United States v. Davis

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 01-14-2014
  • Case #: 12-50522
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Canby for the Court; Circuit Judges Watford and Hurwitz
  • Full Text Opinion

Section 1B1.10(b) of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual does not violate the separation of powers doctrine or exceed the Commission's authority.

After Edmund Clinton Davis Jr. (“Davis”) pled guilty to distributing crack cocaine and being a felon in possession of a firearm, he received a sentence of 70 months. Davis’s sentence was already below the amended guidelines range of 84 to 105 months established in the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines ("USSG") Manual, but Davis wanted his sentenced reduced even lower to 60 months. Davis’s moved for a reduced sentenced pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). The district court denied Davis’s motion because Davis was already receiving a sentence 14 months below the minimum of his amended guidelines range. The USSG Manual § 1B1.10(b) generally forbids courts from lowering sentences below the minimum of the amended guidelines range. Davis argued that § 1B1.10(b) exceeds the Sentencing Commission’s authority and violates the doctrine of the separation of powers. Davis’s argument that the Commission’s authority is exceeded was rejected because United States v. Tercero held that revising § 1B1.10(b) is within Congress’s role for the Commission. Davis’s argument that the separation of powers doctrine is violated was also rejected because Congress has the power to control judicial discretion regarding sentencing. AFFIRMED.

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