United States v. Young, 110618 FED7, 17-3494

Docket Nº:17-3494
Opinion Judge:Hamilton, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Dean D. Young, Defendant-Appellant.
Judge Panel:Before Wood, Chief Judge, and Flaum and Hamilton, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:November 06, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Dean D. Young, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 17-3494

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

November 6, 2018

Argued September 21, 2018

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. No. 16-CR-169 - William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge.

Before Wood, Chief Judge, and Flaum and Hamilton, Circuit Judges.

Hamilton, Circuit Judge.

Defendant-appellant Dean Young pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1343, for defrauding the Veterans Administration (VA) regarding the extent of his service-related injuries. The district court sentenced Young to 21 months in prison, in the middle of the Sentencing Guideline range calculated based on the loss amount agreed to by the parties and adopted by the court.

Young appeals his sentence, arguing that the district court committed a "plain error" by using the stipulated loss amount of $201, 521.41 to calculate both his guideline range and the amount of restitution. We affirm. Young waived any objection to the loss amount. This was not merely a forfeiture-an inadvertent failure to raise an important issue-but rather an intentional waiver that was part of a broad compromise of potentially disputed sentencing issues. We hope this opinion might help illustrate the difference between waiver and forfeiture.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

A. Defendant's Military Service

Defendant Young enlisted in the United States Army in 1977. During a training exercise the following year, he suffered a back injury when his jeep crashed into an unmarked tank trap. Young later took part in a 1979 parachute training exercise. Many years later, he claimed that he was traumatized when he witnessed a fellow soldier's death in the jump. By early 1981, Young had been honorably discharged from the Army.

Over the following decade, Young worked in various positions manufacturing yachts, packaging goods, and operating a boiler. Starting in 1984, after he denied having any medical or mental health conditions, Young also enlisted in the Wisconsin Army National Guard. He was discharged from the National Guard under "general conditions" in 1989.

B. Disability Compensation

In 1990, Young filed his first claim with the VA for compensation for his back injuries from the jeep accident. Young was awarded a 10% disability rating for his back pain, which resulted in small monthly payments. Another decade passed before Young sought a new disability assessment from the VA, claiming he was unable to bend over to put on socks or tie shoes, could no longer canoe or hunt, and had to change jobs due to his back pain. In May 2002 the VA increased Young's payments to reflect a 20% disability rating, with an effective date of July 30, 2001.

Within a month, Young petitioned for another increase in disability rating, claiming for the first time a mental health disability: service-related depression as a secondary condition to back pain. The following month Young sought a further compensation increase due to "unemployability." In November 2002, Young filed his first claim asserting that he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), due primarily to having witnessed the fatal parachute accident and his jeep accident. The VA concluded that Young should receive a combined 40% disability rating for the back problems and PTSD. Young appealed, and in November 2003, he prevailed. The VA increased his disability rating to 70% for his PTSD and 60% for his back injuries. The VA also granted his request for a finding that he was unemployable. He was assigned a combined 100% compensation rate effective as of June 2002.

Young did not stop there. In 2004 he sought additional VA compensation, primarily in the form of a grant to adapt his house to accommodate his allegedly increasing disability. The VA denied his request, noting that he did not need assistive devices such as a cane, braces, or a wheelchair. In his 2005 appeal of that denial, Young asserted that he in fact did need two canes to assist with walking and that he was using a wheelchair. This appeal was denied, so Young appealed again in 2006, adding to his narrative the claim that he was confined to a wheelchair and depended on his wife's help for all daily activities, such as showering. The VA again increased Young's disability compensation, but remanded the grant request due to inconsistencies between Young's stated needs and the results of the VA's medical examinations. Young appeared in a wheelchair for two later examinations. His adaptive housing grant was awarded in 2008.

Young remained satisfied with his compensation level until 2013, when he requested another...

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