USA v. Arthur Tucker
OPINION filed: VACATE the district court's sentence and REMAND the case for resentencing in light of Tapia, decision not for publication pursuant to local rule 206. Boyce F. Martin , Jr., Circuit Judge; Deborah L. Cook, (authoring) Circuit Judge and Raymond M. Kethledge, Circuit Judge.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 12a0409n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
Apr 13, 2012
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
ARTHUR THOMAS TUCKER,
LEONARD GREEN, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED
STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Before: MARTIN, COOK, and KETHLEDGE, Circuit Judges.
COOK, Circuit Judge. Arthur Tucker pleaded guilty to one count of using a telephone to
threaten injury or destruction by explosives, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(e). The district court
sentenced him to 37 months’ imprisonment. For the following reasons, we vacate the district court’s
sentence and remand for resentencing.
Tucker urges the court to reverse the district court’s imposition of the four-level “substantial
disruption of business function” enhancement under § 2A6.1(b)(4). We review legal conclusions
regarding application of the Guidelines de novo and factual findings in applying the Guidelines for
clear error. United States v. Jackson, 635 F.3d 205, 207 (6th Cir. 2011). The § 2A6.1(b)(4)
enhancement applies when “the offense resulted in . . . substantial disruption of public, governmental,
United States v. Tucker
or business functions or services.” The district court noted the following facts in explaining its
decision to apply the enhancement:
[I] have a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield which indicates that their losses on this
were on the order of $558,000. In addition to that, the threat of this nature, which was
a bomb threat, no matter why it was made, required Blue Cross Blue Shield to
completely empty out their headquarters tower downtown, and in the middle of a
business day I might add, and I think that clearly any objective officer would -- well,
this objective court officer would conclude that that was a substantial disruption of the
business practices of Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Neither party disputes these facts, all of which appear in the Presentence Investigation Report. At the
sentencing hearing, the district court adopted the factual findings in the PSR without objection from
As the district court and both parties note, little case law exists regarding the scope of §
2A6.1(b)(4). But our sister circuits apply the enhancement in cases involving disruptions similar in
scale to those that Tucker caused in this case. See, e.g., United States v. Dudley, 463 F.3d 1221, 1226
(11th Cir. 2006) (applying enhancement because the defendant’s “threatening letter resulted in closing
half a floor of the state courthouse for two hours and the suspension of judicial business involving
[a judge] for longer than that” and “the hazardous materials unit responded to the emergency and an
officer and [the judge’s] secretary were placed under quarantine while the FBI determined whether
the white powder from the envelope contained anthrax”). We do likewise and reject Tucker’s §
United States v. Tucker
Tucker, citing Tapia v. United States, 131 S. Ct. 2382 (2011), also contends that the district
court erred by increasing the length of his prison term in order to promote his rehabilitation. The
government agrees, as do we. In Tapia, which the Supreme Court issued three months after Tucker
filed his appeal, the Court held that 18 U.S.C. § 3582(a) “precludes sentencing courts from imposing
or lengthening a prison term to promote an offender’s rehabilitation.” 131 S. Ct. at 2391. The Court
then remanded Tapia’s case for resentencing because the sentencing court’s statement of reasons
suggested that it “may have selected the length of the sentence to ensure that Tapia could complete
the 500 Hour Drug Program.” Id. at 2392.
The following passage from the district court’s statement of reasons raises the possibility that
the district court selected Tucker’s sentence in part based on the reasons held impermissible in Tapia.
It is not evident that you are a violent or . . . drug-dealing or gun-wielding person. But
by the same token, criminal history, we have 13 pages of material here and, candidly,
I think it’s up to the Court at this point to put an end to this and put you in a position
where you can get some help and some treatment, and my sentence will be designed
to do that.
For these reasons, we VACATE the district court’s sentence and REMAND the case for
resentencing in light of Tapia.
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