United States v. Brewer, 021717 FED5, 15-10866

Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Judge Panel:Before JOLLY, HIGGINBOTHAM, and PRADO, Circuit Judges.
Opinion Judge:EDWARD C. PRADO, Circuit Judge
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. DAVID LEE BREWER, Defendant-Appellant. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. WILLIAM EUGENE BOYD, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:February 17, 2017
Docket Nº:15-10866, 15-10947
 
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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

DAVID LEE BREWER, Defendant-Appellant.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

WILLIAM EUGENE BOYD, Defendant-Appellant.

Nos. 15-10866, 15-10947

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

February 17, 2017

         Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

          Before JOLLY, HIGGINBOTHAM, and PRADO, Circuit Judges.

          EDWARD C. PRADO, Circuit Judge

         This case involves a consolidated criminal appeal in which David Lee Brewer and William Eugene Boyd (collectively, "the Appellants") each pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement to one count of bank robbery. The Appellants were sentenced as career offenders in separate proceedings. The Appellants both objected to application of the career-offender enhancement during sentencing. The district court in both cases overruled this objection, and Brewer and Boyd now appeal. Because federal bank robbery qualifies as a crime of violence under § 4B1.2(a)(1), we AFFIRM.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         This case is a consolidated direct appeal of two criminal cases involving federal bank robbery. A brief summary of the facts of each Appellant's case follows.

         A. David Lee Brewer

         On December 17, 2014, David Lee Brewer robbed a bank in Lubbock, Texas. In January 2015, Brewer was indicted on one count of federal bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and in May of that year he pleaded guilty. In its presentence report ("PSR"), the Probation Office applied the career-offender enhancement under U.S.S.G § 4B1.1 because it concluded that the instant offense was a "crime of violence" and that Brewer had two prior felony convictions that were either crimes of violence or controlled substance offenses. This initially raised Brewer's offense level from 24 to 321 and also raised Brewer's criminal history category from IV to VI.

         Brewer filed written objections to the PSR's application of the career-offender Guidelines enhancement. He raised the same objections later during the sentencing hearing. The district judge ultimately overruled Brewer's objections and accepted the PSR's recommendation of a sentencing range between 151 and 188 months. The district judge subsequently sentenced Brewer at the top of that range.

         B. William Eugene Boyd

         Like Brewer, William Eugene Boyd was indicted under 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) for federal bank robbery and pleaded guilty. The Probation Office classified Boyd as a career offender based on its conclusion that federal bank robbery is a "crime of violence" under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2. This enhancement raised Boyd's adjusted offense level to 32 and his criminal history category from IV to VI.

         Boyd made the same objections as Brewer to the application of the career-offender enhancement-both in writing and during sentencing. Thereafter, the district court overruled Boyd's objections, applied the career-offender enhancement, calculated an advisory Guidelines range of 151 to 188 months, and imposed a within-range sentence.

         Both Brewer and Boyd timely appealed application of the career-offender enhancement to federal bank robbery.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Both Appellants preserved error by arguing before the district court that their bank robbery convictions do not qualify as "crimes of violence" under § 4B1.2 for the purposes of the § 4B1.1 career-offender enhancement. Accordingly, "[t]his court reviews de novo the characterization of a prior offense as a crime of violence." United States v. Flores-Vasquez, 641 F.3d 667, 669 (5th Cir. 2011).

         Section 4B1.1 provides an enhancement for defendants who qualify as "career offenders." See U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(c). A defendant is considered a "career offender" if: (1) the defendant was at least eighteen years old at the time the defendant committed...

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