US v. Lejuanne Walker

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UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 1:09-cr-00369-CCB-2 Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. [998477628] [10-4536]

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US v. Lejuanne Walker Doc. 0 Case: 10-4536 Document: 23 Date Filed: 12/03/2010 Page: 1 UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 10-4536 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff Appellee, v. LEJUANNE WALKER, Defendant Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Baltimore. Catherine C. Blake, District Judge. (1:09-cr-00369-CCB-2) Submitted: November 9, 2010 Decided: December 3, 2010 Before DUNCAN, AGEE, and WYNN, Circuit Judges. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Steven F. Wrobel, ROSENBERG|MARTIN|GREENBERG, LLP, Baltimore, 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 Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. Dockets.Justia.com Case: 10-4536 Document: 23 Date Filed: 12/03/2010 Page: 2 PER CURIAM: Lejuanne Walker appeals his 144-month sentence following a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. 846 (2006). On appeal, Walker argues that the district court committed procedural error when it classified him as a career offender and failed to explicitly address his request that the career offender guidelines be rejected based on their racially disproportionate impact. We "deferential review the district court's sentence Gall under v. a abuse-of-discretion standard." United States, 552 U.S. 38, 41 (2007). must first examine the sentence to In conducting this review, we for "significant (or procedural improperly error," including "failing calculate calculating) the Guidelines range . . . or failing to adequately explain the chosen sentence." Id. at 51. In reviewing the district court's application of the Sentencing Guidelines, we review findings of fact for clear error and questions of law de novo. 2009). Section 4B1.1(a) of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines United States v. Layton, 564 F.3d 330, 334 (4th Cir. Manual ("USSG") (2009) provides that a defendant is a career offender if, among other conditions, he "has at least two prior felony convictions of either a crime of violence or a controlled 2 Case: 10-4536 Document: 23 Date Filed: 12/03/2010 Page: 3 substance offense." USSG 4B1.1(a)(3). A "controlled substance offense" is a federal or state offense, punishable by more than one year in prison, "that prohibits the manufacture, import, export, distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance (or a counterfeit substance) or the possession of a controlled substance (or a counterfeit substance) with intent to manufacture, 4B1.2(b). import, export, distribute, or dispense." USSG To determine whether a conviction qualifies as a prior offense for purposes of the career offender guidelines, a sentencing court must take a categorical approach, examining only the fact of conviction and the statutory definition of the prior offense. Shepard v. United States, 544 U.S. 13, 17 (2005); see also United States v. Dean, 605 F.3d 169, 175 (4th Cir. 2010) (recognizing that the categorical approach has been extended to the career offender provisions). Here, the district court did not err in determining that Walker qualified as a career offender for purposes of the Guidelines. 2002 Walker's career offender designation was based on a conviction, the validity of which Walker Maryland questions, and a 2006 Maryland conviction. Specifically, Walker suggests that a notation made by the state court on the record referring ambiguity to to possible the 2002 probation before judgment lends enough the The conviction's felony status that district court should have disregarded that conviction. 3 Case: 10-4536 Document: 23 Date Filed: 12/03/2010 Page: 4 district court's determination, however, was consistent with the categorical approach. The court considered the state court record, the electronic docket, and the definition of the prior offense to determine that Walker did, in fact, plead guilty to a qualifying offense. court's notation Further, the court concluded that the state reflected the possibility of probation only before judgment upon a motion for reconsideration; because the state court took no action to impose probation before judgment, the district court correctly held that the 2002 conviction was a felony for career offender purposes. Walker also argues that his sentence was unreasonable because the district court failed to consider his argument that it should disregard the career offender guidelines because of their error, racially a disproportionate court must effect. "state To in avoid open procedural court" the sentencing particular reasons that support its chosen sentence. States court's v. Carter, 564 F.3d 325, not 328 (4th Cir. 2009). it United The be explanation need be exhaustive; must "sufficient `to satisfy the appellate court that [the district court] has considered the parties' arguments and has a reasoned basis for exercising [its] own legal decisionmaking authority.'" United States v. Boulware, 604 F.3d 832, 837 (4th Cir. 2010) (quoting Rita v. United States, 551 U.S. 338, 356 (2007)). 4 Case: 10-4536 Document: 23 Date Filed: 12/03/2010 Page: 5 The district court in this case explicitly considered the seriousness of the offense, Walker's criminal history and characteristics, convictions. It and made the an nonviolent nature of Walker's and its individualized assessment explanation sufficiently reflected that assessment. 551 U.S. at 356 ("[W]e cannot read the statute Cf. Rita, (or our precedent) as insisting upon a full opinion in every case. . . . Sometimes a judicial opinion responds to every argument; sometimes it does not. . . . The law leaves much, in this Moreover, respect, to the judge's own professional judgment."). it appears from the court's explanation of its chosen sentence that it did the from consider career the Walker's policy-based in argument deciding against to Thus, vary we applying downward offender applicable guidelines Guidelines range. conclude that the district court's explanation was sufficient and did not constitute procedural error resulting in an unreasonable sentence. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the district court. legal before We dispense with oral argument because the facts and contentions the court are and adequately argument presented not in aid the the materials decisional would process. AFFIRMED 5

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