738 F.3d 638 (4th Cir. 2013), 12-4856, United States v. Webb

Docket Nº:12-4856.
Citation:738 F.3d 638
Opinion Judge:FLOYD, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Austin Romaine WEBB, Jr., a/k/a Luck, Defendant-Appellant.
Attorney:Christine Madeleine Lee, Office of the Federal Public Defender, Roanoke, Virginia, for Appellant. Jean Barrett Hudson, Office of the United States Attorney, Charlottesville, Virginia, for Appellee. Larry W. Shelton, Federal Public Defender, Roanoke, Virginia, Frederick T. Heblich, Assistant Feder...
Judge Panel:Before DAVIS, KEENAN, and FLOYD, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:December 19, 2013
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
 
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Page 638

738 F.3d 638 (4th Cir. 2013)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Austin Romaine WEBB, Jr., a/k/a Luck, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 12-4856.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.

December 19, 2013

Argued: Sept. 20, 2013.

Page 639

ARGUED:

Christine Madeleine Lee, Office of the Federal Public Defender, Roanoke, Virginia, for Appellant.

Jean Barrett Hudson, Office of the United States Attorney, Charlottesville, Virginia, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF:

Larry W. Shelton, Federal Public Defender, Roanoke, Virginia, Frederick T. Heblich, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Office of the Federal Public Defender, Charlottesville, Virginia, for Appellant.

Timothy J. Heaphy, United States Attorney, Roanoke, Virginia, Ronald M. Huber, Assistant United States Attorney, Alyssa Kuhn, Third Year Law Intern, Office of the United States Attorney, Charlottesville, Virginia, for Appellee.

Before DAVIS, KEENAN, and FLOYD, Circuit Judges.

Affirmed by published opinion. Judge FLOYD wrote the opinion, in which Judge DAVIS and Judge KEENAN joined.

FLOYD, Circuit Judge:

Austin Romaine Webb, Jr., appeals his thirty-two month sentence imposed following the revocation of his supervised release, claiming that his sentence is plainly unreasonable because the district court considered statutorily prohibited factors in formulating his revocation sentence. Finding no reversible error, we affirm.

I.

Webb pled guilty in 2006 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute fifty grams or more of cocaine base and a detectable amount of cocaine hydrochloride, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, and was sentenced to an eighty-month term of imprisonment followed by a five-year term of supervised release. Benefitting from a sixteen-month reduction to his sentence pursuant to Amendment 706 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.), Webb began serving his supervised release term in August 2010.

Less than one year into his term of supervised release, Webb was arrested in New York City on charges for criminal possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of marijuana. That same month, he tested positive for use of marijuana. In September 2011, the district court found that Webb had committed a Grade C violation of his supervised release and granted the government's request to take the matter under advisement for six months.

In September and December 2011, Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement Task Force detectives conducted two controlled purchases of cocaine base from Webb in Charlottesville, Virginia. After the second controlled purchase, officers arrested Webb and confiscated 12.1 grams of cocaine

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base from his person. In January 2012, a federal grand jury indicted Webb for conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, distribution of cocaine base, and possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(b)(1)(C), 846. He subsequently pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute twenty-eight or more grams of crack cocaine.

Webb appeared for sentencing and for a hearing on the supervised release violation in October 2012. With respect to the conspiracy conviction, the district court granted the government's motion for a downward departure based upon Webb's substantial assistance and sentenced him to eighty months' imprisonment followed by eight years of supervised release. As to the supervised release violation, the government pressed the court for a " significant sentence" at the high end of Webb's Guidelines range, noting that Webb previously had benefitted from a U.S.S.G. § 5K1.1 motion but that he was caught selling drugs thirteen months later. Webb's counsel conceded that the violation was " troubling," given that it occurred shortly after Webb was released, but requested that the court impose a sentence near the low end of the Guidelines range.

Concluding that Webb's conduct constituted a Grade A violation, the court revoked the term of supervision and sentenced Webb to thirty-two months' imprisonment to run consecutively to any other federal or state sentence. In doing so, the court explained the rationale for its sentence as follows:

After considering the evidence and argument from the government and the defendant, the specific sentence recommended includes the nature and circumstances, the seriousness of the violation, provides just punishment, reveals the history and characteristics of the defendant, promotes respect for the conditions of supervision imposed by the court, and affords adequate deterrence to noncompliant behavior, and provides protection from the public from further crimes of the defendant.

The district court also noted that the thirty-two month sentence was appropriate in light of Webb's continued pattern of committing drug offenses.

Webb did not object to the district court's revocation sentence. He now appeals, contending that the thirty-two month sentence imposed upon revocation of his supervised release is plainly unreasonable.

II.

A.

A district court has broad discretion when imposing a sentence upon revocation of supervised release. United States v. Thompson, 595 F.3d 544, 547 (4th Cir.2010). We will affirm a revocation sentence if it is within the statutory maximum and is not " plainly unreasonable." United States v. Crudup, 461 F.3d 433, 438 (4th Cir.2006). In making this determination, we first consider whether the sentence imposed is procedurally or substantively unreasonable. Id. at 438-39. Only if we find the...

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