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United States v. Hegwood

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

August 8, 2019, Filed

No. 19-40117

Opinion

 [*415]  LESLIE H. SOUTHWICK, Circuit Judge:

This appeal concerns the First Step Act, in which Congress permitted a sentencing court to "impose a reduced sentence as if . . . the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 . . . were in effect at the time the covered offense was committed." The issue is whether district courts are authorized to conduct a plenary resentencing, which would include recalculating the Sentencing Guidelines range as if the defendant were being sentenced for the first time under present law, or whether courts are limited to reductions resulting [**2]  from the Fair Sentencing Act. Concluding that the First Step Act does not allow plenary resentencing, we AFFIRM.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On July 24, 2008, Michael Dewayne Hegwood was charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B)(iii), and 846. He pled guilty on November 12, 2008, pursuant to a plea agreement, to possession with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of cocaine base.

Hegwood admitted to what was in the government's proposed factual basis, which stated he sold approximately 8 grams of cocaine base to a cooperating witness. The cocaine sale was arranged through a phone call that was recorded by law enforcement. The cocaine transaction was recorded by video and audio. The PSR found that Hegwood was responsible for a total of 9.32 grams of cocaine base.

Using the 2008 Guidelines, the PSR calculated Hegwood's total offense level at 31, recommending a term of imprisonment between 188 and 235 months. The PSR calculated his base offense level as 24. U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(c)(8) (2008). The probation officer recommended a two-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility and a one level reduction for timely notification of his intent to [**3]  plead guilty.

Relevant to this appeal, the PSR recommended an enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1 because Hegwood was determined by the probation officer to be a "career offender." The PSR stated that Hegwood had been convicted of two prior felony controlled-substance offenses, which, combined with his guilty plea to possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, satisfied the career-offender guideline. Under the career-offender guideline his offense level was 34, which, after subtracting the three levels for acceptance of responsibility, resulted in a final offense level of 31. Hegwood was within a criminal-history category of VI, having 20 criminal history points. Hegwood claims, and the government does not seem to dispute, that the career-offender enhancement was based on a 2002 conviction for delivery of a controlled substance for which the sentence was one year in jail and a 2007 conviction for delivery of a controlled substance for which the sentence was three years in prison.

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934 F.3d 414 *; 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 23714 **; 2019 WL 3729590

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee v. MICHAEL DEWAYNE HEGWOOD, Defendant - Appellant

Subsequent History: US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Hegwood v. United States, 140 S. Ct. 285, 205 L. Ed. 2d 195, 2019 U.S. LEXIS 5981 (U.S., Oct. 7, 2019)

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

United States v. Hegwood, 398 Fed. Appx. 949, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 22393 (5th Cir. Tex., Oct. 26, 2010)

Disposition: AFFIRMED.

CORE TERMS

sentence, Guidelines, cocaine, reduce a sentence, district court, enhancement, career-offender, reduction, modify, calculated, grams, imprisonment, resentencing, argues

Criminal Law & Procedure, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Conclusions of Law, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Sentencing, Corrections, Modifications & Reductions, Changed Circumstances