USA v. Matthew Johnson
Per Curiam OPINION filed : AFFIRMED, decision not for publication. Danny J. Boggs, Circuit Judge; John M. Rogers, Circuit Judge and Jane Branstetter Stranch, Circuit Judge.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 13a0090n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Jan 24, 2013
DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT
COURT FOR THE NORTHERN
DISTRICT OF OHIO
BEFORE: BOGGS, ROGERS, and STRANCH, Circuit Judges.
PER CURIAM. Matthew Johnson, a federal prisoner, appeals the sentence imposed
following his 2011 guilty plea to charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession
with intent to distribute crack cocaine and heroin.
The presentence report prepared in this case determined that Johnson was a career offender
and that the Guidelines sentencing range was 151 to 188 months. Johnson argued in his sentencing
memorandum that the career-offender designation overstated his criminal history and that thus the
Guidelines range should be reduced to 110 to 137 months. The district court heard argument on this
issue at the sentencing hearing but rejected the request for a downward variance and sentenced
Johnson to 151 months of imprisonment. Additionally, the court terminated the supervised release
from a previous federal conviction, which Johnson was serving at the time he committed the new
offenses, rather than imposing an additional prison term for the violation of supervised release.
United States v. Johnson
On appeal, Johnson argues that his sentence is procedurally unreasonable because the district
court did not consider the pertinent sentencing factors and ignored his argument for lenity.
We review the sentence imposed in a criminal case for reasonableness. See United States
v. Walls, 546 F.3d 728, 736 (6th Cir. 2008). In this case, Johnson did not raise his arguments that
the court failed to consider the sentencing factors and his argument for lenity below. The district
court was therefore not given an opportunity to correct this purported error, and we are deprived of
a more detailed record to review; therefore, we review only for plain error. United States v.
Simmons, 587 F.3d 348, 356-58 (6th Cir. 2009). Although Johnson argues that the district court did
not provide an opportunity for him to raise these issues, the transcript shows that the court asked if
there were any objections following its announcement of the sentence.
No plain error is apparent in the district court’s discussion of the sentencing factors. The
court addressed the errors deemed significant by the parties, including the facts of the offense and
the defendant’s criminal history. Because the sentence was within the Guidelines range, no lengthy
discussion of the sentencing factors was necessary. See United States v. Lapsins, 570 F.3d 758, 774
(6th Cir. 2009). The record also makes clear that the court considered Johnson’s argument for lenity.
See United States v. Vonner, 516 F.3d 382, 388 (6th Cir. 2008) (en banc). The district court stated
that it had read Johnson’s sentencing memorandum. After defense counsel argued, the court
summarized counsel’s argument and asked government counsel to respond to it. The district court
also explained why it rejected Johnson’s argument. See United States v. Lalonde, 509 F.3d 750, 770
(6th Cir. 2007) (observing that “[w]hen a defendant raises a particular argument in seeking a lower
sentence, the record must reflect both that the district judge considered the defendant’s argument and
United States v. Johnson
that the judge explained the basis for rejecting it”). It chose to impose a sentence within the
Guidelines range primarily due to Johnson’s history of several drug and weapon offenses and the fact
that he violated his supervised release on his previous federal conviction, for which the court decided
not to impose an additional sentence.
Based on this record, Johnson has failed to show that a plain procedural error rendered his
sentence unreasonable. Accordingly, we affirm the district court’s judgment.
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