United States v. Pike, No. 20-10168 (5th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Fifth Circuit affirmed defendant's 151 month sentence imposed after he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The court held that the district court did not clearly err in denying defendant a mitigating-role reduction where the record demonstrates that defendant understood the scope and structure of the conspiracy, exercised decision-making authority, participated in the conspiracy and performed acts to further it, and financially benefitted from the conspiracy. Though the lack of evidence regarding the degree to which defendant participated in planning or organizing the conspiracy weighs in favor of mitigation, the court has found that when some factors support the reduction, but others do not, the district court does not clearly err in denying the reduction.
The court also held that defendant did not request the district court to articulate a factual basis for denying the mitigation-role reduction and thus United States v. Melton, 930 F.2d 1096, 1099 (5th Cir. 1991), is inapplicable to his case. Therefore, defendant failed to show any error, much less plain error, and remand is unnecessary.