US v. Jermaine Chase

Filing 920091130

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UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 07-4392 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. JERMAINE LAVONNE CHASE, Defendant - Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, at Roanoke. Jackson L. Kiser, Senior District Judge. (7:94-cr-40106-jlk-5) Submitted: October 27, 2009 Decided: November 30, 2009 Before WILKINSON, MICHAEL, and KING, Circuit Judges. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Larry W. Shelton, Federal Public Defender, Christine Madeleine Lee, Research and Writing Attorney, Roanoke, Virginia, for Appellant. Ray Burton Fitzgerald, Jr., OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Jean Barrett Hudson, Assistant United States Attorney, Charlottesville, Virginia, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Jermaine Chase seeks to appeal the district court's grant of his 18 U.S.C. 3582(c) motion, in which Chase sought a reduction of his sentence. The Government has filed a motion to While we deny the Government's the district court's grant of dismiss the appeal as untimely. motion to dismiss, we affirm Chase's 3582(c) motion. The underlying procedural history of this case is long-standing, and well known to the parties. repeat it here. Thus we will not Pertinent to the issues presently on appeal are While an appeal was previously pending in district court's May 24, 2007 Amended the following facts. this court from the Judgment, entered based on the March 23, 2007 directive of this court, the district court entered an order reducing Chase's sentence from 360 to 292 months' imprisonment on his conviction pursuant to 21 U.S.C. 846 (2006), for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base ("crack") (Count 1). The reduction was made pursuant to U.S. Sentencing 2D1.1 (2007) ("Amendment 706"). As the Guidelines Manual prior filing of the notice of appeal divested the district court of jurisdiction to enter the order, we granted Chase's motion for remand to confer jurisdiction upon the district court, and remanded the case for the limited purpose of allowing the district court to consider the propriety of resentencing Chase 2 in accordance with the then newly-amended crack cocaine sentencing guideline, Amendment 706. On December 18, 2008, the district court reentered an order granting Chase a reduction of his sentence on Count 1 from 360 months to 292 months' imprisonment. Chase filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that the 292-month sentence imposed by the district court for conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine exceeded the 240-month statutory maximum for that conviction, in violation of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000). the motion on January 27, 2009. The district court denied Chase filed a motion to correct the order denying his motion for reconsideration, on the ground that he was 50 not grams convicted or more of of possession cocaine with intent Following to a distribute base. hearing, the district court entered an amended order on March 6, 2009, vacating its January 27, 2009 order, and denying Chase's motion to reconsider the December 18, 2008 order reducing his sentence to 292 months pursuant to 3582(c). States v. Dunphy, 551 F.3d 247, 254 (4th Citing to United Cir. 2009), cert. denied, 129 S. Ct. 2401 (2009), and to USSG 1B1.10(a)(3), the district court reasoned that the sentence reduction in a 3582(c) proceeding is not a full resentencing, and that it was accordingly limited to considering the effect of the retroactive amendment only, and not any other 3 sentencing or guidelines issues. The district court found that Chase's argument that his sentence violated Apprendi, is a "new issue outside the scope of 3582(c) sentencing because it is unrelated Chase's to any change in the had guidelines," that Apprendi argument already been raised in the district court and on appeal, and that this court explicitly On twice affirmed 2009, Chase's the 360-month court concurrent sentence. March 12, district modified its order without changing the substantive ruling. On March 12, 2009, Chase filed the presently-pending appeal, contending that he is appealing the final order of the district court entered on March 6, 2009. The Government has filed a motion to dismiss the appeal as untimely, contending that, while Chase's notice of appeal designates the district court's March 6, 2009 order as the order being appealed, Chase actually seeks to appeal the order of December 18, 2008, granting Chase's 3582(c) motion. We first address the Government's motion to dismiss Chase's appeal. case must be A defendant's notice of appeal in a criminal within ten days after the entry of the filed judgment or order being appealed. Time limits set forth in Rule Fed. R. App. P. 4(b)(1)(A). 4(b) are non-jurisdictional. United States v. Urutyan, 564 F.3d 679, 685 (4th Cir. 2009). The district court entered its order granting Chase's motion for reduction of sentence 4 pursuant to 3582(c) on December 18, 2008. Although the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure 4(b) do not provide for tolling of the ten-day appeal period for the filing of a motion for reconsideration, we have held that the filing of such a motion delays the time period for filing the notice of appeal until after the motion has been ruled upon. United States v. Christy, 3 F.3d 765, 767 n.1 (4th Cir. 1993) (citing United States v. Ibarra, 502 U.S. 1, 4 n.2 (1991)). because Chase filed a motion to reconsider and Thus, the amend judgment by the January 5, 2009 deadline for filing his notice of appeal, the time for filing the appeal notice was delayed until the district court's issuance of its order denying that motion on January 27, 2009. Chase's notice of appeal The new deadline for the filing of from the grant of his motion for reduction of sentence, then, was February 10, 2009. App. P. 26. See Fed. R. Rather then filing a notice of appeal, Chase filed a "Motion to Amend/Correct Order on Motion for Reconsideration" on January 28, 2009, upon consideration of which motion, as noted above, the district court vacated its January 27, 2009 order and denied the motion to reconsider its grant of Chase's 3582(c) motion. In its motion to dismiss, the Government argues that, while the filing of the first motion for reconsideration tolled Chase's appeal period relative to his motion for reduction of 5 sentence, his filing of the second motion to reconsider did not have that same effect. It asserts, therefore, that Chase's notice of appeal, ultimately filed on March 12, 2009, the same day as the entry of the district court's (modified) order denying his motion to amend/correct, was ineffectual to give jurisdiction December sentence. The problem with the Government's analysis is that, in its order ruling on Chase's second motion for reconsideration, the district court expressly vacated its January 27, 2009 order denying district Chase's court, motion on of for 6, reconsideration. 2009, of denied his Thus, when the for it 18, to this court of to consider the merits of the of 2008 grant Chase's motion for reduction March the Chase's motion motion, reconsideration grant 3582(c) effectively restarted the clock for the filing of Chase's notice of appeal from the denial of his first motion for reconsideration. Given this Court's pronouncement in Urutyan that time limits for the filing of appeals in criminal cases are nonjurisdictional, given the unique circumstances present in this case, * and giving Chase every possible benefit of the Included in these unique circumstances is the fact that Chase's notice of appeal was filed within the thirty-day (Continued) 6 * construction of the rules regarding the timeliness of appeals, we find that because Chase's March 12, 2009 notice of appeal was timely as to the denial of his motion for reconsideration, as set forth in the district 12, court's this March court 6, has 2009 order (as to modified on March 2009), jurisdiction consider Chase's appeal. motion to dismiss Chase's Therefore, we deny the Government's appeal from the December 18, 2009 grant of his 3582(c) motion. The substance of Chase's appeal as to the district court's grant of his 3582(c) motion is his argument that even though the district court lowered his sentence on his crack cocaine conspiracy conviction two levels pursuant to Amendment 706 to the sentencing guidelines, from 360 months' imprisonment to 292 months' imprisonment, it erred in failing to lower his sentence to 240 months, which is the statutory maximum for his conviction. He asserts that his case is distinguishable from Dunphy, such that the district court could have resentenced him when it considered his 3582(c) motion, because his sentence is unconstitutional. We find no merit to Chase's claims. First, in Dunphy, we held that proceedings under 3582(c)(2) do not constitute a excusable 4(b)(4). neglect period provided for in Fed. R. App. P. 7 full resentencing of the defendant. Dunphy, 551 F.3d at 251-53 (rejecting defendant's argument that United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), should apply to 3582 proceeding). is nothing in Dunphy of that limits this rule and based the There on the constitutionality the original sentence, district court correctly relied on Dunphy in refusing Chase's request for resentencing beyond that prescribed by Amendment 706. Second, Chase's 360-month sentence was not infirm. noted by the district court, this court twice As explicitly See United affirmed Chase's 360-month concurrent sentence. States v. Chase, 296 F.3d 247, 253 (4th Cir. 2002) (holding that the imposition of a single 360-month term for conspiracy, although erroneous, was harmless); United States v. Chase, 1999 WL 1054140, at for *2 (4th Cir. Nov. of 22, 1999) (No. 98-4665) (remanding consideration post-offense rehabilitation See departure, but affirming sentence in all other respects). also United States v. White, 238 F.3d 537, 542-43 (4th Cir. 2001). Hence, this court already has upheld Chase's 360-month sentence and will not further entertain his continued claims that his 360-month sentence violated Apprendi or was otherwise unconstitutional. Third, when this court remanded the case to the district court on December 16, 2008, the remand was expressly limited to confer jurisdiction to the district court to allow it 8 to consider the propriety of resentencing Chase in accordance with Amendment 706. Therefore, the district court was foreclosed by the mandate rule from revisiting the issue of the legality of Chase's sentence except as it related to the amended guidelines. See United States v. Bell, 5 F.3d 64, 66 (4th Cir. 1993) (stating that the mandate rule "forecloses relitigation of issues expressly or impliedly decided by the appellate court," as well as "issues decided by the district court but foregone on appeal."); see also Volvo Trademark Holding Aktiebolaget v. Clark Mach. Co., 510 F.3d 474, 481 (4th Cir. 2007). Thus, the district court had no authority in any event to resentence Chase except pursuant to Amendment 706. Hence, we find no error in the district court's grant of a two-level reduction in Chase's sentence based on Amendment 706, and further find that the district court's grant of Chase's 3582(c) motion was not an abuse of discretion. See United Chase's States v. Goines, 357 F.3d 469, 478 (4th Cir. 2004). 292-month sentence, as set forth in the district court's March 12, 2009 order, is affirmed. Accordingly, dismiss Chase's appeal we as deny the Government's and affirm motion to untimely, the district court's grant of Chase's 3582(c) motion. oral argument because the facts and legal We dispense with contentions are 9 adequately presented in the materials before the court and argument would not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED 10

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