Fifth Circuit - Chapter 3 Adjustments

United States v. Guidry, 960 F.3d 676 (5th Cir. 2020). Section 3C1.1’s two-level enhancement for obstruction of justice applied where the defendant, several weeks after his arrest, attempted to have third parties convince a co-conspirator to recant prior statements implicating the defendant. Section 3E1.1(a)’s 2-level reduction for acceptance may still apply despite the application of an obstruction enhancement.

United States v. Izaguirre, 973 F.3d 377 (5th Cir. 2020). When a defendant is convicted of both an underlying offense and the failure to appear for sentencing, §2J1.6 requires that the failure to appear be treated as an obstruction adjustment under §3C1.1, resulting in one guidelines range. The court should then select the total punishment for both offenses and construct the sentence to reflect the requirement that the sentences run consecutively.

United States v. Angeles, 971 F.3d 535 (5th Cir. 2020). A court, after reviewing the objections to the PSR, may express concern that a defendant is frivolously denying relevant conduct and state that continuing to do so may result in denial of acceptance under §3E1.1(a).

United States v. Pike, 979 F.3d 364 (5th Cir. 2020). The court did not clearly err in denying a mitigating role adjustment under §3B1.2. While the defendant did not plan or organize the drug-trafficking conspiracy, he pooled his money with others to purchase the drug supply, negotiated sales, chose customers, and used proceeds for his own business. The court did not err in not articulating a factual basis for denying the adjustment because the defendant did not ask for one.

United States v. Warren , 986 F.3d 557 (5th Cir. 2021). The manager or supervisor enhancement at §3B1.1 applied to a defendant in a fraud offense because, even though he did not manage or supervise other participants in the conspiracy, he controlled the telemarketing operations’ technology. The enhancement may apply “based solely on management of property, assets or activities.”

United States v. Deckert , 993 F.3d 399 (5th Cir. 2021). The 2-level reckless endangerment enhancement at §3C1.2 applied to a defendant convicted of drug trafficking, even though the reckless endangerment occurred during an offense that was dismissed as part of a plea agreement. The dismissed offense was relevant conduct because drug trafficking offenses are groupable under Rule (d) of §3D1.2, and the offense was in the same course of conduct as the offense of conviction.

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