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United States v. Boykin

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

May 18, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ANTHONY BOYKIN, Defendant-Appellant

Argued and Submitted, San Francisco, California November 17, 2014

Page 1353

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1354

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1355

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. D.C. No. 2:07-cr-00141-WBS-1. William B. Shubb, Senior District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY [**]

Criminal Law

The panel affirmed a conviction for one count of distribution of methamphetamine (Count 6) and the sentence imposed for five counts of distribution of methamphetamine, one count of distribution of cocaine, and one count of conspiracy to distribute.

The panel held that there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction on Count 6, as to which the jury was instructed on an aiding and abetting theory of liability. The panel explained that a rational jury could have found that the defendant and his brother collaborated on the drug transaction at issue, considering all of the evidence, including the conspiracy and the fact that the defendant and his brother collaborated on multiple drug transactions in person and by phone.

The panel found deeply troubling the conduct of the involved law enforcement agencies, but held that the improprieties do not warrant reversal of the district court's denial of a downward departure for sentencing manipulation. The panel held that it was reasonable for law enforcement to extend the investigation to build a stronger case with more controlled purchases by a more credible confidential source, and that the existence of an ambiguous FBI memo did not require the district court to conclude that the investigators extended the investigation solely to enhance the defendant's sentence.

The panel found it was not an abuse of discretion for the district court to find the defendant's criminal history to be accurately stated, and held that the district court did not err in applying an enhancement for firearm possession. The panel rejected the defendant's argument that the drug quantity attributed to him was unforeseeable.

Because the defendant may move the district court for relief under Sentencing Guidelines Amendment 782, the panel declined to remand the case on those grounds.

Joseph J. Wiseman (argued), Wiseman Law Group, P.C., Davis, California, for Defendant-Appellant.

Benjamin B. Wagner, United States Attorney, Camil A. Skipper, Appellate Chief, Heiko P. Coppola (argued), Assistant United States Attorney, Sacramento, California, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Before: Michael Daly Hawkins and Johnnie B. Rawlinson, Circuit Judges, and Barbara M. G. Lynn, District Judge.[*]

OPINION

Page 1356

LYNN, District Judge:

This appeal arises from a series of controlled drug purchases conducted over a period of nearly seven months during 2006 and 2007.

At trial, the defendant, Anthony Boykin (" Boykin" ), was convicted on five counts of distribution of methamphetamine, one count of distribution of cocaine, and one count of conspiracy to distribute. His appeal challenges the sufficiency of the evidence on Count Six, one of the counts for distribution of methamphetamine. He also challenges his sentence, arguing that the district court erred in (1) not departing downward for sentencing manipulation; (2) not finding his criminal history to be overstated; and (3) not sustaining objections to certain sentencing enhancements.

The Court finds the evidence was sufficient to convict Boykin on Count Six. While the Court finds deeply troubling the conduct of the involved law enforcement agencies, the improprieties do not warrant reversal due to sentencing manipulation. Finally, the Court finds it was not an abuse of discretion for the district court to find the defendant's criminal history to be accurately stated, nor for it to apply the enhancements challenged. Therefore, we affirm the district court's rulings on each of the grounds raised on appeal.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BAGKROUND

I. The Controlled Purchases

Boykin and his brother, Patrick, sold methamphetamine and ...


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