US v. Quinton McNeil, No. 13-4211 (4th Cir. 2013)

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UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 13-4211 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. QUINTON JAMES MCNEIL, Defendant - Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, at Raleigh. Louise W. Flanagan, District Judge. (5:12-cr-00212-FL-1) Submitted: November 26, 2013 Decided: December 4, 2013 Before MOTZ, SHEDD, and WYNN, Circuit Judges. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Thomas P. McNamara, Federal Public Defender, G. Alan DuBois, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellant. Thomas G. Walker, United States Attorney, Jennifer P. May-Parker, Kristine L. Fritz, Assistant United States Attorneys, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Quinton James departure sentence possession of a McNeil imposed stolen appeals following firearm, §§ 922(j), 924(a)(2) (2012). in the his thirty-month guilty violation of plea 18 to U.S.C. On appeal, McNeil argues that the district court committed procedural error by failing to address one of his arguments in favor of a within-Guidelines sentence and that the extent of the substantively unreasonable. departure rendered his sentence We affirm. We review any criminal sentence, whether inside, just outside, or significantly reasonableness, standard. under outside a the Guidelines deferential range, for abuse-of-discretion United States v. King, 673 F.3d 274, 283 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 133 S. Ct. 216 (2012); see Gall v. United States, 552 U.S. 38, 46, 51 (2007). departure or sentencing court decision to variant sentence, acted impose When the district court imposes a we reasonably such a consider both sentence whether with respect to its with respect to the and extent of the divergence from the sentencing range. States v. Hernandez Villanueva, 473 the F.3d 118, 123 United (4th Cir. 2007). McNeil first argues that his sentence is procedurally unreasonable because the district 2 court failed to address McNeil s argument that his immediate and significant assistance to the police warranted a within-Guidelines sentence. When the defendant presents nonfrivolous reasons for imposing a particular sentence, the district judge should address the party s arguments and explain why he has rejected those arguments. United States v. Carter, 564 F.3d 325, 328 (4th (internal Cir. 2009) quotation marks omitted). In explaining the chosen sentence, the sentencing judge should set forth enough to satisfy the appellate court that he has considered the parties arguments and has a reasoned basis for exercising his own legal decisionmaking authority. Rita v. United States, 551 U.S. 338, 356 (2007). On district this court s record, awareness there of is no McNeil s room to question cooperation. the It was mentioned by counsel for both sides at sentencing and discussed in the presentence familiar. report, with which the court plainly was As such, although McNeil is correct that the court did not explicitly state why this factor was not controlling as to the issue of what sentence to impose, we conclude that the district sufficient court considered reason to and impose implicitly a rejected within-Guidelines it as a sentence. United States v. Bowens, 527 F. App x 256, 258 (4th Cir. 2013) (unpublished). 3 The sentencing transcript makes plain the court s view that any efforts at cooperation paled in comparison to McNeil s high likelihood of recidivating, as evidenced by his commission of multiple breakings-and-enterings in a relatively short period of time, and McNeil s demonstrable lack of respect for the law, evidenced by McNeil s persistent refusal to conform his behavior to the law or to abide by the terms of his probation. The court also considered the lenient treatment McNeil received for his past offenses and that McNeil had other dismissed and uncharged conduct. Finally, the rejected McNeil s more court expressly robust argument acknowledged that his but youth and immaturity countenanced a shorter term of imprisonment, opining that its duty to protect the public would be discharged only if McNeil were sentenced to a significant term of imprisonment. We will not vacate [a] sentence simply because the court did not spell out what the context of its explanation made patently obvious: namely, that a shorter prison term was inappropriate for a defendant who had repeatedly committed a serious offense and who had already proven immune to other means of deterrence. United States v. Montes-Pineda, 445 F.3d 375, 381 (4th Cir. 2006). We accordingly reject McNeil s claim of procedural error. Turning, then, to the substantive reasonableness of the sentence, substantive reasonableness review requires that we 4 evaluate the totality of the circumstances to see whether the sentencing court abused its discretion in concluding that the sentence it chose satisfied the U.S.C.] § 3553(a) [(2012)]. F.3d 156, 160-61 (4th Cir. standards set forth courts determining factors. 2011). the have weight 2012) (internal extremely to [18 United States v. Hargrove, 701 quotation omitted), cert. denied, 133 S. Ct. 2403 (2013). district in be broad given each Of course, discretion of the marks § when 3553(a) United States v. Jeffery, 631 F.3d 669, 679 (4th Cir. The Supreme Court mandates that this court give due deference to the district court s decision that the § 3553(a) factors, on a whole, justify the extent of the variance. The fact that the appellate court might reasonably have concluded that a different sentence was appropriate is insufficient to justify reversal of the district court. Gall, 552 U.S. at 51. Though McNeil s sentence is almost double the high end of his Guidelines range, we discern no abuse of discretion in the district court s determination that such a deviation was justified. criminal The district court s decision was rooted in McNeil s history and the resistance he had previously demonstrated to conforming his conduct to the mandates of the law. McNeil s criminal record was all the more concerning considering his relatively young age, and the fact that most of his crimes were committed within a three-year period. 5 Because the district court s decision to depart fourteen months above the Guidelines range is supported by the record, it does not constitute an abuse of discretion. We accordingly hold that McNeil s departure sentence is reasonable, both procedurally and substantively, and affirm the district court s criminal judgment. We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before this court and argument would not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED 6