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Revocation Sentence Upheld for Drug Dealing

A 32-month prison sentence upon revocation of defendant’s supervised release for his continued distribution of cocaine base is not plainly unreasonable on a claim the district court referenced certain purportedly prohibited factors, the 4th Circuit says.

A district court has broad discretion when imposing a sentence upon revocation of supervised release. We will affirm a revocation sentence if it is within the statutory maximum and is not plainly unreasonable. We review the record here for plain error.

In sentencing on revocation of supervised release, a district court is guided by the federal sentencing guidelines’ Chapter Seven policy statements, as well as the statutory factors applicable to revocation sentences under 18 U.S.C. §§ 3553(a), 3583(e).

Relying on U.S. v. Crudup, 461 F.3d 433 (4th Cir. 2006), defendant contends his revocation sentence is plainly unreasonable because the district court mentioned the § 3553(a)(2)(A) factors when announcing defendant’s 32-month sentence. We disagree. Although § 3583(e) enumerates the factors a district court should consider when formulating a revocation sentence, it does not expressly prohibit a court from referencing other relevant factors omitted from the statute. As many of our sister circuits have recognized, the factors listed in § 3553(a)(2)(A) are intertwined with the factors courts are expressly authorized to consider under § 3583(e).

Although a district court may not impose a revocation sentence based predominantly on the seriousness of the releasee’s violation or the need for the sentence to promote respect for the law and provide just punishment, we conclude that mere reference to such considerations does not render a revocation sentence procedurally unreasonable when those factors as are relevant to, and considered in conjunction with, the enumerated § 3553(a) factors.

Here, although the district court referenced the three omitted § 3553(a) factors, namely the seriousness of defendant’s offense, the need to provide just punishment and the need to promote respect for the conditions of supervision, we conclude those factors were related to other considerations permissibly relied upon by the district court. Because the district court appropriately focused its discussion on the Chapter Seven policy statements and based defendant’s revocation sentence on factors listed in § 3583(e), we discern no error, much less plain error, in the district court’s consideration of related factors.

Judgment affirmed.

U.S. v. Webb (Floyd) No. 12-4856, Dec. 19, 2013; USDC at Charlottesville, Va. (Moon) Christine M. Lee, FPD, for appellant; Jean B. Hudson, AUSA, for appellee. VLW 013-2-239, 11 pp.

VLW 013-2-239

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