US v. Joshua Hall
UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. JOSHUA LACY HALL, Defendant - Appellant.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, at Greensboro. William L. Osteen, Senior District Judge. (1:06-cr-00299-WLO)
January 30, 2009
February 17, 2009
Before WILKINSON, NIEMEYER, and AGEE, Circuit Judges.
Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion.
Thomas H. Johnson, Jr., GRAY JOHNSON BLACKMON LEE & LAWSON, LLP, Greensboro, North Carolina, for Appellant. Anna Mills Wagoner, United States Attorney, David P. Folmar, Jr., Assistant United States Attorney, Greensboro, North Carolina, for Appellee.
Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
PER CURIAM: Joshua Lacy Hall appeals the 140-month sentence he
received following his guilty plea to one count of conspiring to manufacture 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(b)(1)(A), 846 (2006). Hall's sole
contention on appeal is that the district court erred in not awarding him a reduction for his acceptance of responsibility, as authorized by U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual ("USSG")
§ 3E1.1 (2006).
For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
We review a sentencing court's decision to grant or deny a reduction for the defendant's acceptance of
responsibility for clear error.
United States v. Kise, 369 F.3d
766, 771 (4th Cir. 2004); United States v. May, 359 F.3d 683, 688 (4th Cir. 2004). "A finding is `clearly erroneous' when
although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm
conviction that a mistake has been committed."
United States v.
Dugger, 485 F.3d 236, 239 (4th Cir. 2007) (quoting United States v. U.S. Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948)). district court's decision to grant or deny an Id. We accord the acceptance (citing of
§ 3E1.1, cmt. n.5 (2005)). Pursuant to USSG § 3E1.1, a defendant may be given a two- or three-level reduction in his offense level if he clearly 2
demonstrates offense. must
In order to receive such a reduction, "the defendant by a preponderance and of the evidence that he has
responsibility for his criminal conduct."
May, 359 F.3d at 693
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Hall maintains he was eligible for the reduction by virtue of his guilty plea, despite the fact that, after pleading guilty, he informed the probation officer that he wished to
withdraw his guilty plea and that he was not involved in selling or manufacturing methamphetamine. Hall's argument fails. A
guilty plea reflects some level of acceptance of responsibility, but does not automatically entitle a defendant to the reduction. USSG § 3E1.1, cmt. n.3; May, 359 F.3d at 693. 3 to § 3E1.1 clearly establishes that it is Application Note a guilty plea
"combined with truthfully admitting the conduct comprising the offense of conviction" that is "significant evidence of
acceptance of responsibility." Although Hall did admit his illegal conduct at the Fed. R. Crim. P. 11 hearing, his statements to the probation officer denying his involvement in the conspiracy and indicating his desire to withdraw his guilty plea negated the impact of that admission. Application Note 3 establishes that a guilty
plea "may be outweighed by conduct . . . that is inconsistent 3
acceptance is the
responsibility." here, as
USSG § 3E1.1,
recantation of his guilt and his denial of his role in the charged offense is clearly inconsistent with accepting
responsibility. court erred in
See May, 359 F.3d at 693-95 (finding district permitting alia, reduction that when presentence denied the report facts
underlying the offense).
Although Hall attempted to minimize
the significance of his statements at sentencing by averring that he "accept[ed] responsibility for the amount that me and the Government have agreed to" and offering were a statement to we
responsibility, acceptance of
conclude the district court did not clearly err in declining to grant the reduction. For the foregoing reasons, we reject Hall's argument on appeal and affirm the district court's judgment. We dispense
with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before the court and
argument would not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED
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