US v. Shona Langley

Filing 920100128

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UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 08-5140 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. SHONA RENEA LANGLEY, Defendant - Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, at Abingdon. James P. Jones, Chief District Judge. (1:05-cr-00057-JPJ-PMS-1) Submitted: December 18, 2009 Decided: January 28, 2010 Before MOTZ, DUNCAN, and AGEE, Circuit Judges. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Larry W. Shelton, Federal Public Defender, Brian J. Beck, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Abingdon, Virginia, for Appellant. Julia C. Dudley, United States Attorney, Jennifer R. Bockhorst, Assistant United States Attorney, Abingdon, Virginia, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Shona judgment Renea her Langley appeals the district of court's and revoking original sentence probation imposing a thirty-six month prison sentence. We affirm. In 2005, Langley pled guilty, pursuant to a written plea agreement, to one count of misprision of a felony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 4 (2006). 4 carries a maximum term of A conviction under 18 U.S.C. imprisonment of was three zero years. to six Langley's guideline range for the offense months' imprisonment. probation. In July She was sentenced to a five-year term of 2008, Langley's probation officer filed a probation violation report with the district court. The report detailed five violations of the terms of Langley's probation that Langley left the judicial district without permission, failed to submit her mandatory monthly reports to her probation officer for the months of April, May and June of 2008, failed to notify her probation officer of a change in address, was associating with a known felon, and was neglecting her parental responsibilities. These violations occurred when Langley, after leaving her children in the care of others, began living with Charlie Virginia. Smith, a known felon, in the Eastern District of After a revocation hearing, the district court opted 2 to continue Langley's probation and ordered her to serve a fourmonth term at a community corrections center. At the time of the hearing, Langley was subject to detention by state authorities for also violating the terms of her state probation. Accordingly, instead of beginning to serve her four-month term at the community corrections center, Langley was released to state authorities and placed under state custody. she Langley, through her attorney, advised the court that to remain and in state custody federal pending her state intended revocation hearing, Langley's probation officer directed that Langley was to contact her if she secured a bond on the state charges. Langley did secure a bond, but failed to notify her federal probation officer when she was released from state custody. in the Instead, company of Langley Smith. again left the judicial Langley's district Consequently, probation officer filed a second probation violation report with the district court. Langley's new probation violation report detailed violations similar to the earlier report that Langley traveled outside of the district without permission, was neglecting her responsibilities as a parent, failed to notify her probation officer of a change in address, and was associating with a known felon. The report also referenced two additional violations. It noted Langley's failure to follow the instructions of her 3 probation officer in that she failed to contact the probation officer upon her release from state custody and that Langley had recently been arrested and convicted in state court on multiple charges relating to bad checks. At her new probation revocation hearing, Langley admitted to these latest violations, and the district court, noting that Langley had committed these latest probation violations in a matter of days after she had previously appeared before the court, sentenced her to thirtysix months' imprisonment the statutory maximum. appeals that sentence. We review probation revocation sentences "to determine if they are plainly unreasonable." 478 F.3d 652, 656 (4th Cir. 2007). United States v. Moulden, Review of a probation Langley now revocation sentence under this standard proceeds in two parts. First, we must determine whether the sentence is unreasonable. Id. If the sentence is not unreasonable, it is affirmed. If United States v. Crudup, 461 F.3d 433, 439 (4th Cir. 2006). we deem the sentence unreasonable, however, then we must ask whether it is "plainly" unreasonable "relying on the definition of `plain' [used] in . . . `plain' error analysis." Id. Thus, we would assess whether the unreasonableness of the Id. Importantly, when we for reasonableness we sentence is "clear" or "obvious." review a probation revocation sentence "take[] a more `deferential appellate posture concerning issues 4 of fact and the exercise of discretion' than reasonableness review for guidelines sentences." On appeal, Langley Moulden, 478 F.3d at 656. both the procedural and attacks substantive reasonableness of her sentence, contending that the district court failed to include an adequate statement of reasons justifying its imposition of a thirty-six month sentence and arguing that a thirty-six month sentence is too extreme a punishment given that the Chapter 7 policy statements suggested only a five to eleven month sentencing range in her case. disagree on both points. First, the record in this case evinces no significant procedural error. The record shows that the district court We adopted Langley's probation violation report, which included the five to eleven month imprisonment range suggested by the Chapter 7 policy statements, but chose to sentence Langley to thirty-six months of imprisonment based on her continued and persistent criminal conduct, her repeated violations of the conditions of her parole, and to afford her the opportunity to take advantage of opportunities for self-improvement provided by the Bureau of Prisons. It is well established that a district court's statement of reasons in the probation revocation context "need not be as specific as has been required for departing from a traditional guidelines range," Moulden, 478 F.3d at 657, and we 5 conclude the district court's reasoning in this case was sufficient. Second, Langley's sentence is not substantively unreasonable, much less plainly so. Langley's violations of her While the to eleven the probation, while minor, were numerous and persistent. Chapter month 7 policy statements range, this only suggested was a five only sentencing range based upon severity of the single most severe violation. This circuit has recognized that it is appropriate for a district court, when facing a repeat probation violator, "to take account not only of the severity of probation violations, but also their number, in fashioning a revocation sentence." Id. at 658. Keeping in mind that "the sentencing court retains broad discretion to revoke a defendant's probation and impose a term of imprisonment up to the statutory maximum," id. at 657, we believe that the number and frequency of Langley's violations sufficiently justifies the district court's sentence. Accordingly, we affirm the district court's judgment. We dispense with are oral argument because the facts the and court legal and contentions adequately presented before argument would not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED 6

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