US v. Philip Cooper


UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 2:99-cr-00138-AWA-1 Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. [1000014717]. Mailed to: Philip Martin Cooper FCI FORT WORTH FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION P. O. Box 15330 Fort Worth, TX 76119-0000. [15-7678]

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Appeal: 15-7678 Doc: 10 Filed: 02/01/2017 Pg: 1 of 4 UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 15-7678 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff – Appellee, v. PHILIP MARTIN COOPER, Defendant - Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Norfolk. Arenda L. Wright Allen, District Judge. (2:99-cr-00138-AWA-1) Submitted: May 17, 2016 Decided: February 1, 2017 Before GREGORY, Chief Judge, DUNCAN, Circuit Judge, and DAVIS, Senior Circuit Judge. Vacated and remanded by unpublished per curiam opinion. Philip Martin Cooper, Appellant Pro Se. Elizabeth Marie Yusi, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Norfolk, Virginia, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. Appeal: 15-7678 Doc: 10 Filed: 02/01/2017 Pg: 2 of 4 PER CURIAM: Philip denying Martin his 18 Cooper U.S.C. appeals the § 3582(c)(2) district (2012) sentence reduction under Amendment 782. court’s motion order seeking a The parties disputed Cooper’s eligibility for a sentence reduction and whether such a reduction is warranted in light of the § 3553(a) factors and Cooper’s postsentencing conduct. court simply checked the In denying the motion, the “DENIED” offering no reason for the denial. box on the form order, On appeal, Cooper contends, inter alia, that the district court erred by failing to show or set forth any finding of fact or reasons to support the court’s ruling. Under the circumtances, we agree. “We review a district court’s grant § 3582(c)(2) motion for abuse of discretion. or denial of a But the question of whether a court ruling on a § 3582(c)(2) motion must provide an individualized explanation is one of law that we consider de novo.” United States v. Smalls, 720 F.3d 193, 195 (4th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted). In deciding whether to grant a motion for a sentence reduction, the court must first determine whether the defendant is eligible for the reduction, consistent with U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 1B1.10 and then “consider whether the authorized reduction is warranted, either in whole or in part, according to the factors set forth in § 3553(a),” Dillon v. United States, 560 U.S. 2 817, 826 (2010), “to the Appeal: 15-7678 Doc: 10 Filed: 02/01/2017 Pg: 3 of 4 extent that they are applicable,” 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). The court the may defendant also that imprisonment” sentence consider occurred in “post-sentencing after determining reduction is conduct imposition whether, warranted. and of to USSG the what of term of extent, § 1B1.10 a cmt. n.1(B)(iii). We have held that, absent a contrary indication, it is presumed that the district court has considered the § 3553(a) factors and other “issues that have been fully presented for determination.” United States v. Legree, 205 F.3d 724, 728-29 (4th Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks omitted). “in the absence of evidence a court neglected Moreover, to consider relevant factors, the court does not err in failing to provide a full explanation for its § 3582(c)(2) decision.” F.3d at 196. Smalls, 720 However, the sole issue in Legree and Smalls was not the defendant’s eligibility for the reduction but whether the district court abused its discretion in assessing the § 3553(a) factors and the defendant’s postsentencing conduct. The instant case is distinguishable, because we cannot determine in the first instance whether the court concluded that Cooper was ineligible for a sentence reduction or, alternatively, whether the court decided that such a reduction was unwarranted in light of the § 3553(a) factors and Cooper’s postsentencing conduct. Because 3 the parties presented fully Appeal: 15-7678 Doc: 10 developed, sentence Filed: 02/01/2017 nonfrivolous reduction Pg: 4 of 4 arguments inquiry, we as can to both only speculate basis for the district court’s decision. unable to assess whether the court steps as of the to the Ultimately, we are abused its discretion in denying Cooper’s motion Accordingly, while we take no position as to whether Cooper is eligible for, or should receive, a sentence reduction under Amendment 782, we vacate the district court’s order and remand for further dispense consideration with contentions are oral consistent argument adequately with because presented in this the the opinion. facts We and legal materials before this court and argument would not aid the decisional process. VACATED AND REMANDED 4

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