US v. Maurice Young

Filing 920090724

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UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 08-5021 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff Appellee, v. MAURICE YOUNG, a/k/a Peanut, Defendant Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Baltimore. Andre M. Davis, District Judge. (1:07cr-00229-AMD-7) Submitted: July 6, 2009 Decided: July 24, 2009 Before MOTZ, KING, and DUNCAN, Circuit Judges. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Mark A. Van Bavel, MARK VAN BAVEL, P.A., Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellant. Rod J. Rosenstein, United States Attorney, Michael C. Hanlon, Assistant United States Attorney, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Pursuant to a plea agreement, Maurice Young pled guilty to one count of bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2113 (a) & (d) (2006) and one count of use of a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A)(ii) (2006). The district court sentenced Young to 300 months' imprisonment on the bank robbery conviction and an additional 144 months on the firearms conviction, to be served consecutively. On appeal, Young timely noted his appeal. Young argues that the district court A improperly enhanced his sentence for obstruction of justice. district court's factual findings, including those that serve as a basis for an obstruction of justice enhancement under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual ("USSG") 3C1.1, are reviewed for clear error. (4th Cir. 2004). United States v. Kiulin, 360 F.3d 456, 460 This deferential standard of review requires reversal only if this court is "left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed." Stevenson, 396 F.3d 538, 542 (4th Cir. United States v. 2005) (quoting However, Anderson v. Bessemer City, 470 U.S. 564, 573 (1985)). a district court's legal conclusions regarding whether to apply a sentencing enhancement are reviewed de novo. See United States v. Layton, 564 F.3d 330, 334 (4th Cir. 2009). 2 According to USSG 3C1.1, a defendant's base offense level is to be increased two levels for obstruction of justice if the defendant willfully obstructed or impeded, or attempted to obstruct or impede, the administration of justice with respect to the investigation, prosecution, or sentencing of the instant offense of conviction, and . . . the obstructive conduct related to (i) the defendant's offense of conviction[.] USSG 3C1.1. Obstructive conduct within the meaning of 3C1.1 includes, but is not limited to, "threatening, intimidating, or otherwise unlawfully influencing a co-defendant, witness, or juror, directly or indirectly, or attempting to do so." 3C1.1, comment (n.4(a)). USSG Here, the district court enhanced Young's base offense level pursuant to USSG 3C1.1 after determining that Young yelled at a cooperating witness in the courthouse lock-up in the presence of other prisoners and called the cooperating witness a "snitch" and a "rat." which they were made Young's statements and the context in establish his intent to, directly or indirectly, intimidate or unlawfully influence the cooperating witness. cooperate By knowingly revealing the witness' willingness to with authorities, Young exposed the witness to a potentially hostile crowd, and the district court could properly conclude based on Young's statements and the context in which they were made that Young intended to obstruct justice. See 3 United States v. Hurst, 228 F.3d 751, 761-62 (6th Cir. 2000). Accordingly, the district court did not err in enhancing Young's offense level by two levels for obstruction of justice. Young also argues on appeal that the district court committed reviews a procedural sentence abuse of error imposed in by sentencing a him. This court a district court Gall under v. deferential discretion standard. United United In States, 552 U.S. 38, ___, 128 S. Ct. 586, 597 (2007). States v. Evans, 526 F.3d 155, 161 (4th Cir. 2008). reviewing a sentence, we must first ensure that the district court committed (or no procedural error, such the as failing to calculate improperly calculating) Guidelines range, treating the Guidelines as mandatory, failing to consider the 3553(a) factors, selecting a sentence based on clearly erroneous facts, or failing to adequately explain the chosen sentence - including an explanation for any deviation from the Guidelines range. procedural Gall, 128 S. Ct. at 597. we the then sentence. consider Id. If there are no the A substantive substantive errors, of reasonableness reasonableness review entails taking into account the totality of the circumstances. United States v. Pauley, 511 F.3d 468, Further, 473 (4th Cir. 2007) (quotations and citation omitted). this court may presume a sentence within the Guidelines range to be reasonable. Id. Even if the reviewing court would have 4 reached a different result, this fact alone is insufficient to justify reversal of the district court. Id. at 474. "When rendering a sentence, the district court must make an individualized assessment based on the facts presented." United States v. Carter, 564 F.3d 325, 328 (4th Cir. 2009) (quoting Gall, 128 S. Ct. at 597) (internal quotations omitted) (emphasis in the original)). must apply the relevant Accordingly, a sentencing court factors to the particular 3553(a) facts presented and must "state in open court" the particular reasons that support its chosen sentence. Id. Stating in open court the particular reasons for a chosen sentence requires the district court to set forth enough to satisfy this court that the district court has a reasoned basis for its decision and has considered the parties' arguments. Id. We have reviewed the record, and it is clear that the district court conducted a thorough and particularized sentencing hearing during which it considered and, ultimately, rejected Young's sentencing arguments. Also, the district court applied the relevant 3553(a) factors and clearly stated in open court the basis for the chosen sentence. Accordingly, Young fails to demonstrate that his sentence was procedurally unreasonable. Additionally, this court may presume on appeal that a sentence within a defendant's advisory Guidelines range is substantively reasonable, and Young fails to offer anything 5 to rebut that presumption. Rita v. United States, 551 U.S. 338, Accordingly, we affirm the __, 127 S. Ct. 2456, 2459 (2007). judgment of the district court. We dispense with oral argument as the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before the court and argument would not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED 6

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