United States District Court, W.D. New York
August 24, 2005.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
ART WILLIAMS, a/k/a "Boo-Boo," ROLAND ONAGHINOR, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVID LARIMER, Chief Judge, District
DECISION AND ORDER
On March 2, 2005, the United States Court of Appeals for the
Second Circuit remanded this case to this Court to consider
whether to resentence the defendants pursuant to principles
enunciated in United States v. Crosby, 397 F.3d 103 (2d Cir.
2005). Subsequent to the Order of Remand, I directed the counsel
for the defendants and the Government to submit sentencing
memoranda on the issue and both defendants and the Government
have done so.
After both defendants were convicted after a jury trial, I
sentenced defendant Williams on March 10, 2003 principally to 216
months imprisonment on Count 1 and 48 months on each of Counts 2
through 14, to run concurrently with the sentence on Count 1. I
sentenced the defendant Onaghinor principally to a term of 78
months on May 30, 2002 for conspiracy to distribute heroin. Defendants appealed from the Judgment and Commitment and the
Second Circuit affirmed both convictions in an opinion filed
October 5, 2004 (385 F.3d 127), but the mandate was withheld
pending the Supreme Court's decision in the then-pending case of
United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005).
I am, of course, familiar with the Booker and Crosby
decisions. I am also familiar with the jury trial and prior
sentencing proceedings in both cases. I have reviewed the
memoranda submitted by counsel on the Crosby issues as well as
the presentence reports submitted at the original sentences. I
have also considered all the sentencing factors listed at
18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).
As referenced above, Williams was sentenced principally to 216
months imprisonment on Count 1 and 48 months on the remaining
counts to run concurrent. Williams seeks resentencing and
requests that the Court do so without making any enhancement for
role-in-the-offense or obstruction of justice. At the original
sentencing hearing, I denied the Government's motion for a
four-point enhancement but did find Williams to be a manager or
supervisor and imposed a three-point enhancement. I also
determined that Williams obstructed justice based on the several
letters that he wrote to co-defendants.
Williams appealed and challenged the two-point enhancement for
obstruction of justice. The Second Circuit discussed this issue
at some length and determined that the Court had a proper basis
to impose the enhancement. I understand that the Sentencing Guidelines are now advisory
and that the Court must consider them and impose a reasonable
sentence after considering all the factors listed at
18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). If the sentencing were to occur today in light of the
new sentencing regime in effect since the Booker Supreme Court
case, I would make the same findings as to the Guidelines and
impose the same sentence. I believe that the proof at trial
demonstrated that Williams did have a significant role in the
offense and that he was a manager or supervisor over others in
the operation. The Court could well have imposed a four-point
enhancement, but declined to do so giving Williams the benefit of
doubt. It is clear, though, that Williams did have a managerial
role. As for the obstruction of justice enhancement, for the
reasons stated by me when I imposed sentence and for the reasons
set forth in the Second Circuit's decision, I believe that
enhancement is appropriate as well and would impose it now if I
were sentencing Williams in the first instance.
In sum, I see no reason to order a resentencing in this case
since if we were do so, my sentence would be the same and would
not be affected by the fact the Sentencing Guidelines are now
advisory and not mandatory.
At the original sentencing, I accepted the Probation
Department's recommendation that a two-point enhancement should
apply under Sentencing Guidelines § 3C1.1 for obstruction of
justice based on Onaghinor's perjury at trial. At the original
sentencing hearing, I discussed the basis for my decision in some
detail. Now, on remand, Onaghinor requests that I resentence him
to a term without making the two-point enhancement for
obstruction of justice. I decline that invitation. Even if the sentence were to be imposed today, at a time when the
Sentencing Guidelines are deemed to be advisory and not
mandatory, the proof at trial was such that I would still make an
enhancement, as recommended by the Probation Department, for
perjury at trial. Whether the Guidelines were mandatory or
advisory, it would make no difference in determining what the
appropriate reasonable sentence should be. Therefore, I decline
to resentence Roland Onaghinor and believe that the original
sentence was proper and is a reasonable sentence under the
Sentencing Guidelines and § 3553(a).
I have reviewed the sentences imposed in both cases under the
principles enunciated in United States v. Crosby, 397 F.3d 103
(2d Cir. 2005). I decline to order resentencing as to either
defendant. The fact that the Sentencing Guidelines are now deemed
to be advisory and not mandatory would not now affect the
originally imposed sentences in any respect. The sentences
imposed originally would be imposed again today for the reasons
set forth by the Court when the sentences were originally
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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