United States v. Goodbear

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 04-13-2012
  • Case #: 10-30381
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Tallman for the Court; Circuit Judge McKeown and District Judge Moskowitz
  • Full Text Opinion

For purposes of applying a two-level enhancement under USSG § 3B1.4, the use of a minor by another person can be attributed to a defendant who knew or should have known that the person would use the minor to lie to authorities.

Marcia Ann Goodbear was sentenced to thirty-seven months in custody, three years of probation, and $12,763.66 in restitution after pleading guilty to assault resulting in substantial bodily injury and misprision of felony. Goodbear failed to act after hearing her husband, Adrian Goodbear, beat his daughter, Lyrik, for an extended period of time. The couple waited another thirty minutes before seeking medical attention. Goodbear, Adrian Goodbear, and K.H., Adrian Goodbear’s minor son, lied to medical staff, saying Lyrik had fallen from a tree. Doctors declared Lyrik brain dead, and Adrian Goodbear was convicted of second-degree murder. Goodbear later admitted to striking S.G., her stepdaughter, to prevent her from entering the room where Adrian Goodbear was beating Lyrik. Goodbear appealed the district court’s imposition of a four-level sentencing enhancement based on the finding that the belt Adrian Goodbear used to beat Lyrik constituted a dangerous weapon. Goodbear also appealed a two-level increase imposed for use of a minor, and her thirty-seven-month sentence. The Ninth Circuit found that the belt was a dangerous weapon because it was “an instrument capable of inflicting death or serious bodily injury” under USSG § 2A2.2(b)(2)(B). The Court further concluded that the district court did not err in finding that Goodbear knew or should have known that Adrian Goodbear told K.H. to lie about the cause of Lyrik’s death. Hence, the two-level enhancement under USSG § 3B1.4 was appropriate. Finally, the Court found that the thirty-seven-month sentence was not reasonable, because it exceeds the maximum sentence of three years under 18 U.S.C. § 4. AFFIRMED in part, VACATED in part, and REMANDED.

Advanced Search