United States v. Boykin

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 05-18-2015
  • Case #: 13-10248
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: District Judge Lynn for the Court; Circuit Judges Hawkins and Rawlinson
  • Full Text Opinion

If sentencing manipulation is proven by showing that the government’s conduct is extreme and outrageous, the court should apply a downward departure to the guidelines range during sentencing.

Anthony Boykin was convicted for several drug related charges. During sentencing, the Presentence Report suggested that Boykin’s sentence should be increased due to possession of a firearm. Boykin therefore received a sentence for 210 months, after the district court considered his criminal history as well. Boykin appealed, challenging the sufficiency of evidence for one of the drug charges, and his sentence. Boykin argued that “the district court erred by not granting a downward departure for sentencing manipulation, and by not finding his criminal history to be overstated.” On appeal, the Ninth Circuit reviewed the evidence to determine whether a jury could find beyond a reasonable doubt that Boykin was guilty of each element of the crime. The panel determined there was sufficient evidence to find Boykin guilty of that charge. The panel then reviewed Boykin’s sentence for sentencing manipulation. The panel noted that sentencing manipulation is proven by showing that the government’s conduct was extreme and outrageous. If sentencing manipulation is proven, the court should then apply a downward departure to the sentencing guidelines range since the manipulation raised the offense level. Boykin argued that the investigation conducted by law enforcement was outrageous due to one of the detective’s unusual relationship with an informant, Boykin, and Boykin’s brother, and law enforcement’s intention to increase Boykin’s sentence. The panel determined that the government’s conduct was just shy of extreme and outrageous, and that the investigation was extended to create a stronger case against Boykin. The panel explained that law enforcement should be permitted to determine when enough evidence has been collected during the course of an investigation. The panel therefore concluded that the district court’s findings were not clearly erroneous, including its consideration of Boykin’s criminal history, and affirmed the district court’s sentence. AFFIRMED.

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