US v. Robert Smith

Filing 920090710

Download PDF
UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 08-4815 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. ROBERT DAWAYNE SMITH, Defendant - Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Baltimore. Andre M. Davis, District Judge. (1:07-cr-00580-AMD-1) Submitted: June 23, 2009 Decided: July 10, 2009 Before WILKINSON, GREGORY, and DUNCAN, Circuit Judges. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Christopher Flohr, BLACKFORD & FLOHR, LLC, Severna Park, Maryland, for Appellant. Rod J. Rosenstein, United States Attorney, Cheryl L. Crumpton, Assistant United States Attorney, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Robert Dawayne Smith was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon of and 180 sentenced months to the statutory On We mandatory minimum sentence imprisonment. appeal, Smith challenges both his conviction and sentence. affirm. I. Smith first asserts that the district court erred in denying his motion for a mistrial based on the untimely disclosure of a police report. of the defense was that the According to Smith, his theory police did not do a thorough investigation to determine the owner of the firearm at issue, and counsel spoke in his opening argument about that fact that, of all the police officers involved, only Officer Mezan created a report. Smith's counsel highlighted this fact in attempting Thus, to create a picture of lackadaisical police procedure. Smith asserts that counsel's credibility was "irreparably damaged" when a second police report authored by Mezan surfaced. We review the denial of a motion for a mistrial for abuse of discretion. 257 (4th Cir. 1997) United States v. Dorlouis, 107 F.3d 248, (stating that a district court's ruling denying a motion for a mistrial "will be disturbed only under the most extraordinary of circumstances"). 2 "In order for the trial court's ruling to constitute such an abuse of discretion, the defendant must show prejudice." F.3d 809, 817 (4th Cir. 1995). there is a clear that the abuse of United States v. Dorsey, 45 Reversal is required only if discretion and a "reasonable by the possibility error. 1992). jury's verdict was influenced" United States v. Seeright, 978 F.2d 842, 849 (4th Cir. Because our review of the record clearly shows that Smith cannot show any prejudice from the untimely production of the second police report, his claim fails. II. Smith asserts that the court's requirement that a United States Marshal escort Smith to the bench during voir dire was prejudicial, especially in the absence of a finding that Smith was dangerous. Because Smith did not object below, the To establish plain error, issue is reviewed for plain error. the defendant must show that an error occurred, that the error was plain, and that the United error States affected v. the 507 defendant's U.S. 725, substantial rights. Olano, 732-34 (1993); United States v. Massenburg, 564 F.3d 337, 342-43 (4th Cir. 2009) (stating defendant bears burden of establishing each of the plain error requirements). A court's decision with regard to a security measure is subject to limited review for 3 abuse of discretion. See United States v. Samuel, 431 F.2d 610, 615 (4th Cir. 1970). Here, the court's requirement was apparently standard practice. Moreover, the court offered Smith an accommodation, whereby he could still participate in voir dire while remaining seated at counsel table. Smith voluntarily chose to approach the bench, ostensibly so that the jurors could view him at close range, knowing that a Marshal would escort him. Especially given that Smith had a lengthy criminal record and was in custody on a firearm charge, even we in find the no error of in an the district court's of requirement, absence explicit finding dangerousness. Further, even if the court's decision was error, due to the overwhelming evidence against Smith, he cannot show that the error affected his substantial rights. this claim is without merit. Accordingly, III. Smith manufactured Maryland was in asserts a that evidence state that the firearm was to different to and then the transported interstate insufficient establish nexus element of the charge against him. our precedent holds that such However, as Smith concedes, is sufficient. See evidence United States v. Gallimore, 247 F.3d 134, 138 (4th Cir. 2001); United States v. Crump, 120 F.3d 462, 466 (4th Cir. 1997). 4 IV. Smith raises several conclusory challenges to the predicate offenses used to establish his Armed Career Criminal status. violates A 18 defendant U.S.C. is an armed career and criminal has when he 922(g)(1) (2006) three prior 18 convictions for violent felonies or serious drug offenses. U.S.C. 924(e)(1) (2006). in the presentence report Smith's predicate convictions listed ("PSR") are as follows: (1) a conviction for Conspiracy to Commit Robbery with Deadly Weapon, (2) a conviction for Second Degree Assault, and (3) two convictions for Manufacture, Distribution, or Dispensation of a Controlled Dangerous Substance. Smith first asserts that the two prior drug felonies should not have been counted it is separately undisputed because that they were consolidated. However, the offenses occurred on different dates and were separated by an intervening arrest. See U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual 4A1.2 comment. (n.3) (2007) (prior sentences are not related if offenses were separated by intervening arrest). indication sentencing, that and Smith's Smith Further, the PSR provides no were consolidated in this for convictions no provides evidence regard. Absent formal consolidation, a single sentencing proceeding and concurrent sentences do not make convictions related for 5 criminal history purposes. 296-98 (4th Cir. 1995). Next, Smith United States v. Allen, 50 F.3d 294, asserts that, because the two drug offenses involved small amounts of drugs and money, they should not have been considered "serious drug offenses" as defined by the Armed Career Criminal Act ("ACCA"). under the ACCA is "an offense or under A serious drug offense State law, with involving intent . . . to for manufacturing, manufacture or distributing, distribute, a possessing controlled substance which a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or more is prescribed by law." undisputed that 18 U.S.C. 924(e)(2)(A)(ii) (2006). predicate drug offenses satisfy It is this Smith's definition; thus, the quantity of drugs or currency involved in each offense is irrelevant. Finally, Smith asserts that his misdemeanor assault was not a "violent felony" because it resulted in a suspended sentence. a Smith is incorrect. sentence, Smith The PSR shows that, rather than was sentenced to a year of suspended probation. Further, the relevant inquiry under the ACCA is the Because it maximum penalty to which the defendant was subject. is undisputed that Smith faced a maximum ten-year sentence on the assault charge, it was properly characterized as a violent felony. 1993). 6 See United States v. Thomas, 2 F.3d 79, 81 (4th Cir. V. Smith contends that the statutory mandatory minimum was cruel and unusual punishment given that he had never been given drug treatment shorter. not legally and that However, his previous sentences that Court were his has significantly argument is Smith recognizes Supreme cognizable. "The never held that a sentence to a specific term of years, even if it might turn out to be more than the reasonable life expectancy of the defendant, States v. constitutes Khan, 461 cruel and unusual 495 (4th punishment." Cir. 2006). United F.3d 477, Though "[s]evere, mandatory penalties may be cruel, . . . they are not unusual in the constitutional sense." Harmelin v. Michigan, 501 U.S. 957, 994 (1991). Based on the foregoing, we affirm Smith's conviction and sentence. 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 7

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?