United States v. Highsmith, No. 11-48 (2d Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Highsmith pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, 21 U.S.C. 846 and 841(b)(1)(A)(iii), and weapons possession in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, 18 U.S.C. 924(c). He appealed, arguing that the district court erred by failing to make a specific finding of fact as to whether the firearm, which he admits to having possessed in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, “[was] discharged” in violation of 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A)(iii). While appeal was pending, the Supreme Court decided Dorsey v. United States, 132 S. Ct. 2321 (2012), which held that the more lenient sentences Congress created under the Fair Sentencing Act, 124 Stat. 2372, applied to those defendants who were to be sentenced after the FSA became law for crimes committed before that event. Clarifying that it was overruling its 2011 decision, United States v. Acoff, the court vacated the sentence and remanded for resentencing consistent with Dorsey, but rejected Highsmith’s argument that the district court plainly erred by adopting the presentence investigation report without making further fact findings.