United States v. Waters

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 11-14-2014
  • Case #: 13-50332
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam: Circuit Judges Kleinfeld, Graber, and Owens
  • Full Text Opinion

There is no ex post facto problem if amendments to post-conduct sentencing guidelines do not increase the punishment for the defendant’s crime over what was imposed when the defendant was sentenced.

Geary W. Walters appealed the district court's order dismissing his motion for reduction of sentence. The district court determined that Waters was a career offender pursuant to U.S.S.G § 4B1.1. Waters argued he was eligible for resentencing under Amendment 759, which made permanent and retroactive earlier modifications to the drug-quantity table in the United States Sentencing Guideline 2D1.1 for offenses involving cocaine. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit reviewed de novo whether a district court has jurisdiction to modify an otherwise final sentence. The panel held that although Waters was correct that he was sentenced in part based on the crack cocaine lines in 2D1.1, which have since been revised, he is ineligible for a reduction of his sentence because the Amendment had no effect because of his career offender status. Waters also argued that the 2011 amendment to the Application Note 6 of the U.S.S.G. 1B1.10 violates the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution. The panel considered the Seventh Circuit and the Eleventh Circuit applications of the amendment to determine that because application of the amendments would not increase the punishment for his crime over what was imposed when he was sentenced, there is no ex post facto problem. AFFIRMED.

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