United States v. Davis

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 01-27-2015
  • Case #: 13-30133
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam Opinion: Circuit Judges O’Scannlain and Kleinfeld; Concurrence by Circuit Judge Berzon
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the 2010 retroactive amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines, a district court lacks jurisdiction to modify a sentence based upon a Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement where the agreement does not: (1) require sentencing within a Guidelines range; (2) make clear that a Guidelines range served as the basis for the specified term; and, (3) show that “a sentencing range is evident from the agreement itself.”

Tyrone Davis was convicted on the basis of his 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement, and sentenced to 18 years for conspiracy, distribution, and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. Following the 2010 retroactive amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines (“Guidelines”) for crack cocaine, Davis moved for a sentence reduction. The district court held that it lacked jurisdiction to modify Davis’s sentence because, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), his sentence was not “based on” the Guidelines. The district court found that Davis’s plea agreement listed some, but not all, of the factors that enable a Guidelines calculation. Included in his agreement were what statutes and statutory penalties apply, as well as the base offense level yielded by the amount of crack cocaine involved. The agreement did not include whether sentence adjustments were appropriate, nor did it include Davis’s criminal history category under the Guidelines, both of which are required for sentence range calculation on the Guidelines matrix. On remand from the Ninth Circuit, the district court found that Davis’s criminal history category was I, not II, and by a preponderance of evidence that “Davis was a leader of the Seven Deuces Mob and in the criminal conspiracy that gave rise to the charges.” The district court considered these additional factors before accepting Davis’s plea agreement. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit first determined that Davis’s sentence was “based on” his plea agreement and not the Guidelines. Next, the panel looked to whether either of two exceptions applied that would still allow for a sentence reduction. The panel determined that, first, the agreement did not require Davis to be sentenced “within a particular Guidelines range,” and, second, the agreement does not make clear that the basis for Davis’s sentence was the “Guidelines sentencing range applicable to the offense.” Therefore, neither exception applied. AFFIRMED.

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