USA v. Christopher Wilson
Per Curiam OPINION filed : The judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED. Decision not for publication. Julia Smith Gibbons, Richard Allen Griffin, and Bernice Bouie Donald, Circuit Judges.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PUBLICATION
File Name: 16a0315n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
CHRISTOPHER JORDAN WILSON,
Jun 09, 2016
DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT
COURT FOR THE EASTERN
DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
BEFORE: GIBBONS, GRIFFIN, and DONALD, Circuit Judges.
In 2004, federal prisoner Christopher Wilson pleaded guilty to possession with intent to
distribute methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). The district court granted the
government’s motion for a downward departure for Wilson’s substantial assistance and
sentenced him to 212 months of imprisonment. United States v. Wilson, 214 F. App’x 578, 579
(6th Cir. 2007). We affirmed his sentence on appeal. Id.
In 2015, Wilson filed a motion for a sentence reduction pursuant to Amendment 782 to
the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which reduced the offense levels in the drug quantity
table. See 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). The district court denied the reduction as unwarranted based
on Wilson’s criminal conduct in the instant offense, extensive criminal history, and the need for
specific deterrence. The court noted that “a shorter term of imprisonment would not likely deter
United States v. Wilson
Wilson from returning to criminal activity in the future. . . . Any further reduction [beyond the
reduction for substantial assistance] would unduly diminish the seriousness of Wilson’s criminal
conduct and would fail to satisfy the remaining [18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)] factors.” In its order
denying Wilson’s motion, the district court considered “the [3553(a)] factors, including the
seriousness of the criminal conduct, the defendant’s personal history and characteristics, the
defendant’s acceptance of responsibility and cooperation, specific and general deterrence, and
the need to protect the public from potential, future crimes by Wilson.”
Three months later, Wilson filed a second motion for a sentence reduction, this time
attaching evidence that he received his General Education Diploma and various vocational
certificates while incarcerated. After noting these achievements and expressly taking them into
consideration, the district court nonetheless denied Wilson’s second motion for the reasons set
out in the court’s prior order. Wilson appeals.
We review for abuse of discretion. United States v. Washington, 584 F.3d 693, 695 (6th
Cir. 2009). A district court abuses its discretion when it relies on clearly erroneous factual
findings, improperly applies the law, uses an erroneous legal standard, or, in rare circumstances,
when it fails to adequately explain its decision. United States v. Howard, 644 F.3d 455, 458–59,
461 (6th Cir. 2011).
“The decision whether to grant an authorized sentence reduction is
discretionary.” United States v. Watkins, 625 F.3d 277, 281 (6th Cir. 2010). In this case, the
parties do not dispute whether Wilson was eligible for a modification, only whether the district
court abused its discretion.
While we genuinely commend Wilson’s efforts to advance his education and
employment, including the successful completion of a culinary arts certificate and becoming a
sous chef, we cannot conclude that the district court abused its discretion in denying Wilson a
United States v. Wilson
further reduced sentence. The district court properly considered the relevant statutory factors,
and, even though it was not required to do so, also considered Wilson’s post-sentencing conduct.
See id. (citing U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10 cmt. n.1(B)(i)−(iii)).
Moreover, the court specifically
explained the reasons for its denial, highlighting in particular Wilson’s conduct in the instant
offense, extensive criminal history, and the need for specific deterrence.
district court did not abuse its discretion.
We affirm the district court’s judgment.
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