US v. Dominique Dotson
UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 5:15-cr-00297-D-1 Copies to all parties and the district court. . [16-4605]
Pg: 1 of 3
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff - Appellee,
DOMINIQUE ROBERT DOTSON,
Defendant - Appellant.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, at
Raleigh. James C. Dever III, Chief District Judge. (5:15-cr-00297-D-1)
Submitted: July 18, 2017
Decided: July 27, 2017
Before TRAXLER, KING, and THACKER, Circuit Judges.
Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion.
Thomas P. McNamara, Federal Public Defender, Eric J. Brignac, Assistant Federal Public
Defender, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellant. John Stuart Bruce, United States
Attorney, Jennifer P. May-Parker, First Assistant United States Attorney, Kristine L.
Fritz, Assistant United States Attorney, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee.
Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
Pg: 2 of 3
Dominique Robert Dotson pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) (2012). Dotson appeals his 48-month sentence, alleging
that it is substantively unreasonable. We affirm.
We review any “sentence, within or outside of the [Sentencing] Guidelines range,
as a result of a departure or a variance . . . for reasonableness pursuant to an abuse of
discretion standard.” United States v. Diosdado-Star, 630 F.3d 359, 365 (4th Cir. 2010)
(citing Gall v. United States, 552 U.S. 38, 46, 49, 51 (2007); Rita v. United States, 551
U.S. 338, 350, 354-55 (2007)). In assessing substantive reasonableness, we “measure the
sentence against the statutory sentencing factors while taking into account the totality of
the circumstances.” United States v. Helton, 782 F.3d 148, 157 (4th Cir. 2015) (alteration
and internal quotation marks omitted). A sentence is not unreasonable simply because
we might have assigned a different weight to the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) (2012) factors.
Gall, 552 U.S. at 51. Rather, we must defer to the trial court and can reverse a sentence
only if it is unreasonable, even if the sentence would not have been our choice. United
States v. Evans, 526 F.3d 155, 160 (4th Cir. 2008). “While a district court’s explanation
for the sentence must support the degree of the variance, it need not find extraordinary
circumstances to justify a deviation from the Guidelines.” United States v. Spencer, 848
F.3d 324, 327 (4th Cir. 2017) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
At the sentencing hearing the district court calculated Dotson’s advisory
Guidelines range as 24-30 months of imprisonment. The district court carefully analyzed
the § 3553(a) factors and found an upward variance sentence of 48 months was
Pg: 3 of 3
warranted. In so resolving, the district court acknowledged the positive influences on
Dotson’s life but concluded that Dotson’s actions did not demonstrate that these
influences had improved his conduct or choices. Moreover, the district court expressed
concern about Dotson’s criminal history and his propensity for violence, and found a
need to incapacitate and deter Dotson from further criminal activity. Thus, the court
addressed the parties’ arguments, listened to Dotson personally, and adequately explained
its sentence. Based on a totality of the circumstances, Helton, 782 F.3d at 157, we
conclude the sentence is reasonable and the district court did not abuse its discretion by
imposing a sentence 18 months over the top of Dotson’s advisory sentencing range.
Diosdado-Star, 630 F.3d at 365. Accordingly we affirm the district court’s judgment.
We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately
presented in the materials before this court and argument would not aid the decisional
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?