p n rm, as nths’ shy o his sched of duled 13 release) Jones alle ), egedly gru umbled a threat and was insole to a sta membe t ent aff er. 14 The staf member called th federal marshals t take custody of Jon who ff rs he m to nes, 15 resisted arrest. Th marshal conceded that, dur d he ls ring his re esistance, Jo ones never r 16 stepped towards, kicked, or punched them. Non d r netheless, as they were trying to 17 lower his head to the groun the han of the m h nd, nd marshal wh was app ho prehending 18 Jones sl lipped dow Jones’ face, and Jo wn f ones bit hi causing the finge to bleed im, g er d. 19 Shortly thereafter Jones sai “I give,” and was arrested a taken away. The r, id, s and e 20 marshal provided a sworn affidavit in d a ndicating t that he suf ffered no lo becaus of oss se 21 the inju and tha he did not request damages. At trial, th bite wa describe ury at n t . he as ed 22 by the prosecutor as “not th most ser p r he rious woun you’ll e nd ever see.”  This I.Q. s score is con nsidered to o be in the e “mentally y deficient t” range of f  intellect tual functi ioning, bel low the gen nerally acc cepted ran nge for “int tellectual  disability,” which h is an I.Q. score of approximat tely 70‐75. See Dist. C Dkt. 46 Ct. 6–1 at 5, Jon Sentencing Mem nes morandum, Exhibit A “Sentenc A, cing Memo Letter of Dr. o Sanford L. Drob”, at 5.  d , 1   1 Case 15-1518, Document 129, 09/11/2017, 2120837, Page2 of 9   Pursuant to a single-count indictment for assaulting a federal officer, Jones 1 2 was found guilty in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111(a)(1)–(b). Under the Guidelines 3 as they were then calculated, and as described in Judge Walker’s opinion, Jones 4 faced a sentence of between 210–240 months, (seventeen-and-one-half to twenty 5 years), with the high end being the statutory maximum. This calculation was 6 based on Jones’ designation as a career offender, a status that was triggered by 7 two earlier convictions: (i) an assault in which the then twenty-year-old Jones 8 shot a man in the leg, which later needed to be amputated, and (ii) a conviction 9 for first-degree robbery in New York, a crime Jones committed when he was 10 sixteen years old.2 The district court, applying what it believed was the law of this circuit as it 11 12 stood at that time, found that Jones’ robbery conviction constituted a “crime of 13 violence” under the categorical approach to the Sentencing Guidelines. See 14 United States v. Spencer, 955 F.2d 814, 820 (2d Cir. 1992) (holding that, under the 15 law of New York, the crime of attempted third-degree robbery constitutes a 16 “crime of violence” for the purposes of the “force clause” of the Sentencing 17 Guidelines), abrogated by Johnson v. United States, 559 U.S. 133 (2010) (Johnson I); 18 see also United States v. Reyes, 691 F.3d 453 (2d Cir. 2012) (per curiam).3 Given this  A defendant’s youthful offender adjudications are, for the purposes of the  relevant Guidelines calculations, deemed “‘adult convictions’ [where the  defendant] (1) pleaded guilty to both felony offenses in an adult forum and (2)  received and served a sentence of over one year in an adult prison for each  offense.” See United States v. Jones, 415 F.3d 256, 264 (2d Cir. 2005).  3 A crime of violence, along with other factors, serves as a predicate  requiring a district court to sentence a defendant as a “career offender” subject to  an increased sentencing spectrum. See U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual  § 4B1.1(a) (U.S. Sentencing Comm’n Nov. 2014) (U.S.S.G.) (defining “career  offender” as a defendant who is (1) “at least eighteen years old at the time [he]  committed the instant offense of conviction;” (2) his “instant offense of  2   2 Case 15-1518, Document 129, 09/11/2017, 2120837, Page3 of 9   1 holding, and because Jones’ prior conviction for assault certainly constituted a 2 crime of violence, the district court determined that the career offender status 3 applied. Absent Jones’ designation as a career offender, his Guidelines sentence conviction is a felony that is . . . a crime of violence;” and (3) he “has at least two  prior felony convictions of . . . a crime of violence.”) .    As described in Judge Walker’s opinion, there were, at the time of Jones’  sentencing, two clauses in the Sentencing Guidelines, either of which could  define a “crime of violence.” These two clauses are referred to as the “force  clause,” and the “residual clause.” The “force clause” specifies that a crime of  violence is a felony that “has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened  use of physical force against the person of another.” U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(1). The  “residual clause” comes at the end of a second set of enumerated offenses, and  provides that a crime of violence also includes any offense that “otherwise  involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to  another.” Id. § 4B1.2(a)(2).     In Spencer, we had held that, under the force clause, third‐degree robbery,  as defined by New York law, was a crime of violence. After the Supreme Court’s  analysis of the force clause in Johnson I, however, we held that battery, as defined  by the state of Florida, was not a crime of violence. Reyes, 691 F.3d 453. In Reyes,  we noted Johnson I’s dictate that, to constitute a “crime of violence” under the  categorical approach, a crime must involve the “use of physical force,” and  found that battery did not meet that definition. Id. at 460. Even after Spencer, it  was an open question whether first‐degree robbery was a crime of violence. After  Reyes, that question depended on whether the use of physical force was, indeed,  present in the New York definition of that crime.     Judge Garaufis held that the reasoning of Spencer meant that first degree  robbery was a crime of violence. In our former, withdrawn opinion, we held, for  reasons similar to those given in Reyes, that first‐degree robbery was not. Cf.,  United States v. Yates, No. 16‐3997, 2017 WL 3402084 (6thCir. Aug 9, 2017)  (finding in analogous circumstances that the force clause does not apply). All of  that analysis, however, was with respect to the force clause, not the co‐extant –  and here essential – residual clause.     3 Case 15-1518, Document 129, 09/11/2017, 2120837, Page4 of 9   1 range would have been betw w e ween 36 an 48 mon nd nths (or thr to four years), ree r 2 instead of the ran of 210-2 month or the se nge 240 hs, eventeen-a and-one-h years to half o 3 twenty years that the court deemed ap t pplicable. Departing downward significa D antly from the Guidelines, Ju m udge Gara aufis 4 5 sentenc Jones to fifteen ye ced o ears. B. Doctrinal D D Developm ments and I Impact on Sentencin ng  6 Ju udge Gara aufis’ opini rested on his inte ion erpretation of the ap n pplication o of 7 8 the forc clause to New Yor State’s definition o robbery Because J ce o rk d of y. Judge 9 Garaufi was of th view th first-deg is he hat gree robbe was a c ery crime of vi iolence un nder 10 the forc clause ev after Johnson I, Ju ce ven J udge Gara aufis did n address the not s 11 addition possible determi nal inant of a crime of vi c iolence now at issue before us: the w : 12 “residu clause.” ual ” After Jones’ initial sen A ntencing, but before we heard Jones’ app b peal, the 13 14 Suprem Court fo me ound langu uage in the Armed C e Career Crim minal Act (“ACCA”) ) 15 which was identic to the language used in the residual c w cal l u e clause of th he 16 Guideli ines—the lynchpin clause unde l ergirding t author of Jone current the rity es’ t 17 sentenc ce—to be unconstitut u tionally va ague. Johns v. Unite States, 1 S. Ct. 2 son ed 135 2551, 18 2557 (20 015) (Johns II). Sub son bsequent to Johnson II most fed o I, deral courts of appea als 19 to decid the issue found th given the Suprem Court’s decision, the residu de hat, t me s ual 20 clause was also un w nconstitutionally vag gue. See U United State v. Pawlak 822 F.3d es k, d 21 902, 907 7-11 (6th Cir. 2016); United Stat v. Hurlb C U tes burt, 835 F. 715, 72 (7th Cir. .3d 25 . 22 2016); United State v. Calabr U es retta, 831 F.3d 128, 13 (3d Cir. 2016); Un F 37 . nited States v. 23 Madrid, 805 F.3d 1204, 1210 (10th Cir. 2015); but see United States v. M , 1 d Matchett, 80 02 24 F.3d 118 1193-96 (11th Cir 2015). 85, 6 r. As a result— A —with the applicatio of the fo e on orce clause to Jones i doubt a a e in as 25 26 result of Johnson I, and with the residu clause struck dow across several o I h ual wn   4 Case 15-1518, Document 129, 09/11/2017, 2120837, Page5 of 9   1 circuits as a result of Johnson II—any number of defendan were fo t n n f nts ound not to o 2 have co ommitted crimes of violence, ei c v ither as a m matter of f first instance, or on 3 appeal, for purpo oses of dete ermining their career offender status und the t r der 4 Guideli ines. Accor rdingly, th were re hey esentenced (or sente d enced in th first he 5 instance to lower sentences We are told the go e) r s. t overnment is not cha t allenging th hese 6 lower se entences. C. Removal of the Resid R dual Claus se from th he Guideli ines  7 The Sentencing Comm T mission, in light of th decision of sever courts o n he ns ral of 8 9 appeals grounded on the Su s d upreme Co ourt’s deci ision in Joh hnson II, rev vised the 10 Guideli ines and re emoved th residual clause as a basis for future sen he r ntencing. ( (See 11 Majority Opinion n.1). n, D. Procedural P l History in n this Cou urt  12 13 We heard Jones’ appe after Johnson II, an we held (i) that, under John W eal nd d: nson 14 I, the fo orce clause was not applicable to him; (ii) (like seve of our sister circu a t ) eral uits) 15 that the other pos e ssible grou for Jon career offender s und nes’ status, the residual 16 clause, was uncon nstitutiona pursuan to Johnso II; and, (iii) that, a a result, al, nt on as 17 r nviction did not qua alify as a predicate vi iolent offe ense under the r Jones’ robbery con 18 Guideli ines. We th herefore or rdered Jon sentenc vacated and sent the case ba nes’ ce d ack 19 for rese entencing. We expres W ssly instruc cted the di istrict cour that, in r rt resentencin ng 20 Jones, it should no treat him as a care offende t ot m eer er. Before the district cou resente B d urt enced Jone howeve the Supr es, er, reme Cour rt 21 22 granted certiorari in Beckles v. United States, 137 S Ct. 886 ( d v S S. (2017), to c consider 23 whether the langu uage that, in Johnson II it had d deemed un nconstitutio onally vag gue 24 in a statute, was al void fo vaguene when th identica languag was lso or ess he al ge 25 employ in the Guidelines In view of the Supreme Cour action, we withd yed G s. o rt’s , drew 26 our opin nion, and suspended resenten d ncing pend ding the Bec ckles decision.   5 Case 15-1518, Document 129, 09/11/2017, 2120837, Page6 of 9   1 Interestingly, at least one district court, in an independent case, had already 2 granted a motion for resentencing in light of our now-recalled decision. Miles v. 3 United States, No. 11-cr-581, 2016 WL 4367958 (S.D.N.Y. Aug 15, 2016). In Beckles, the Supreme Court held the relevant clause of the Guidelines not 4 5 to be unconstitutionally vague.4 Hence, the clause remained applicable to cases 6 like the one before us. As a result, we are bound to consider Jones’ earlier convictions on the basis 7 8 of the revived (but no longer extant, since it has been removed by the Sentencing 9 Commission) residual clause. Under that clause, we today correctly find that 10 Jones’ robbery conviction constituted a crime of violence and, as such, served as 11 a predicate offense which—together with his assault convictions—categorically 12 renders Jones a career offender. He was, therefore, correctly subject to the 13 sentencing guidelines of 210–240 months on the basis of which the district 14 court—albeit, perhaps incorrectly relying on the force clause rather than the 15 residual clause— had imposed his original sentence of fifteen years. Because that sentence was correctly based on the Guidelines as we now 16 17 hold they stood when the district court sentenced Jones, we now affirm that 18 sentence. We also hold that, given the applicable Guidelines, the sentence 4  The Supreme Court held as it did based on the history of discretion in  sentencing before the Guidelines and the discretionary nature of the Guidelines  themselves. My concern with our holding today does not dispute the correctness  of the Court’s decision. That the Court’s decision was unexpected, however,  cannot be doubted. Between Johnson II and Beckles, courts of appeals, prosecutors,  and the Sentencing Commission took actions which assumed a different result.  Indeed, the Justice Department had taken the position that Johnson II governed  Beckles, and the Supreme Court had to appoint special counsel to present the  opposite view. It is that unexpectedness and what happened between Johnson II  and Beckles that is, in significant part, responsible for making today’s result so  troubling to me.    6 Case 15-1518, Document 129, 09/11/2017, 2120837, Page7 of 9   1 imposed—which departed significant downw tly ward from these appl licable 2 Guideli ines—was not substa antively un nreasonable. E. DISCUSSI D ION  3 I agree that the senten is not substantiv t nce s vely unreas sonable; bu I believe ut e 4 5 the resu to be clo to absu ult ose urd. Jo ones was about to be released when he c a e committed a crime w d whose full 6 7 nature and signifi a icance the district co ourt is bette able to e er evaluate th we. Th han he 8 district court deci ided on a fifteen-yea sentence Perhaps this senten was ba f ar e. nce ased 9 on its view of Jones’ prior cr riminal activity, and on Jones’ dangerou d ’ usness. 10 Perhaps the sente s ence, depar rting down nward not tably from the Guide m elines, was s, 11 howeve imposed because the distric court bel er, d ct lieved that given those t, 12 Guideli ines, it had gone dow as much as it felt it reasona d wn ably could. . The fact is that we do not know what sen T t o w ntence the d district cou would urt 13 14 have de eemed app propriate if Jones had been sub f d bject to diff ferent Guidelines. H Had 15 our opin nion come down slig e ghtly earlie as did t er, those of m most other c circuits 16 dealing with simi issues, Jones wou have b g ilar uld been resent tenced pur rsuant to a 17 substan ntively low Guideli wer ines range We woul then, kn e. ld, now what sentence t 18 would have seem approp h med priate to th district c he court in th hose circum mstances. H Had 19 that sen ntence been lower—a it appar n as rently was in any number of ot ther cases in 20 other ci ircuits—th Governm he ment apparently wou not ha objected to it. Ha uld ave ad 21 Jones co ommitted his crime under the currently e u existing G Guidelines, (i.e., in wh hich 22 the residual claus has been removed by the Sen se n d ntencing C Commissio and on), 23 assumin that we would ha read th force cla ng e ave he ause not to apply (as we did in o s n 24 our earl lier, now-r retracted opinion), th district court wou have ha again, the o he uld ad, 25 opportu unity to ga auge Jones’ degree of dangerou f usness und a very different s der set 26 of Guid delines than those we today, fi n e, inally conc clude it cor rrectly app plied at 27 sentenc cing.   7 Case 15-1518, Document 129, 09/11/2017, 2120837, Page8 of 9   Because we (advisedly) withdrew our earlier opinion in light of the 1 2 Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari in Beckles, and because of the Supreme Court’s 3 ultimate decision in Beckles, I agree that we now are bound to affirm Jones’ 4 original sentence. This means that, as a result of timing quirks (his appeal to us 5 was slightly too late, leading to our decision to pull our earlier opinion; his 6 crimes too early so that the now-removed, but no longer unconstitutional, 7 residual clause was in effect when he committed them), Jones receives a very, 8 very high sentence in contrast with almost every similarly situated defendant. What is more—and this may be the true source of my sense of absurdity— 9 10 there appears to be no way in which we can ask the district court to reconsider 11 the sentence it ordered in view of the happenstances that have worked against 12 Jones, and in view of its assessment of Jones’ crimes and of its downward 13 departure. Were this a civil case, there would be any number of ways of letting the 14 15 lower court revisit matters.5 But, as far as I have been able to discern, there is no 16 way for us to send this back to the district court and ask it to tell us what I 17 believe should determine Jones’ sentence: 18 In the light of sentences that other similarly guilty defendants have 19 received, and in the light of Jones’ own situation, both of which you, as 20 a district judge, are best suited to determine, what is the sentence that 21 you deem appropriate in this case?    For example: Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) provides a court  with the power to entertain a motion to relieve a party from a final judgment for  “any other reason that justifies relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(6). To similar effect,  Rule 60(d) states that a court has the power to “entertain an independent action  to relieve a party from a judgment, order, or proceeding.” Id. 60(d)(1).   5   8 Case 15-1518, Document 129, 09/11/2017, 2120837, Page9 of 9   1 I find our inability to learn this to be both absurd and deeply troubling. I 2 believe our affirmance is correct, and that we can do no other. I hope, however, 3 that somewhere, somehow, there exists a means of determining what would, in 4 fact, be an appropriate sentence for Jones.   9

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