US v. Emmanuel Washington

Filing 920090702

Download PDF
UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 08-4839 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff Appellee, v. EMMANUEL WASHINGTON, Defendant Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, at Charlottesville. Norman K. Moon, District Judge. (3:00-cr-00063-nkm-14) Submitted: June 10, 2009 Decided: July 2, 2009 Before WILKINSON, NIEMEYER, and MICHAEL, Circuit Judges. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. David L. Heilberg, DYGERT, WRIGHT, HOBBS & HEILBERG, PLC, Charlottesville, Virginia, for Appellant. Julia C. Dudley, United States Attorney, Ronald M. Huber, Assistant United States Attorney, Charlottesville, Virginia, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Emmanuel Washington appeals the district court's judgment imposing a 27-month prison sentence upon the revocation of his supervised release. Although Washington does not contest the revocation on appeal, he maintains that the district court's sentence is not reasonable as it was premised upon an improper calculation of the Chapter Seven policy statement range, see U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual ("USSG") (2007), because the state crimes for which he was convicted do not fit the criteria for a Grade A violation. He also contends that the district court impermissibly considered testimonial hearsay, in violation of the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause, and erred in considering conduct for which he was acquitted in state court. Finally, he argues that the district court failed to consider the 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) (2006) factors and to provide a sufficient explanation for the 27-month sentence. We supervised review release a to sentence imposed after it We affirm. revocation is of determine whether plainly unreasonable. United States v. Crudup, 461 F.3d 433, 437-40 The first step in this analysis is whether the Id. at 438. generally in In conducting this the procedural and (4th Cir. 2006). sentence was unreasonable. review, this court follows substantive sentences. considerations Id. employed reviewing original The district court commits procedural error by 2 improperly calculating the Guidelines. Gall v. United States, In assessing whether 552 U.S. 38, 128 S. Ct. 586, 597 (2007). the district court properly applied the Guidelines, we review the district court's factual findings for clear error and its legal conclusions de novo. United States v. Osborne, 514 F.3d For 377, 387 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 128 S. Ct. 2525 (2008). mixed questions of law and fact, we apply Id. a due deference standard in reviewing the district court. Although the district court must consider the policy statements in Chapter Seven of the Sentencing Guidelines and the statutory factors in 3553(a) and 18 U.S.C. 3583, "the court ultimately has broad discretion to revoke its previous sentence and impose a term of imprisonment up to the statutory maximum." Crudup, 461 F.3d at 439 (quoting United States v. Lewis, 424 F.3d 239, 244 (2d Cir. on 2005)) we (internal will quotation a marks omitted). Finally, review, assume deferential appellate posture concerning issues of fact and the exercise of discretion. Id. Washington did not object to the district Because court's finding that he committed a Grade A violation of the terms of his supervised release, we review this claim for plain error. United States v. Olano, 507 U.S. 725, 732 (1993). Under the plain error standard, Washington must show: (1) there was error; (2) the error was plain; and (3) the error affected his 3 substantial rights. Id. Even when these conditions are satisfied, this court may exercise its discretion to notice the error only if the error "seriously" affects the "fairness, Id. integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings." at 736 (internal quotation marks omitted). Under USSG 7B1.1(a)(1), p.s., a state offense punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year that is a "crime of violence" constitutes a Grade A violation of a defendant's supervised release. includes any offense punishable The term "crime of violence" by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year that "has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another" or "involves use of explosives [] or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another." p.s., comment. (n.2). USSG 4B1.2(a)(1) & (2); see USSG 7B1.1, The commentary to USSG 7B1.1, p.s. emphasizes that the "grade of violation does not depend on the conduct that is the subject in of a criminal criminal charges of which the defendant the grade is of convicted proceeding. Rather, violation is to be based on the defendant's actual conduct." USSG 7B1.1, p.s., comment. (n.1). was charged under Virginia law In this case, Washington among other offenses, with, abduction and malicious wounding, both felonies punishable by a 4 year or more in prison. 51 (West 2007). See Va. Code Ann. 18.2-47(A), 18.2- These crimes meet the requirements of USSG 7B1.1(a)(1)(A), p.s. in that they are state crimes of violence punishable by more than one year's imprisonment. Ann. 18.2-10 (West 2007). Thus, they See Va. Code Grade A constitute violations. Washington argues that because he was ultimately convicted of two state misdemeanors, he cannot be deemed to have committed a Grade A violation of his supervised release. is simply incorrect. This A violation of the terms of supervised release is determined on the basis of a defendant's conduct and may be found whether Washington was ever convicted of any particular offense. 1110, 1114 (9th Cir. See United States v. Jolibois, 294 F.3d 2002). a Further, although a a conviction of requires proof beyond reasonable doubt, violation supervised release need only be proved by a preponderance of the evidence, see 18 U.S.C. 3583(e)(3). As to the evidence the district court considered in finding a Grade A violation, Washington lodges two challenges. First, Washington asserts that his Sixth Amendment right to confrontation, as elucidated in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 68 (2004), was violated hearsay because in the the district court considered violation testimonial report. Probation Officer's fails, Washington's 5 Sixth Amendment claim however, revocation as Crawford proceedings does not apply they to supervised are not release "criminal because prosecutions" under the Sixth Amendment. See United States v. Kelley, 446 F.3d 688, 691-92 (7th Cir. 2006); United States v. Rondeau, 430 F.3d 44, 47-48 (1st Cir. 2005); United States v. Hall, 419 F.3d 980, 985-86 (9th Cir. 2005); United States v. Kirby, 418 F.3d 621, 627 (6th Cir. 2005); United States v. Martin, 382 F.3d 840, 844 n.4 (8th Cir. 2004). Relying on United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), Washington also asserts that the district court erred in considering conduct for which he was acquitted in state court. He reasons that his sentence violates the Sixth Amendment because the district court, in reaching its conclusion that he committed a Grade A violation, engaged in impermissible judicial fact-finding. sentencing This argument is also without merit, however, as may properly consider acquitted conduct in courts fashioning a sentencing range, as long as the conduct is proven by a preponderance of the evidence. See United States v. Watts, 519 U.S. 148, 155-56 (1997) (holding that "a jury's verdict of acquittal does not prevent the sentencing court from considering conduct underlying the acquitted charge, so long as that conduct has been proved by a preponderance of the evidence"). remains valid, even after Booker. F.3d 654, 657-58 (9th Cir. This rule United States v. Mercado, 474 (collecting cases), cert. 2007) 6 denied, 128 S. Ct. 1736 (2008); see United States v. Benkahla, 530 F.3d 300, 312 (4th Cir. 2008) (rejecting claim that sentence violates Sixth Amendment if it depended on judge-found facts to survive reasonableness review as "too creative for the law as it stands"), cert. denied, 129 S. Ct. 950 (2009); United States v. Battle, 499 F.3d 315, 322-23 (4th Cir. 2007) ("When applying the Guidelines in an advisory manner, the district court can make factual findings using the preponderance of the evidence standard."), cert. denied, 128 S. Ct. 1121 (2008). Washington's Sixth Amendment claims are without merit and the fact that he was ultimately convicted of only misdemeanors has no bearing on the district court's finding of a Grade A violation. the district As Washington lodges no other challenge to calculation of the applicable policy court's statement range, we discern no plain error. Finally, erred because and it to Washington failed provide to a asserts consider that the the 18 district court U.S.C. 3553(a) for its factors sufficient explanation imposition of the sentence. to provide any explanation Because the district court failed for why it imposed the 27-month sentence or what sentencing factors it considered, the sentence is at least arguably both procedurally we conclude and that substantively Washington's unreasonable. Nonetheless, sentence is not "plainly" unreasonable because the sentence was 7 within the recommended Guidelines range and does not exceed the applicable statutory maximum. Further, Washington does not See assert any "clear" or "obvious" error in the sentence. Crudup, 461 F.3d at 439. Accordingly, we affirm the district court's judgment. We also deny Washington's pending motion to expedite decision. 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 8

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?