United States v. Manning

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 11-21-2012
  • Case #: 11-30150
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam; Chief Judge Kozinski; Circuit Judges Tallman and Ikuta
  • Full Text Opinion

“Attempting” to obstruct justice through false statements, which “if believed would influence or affect the investigation,” amounts to obstruction of justice for purposes of U.S. Sentencing Guideline § 3C1.1, even if the defendant later rescinds those statements.

In March 2010, Dale Manning was sentenced to 11 years in prison for possession and transportation of child pornography. Manning was allowed to continue pretrial release until he voluntarily surrendered on June 1. Nicholas Stranieri, a Pretrial Services Officer, followed a tip that Manning had violated the terms of his release by possessing guns. Manning told Stranieri that he would return the guns as soon as his pretrial release began and later stated that he was in possession of the guns for six months and had recently returned them. Both statements turned out to be false. Stranieri then recommended that the district court revoke Manning’s release. Manning was arrested in Mexico after failing to appear at the revocation hearing and pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). The district court imposed a “two-level sentencing enhancement pursuant to U.S. Sentencing Guidelines § 3C1.1” for obstruction of justice. Manning challenged the enhancement on appeal. The Ninth Circuit determined that the 1998 amendment to § 3C1.1 “did not require [that] the obstructive conduct relate substantively to defendant’s conviction offense.” In this case, “Manning willfully obstructed or impeded, or attempted to obstruct or impede, the administration of justice with respect to the investigation, prosecution or sentencing of the felon-in-possession case.” Moreover, that conduct was related to the child pornography convictions. Therefore, the Court concluded that the district court did not err in applying the enhancement. The Court also determined that “attempting” to obstruct justice through false statements, which “if believed would influence or affect the investigation,” amounts to obstruction of justice for purposes of § 3C1.1, even if the defendant later rescinds those statements. AFFIRMED.

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