USA v. Terrance William
OPINION filed : AFFIRMED, decision not for publication pursuant to local rule 206. Martha Craig Daughtrey, Circuit Judge; Raymond M. Kethledge, Authoring Judge and Bernice Bouie Donald, Circuit Judge.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 12a0997n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
Sep 10, 2012
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
TERRANCE WADE WILLIAMS,
DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED
STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR
THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF
Before: DAUGHTREY, KETHLEDGE, and DONALD, Circuit Judges.
KETHLEDGE, Circuit Judge. Terrance Williams challenges his sentence for armed robbery
of a credit union with forced accompaniment, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a), (d), and (e).
Williams argues that the district court impermissibly “double counted” certain offense conduct—his
abduction of a credit-union employee—when the court found that conduct to trigger both a
mandatory-minimum sentence and an enhancement to Williams’s recommended sentence under the
U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. We reject his argument and affirm.
Williams and two accomplices attempted to rob the Security Credit Union in Grand Blanc,
Michigan on November 15, 2010. The robbers seized the credit union’s night janitor and forced him,
United States v. Williams
at gunpoint, to let them into the building. The robbers quickly set off silent alarms, however, and
police apprehended Williams as he fled the scene.
Williams pled guilty. Because he abducted the night janitor during the offense, 18 U.S.C.
§ 2113 set a mandatory-minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 25
years. Id. The Probation Department then calculated Williams’s recommended Guidelines sentence
to be 135-168 months, which included a four-level enhancement for the abduction. See U.S.S.G.
§ 2b3.1(b)(4)(A). The district court accepted that enhancement over Williams’s objection. The
court sentenced Williams to 135 months in prison.
We review the district court’s interpretation of the Guidelines de novo. See United States
v. Battaglia, 624 F.3d 348, 351 (6th Cir. 2010). Williams argues that the district court may not use
the same offense conduct—the abduction—to both impose a mandatory-minimum sentence and
enhance his Guidelines range. He says that to do so was to punish him twice for the same act.
Williams overlooks the different roles that a statutory minimum and a Guidelines
enhancement play in Congress’s sentencing regime. The statute created a range—10 to 25
years—that was binding on the district court. The Guidelines, on the other hand, produced a nonbinding recommendation that merely served (along with the other factors in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a))
to guide the court in selecting an appropriate sentence within that range. Thus, the district court did
not punish Williams twice for abducting the night janitor. Rather, it used the fact of the abduction
to identify both the outer limits of its sentencing discretion and the particular sentence recommended
by the Sentencing Commission.
United States v. Williams
Our cases concerning impermissible double-counting are distinguishable. In United States
v. Farrow, 198 F.3d 179, 193 (6th Cir. 1999), for example, we held that a district court may not use
the same offense-conduct to establish a defendant’s base offense-level under the Guidelines, and then
enhance that same level. Here, Williams received the standard base offense-level for robbery (20),
which did not take account of the abduction in any form. See U.S.S.G. § 2B3.1(a). So Farrow does
What Williams calls impermissible “double counting” is actually a standard sentencing
practice in this Circuit. In United States v. Talley, 164 F.3d 989, 1004 (6th Cir. 1999), for example,
we found no double counting where the district court enhanced Talley’s Guidelines range because
the victim was a “government officer or employee,” U.S.S.G. § 3A1.2(a) (1998), even though the
statute of conviction also required the government to prove that Talley attempted to kill “any officer
or employee of the United States,” 18 U.S.C. § 1114 (1998). Similarly, for many possession-withintent-to-distribute cases, the quantity of drugs possessed will both trigger a mandatory-minimum
sentence and enhance the applicable Guidelines range. See, e.g., 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A)(i) (one
kilogram of heroin triggers a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years); U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(c)(4)
(one kilogram of heroin raises the defendant’s base offense-level from 12 to 32).
The district court’s sentencing analysis in this case is precisely what Congress intended. See
Battaglia, 624 F.3d at 351. Its judgment is affirmed.
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