USA v. Phillip Thompson
Per Curiam OPINION filed : we AFFIRM Thompson's sentence, decision not for publication. Danny J. Boggs and Eugene E. Siler , Jr., Circuit Judges and The Honorable David D. Dowd , Jr., U.S. District Judge for the Northern Districtof Ohio, sitting by designation..
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 13a0692n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Jul 29, 2013
DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT
COURT FOR THE WESTERN
DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
BEFORE: BOGGS and SILER, Circuit Judges; DOWD, District Judge.*
PER CURIAM. Phillip Thompson appeals the district court’s denial of a reduction for
acceptance of responsibility in sentencing him for bank robbery and firearm offenses. We affirm.
On the morning of December 17, 2009, Thompson robbed two banks at gunpoint in
Memphis, Tennessee. After the second robbery, Thompson fled in his car and led police on a highspeed chase, during which he leaned out of his vehicle and fired several shots with a rifle.
Thompson eventually crashed into a building, fled on foot, and was apprehended by police.
Thompson was charged with and pleaded guilty to two counts of bank robbery in violation
of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a), one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime
of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), one count of possession of a firearm by a felon in
The Honorable David D. Dowd, Jr., United States District Judge for the Northern District
of Ohio, sitting by designation.
United States v. Thompson
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), and one count of possession of ammunition by a felon in violation
of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). The district court sentenced Thompson to concurrent terms of twenty years
for each bank robbery conviction, concurrent terms of ten years for each felon-in-possession
conviction, and ten years for the § 924(c) conviction, all to be served consecutively for a total of
forty years of imprisonment.
In this timely appeal, Thompson challenges the district court’s denial of a reduction for
acceptance of responsibility under USSG § 3E1.1(a), which provides for a two-level decrease in a
defendant’s offense level “[i]f the defendant clearly demonstrates acceptance of responsibility for
his offense.” Because “[t]he sentencing judge is in a unique position to evaluate a defendant’s
acceptance of responsibility . . . . , the determination of the sentencing judge is entitled to great
deference on review.” USSG § 3E1.1, comment. (n.5). We therefore review that determination for
clear error. United States v. Theunick, 651 F.3d 578, 588 (6th Cir. 2011).
In determining whether a defendant has accepted responsibility, the district court may
consider whether the defendant truthfully admits or does not falsely deny “any additional relevant
conduct for which the defendant is accountable under § 1B1.3 (Relevant Conduct).” USSG § 3E1.1,
comment. (n.1(A)). “[A] defendant who falsely denies, or frivolously contests, relevant conduct that
the court determines to be true has acted in a manner inconsistent with acceptance of responsibility.”
At the plea hearing and again at sentencing, Thompson maintained that he did not fire his
weapon directly at the pursuing officer, asserting that he fired the weapon in the air. Officer John
Standridge testified at sentencing that he observed Thompson lean out of his vehicle and fire at least
United States v. Thompson
a dozen shots in the officer’s direction. Finding that Officer Standridge was credible and that
Thompson shot at the officer, the district court denied a reduction for acceptance of responsibility
because “there was a . . . significant material misstatement with the intent that the court rely upon
it, and that has now been proven to be false.”
According to Thompson, the district court denied a reduction for acceptance of responsibility
based on the prosecutor’s inaccurate account that Thompson “insisted he held that gun straight up
in the air.” Thompson asserts that he said that he fired the weapon in the air, which he contends is
consistent with the officer’s account of the incident, and never claimed that he fired the weapon
“straight up” in the air. Regardless of whether he used the words “straight up,” Thompson
specifically stated at sentencing that he “didn’t fire the weapon directly at officers” and “[i]t wasn’t
directed at any officers at all,” in conflict with Officer Standridge’s testimony that Thompson fired
shots in his direction. We can discern no clear error in the district court’s denial of a reduction for
acceptance of responsibility where the district court, crediting Officer Standridge’s testimony, found
that Thompson made a material misstatement about whether he fired at the officer. See United States
v. Lay, 583 F.3d 436, 448-49 (6th Cir. 2009); United States v. Wolfe, 71 F.3d 611, 616 (6th Cir.
Thompson further argues that the prosecutor arbitrarily declined to move for a one-level
reduction for acceptance of responsibility under USSG § 3E1.1(b) based on a clearly erroneous
factual determination. As discussed above, the district court did not clearly err in denying a twolevel reduction for acceptance of responsibility under USSG § 3E1.1(a); therefore, Thompson was
not entitled to a one-level reduction under USSG § 3E1.1(b). See USSG § 3E1.1(b) (providing for
United States v. Thompson
a one-level decrease upon the government’s motion “[i]f the defendant qualifies for a decrease under
For the foregoing reasons, we affirm Thompson’s sentence.
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?