US v. Carl Ray McNeil, Jr.
UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 7:02-cr-00098-F-1 Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. .. [16-4863]
Pg: 1 of 5
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff - Appellee,
CARL RAY MCNEIL, JR.,
Defendant - Appellant.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, at
Wilmington. James C. Fox, Senior District Judge. (7:02-cr-00098-F-1)
Submitted: August 31, 2017
Decided: September 8, 2017
Before NIEMEYER, MOTZ, and HARRIS, Circuit Judges.
Affirmed in part; dismissed in part by unpublished per curiam opinion.
Thomas P. McNamara, Federal Public Defender, Jennifer C. Leisten, Research & Writing
Attorney, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellant. John Stuart Bruce, United States
Attorney, Jennifer P. May-Parker, First Assistant United States Attorney, Seth Morgan
Wood, Assistant United States Attorney, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee.
Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
Pg: 2 of 5
After a successful collateral attack on his sentence, the district court resentenced
Carl Ray McNeil, Jr., to 382 months’ imprisonment and imposed $92,568.73 in
restitution. On appeal, McNeil challenges the restitution award and his sentence of
We dismiss McNeil’s appeal of the restitution order and affirm his
sentence of imprisonment.
The Government contends we should dismiss McNeil’s challenge to the district
court’s restitution order because he failed to file a notice of appeal after the court
amended its judgment to include restitution. We agree. In a criminal case, a defendant
must file his notice of appeal within 14 days after the entry of judgment or the order
being appealed. Fed. R. App. P. 4(b)(1)(A). “To secure appellate review of a judgment
or order, a party must file a notice of appeal from that judgment or order.” Manrique v.
United States, 137 S. Ct. 1266, 1271 (2017). In Manrique, the Court concluded that a
defendant who seeks to appeal a district court’s deferred restitution order must file a
notice of appeal after the court enters its amended judgment. Id. Although this case is
not a deferred restitution case, we conclude that Manrique applies. The court did not
impose restitution at McNeil’s resentencing, although it did so at his original sentencing.
Recognizing this omission, the court sua sponte entered an amended judgment imposing
restitution after McNeil filed his notice of appeal, stating that it was correcting a clerical
error pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 36. Because McNeil has not filed a notice of appeal
from this order or the amended judgment and the Government has timely invoked
Pg: 3 of 5
McNeil’s failure to do so, we dismiss this portion of the appeal. * See Manrique, 137 S.
Ct. at 1271.
Turning to McNeil’s sentence of imprisonment, we review a defendant’s sentence
“under a deferential abuse-of-discretion standard.” Gall v. United States, 552 U.S. 38, 41
(2007). Under this standard, a sentence is reviewed for both procedural and substantive
Id. at 51.
In determining procedural reasonableness, we consider
whether the district court properly calculated the defendant’s advisory Guidelines range,
gave the parties an opportunity to argue for an appropriate sentence, considered the
18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) (2012) factors, and sufficiently explained the selected sentence. Id.
at 49-51. If a sentence is free of “significant procedural error,” we then review it for
substantive reasonableness, “tak[ing] into account the totality of the circumstances.”
Id. at 51. In considering a sentence above the Guidelines range, we “may consider the
extent of the deviation, but must give due deference to the district court’s decision that
the § 3553(a) factors, on a whole, justify the extent of the variance.” United States v.
Howard, 773 F.3d 519, 528 (4th Cir. 2014). A district court cannot give excessive
weight to any single § 3553(a) factor. United States v. Hampton, 441 F.3d 284, 288 (4th
McNeil contends that his sentence is procedurally unreasonable because the
district court failed to adequately address his arguments in favor of a low-end Guidelines
We express no opinion on the propriety of the district court’s use of Rule 36 to
reimpose the restitution it omitted after McNeil’s resentencing.
Pg: 4 of 5
sentence and that his sentence in substantively unreasonable in light of the § 3553(a)
factors. In evaluating a sentencing court’s explanation of a selected sentence, we have
consistently held that, although the district court must consider the statutory factors and
explain the sentence, “it need not robotically tick through the § 3553(a) factors.” United
States v. Helton, 782 F.3d 148, 153 (4th Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks omitted).
“Regardless of whether the district court imposes an above, below, or within-Guidelines
sentence, it must place on the record an ‘individualized assessment’ based on the
particular facts of the case before it.” United States v. Carter, 564 F.3d 325, 330 (4th Cir.
2009) (quoting Gall, 552 U.S. at 50). “Where the defendant or prosecutor presents
nonfrivolous reasons for imposing a different sentence than that set forth in the advisory
Guidelines, a district judge should address the party’s arguments and explain why he has
rejected those arguments.” United States v. Bollinger, 798 F.3d 201, 220 (4th Cir. 2015)
(internal quotation marks omitted).
Although it is sometimes possible to discern a
sentencing court’s rationale from the context surrounding its decision, United States v.
Montes-Pineda, 445 F.3d 375, 381 (4th Cir. 2006), “an appellate court may not guess at
the district court’s rationale, searching the record for statements by the Government or
defense counsel or for any other clues that might explain a sentence,” Carter, 564 F.3d at
We conclude that the district court’s explanation of the sentence was adequate.
The court recognized that it was required to recognize McNeil’s postconviction conduct.
Moreover, given the parties’ extensive argument concerning how much weight the court
should give to the conduct, the court’s comment indicates that it did indeed consider it.
Pg: 5 of 5
However, the record reveals that the court found the heinous nature of McNeil’s offense
conduct to be a more important factor in fashioning the sentence. Additionally, the court
specifically referenced three of the § 3553(a) factors at sentencing. While the court
focused primarily on the seriousness of the offense conduct, we conclude that this is a
case where the sentencing decision appropriately “turn[ed] on a single § 3553(a) factor.”
United States v. Engle, 592 F.3d 495, 504 (4th Cir. 2010). McNeil’s advancing age and
attempts at rehabilitation may reduce the threat to public safety, but his actions of robbing
a post office with a firearm and then shooting an officer in pursuit not only seriously
injured the officer, but could have resulted in serious injury or death to any bystanders.
Thus, we conclude the district court did not abuse its discretion in imposing an aboveGuidelines sentence.
Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal as to the restitution order and affirm as to
McNeil’s sentence of imprisonment. 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 process.
AFFIRMED IN PART;
DISMISSED IN PART
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?