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United States v. Martin

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

August 15, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
RICHARD MARTIN, Appellant

          Submitted Under Third Circuit L.A.R. 34.1(a) May 26, 2017

         On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (D.C. No. 2-09-cr-00098-001) District Judge: Honorable David S. Cercone

          Soo C. Song Jane M. Dattilo Rebecca R. Haywood Michael L. Ivory Office of the United States Attorney Counsel for Plaintiff-Appellee

          Lisa B. Freeland Samantha L. Stern Office of the Federal Public Defender Counsel for Defendant-Appellant

          Before: HARDIMAN, ROTH, and FISHER, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          HARDIMAN, Circuit Judge.

         Richard Martin appeals an order of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania that denied his motion for a sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). Martin claimed he was entitled to a lesser sentence because of Amendment 782 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines (Guidelines or USSG), but the District Court disagreed because Martin was a career offender. We agree with the District Court that Martin's status as a career offender meant that he was not eligible for a reduced sentence.

         I

         A

         Martin pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(iii). He and the United States entered into a written plea agreement pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(C), colloquially known as a "(C) plea, " in which they agreed that Martin's advisory range under the Guidelines was 70 to 87 months' imprisonment and that a sentence of 87 months was appropriate.

         Prior to Martin's sentencing, the United States Probation Office prepared a Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) that differed from the Guidelines calculation agreed upon by the parties. According to the Probation Office, Martin's true advisory Guidelines range was 188 to 235 months' imprisonment because Martin was a career offender.

         The Government did not object to the PSR, but Martin disagreed that he was a career offender and reserved the right to object to that finding at a later date. As Martin's counsel explained at the sentencing hearing: "I want to make the record clear. I didn't file objections. What I filed was an 11(c)(1)(C) with eighty-seven months. If the Court were not to accept it, I have a number of objections." App. 27-28.

         At sentencing, the District Court noted several times that Martin was a career offender. The Court explained: "In this case, the defendant's criminal history includes separate convictions in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County for crimes of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and fleeing and alluding [sic] a police officer. These convictions, when coupled with his current drug offense, define him as a career offender." App. 23-24. Accordingly, the District Court agreed with the PSR, finding that Martin's total offense level was 31 and his criminal history category was VI, resulting in an advisory Guidelines range of 188 to 235 months. Nevertheless, after considering the sentencing factors enumerated in 18 U.S.C. § 3553, the Court sentenced Martin to 87 months' imprisonment in accordance with Martin's (C) plea.

         In its Statement of Reasons, the District Court noted that it had adopted the PSR without change and again identified Martin's sentencing range as 188 to 235 months (the career offender range). After noting that it had imposed a below-Guidelines sentence, the Court explained that it had ...


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